New Labor Party names candidate to fight MP Gareth Ward

New Labor Party names candidate to fight MP Gareth Ward

The New South Wales Labor partyLabor party has announced its first candidate ahead of the 2023 election to take on the embattled high-profile Kiama MP Gareth Ward.

Katelin McInerney, a former journalist, unionist and lifelong Kiama resident, wants to remove Ward, who was suspended from parliament after he was accused of historic indecent and sexual assault offences.

The former government minister, who denies the charges, has refused to resign in the wake of his suspension and recently defended his right to stay on as MP.

He will go to court later this month.

On Saturday, Ms McInerney said she would not ignore Mr Ward's absence from Macquarie Street during her eight-month campaign.

We have an MP who is not allowed to take our concerns and represent our interests in the room where it happens.

We deserve a voice in parliament and a local member who is able to not only be a member of parliament but a member of the Parliament of NSW, said Ms McInerney.

She said she was deeply concerned about her two-year-old son William's future and that she was a driving force behind her decision to stand.

Because of that, I will work tirelessly to move the needle on the things that matter most to the people that work here.

Ms McInerney said that development in this beautiful region is not only sustainable, but that it reflects our community. Fixing our hospitals, fixing our schools, reducing the congestion on our roads, and fixing our schools are some of the things we need to do.

Labor leader Chris Minns said that Ward's strong hold over the seat was the reason the party named its candidate eight months out of the election.

Katelin knows that. In 2011, Labour's Matt Brown resigned from his role as a police minister after allegedly hosting a wild post-budget election party in his parliamentary office.

Just days before Ms McInerney's selection was announced, the New South Wales Branch of the Labor Party announced it had expelled Mr Brown from the party.

A spokesman said he was ousted due to his decision to run against an endorsed party candidate at the Kiama local government elections in December.

His expulsion came a week after the party stalwart, former Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba had her 35 year membership revoked, on the same grounds.

She was accused of reversing over the foot of a rival candidate and stepson of sitting Shellharbour MP Anna Watson in the days before her expulsion.

Several local branch members who supported Ms Saliba's tilt at the recent fresh election in Shellharbour Ward A have since resigned from the party concerned about her treatment.

The exits and infighting plaguing the local branches have not been akin to the scandals that have afflicted the Perrottet government, according to Minns.

It's been that way inside the Labor Party for 130 years. The internal rules of management of candidate selection haven't changed. The voters in NSW will go to the polls on March 25, 2023.