The NSW Nationals will leave the final decision about who will replace Thomas George as their candidate in the next state election to the community.
Mr George announced on Friday that he would not be running for the seat of Lismore again.
As a result, National Party members in the Lismore electorate have decided to hold a community ballot, similar to one trailed in Tamworth in 2010.
All members of the public who are enrolled to vote in the Lismore Electorate will be invited to cast a ballot on 18 November 2017 in the Lismore Community Preselection.
Nominations opened last Friday and remain open until Friday 11 August.
Northern Rivers resident and architect of the Community Preselection model, Ben Franklin MLC welcomed the Lismore Nationals’ decision to embrace this new way to select candidates.
‘In 2010, Australia’s first Community Preselection was held in Tamworth by The Nationals,’ Mr Franklin said.
‘On the Preselection day, The Nationals set up polling booths across the electorate just like a normal election and more than 4,000 ordinary members of the community turned up on a wet winter’s day to cast a vote and choose our candidate.’
Mr Franklin said the Party was hoping for a similar reception in Lismore.
‘In this day and age there’s a great need for political parties to open their doors to the community, and I am confident the people of the Lismore electorate will relish the opportunity to play their part,’ he said.
Nationals State Director Nathan Quigley said ‘the winner of the community vote on the day will be our candidate’.
‘It will be a physical ballot, the same as in state and federal elections, with scrutineers allowed to observe the casting and counting of votes.’
‘This goes beyond our Party and speaks to the future of participation in our democracy. It’s important that we get it right.’
Lismore Nationals electorate Chairman Matthew Scheibel said that the local members who had voted for this model were placing their faith in the electorate.
‘The Lismore electorate is a diverse mix of communities and people and our candidate needs to reflect this diversity.
;It’s an exciting and genuine offer for people to have their say and we hope they’ll take us up on it.’