Date set to elect Scott Morrison’s replacement

Scott Morrison reacts to his Liberal successor in Cook

Source: ABC News

Voters in the Sydney seat of Cook will head to the polls on April 13 in a byelection to choose a replacement in parliament for Scott Morrison.

The byelection was triggered by the former prime minister’s resignation in February from federal politics after a 16-year career in Canberra.

“After more than 16 years as the member for Cook, I have decided to leave Parliament at the end of February to take on new challenges in the global corporate sector and spend more time with my family,” Morrison announced on Facebook in February.

The Liberals hold the seat by 12.4 per cent, but did suffer a 6.58 per cent swing against it at the last election, on a two-party preferred basis.

The Liberal Party has pre-selected consultant Simon Kennedy as its candidate to replace Morrison.

Kennedy previously contested the northern Sydney electorate of Bennelong for the Coalition at the 2022 federal election, but the party suffered a more than 7 per cent swing against it.

The pre-selection generated controversy because a female candidate not being picked to run, despite a Liberal Party review from the 2022 election loss pointing to the need to run more women in winnable seats.

While Kennedy did not live in Cook before the pre-selection, he said he would move to the area before the vote.

Labor has yet to pre-select a candidate and there is speculation the party won’t run one in the safe Liberal seat.

Candidates need to be finalised by March 21.

The electorate in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire has been held by the Liberals since 1975 and has been regarded as one of the party’s safest seats.

Morrison was first elected to represent Cook at the 2007 election, before going on to serve hold various portfolios in the Abbott and Turnbull governments, before becoming prime minister in 2018 (and then holding more portfolios).

He moved to the backbench following the Coalition’s election loss in 2022, before he announced he would step down from federal politics in early 2024.

People in the southern Sydney seat have until March 18 to finalise their details on the electoral roll.

Australian Election Commission NSW state manager Rebecca Main urged residents to ensure they were on the roll correctly.

“If you live in the division of Cook, have recently moved to the areas or are a local resident who has turned 18, then you should check your enrolment details at now,” she said.

-with AAP

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