SHIRE of Mundaring councillor James Martin is tipped to replace Lauren Palmer after she quit as Labor’s candidate in the crucial Federal seat of Hasluck.
Cr Martin, a Boya resident, was elected to the council in October 2015 on a platform of reining in local government expenditure and rate rises.
Cr Martin’s Facebook page has been taken down and his contact details removed from the Shire’s website.
WA Labor state secretary and campaign director Matt Dixon said Labor candidates and potential candidates were required to de-activate their social media accounts while being considered as a candidate.
“The WA Labor Administrative Committee has referred the matter to the party’s National Executive, which will meet on Friday to decide on the process to select the next candidate for Hasluck,” he said.
“A decision on the candidate is expected early next week.”
Ms Palmer was preselected as the Labor candidate for Hasluck at the end of last year and apologised for the disruption her withdrawal would cause Labor as it fought to win office.
“When I was originally preselected as the candidate, I advised my campaign team that I would need to take time off at some point to deal with a medical issue that requires surgery,” she said.
“However, I now need to take more time off for the recovery than I initially thought.
“Given the demands of campaigning in a marginal seat, and the uncertainty over the date of the next election, I cannot commit myself fully to campaigning at this time.
“For these reasons, I’ve made the difficult decision to withdraw my candidacy, so that Labor can be represented by someone who can give 100 per cent of their time and energy to campaigning up to the next election.”
Hasluck is held by Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt by a margin of 2.1 per cent and is a key target for WA Labor at the Federal election.
Mr Wyatt said challenging for a seat and running a campaign was “extremely tough” and took its toll on all candidates, especially in a highly contestable seat such as Hasluck.
“It is sad that a quality candidate like Lauren Palmer has decided to step down at this point in her campaign for the seat of Hasluck,” he said.
“I was fortunate to meet Lauren on various occasions and, from the conversations we shared, I know she would have made a worthy member and representative for local constituents and communities.
“Lauren Palmer always acted with integrity and I am disappointed to see her leave the local political arena.
“I wish her all the best, wherever her future takes her.”