Masters to run against Buswell (cloned for SW 1342159322)
Bernie Masters

The candidate pool for Vasse at the next State election is looking empty after Labor revealed it still did not have a candidate for the seat and the Liberal Party had not officially endorsed sitting MLA Troy Buswell.

Mr Buswell was the only person to nominate for the seat during the Liberal Party’s pre-selection process, but has not yet been officially endorsed by a selection committee.

However, Liberal Party State director Ben Morton said this was almost a certainty as soon as the party could organise a convenient time.

Meanwhile, Labor’s candidate for the seat is still up in the air, although State secretary Simon Mead said nominations had opened.

“It’s not a marginal seat, so we’re looking for people to put someone forward, ” he said.

Mr Mead said the party was looking for a strong local candidate who could help “raise issues and fight for our voters”.

He said a candidate would be selected this year but could not provide a specific timeframe because the seat was less winnable than others.

“We contest every seat, we hope to win every seat, but it’s not a high priority for us, ” Mr Mead said.

Former Vasse MLA Bernie Masters said he still hoped the Liberal Party would reject Buswell as the pre-selected candidate for next year’s State election, but if they do not, he will “start campaigning the moment he is endorsed.”

Mr Masters, who was the local member for eight years before losing Liberal Party pre-selection to Mr Buswell in 2005, has previously said he would run for the seat as an independent if Buswell was re-endorsed to provide voters a choice.

He said Mr Buswell had neglected the Vasse electorate and lacked a “moral compass” and urged the party not to endorse him.

“Whether a party pre-selection receives one or 100 candidates it is in the power of the selection committee to reject those candidates and for nominations to be re-opened, ” Mr Masters said.

“If they chose to find another candidate, an appropriate person without character and other flaws, who lives in the electorate, I would not stand against him…(Otherwise) I will start campaigning the moment (Mr Buswell) is endorsed.”

Former homeless man Corey Wilkinson, who announced he would run as an independent last year, did not respond to the Times’ enquiries.

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