When Rod Bruem and his partner Phil Terry opted for a “tree change” in 2014, moving to the beautiful, sweeping river flats just outside the northern New South Wales town of Lismore, politics was never far from the front of Bruem’s mind. After the homophobic smear and innuendo he and Terry suffered at the hands of a few locals at a September 16 National Party preselection, it’s likely to remain there.

After almost four years of running successful "grey nomad" magazine and website Time to Roam and agreeing to sell the business to staff, Bruem, 51, decided to throw his hat in the ring for the state seat of Lismore, which will become vacant at the March 2018 election when incumbent National Party member Thomas George -- who has never done much to trouble the scoreboard -- retires.