O’Brien is officially sworn in

GIPPSLAND South MLA Danny O’Brien has been officially sworn in at a ceremony Thursday morning by Clerk of the Parliament.

Mr O’Brien resoundingly won the Gippsland South seat following Saturday’s by-election, receiving more than 45 per cent of the primary vote.

The polls were officially declared at Leongatha on Wednesday.

The Gippsland South by-election was triggered by the resignation of Peter Ryan who had held the seat for almost 23 years.

Meanwhile, four candidates will stand for National Party pre-selection to fill the vacancy in the upper house of state parliament as a result of Mr O’Brien’s resignation which allowed him to successfully contest the Gippsland South by-election and move to the lower house.

Former journalist and political staffer Kate Lancaster, pharmacist Tim Shelton, Gippsland Water general manager Nicole Griffin and secondary school teacher Melina Bath are vying to replace Mr O’Brien.

Nationals state director Jenny Hammett said the party was delighted with the calibre of candidates who had nominated for pre-selection.

“The Nationals have a history of providing strong representation in the Eastern region, with Peter Hall highly regarded for his effort over many years and more recently Danny O’Brien, who has just had a resounding victory in Gippsland South,” Ms Hammett said.

“Management has met (Tuesday) morning to endorse four candidates from across the region and we are very confident in the ability of each of them to represent the region with distinction.”

The pre-selection, an internal party process, will occur later this month, with the successful candidate expected to take a place in the parliament in April.

Mr O’Brien said he was thrilled to have been sworn in as the new Nationals Member for Gippsland South and would begin work immediately to ensure strong and effective representation for the electorate.