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Adelaide deputy mayor's Liberal power-play

Politics

Adelaide’s Deputy Lord Mayor Alexander Hyde is making a Liberal power-play, nominating to run for the party’s vice-presidency and a seat on its influential state executive – while prominent lawyer Morry Bailes appears to have abandoned his expected bid for the presidency.

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Senior sources had expected Bailes to run unopposed for the key backroom role, but that plan was thwarted when current vice-president Max Van Dissel threw his own hat in the ring, potentially forcing a contested ballot as InDaily revealed this month.

Current president John Olsen’s term will end this year, and he’s tipped to shift into the party’s equivalent federal role.

It’s understood Bailes – who was unsuccessful in a recent senate bid but has publicly flagged his interest in contesting a future federal vacancy – has now abandoned plans to run for the presidency, and has instead nominated for another term as vice-president.

He’ll face off against another prominent party member, with Adelaide City Councillor and deputy Lord Mayor Hyde confirming he would seek state council endorsement for one of the four vice-president roles.

“The timing is right for me [but] the main thing for me is ensuring that the party is ready to fight an election to re-elect a state Liberal Government, and making sure it’s ready for a federal election when the time comes,” Hyde told InDaily.

“Given the extensive experience I’ve got in campaigning, I think I’d be quite useful to the organisation in that regard.”

Hyde is currently working for federal Boothby MP Nicolle Flint.

If successful, the bid would see him return to the party’s powerful state executive, on which he’s previously sat as Young Liberal president.

Asked to confirm he had renominated for the vice-presidency, Bailes, who recently confirmed he was stepping down as managing partner of leading law firm Tindall Gask Bentley, told InDaily: “I do not comment on internal party matters, and this is an internal party matter.”

Incumbent Ben Hood is also expected to renominate, while former federal candidate Emma Godfrey has previously announced she will run for the vice-presidency.

Like Hyde and Bailes, both are aligned with the party’s conservative right-wing – which seized control of the state executive at last year’s AGM.

From the moderate faction, former senate candidate Kerrynne Liddle has been touted as a possible contender, telling InDaily she would consider “all opportunities and I’ll respond to that at an appropriate time”.

A number of unsuccessful candidates from the weekend’s Legislative Council preselection ballot are believed to be considering their options.

As expected, incumbents Michelle Lensink, Dennis Hood and Nicola Centofanti were returned to the top of the Upper House ticket, with conservative-aligned Laura Curran and Heidi Girolamo taking the winnable fourth and fifth spots ahead of Kathleen Bourne and Tania Stock.

The Liberal AGM to determine the party’s new power structure, which was scheduled for next month, has now been pushed back to late September – with the deadline for nominations correspondingly extended.

It’s understood Van Dissel is currently the only nomination for president.

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