By Jeremy Sollars
State MP for Southern Downs James Lister is understood to be preparing to face an internal vote this weekend of local LNP members to secure his candidacy for the seat at the 2020 Queensland election.
The party vote – known as pre-selection – is an internal process held in every seat to formally endorse the LNP’s state election candidates.
All political parties hold a similar internal process ahead of all state and federal elections to choose their candidates, which is normally a formality in the case of a sitting Member of Parliament.
The Free Times understands the LNP called internally for nominations for Southern Downs – and all other Queensland seats – in recent months and that Mr Lister was the only nomination.
But his endorsement as the Southern Downs LNP candidate at the next Queensland election – due on Saturday 31 October 2020 – is, like all others within the LNP, subject to a vote of local party members which is then further ratified by the LNP state council, the party’s governing body in Queensland.
Under LNP rules the state council can take the rare step of overturning a local vote of party members and endorsing a different candidate but generally only in exceptional circumstances.
The Free Times understands the vote of Southern Downs LNP party members will be held in Warwick tomorrow, Saturday 30 November.
It is also understood local LNP party members in support of Mr Lister will travel from across the electorate to Warwick for the vote to help ensure Mr Lister’s successful local endorsement, with proxy votes not allowed as an option in such a ballot.
As well as the Southern Downs Regional Council area the state seat of Southern Downs also covers the Goondiwindi and Inglewood areas and as far as Talwood and Weengallon to the west, along with Yandilla and Pampas and nearby districts to the north.
Mr Lister was first elected as the LNP Member for Southern Downs at the last state election in November 2017.
In March 2017 he easily won pre-selection against fellow local LNP members and then state hopefuls current Southern Downs Regional Council Deputy Mayor Jo McNally and Councillor Cameron Gow.
Mr Lister was understood to have received 180 local LNP member votes and Cr McNally and Cr Gow 12 and 35 votes respectively.
Mr Lister replaced former long-serving state MP Lawrence Springborg after Mr Springborg’s retirement from state politics.
Mr Springborg this week confirmed he will stand as a candidate for mayor in the upcoming Goondiwindi Regional Council election, due with all other Queensland council elections in March next year.
Current Goondiwindi Mayor Graham Scheu has announced he will not stand as a candidate for the Goondiwindi mayoralty next March.
Current Goondiwindi Councillor Rob Mackenzie quit the LNP in March 2017 after the LNP state council turned him down to be the candidate to replace Lawrence Springborg in the seat of Southern Downs, in favour of Mr Lister.
Cr Mackenzie subsequently stood as an independent candidate for the seat of Southern Downs.