James Harker-Mortlock, a grazier from Bango in the Yass Valley, is the Nationals' choice for the federal seat of Whitlam. The party selected the candidate following strong conservative polling in the Southern Highlands during the state election.
Whitlam, named in honour of the former Australian prime minister, is located in the Illawarra, stretching south of Wollongong and encompassing the Southern Highlands.
Mr Harker-Mortlock has a long involvement in politics. He said he has been a Nationals member about 10 years. He joined in 2006, but took a two-year break after 2013 when he ran as an independent for the Hume electorate. He renewed his party membership around 2015 and has been the chairman of the Nationals' State Electoral Council for Goulburn since February, 2018.
Mr Harker-Mortlock said the Nationals would try to build on the success the coalition had in the Southern Highlands, where the Liberals won the region's main centres of Bowral, Berrima, Moss Vale and Sutton.
Mr Harker-Mortlock said the Nationals were looking to open an office in the Southern Highlands soon and that he had already been meeting with Whitlam constituents.
"The Nationals needed someone to fly the flag and this is a good opportunity to talk about the issues," he said.
His priorities include securing better prices for farmers and finances for small and medium-sized businesses. He also believes legal advice should be made more affordable for everyone and would like to support veterans. Mr Harker-Mortlock will also be advocating for upgrades to the Illawarra Highway and to complete the railway connection from Maldon to Dombarton.