21 September 2020

Liberals find new Kurrajong candidate after previous two dumped

| Dominic Giannini
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Rattesh Gumber

Rattesh Gumber (left) has been announced as the Liberals’ new candidate for Kurrajong. Photo: Facebook.

The Canberra Liberals have parachuted IT project manager and company director Rattesh Gumber into the electorate of Kurrajong after dumping former candidates Vijay Dubey and Peter McKay.

Mr Gumbar, the CEO of IT Alliance Australia, is also an Honourary Multicultural Ambassador and is heavily involved in the Federation of Indian Associations of the ACT.

“I am putting myself forward because I know how hard it is for families and businesses to make ends meet and we need a government that is focused on helping everyone get ahead,” Mr Gumber said.

Canberra Liberals leader Alistair Coe lauded Mr Gumber’s advocacy for Canberra’s multicultural community.

The Liberals dumped former Kurrajong candidate Vijay Dubey in July for allegedly going off message during campaigning. Mr Dubey is now contesting the election for the Belco Party.

His replacement, Peter McKay, was then dumped by the party a month later after it was revealed he took aim at the Indigenous acknowledgement of country and supposed homosexual “bias” in ACT Policing in a religious freedom submission.

Mr McKay also singled out Chief Minister Andrew Barr – Australia’s first openly gay head of government – when criticising how authorities handled an attack on the Australian Christian Lobby’s office in Deakin in December 2016.

Kurrajong is being contested by Mr Barr and Greens leader Shane Rattenbury.

In the last election, the Liberals experienced the second biggest swing against them in Kurrajong. It was also the only seat where the Greens experienced a swing to the party. It has become a target electorate for the party’s third Assembly seat through candidate Rebecca Vassarotti.

The fifth seat for each of the ACT’s five electorates is the most contested spot due to the nature of the Hare-Clark system as two Liberal and Labor MLAs tend to be elected in each seat.

With strong support for the Greens in Kurrajong, the seats of Murrumbidgee, Yerrabi and Ginninderra are the likely target seats for the Liberals if they are to secure a path to government after two decades in opposition.

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