Labor will now have to find a new candidate to contest the seat of Gippsland after Carolyne Boothman announced her plan to withdraw from the race.
Ms Boothman decided to withdraw her candidacy after discovering that she would be required to quit her teaching position at Morwell Primary school.
As outlined in Australia’s constitution, public servants are required to resign if they are to be nominated for the House of Representatives and Senate.
Ms Boothman admitted that she was not familiar with the rules but couldn’t afford to leave her job.
“I’m on a 12-month contract and definitely need my teaching position as I’m a single-income-earning person, so sadly have to resign my position as the candidate.”
“We thought that there were some ways of getting around it … but once we clarified the legal advice, and advice through the Education Department, we found out that wasn’t the case.
“I’m very disappointed. It has been great to meet the people of Gippsland and discuss their concerns. To have that opportunity to represent them was fantastic and I look forward to other opportunities in the future.”
Ms Boothman reveals the local Labor branch has only contributed $100 towards her campaign possibly due to the fact Gippsland is a safe Nationals seat.
“I admit I’m very much a novice in this area [federal politics]. I voluntarily put my hand up for this late last year and said I’d happily fill the position.
“Everyone is well aware that it is a very safe seat and in East Gippsland [in particular] Labor has always struggled. When I was up there recently it appeared to be very much Nationals territory with some support for the Greens.”
The seat of Gippsland stretches along the coast from Mallacoota in the east to just north of Wilsons Promontory, covering the East Gippsland, Wellington and most of the Latrobe Valley local government areas.
Nationals Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Darren Chester, currently holds the seat by a margin of over 15%
In a statement, Mr Chester said he was disappointed by Carolyne Boothman’s decision to drop out of the contest.
“I’m disappointed for Carolyne because I’ve known her for a few years and I think she was a strong candidate, but I have no idea of what the Labor party was doing in not informing her properly about the issue leading up to the election period,” he said.Mr Chester has held the seat for eight years
The seat of Gippsland has been held by the Country and National parties since 1922 with current MP Darren Chester in charge for 8 years.
With 53 days before the Australian federal election, Gippsland’s Labor branch is now on the lookout for a replacement candidate.