IT will be a five-nominee race to replace departing Curtin MHR Julie Bishop at the Liberal Party’s pre-selection meeting this Sunday.
After nominations closed last Friday, the field comprised foreign affairs specialist Erin Watson-Lynn (33), former University of Notre Dame Australia vice-chancellor Celia Hammond (50), management consultant Karen Caddy (50) and resources executive Anna Dartnell (45).
The only man is commercial management consultant Andres Timmermanis (50).
Ms Bishop’s 21 years in the seat included holding her party’s deputy leadership for 11 years and becoming Australia’s first female foreign minister.
However, she called an end to her parliamentary career two weeks ago, after a bitter leadership coup which saw the departure of her friend and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and WA MPs failing to back her bid for the nation’s top job last August.
It is anticipated Ms Watson-Lynn is favoured by Ms Bishop, while Ms Hammond has the backing of more conservative party heavyweights Senator Mathias Cormann and State MLC Peter Collier.
The pre-selection may test the two men’s ability to influence members of the electorate’s 14 branches, which are mostly in the southern end of the often socially-moderate western suburbs seat, held by Ms Bishop with a large 20 per cent margin.