INTEREST is building in the safest parliamentary seat in the southern hemisphere even though the incumbent has no intention of retiring.
Mallee MP John Forrest will turn 64 around the expected time of next year's federal election, but says he will be standing for the Nationals again.
Mr Forrest said he has "every intention" of standing when Prime Minister Julia Gillard picks a date before November 13.
"We are within two or three seats of government," he said.
"Why would I want to retire when I am so close to that and being able to make a real difference."
Buloke Shire mayor Reid Mather, who stood for the Nationals in a failed Upper House contest in the 2010 state poll, said he had "not made any secret that I would dearly love to be considered for Mallee when John Forrest retires".
Another fancied candidate is former regional boss of Telstra Countrywide and Mallee Sustainable Farming Mike Mooney. Mr Mooney, strategic projects manager with Regional Development Victoria, is thought to be considering a tilt as well.
Former Victorian Farmers Federation president Andrew Broad would not be drawn on whether he was interested in contesting the seat.
"John has done a great job and will retire at the time of his choosing ... I'm just an ex-VFF president who is busy farming," he said.
Nationals Victorian director Stuart Copeland said preselection for seats would occur "early in the new year".
"We'll start with Bendigo and the Senate and progress from there," Mr Copeland said.