Former small business minister Fran Bailey was rumoured to be in line for a top shadow ministry position, believed to be industry or finance. But this morning after a conversation with federal Opposition leader Brendan Nelson, Bailey is out of the race.
At 11.30am today, she was 82 votes in front with about 400 votes still to count in her seat in McEwen, in central Victoria. But the votes are trending away from Bailey. A source told SmartCompany that she told Nelson this morning to go ahead and name the shadow ministry without her as she expects to lose her seat.
Bailey had her detractors, particularly in the franchise industry. But she was also known as a passionate supporter of small business who did not just view it as a junior portfolio and stepping stone to higher political office. Many believe she worked hard to ensure that small business was on the agenda of both political parties, since being appointed minister for small business and tourism in 2004.
A source says that Bailey had a number of small business policies ready for release during the election campaign. But the decision to focus on “negative campaigning” prevented the policies seeing the light of day.
It is believed if Bailey loses her seat she would seek board positions and become more involved with her work with the Royal Children’s Hospital.