Glasson reveals his heart won over head in run for Griffith

Bill Glasson, with his wife Clare and daughters Nicola and Gemma at the last election, will have another tilt at former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane seat of Griffith. AAP Image/Dan Peled

The Liberals will have their star candidate Bill Glasson running for them in the by-election for Kevin Rudd’s former seat of Griffith.

The 60-year-old eye surgeon substantially trimmed Rudd’s margin at the election, after an impressive and extensive campaign. Labor is on a two-party vote of 53% in the seat.

After leaning against contesting on Friday, Glasson told The Conversation before his official press conference that he would put his hand up for the pre-selection – which he is assured of getting.

He admitted that his head had been telling him that the Liberals had won the election and Rudd was gone, so he had achieved his earlier objectives. He had also wanted to get back to his patients.

But his heart was saying he had “the best chance of achieving a decent outcome”. His team of volunteer “gladiators” also wanted to rerun their campaign.

Glasson warned how difficult the by-election would be. History indicated it was near impossible to win with federal and state Liberal governments.

It would require a lot of work to get the message out - that he would be part of the Abbott government, with the implications that carried.

Glasson said Rudd was treating the voters of Griffith with contempt and cynicism by quitting so quickly.

He said he had spoken with Tony Abbott soon after Rudd’s announcement.

Tony Abbott said in a statement that the by-election would be “an opportunity for the people of Griffith to vote for a candidate that will support the Government’s plan to build a strong and prosperous economy and a safe and secure Australia.

"In particular, it will be an opportunity to vote for a local member who will vote to scrap the carbon tax, reduce electricity prices and ease cost of living pressures.”

He said Glasson had campaigned tirelessly for Griffith at the last federal election. “He is a true local representative and a distinguished Australian.

"Bill Glasson has dedicated himself to representing the people of Griffith with the same enthusiasm, zeal and commitment that he has brought to his distinguished medical career.”