City of Sydney councillor Christine Forster plans to contest the Liberal pre-selection for Malcolm Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth when he steps down, having lost the party’s leadership last Friday.
Forster is Tony Abbott’s sister, and a media adviser to Woodside Energy. Earlier this year, she married her long-term partner, Virginia, after the Turnbull government successfully introduced same sex marriage legislation, despite objections from Abbott and other Coalition conservatives.
While a safe Liberal seat, the eastern Sydney electorate has diverse demographics, including a high number of gay and lesbian, as well as Jewish residents. Turnbull won the seat in 2016 with a 17% margin against Labor candidate Evan Hughes, son of the late art dealer Ray Hughes.
Turnbull, who signalled his intention to quit politics following the spill, has yet to announce when he will depart, but his timing will influence whether a by-election is held with a general election due by June 2019.
Among those believed to be lining up for the Liberal preselection in the blue chip seat are Australia’s former ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, and Andrew Bragg, the party’s former acting federal director.
Forster’s fellow Sydney councillor and same-sex marriage campaigner Dr Kerryn Phelps is also believed to be considering running as an independent.
Phelps, a former Australian Medical Association president who’s maintained a high media profile, is a GP in Double Bay.
The Greens have chosen Waverley Deputy Mayor Dominik Wy Kanak as their candidate.
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