Snake eyes: Victorian Liberals’ Senate tussle has bite

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It’s well documented that former army officer, senator and, most recently, Victorian Liberal Party president Greg Mirabella packed in the backroom life a couple of months ago to pursue his dream of returning to Canberra’s red chamber, nominating for the party’s senate ticket for the next election.

Senators James Paterson and Jane Hume cobbled together a non-aggression pact last month to take the ticket’s safe-as-houses first and second spots respectively, which just leaves the not-always-winnable third position up for grabs.

Outgoing Victorian Liberal Party president Greg Mirabella at the party’s state council on Saturday.Credit: Simon Schluter

That’s the spot left vacant by David Van, who was turfed from the Liberal Party in June after he was accused of sexual harassment – which he denies – and now sits as an independent.

But getting the nod, when the party makes its decision in November, might not be a walk-up start for Mirabella, with a couple of interesting names on the list of contenders issued to party members on Monday morning.

Independent candidate and snake catcher Jarrod Bingham.Credit: Rachael Dexter

Our eye was caught by Jarrod Bingham, the snake-catching (that’s his actual job) former regional councillor who ran as an independent for the state seat of Melton in the 2022 Victorian election against the Liberals’ Graham Watt – and managed to be the best of the rest behind the two major parties, outpolling the Greens.

After that effort, Bingham’s application for Liberal Party membership had to go for approval to the state council, which probably decided that a bloke who knows how to handle dangerous reptiles would be handy to have around.

Also in the mix are former Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Karyn Sobels, who brings a wealth of policy experience to her tilt at Senate glory, and former Senate candidate and sometimes-Baptist preacher Kyle Hoppitt, who missed out on a spot in 2019, the year Van was elected.

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