The West Australian Liberal party has preselected Linda Aitken, a clinical nurse specialist, to replace Christian Porter as its candidate for the federal election in the seat of Pearce.
Aitken won a preselection vote on Monday night over the party’s other nominee, former navy officer Miquela Riley. Aitken’s preselection is expected to be endorsed by the party’s state executive on Thursday.
As well as being a clinical nurse specialist, Aitken has been a councillor with the City of Wanneroo for eight years. She has previously run as a Liberal party candidate in a West Australian state election.
Aitken’s preselection comes after former Attorney-General Christian Porter announced he would be retiring from politics and would not recontest the next federal election. Earlier this year, Porter revealed he was the government minister facing a rape allegation from 1988. He has always denied this allegation.
It was reported in September that an anonymous donor or donors was paying Porter’s legal fees in a defamation suit against the ABC. Former Prime Minster Malcom Turnbull called it a “shocking affront to transparency”. Amid calls for the identities of his donors to be revealed, Porter announced his resignation from politics.
In the seat of Pearce, where Porter has been the local member since 2013, the Labor party has preselected Tracey Roberts, the Wanneroo Mayor, as its candidate for the upcoming federal election. At the last election, Porter won the seat comfortably, and currently holds it with a margin of 7.5 per cent.
The West Australian seat has been held by the Liberal party since 1990. After a recent boundary redistribution, some are expecting the contest at the next election to be closer than it has been previously.
Western Australian Liberal party state president, Richard Wilson said: “Linda will work hard in the months ahead to meet with as many locals as possible, to listen to the issues that are important to them and their family and share her positive ideas for Pearce”.
“As a strong local voice, Linda has been helping to deliver better services for her community. She understands the issues which are important to the people of Pearce because her family experiences them every day.”