Former AMA president Bill Glasson has been selected as the LNP candidate for Griffith. Photo: Andrew Taylor
Former Australian Medical Association chief Bill Glasson will challenge Kevin Rudd in the seat of Griffith at next year's federal election.
Dr Glasson defeated three other pre-selection candidates, John Haley, Alfio Russo and John Adermann, at a Liberal National Party meeting last night.
The LNP has highlighted Dr Glasson's links to Griffith - a federal seat that covers Brisbane's inner east. He went to school in East Brisbane and has lived in the electorate “all of his adult life, where he has raised three children with his wife Claire”, according to the LNP.
Dr Glasson is a former state and federal Australian Medical Association president, a long term member of the Army Reserve and president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.
In a statement issued after Dr Glasson's win, LNP state director Brad Henderson said Dr Glasson had “devoted his life to community service” and had the “energy, the commitment and the experience to do the job”.
"In Dr Bill Glasson, the people of Griffith have a candidate who will put community interest before self interest, a candidate who will work hard and play a key role in a new Coalition Government that will get our nation back on track,” he said in the statement.
Dr Glasson likened his upcoming election battle with Mr Rudd to “David and Goliath” struggle.
“I still think it is a very winnable seat,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“I still think we can do it, obviously Kevin has been a very strong member for Griffith for a long time, but I think it is time for a change.”
Dr Glasson defended the LNP state government’s cuts to public services, including health.
“It’s cuts across the board ... in terms of front-line staff, we haven’t had cuts to front-line staff, it’s actually those who are, I suppose, behind desks, but front-line services are continuing to be delivered across the state,” he said.
When reminded the definition of “front-line staff” had been changed, Dr Glasson said “tough decisions” needed to be made to “get the finances of this state back in order”.
The state LNP has suffered a drop in support after the cuts to public services and jobs, which the federal government has seized on to argue the Queensland cuts were a preview of what a federal Coalition government would do on a national level.
Dr Glasson said federal finances were also suffering and it was time to “rein-in expenditure”.
“It is my job to get out there and explain why people like Can-do Campbell has to do what he has to do and also to say to the people, ‘listen, I know it is hurting now, but in 12 or 18 months when we start to get a budget surplus, we will reap the benefits, of, I suppose, the pain now’,” he said.
“But we have to go through these stringent, tight budget [measures] otherwise we will continue paying more and more in interest.”
Mr Rudd holds Griffith with an 8.46 per cent margin, retaining the seat at the 2010 election with 58.46 per cent of the two-party preferred vote compared with 41.54 per cent for his LNP rival Rebecca Docherty.