THE phoney war is over and veteran parliamentarian Max Trenorden will stand for the Agricultural region in the Legislative Council – as an independent.
Mr Trenorden has represented the National Party in both chambers of State Parliament since 1986 and was not preselected for the 2013 election.
His decision was announced after a meeting in Narembeen last Thursday, called by the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance and its followers.
The National Party’s failure to support keeping tier three grain freight lines open has alienated it from its traditional supporters in the Eastern Wheatbelt, to the extent that Thursday’s meeting was chaired by Halley Cowan, the brother of National Party icon and former deputy premier Hendy Cowan.
“The meeting was attended by a number of Agricultural region residents who unanimously endorsed a proposal to progress their concerns by political means,” Mr Trenorden said.
“I have been approached by so many constituents to stands and I had reserved my decision, but the group at the meeting indicated its support for an independent ticket was overwhelming.
“The energy coupled with the desperation of the group to have members of Parliament who would not only listen to their issues but act has spurred me to accept their offer to head the ticket.”
It is understood the group is seeking up to six candidates for the ticket.
Sitting National Party MLC Philip Gardiner is being strongly pressured to stand and if he agrees would be, along with Mr Trenorden, part of a formidable combination.
Mr Trenorden’s decision will certainly see him out of the National Party.
On the other hand it will certainly hurt the party’s prospects in the Wheatbelt.
The independent group’s plans should be finalised in the next 14 days.