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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

Nationals still see politics as ‘a man’s job’

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Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader.
Considering running as an independent: Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader.

Darren Coyne & Hans Lovejoy

National party preselection candidate for Ballina, Sharon Cadwallader, says she is considering her options after being narrowly defeated by a relative newcomer to the party, Kris Beavis.

With the retirement of state MP Don Page at the next election after 27 years’ service, the seat is considered wide open by all political parties.

Ms Cadwallader, who is a Ballina Shire councillor with many years of service to both the community and the National party, told The Echo that she was ‘stunned’ to have missed out on preselection.

‘I’ve always worked tirelessly for the community and it’s been quite a journey,’ she said. ‘I’ve always had my sights on the seat if Don [Page] was to retire, and thought I would give it a tilt.’

But when it came to the crunch, at a preselection meeting attended by 75 members recently, Cr Cadwallader missed out by just five votes, 33 to 42. The winner was Kris Beavis, who joined the party early last year and is CEO of the northern region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service.

‘I was very disappointed that people didn’t vote for me,’ Cr Cadwallader said. ‘There were comments that I was too old and that it was a man’s job’.

Cr Cadwallader would not be drawn on whether she would run as an independent at the next election, but admitted that she was at a crossroads in her political career.

‘The fork in the road has appeared and it’s time to consider my future,’ she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Sue Page, who also nominated for pre-selection but was not endorsed, told The Echo that politics had become a factional career and was no longer about local representation.

‘These days people don’t just go into politics, they train in the machinations of politics,’ she said.

‘It seems representing the interests of the local electorate is not as important as the interests of head office.’ Dr Page would not be drawn on earlier comments that the Nationals were ‘a boys’ club’.

She did say however that she thought it was a ‘bit rude’ for people to stand for pre-selection to a party if they had not put in their time ‘standing in the sun’ handing out ‘how-to-vote’ cards.

‘It’s a bit like a person being appointed bank manager without ever having worked as a teller,’ she said.

‘I really don’t want to criticise the National Party because it is the only party dedicated to representing the interests of rural and regional Australia,’ she said. Dr Page said it was unlikely that she would stand as an independent in the election next March.

The Echo asked newly appointed National Party candidate Kris Beavis to confirm that he defeated Sharon Cadwallader by five votes.

While he said that he had ‘no comment’ he did say that the preselection process was fair, and the party faithful had the same opportunity to talk and ask questions of all the candidates.

As for the length of time he has been a Nationals member, Mr Beavis said the rumour of one month prior to being preselected was incorrect.

‘I joined the party early last year,’ he said. And while Mr Beavis’s political experience appears light, he spruiked his management experience, saying such qualities were an advantage in parliament.

He said that if elected he would stand down as Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service CEO and that as for CSG, he says there is not enough science to support it.

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  1. Typical from the women who lost to blame their failings on the “boys club”. Maybe the members just didnt like you, or just thought you werent good enough. Face it and stop using your gender as the excuse for everthing in life.

  2. Congratulations to Kris Beavis. He is genuine, has lots of managerial experiences and will do very well for the Page electorate.
    Dr Sue Page would also have been a very good candidate but the preselection has voted.

    So glad Cadwallader didn’t get it. She is definitely NOT the person I would have representing me. She … doesn’t even live in the Ward she’s supposed to represent on the council because no-one in her ward would vote for her…

  3. Mark, Mark, Mark,’
    You are one seriously misguided individual. Sharon is a true community worker and should be at least given credit for being involved in the contest to help improve our lot on the North Coast not vilified for being a female. Perhaps you could respond by outlining what you have done in and for the local community. I’m sure it will make interesting reading …

  4. Sue Page is not making it clear that she only joined the Nats in the weeks before she unsuccessfully tried to get to be selected as the Nats candidate in the federal electorate of Page in 2007. She then moved weeks later to get the Nats preselection gig in Richmond in an election she lost spectacularly. All up she was never a bank teller before trying to be the bank manager… it’s a joke that she attempts to make out she was a party loyalist before entering preselections. Anyways, the Nats don’t do what the voters ask them to do… for instance they had a two day state conference some weeks ago and not a single motion was debated re CSG. That is how much of a sick joke the Nats have become.

  5. Good on you Sharon. Stick it to the old boys club. I’d vote for you if you decide to run, as you’ve got the track record working in the community.

  6. It’s easy DON’T VOTE FOR THE BOYS CLUB!! Beavis lists as his prime asset “management”
    Well if the coalition state & federal governments management is anything to go by then I’d say don’t vote for Beavis, we’ll just get a Butthead!!! The current track record of the coalition governments’ management is best described as mismanagement!!!! No consideration for example of environmental concerns, distinct disregard for the impoverished, disregard for carbon emissions, robbing the poor to pay the rich, refugees & now axing the ABC (to name but a few).
    I say we DON’T need more of that!!!!
    I’d like my candidate to have human affairs at heart NOT business! As for Beavis’ throw in line for anti CSG Kris really nice attempt but I never saw you at Camp Liberty, Bentley! Enough said!!!!
    So I’d say go for it Sharon, you don’t need the boys!! There’s noticeably a majority of women to men in our electorate so go for our vote!
    The candidate who will get my vote is the one who rules from the heart & has human interests as their prime concern NOT business!
    May the best human win. 😉

  7. Go independent Sharon. You’d get my vote over any coallition member always.
    Nats are just lib clones. Lying, steeling from the poor, and only looking after the big companies.

  8. When an elected representative forces fluoride onto their community (unqualified medically) against their will, why would we vote for you


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