Labor preselection

Karen Hart and Andrew Mathieson
Two hands have gone up to take on former Geelong mayor Peter McMullin for Labor preselection in the Liberal seat of Corangamite.
Geelong West’s Christine Couzens and Ballarat’s Darren Cheeseman have declared they will take on Cr McMulllin.
Ms Couzens, a left-wing candidate, was unavailable for comment this week.
She has unsuccessfully run for Labor preselection at past elections.
Ms Couzens works at Geelong Trades Hall Council. Trades Hall said she was away on holidays.
Mr Cheeseman, a 30-year-old former Ballarat councillor, stood for the seat of Polwarth at November’s state election.
He has worked for the Community and Public Sector Union as an organiser for seven years.
Mr Cheeseman said he was “passionate” about industrial relations, Geelong’s bypass and environmental issues, particularly water.
“Corangamite is a young and growing community and I believe I’m best placed to represent that community,” he said.
Mr Cheeseman believed he would complement the new federal Labor leadership team.
“I can offer a similar ingredient at a local level.”
Mr Cheeseman said he had met Cr McMullin and Ms Couzens but refused to comment on their abilities.
He decided to stand after collegues told him he would “make a very good candidate”.
Cr McMullin, representing Labor’s right-wing faction, refused to speculate on the worthiness of his opponents.
“It’s a free country and I welcome the challenge,” he said.
Cr McMullin won Labor preselection in Corangamite for the last federal election but lost to sitting Liberal member Stewart McArthur.
Cr McMullin’s term on Geelong’s council finishes in November, 2008. The Howard Government is set to go to the polls later this year.
Labor’s state branch yesterday said it had yet to receive any paperwork for Corangamite nominations.
Preselection nominations close on February 16.
Members will vote on February 25 and 26.
A public elections committee will ratify the vote on February 28.