Former AMA Chief To Contest Bennelong Election For Labor
Australian Medical Association president Brian Owler will be Labor's candidate to contest the seat of Bennelong in the next federal election.
Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten made the announcement on Tuesday in Sydney after locally endorsed candidate Lyndal Howison said she was was withdrawing from the race.
Dr Owler was elected president of the AMA in 2014 and was previously president of the AMA in NSW where he led several campaigns to reduce the incidence of preventable deaths and injuries in children.
Shorten said Dr Owler was a respected doctor had fought for Medicare during his tenure as AMA president.
"Mr Medicare is coming to Canberra to make sure that we put Medicare and health care right up the top," Mr Shorten said.
Bennelong is currently held by the Liberal's John Alexander who held onto the seat with a reduced margin after a by-election fight against Kristina Keneally last December.
Keneally, who was appointed to a vacant Senate seat after she lost the Bennelong by-election last year, said she was "delighted and excited" Owler would follow her as Labor's candidate for the seat.
Dr Owler admitted the now-marginal seat would be hard to win but divisions within the coalition had motivated him to run.
"I think this nation is sick and tired of not having their opinions listened to," he told reporters.
"'I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that the people of Bennelong have a strong voice in Canberra."
Labor last held the seat between 2007 and 2010, when another high-profile candidate, Maxine McKew, unseated then-prime minister John Howard.