The WA Nationals will field a team of six upper house candidates from the South West, Mid West, and Perth to contest upper house seats at the 2025 state election.

Party president and Mullewa farmer Julie Freeman will lead the Nationals’ ticket, with Northampton shire president Rob Horstman and former state director Julie Kirby slotting into the second and third spots.

Ms Kirby last week took up a position as interim state director for the party following the resignation of Douglas Rodgers, who took over the role from Ms Kirby in 2022.

The announcement came as incumbent Nationals upper house MP Colin De Grussa and Labor upper house MP Darren West revealed they would not recontest their seats at next year’s election.

WA Nationals leader Shane Love said the candidates were experienced and prepared to fight for Western Australians.

“Come 2025, the Legislative Council will be well served by a Nationals WA team who are dedicated to delivering change for our State,” he said.

“From small business owners to health professionals and teachers, this team bring a wealth of experience which places them perfectly to tackle the hard issues and lean into the vast opportunities which lay ahead for WA.

“Today is an exciting day for our Party, and a promising one for our state.”

Mr Love said Mr de Grussa had been a valued member of the parliamentary team for eight years.

Incumbent upper house MP Louise Kingston, who replaced disgraced former MP James Hayward in 2023, will occupy the fifth spot on the party’s ticket.

Manjimup teacher Heidi Tempra and Perth cardiac technician Ben Simpkins will round out the six candidates.

The Nationals WA Deputy President Alan Meldrum said the 2025 election would be the first time people in Perth would be able to support the party.

The candidates

Ms Freeman has served as WA Nationals party president for about one year, and on the board of Geraldton Grammar School for nine years.

The former teacher and councillor runs an 8,000-hectare mixed farming enterprise south of Mullewa with her husband, Paul.

Last year Ms Freeman vented her frustration to a public forum about spending money fixing infrastructure for sheep damaged by ex-tropical cyclone Seroja only to see the federal government move to end the live sheep trade.

Mr Horstman earlier in the year put his hand up to contest the seat of Geraldton for the Nationals, but lost out to Chapman Valley shire president Kirrilee Warr.

He also ran unsuccessfully for an upper house seat in 2021 and chaired Northampton’s cyclone Seroja response committee, a role which has seen him offered public speaking opportunities.

Ms Kirby was this year involved in the deal to bring Margaret River Dairy Company and Mundella back into Western Australian hands as purchaser The Cheeky Cow’s business development director.

Business News’ Data&Insights shows Ms Kirby was appointed chief operations officer of Canning Vale-based sustainable packaging firm Natraplas in 2023.

Teacher and TAFE lecturer Ms Tempra is a 2022 graduate of the She Runs women’s leadership program and is currently the head of secondary school at Manjimup Catholic school, Kearnan College.

Mr Simpkins is the sole upper house candidate who lives in the metropolitan area and is currently serving as treasurer for the Young Nationals.