HomeBrooke Vitnell: Paterson Liberal candidate was previously subjected to vile comment Midwinter...

Brooke Vitnell: Paterson Liberal candidate was previously subjected to vile comment Midwinter Ball photo

Brooke Vitnell, who has been selected for a seat that could be crucial at the next election, was previously subjected to a vile sexist comment.

A woman who was subjected to a vile sexist comment on Facebook by the former Queensland leader of the Liberal National Party, John-Paul Langbroek, has been preselected by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to run for the battleground seat of Paterson.

Brooke Vitnell, a solicitor who specialises in family law, wills and estates, was announced today as the Liberal Party’s candidate for the NSW seat, which is currently held by the Labor Party amid an ongoing debate about the representation of women in the Liberals.

Mr Morrison, who came under fire over the treatment of women at Parliament House earlier this year, hit the campaign trail with Ms Vitnell today, saying he was “thrilled that they have been able to step forward and take up these roles and put themselves forward in the Hunter”.

“I have the great privilege of welcoming our Prime Minister Scott Morrison here to the Hunter region today,” Ms Vitnell said.

“This is our Prime Minister’s fifth visit to the Hunter in the last 18 months. So I know he’s committed to the Hunter and committed to jobs here in the Hunter.

“Here, we have a proud history of digging, bending, making and shaping things. And I know our Prime Minister backs the jobs of each and every single one of the people working in those industries. I have a pledge in particular to the people of Paterson. I pledge to put the people of Paterson first every single day.

“I want to see Paterson be a better place for people to have economic opportunities, jobs, (and) more jobs for our most precious resource, our young people. I‘m a firm believer that those putting up their hand to run for the community they seek to represent need to match the strength and aspiration of that community, and when I look at the Paterson electorate, I see strong and aspirational Aussies right across the Paterson electorate.

“So thank you Prime Minister for your commitment to the Hunter. Thank you.”

Ms Vitnell was last in the headlines when Mr Langbroek, the brother of radio host Kate Langbroek, sparked outrage after posting a suggestive comment about her cleavage on social media.

Three years ago, Mr Langbroek posted a comment with the symbols “(.)(.)” in response to an image of Ms Vitnell smiling for the cameras with her husband.

The photo, taken at Canberra’s mid-winter ball, included Ms Vitnell and her husband Julian Leembruggen, who is the Prime Minister’s communications director.

Amid the fallout, which included Mr Langbroek being told off by his wife for the remark, he confessed the comment was completely “inappropriate”.

“I removed it this morning without being prompted, and I apologise for any offence caused,” Mr Langbroek said at the time.

He later told The Gold Coast Bulletin that his wife had told him the comment was beyond the pale.

“She said to me, ‘You’re an old man, you can’t do things like that,’” he recounted.

“She said, ‘A bit silly, you can think it, but don’t write it.’”

The seat of Paterson is held by Labor‘s Meryl Swanson and includes the towns of Kurri Kurri and Williamtown in the south, Port Stephens in the north and Maitland, Medowie, Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace. It is named after Banjo Paterson.

Despite Labor holding the seat with a margin of 5 per cent, it‘s within reach of returning to the Liberal Party if Ms Vitnell runs a strong campaign.

That means Paterson could now prove crucial to Mr Morrison’s hopes of hanging on at the next election, despite the fact he is currently behind in the polls.

Read related topics:BrisbaneScott Morrison


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