Aviation reform could be a key policy platform for any bid by entrepreneur Dick Smith to win Bronwyn Bishop’s seat of Mackellar.
Mr Smith was considering a tilt at the embattled former Speaker’s Sydney north shore seat, Fairfax Media reported on Wednesday evening.
Pre-polls, conducted before Mr Smith was claimed to have been approached by senior figures in the aviation industry, suggested he had a good shot of winning.
“They told me they spent money on polling and ‘you would romp it in’,” Mr Smith told Fairfax.
“I have been asked to stand and I am thinking about it. I would only do it as an independent.
“The first person I would ring if I do decide to stand is Bronwyn, I still consider her a friend.”
The 71-year-old said he was concerned the aviation industry was being “completely destroyed under the Coalition”, and would campaign for reform to tackle safety and rising costs.
Ms Bishop was criticised earlier this week for her decision to run for Liberal Party preselection in the Mackellar electorate.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson told ABC the move was risky after the damage to her public profile caused by the ‘choppergate’ scandal.
“You’ll probably have to carry her out in a box,” Mr Hewson told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“She doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong, she doesn’t see that she’s been totally discredited or [will] probably go down in history as a poor minister and the most biased speaker of all time.”
It came after Mr Smith last year flagged running against former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his north shore seat of Warringah.
In early 2015, it was revealed Mr Smith had registered a new political party in his own name – The Dick Smith Party.
At the time he did not plan to run as a candidate himself.
– with AAP