Resolution of a dispute between the Liberals and Nationals over the seat of Goulburn is unlikely to be resolved until next week at the earliest after the latest discussions between the parties failed to deliver an agreement.
Nanjing Night Net

On Friday it emerged Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson was set to withdraw her bid to move to the seat of Goulburn at next year’s state election, averting what was shaping as a bitter fight with her Liberal cabinet colleague Pru Goward.

Fairfax Media understands Premier Barry O’Farrell urged Ms Hodgkinson, a Nationals MP, to reconsider “for the sake of the government”.

But Ms Hodgkinson’s decision is believed to be contingent on a satisfactory deal being struck between the Liberals and Nationals.

The parties met on Friday but no resolution was reached, likely pushing the matter into next week.

One issue that may be on the table is an extra winnable upper house spot for the Nationals on the joint Coalition ticket for the 2015 election.

Under the usual Coalition agreement, the Nationals would expect to have three winnable spots on the joint upper house ticket.

An extra spot would go some way towards alleviating what is looking like a scramble for positions.

Two Nationals MPs are seeking re-election while Murray-Darling MP John Williams, whose seat has been abolished, and Nationals state director Ben Franklin are trying to move to the upper house.

The announcement that Ms Hodgkinson would contest Goulburn sparked tension with Ms Goward, who is the Minister for Community Services and has held Goulburn since 2007.

It has infuriated Ms Goward and the Liberals, who have warned a three-cornered contest would allow Labor to win the seat.

The decision to withdraw will be seen as a significant backdown by Ms Hodgkinson, who has loudly voiced her determination to run for Goulburn since announcing her intentions a fortnight ago.

If an agreement is reached, Ms Hodgkinson is likely to run in the new seat of Cootamundra.

The seat was created after an electoral boundary redistribution last year that renamed Ms Hodgkinson’s seat to create Cootamundra and a redrawn seat of Goulburn.

If Ms Hodgkinson runs in Cootamundra, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, whose seat of Murrumbidgee has been abolished, is likely to contest the new seat of Murray.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.