Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty was runner-up in the National’s community vote on Saturday, November 20 to pre-select its candidate for the seat of Lismore. Tregeagle macadamia nut farmer Austin Curtin is now in line to replace sitting MP Thomas George, who has announced his retirement.
In the non-compulsory vote open to anyone on the Lismore electoral role, 3657 turned out to cast their preference, including just over 800 at Tenterfield School of Arts of which 781 votes deemed formal.
Mr Petty clearly won the favourite in his own neighbourhood, scoring 72.73 per cent of the primary vote at the Tenterfield booth followed by Mr Curtin with 21.77 per cent and Andrew Gordon on 5.51 per cent.
Always declaring himself ‘a Bonalbo boy’, Mr Petty also scored well at the Bonalbo booth with 73.01 per cent of the primary vote, followed by Mr Curtin with 19.63 per cent and Mr Gordon with 7.36 per cent.
His lower profile closer to the coast, however, failed to secure sufficient votes elsewhere to topple Mr Curtin who was the declared the overall winner on the night with 1615 votes and 54.9 per cent of the two-candidate preferred count.
Mr Petty finished in second place with 1099 votes with Mr Gordon close behind on 943.
Mr Austin thanked Mr Petty and Mr Gordon for their sportsmanship and willingness to be involved in the democratic process, and acknowledged Mr George's stellar career. He said he was humbled to be elected and is ready to get to work.
"This is just the start. I will be working hard over the next 14 months to connect with all of our supporters and voters across the electorate."
Click through to see some of the action at the Tenterfield School of Arts polling place for the Nationals’ candidate pre-selection...