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Wendy Duncan bows out of politics

Andrew BrosnanThe West Australian

Nationals Kalgoorlie MP Wendy Duncan has decided to end her political career, throwing open a keen contest for her seat.

Her shock move sparked speculation that she may run as an independent after the Nationals twice overlooked her for the Barnett Government Cabinet.

But Ms Duncan, 61, quashed the speculation, saying a “broader range of decisions” influenced her.

Boundary changes in the Kalgoorlie electorate could lead Liberal Eyre MP Graham Jacobs to consider the seat.

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His neighbouring electorate was abolished in the reshuffle.

“There’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of hard thinking, to achieve where we’ve come in the Nationals and I humbly say I think I’ve had a fair bit to do with that.”

Ms Duncan, the first Nationals member to win Kalgoorlie, is the second member of the party to announce they will step down at the March 2017 poll. Wagin MP Terry Waldron also will not compete.

Pilbara MP and former party leader Brendon Grylls has expressed an interest in the Federal seat of Durack.

Ms Duncan, the Deputy Speaker in the Legislative Assembly and her party’s first female president, successfully ran for the Lower House seat in 2013 after first being elected to the Upper House in 2008, representing the Agricultural and then the Mining and Pastoral regions.

With Mr Grylls, she is credited as being co-author of the Royalties for Regions program, and she has held several ministerial positions.

“There’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of hard thinking, to achieve where we’ve come in the Nationals and I humbly say I think I’ve had a fair bit to do with that,” she said.

Born and raised on a Goldfields pastoral property, Ms Duncan said becoming the first female WA Nationals State president in 2004 was the proudest moment in her career, together with the success of Royalties for Regions.

“I’ve had incredibly humbling support from people as I go about my work and sometimes it puzzles me as to what I’ve done to deserve that, but I can honestly say it’s greatly appreciated,” she said.

“My love of the regions and my desire to fight for regional WA and for our State to be developed in a balanced and socially responsible way will never go away.”

On failing twice to get a spot in the Barnett Cabinet, she said: “When you enter the game of politics, you know the rules. There are times of disappointment and times of great celebration.”

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