Williamson still undecided

Richie Williamson still hasn't confirmed that he will compete in next week's preselection ballot to become the National's local leader, despite news circulating in the party that he had done just that.

Information supplied on Friday morning to the Nationals Duty MLC Rick Colless, who is the stand-in representative for the Clarence electorate, seemed to confirm that Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson had made the decision to run for preselection to represent the Nationals at the up coming by-election.

 But this apparent certainty was quashed by the man himself yesterday afternoon. Mr Williamson was adamant that no such commitment had been made. A decision would not be finalised until he had time to consider "all the pieces of information" over the weekend he said.

Mr Williamson meet officials from the Nationals on Thursday to discuss the potential of him joining the party.

As of yesterday he still hadn't joined the Nationals. "I will make a decision on that sooner rather than later," he said.

Potential nominees for the Nationals' preselection contest have until 5.00pm on Monday afternoon to register their intentions with their local branch.

Confirmed nominees include Paul O'Connor, Karen Toms, Stuart George and Fiona Leviny.

Mr Colless said he was confident that the preselection ballot will attract quality participants and he strongly encouraged any potential candidate to step forward.

People who had just joined the party needed special dispensation to nominate for preselection, but this was rarely refused he said.

"The Nationals are inclusive rather than exclusive party, and we want as many people as possible to run," he said.

The preselection meeting will be held in Grafton next weekend.

All candidates will have their chance to address the meeting before the ballot takes place.

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