Meet the New England byelection candidates | Gallery

THE full list of candidates for the New England byelection will be officially announced by the Australian Electoral Commission at midday on Friday.

Candidate nominations closed at midday on Thursday. So far, The Leader is aware of at least 11 candidates, however there may have been a couple of last minute entries.

Following the declaration of the candidates, the Australian Electoral Commission will conduct a random draw for positions on the ballot paper at its electoral office in Armidale.

More than 110,000 people in the New England electorate are registered to vote in the byelection, which will be held on Saturday, December 2.

Meet your candidates

William Bourke – Sustainable Australia Party

The Sustainable Australia Party has put forward party founder and president William Bourke as its candidate.

Mr Bourke said in the last election, one million voters across Australia put the party in their top six Senate choices. 

He’s keen to raise awareness in the region about the “independent, centrist party”.

“We’ll be campaigning hard on two key issues – securing jobs for regional Australia and a sustainable environment,” Mr Bourke said.

“That includes a moratorium on all unconventional gas extraction and fracking.”

The party has a high-profile member in Dick Smith, who may make an appearance in the electorate to campaign with Mr Bourke, who is travelling around in the party’s mobile HQ, the “Voter Van”.

Andrew Potts – Housing Affordable Party

Sky-rocketing house prices aren’t just an issue faced buy those in the city, the Affordable Housing Party candidate Andrew Potts says

Mr Potts said housing affordability was as much of a local issue for New England as it was a national crisis for the country.

“House prices and rents may be lower in regional Australia compared to our capital cities but often so are incomes and Australians are paying too much for their housing needs regardless of where they live in the country,” he said.

“This in turn sucks money out of every other part of the economy as people are forced to cut back on their spending in order to make ends meet.”

Rob Taber – Independent 

The Armidale-based independent is ready to take on Barnaby Joyce for the third time, after contesting the seat in 2013 and 2016.

“I was second to Barnaby the first time around with 36 per cent of the vote,” Mr Taber said.

“There is no reason why we can’t improve on that. Without Tony Windsor standing, we have a reasonably good chance of doing well.”

Mr Taber said he made the final call on standing after he found out fellow independent Tony Windsor was out of contention.

“Its been suggested the by-election is just a formality to get Barnaby back in again, and that's wrong,” he said.

“We need to make it a contest. We owe it to the people of New England to have more than one major candidate.”

David Ewings – Labor

David Ewings will represent Labor again, after contesting the seat in 2016.

There were more informal votes that Labor voters in 2016, with the party only receiving 7 per cent of the vote.

But without the National focus on the battle between “two of the biggest brand name politicians in the country”, Mr Joyce and former New England MP Tony Windsor, Mr Ewings is confident of improving his result.

“I am here to represent Labor’s views and those of the people of this electorate that want an alternative,” he said.

“If there are people out there who are feeling disaffected, who do want things to change, who want improvements across a range of different areas, they should really consider voting for Labor.

Ian Brizta – Australian Country Party

Former Liberal Western Australian MP Ian Britza announced he will step into the fray, representing the Australian Country Party.

He held the traditionally Labor seat of Morley for eight years, before losing it in the March by-election.

“When I ran for Morley in 2008, Labor held it by 11.3 per cent – and I won it by 11.3 per cent,” he said.

“No one, not one person, said I could win it. Now I’m no fool, on paper New England is a safe Nats seat, but in my opinion it’s achievable to at least give the Nats a genuine fright.”

The Australian Country Party, previously known as the Country Alliance, has been contesting both state and federal seats in Victoria since 2006. The New England by-election would be the first time the party’s run a candidate for the House of Representatives outside of Victoria. 

Barnaby Joyce – The Nationals

The former Deputy Prime Minister and New England MP is looking to win back his seat after being found illegible by the High Court.

He’s hit the campaign trail hard and said he “won’t presume anybody’s vote, I’ll work for it”.

“I’ve got a couple of things up my sleeve. We’ll announce them during the campaign and they’ll be good things,” Mr Joyce said.

“Of course we’ll be driving forward with the other issues that we’ve already announced. What that shows is authenticity. It’s not about a campaign, we’ve been delivering all the way through.”

David Mailler – CountryMinded

Pete Mailler will stand for the party, and will be looking to follow up on the grassroots campaign his brother, David Mailler, ran in 2016.

The 46-year-old grain and cattle said for New England to get the most of its king-maker position, voters “must not return the Nationals” – but that doesn't mean he wants a change of government.

“The Coalition will be motivated to retain office for the maximum possible term,” he said.

“They must deal with whoever holds the seat of New England on behalf of the electorate, unless that person is already a member of the Coalition.

“In other words, Barnaby Joyce can’t leverage the political power on offer to the electorate of New England, to get a better deal from this Government from this election.

Peter Wills – Greens

The Greens have confirmed Quirindi farmer and Liverpool Plains Alliance community campaigner Peter Wills will stand for the party.

Mr Wills is known to Liverpool Plains farmers as a staunch member and activist in their long campaigns against the Shenhua and BHP Caroona coal mines, and the Santos coal seam gas project in the Pilliga.

He said his campaign would focus on protecting land and water from unwanted coal mines and CSG wells and helping workers transition to sustainable jobs in the renewable energy economy.

“New England voters have a clear choice in this election – they can vote for the coal parties, or vote Greens to save agricultural land, water, and native Australian habitats,” Mr Wills said.

“My father worked this land until the very day he passed away, his last job fixing a leaking water trough.

“The community and I can’t and won’t sit by while government want to risk our most precious resource, water, for the sake of coal and CSG.”

Warwick Stacey – Seniors United Party of Australia

Warwick Stacey is not what you expect when it comes to a Seniors United Party candidate.

He served as a parachuter in the British Army, a commander in the SAS, can simultaneous interpreter German, and is an expert in maritime piracy and resolving kidnaps.

The Seniors United Party of Australia (SUPA) officially endorsed Mr Stacey, a man with “broad, real-life experience”, as its candidate for the New England byelection.

A disillusioned former member of the Liberal Party, Mr Stacey believes the public - and in particular seniors - are very upset with the “shameless self interest, abuse of expense accounts and the brazen sense of entitlement” of politicians.

“I’m increasingly appalled at the way politicians treat us with what I call careless indifference,” Mr Stacey said.

“We have a comprehensive policy on politician’s remuneration, superannuation and expense accounts, as well as other policies which will be released during the campaign.

Dean Carter – Independent

Tamworth resident Dean Carter will step up as an independent, running under the slogan “enough is enough”.

He wants to reverse penalty rate cuts, create a sugar tax to reduce the rate of diabetes and tackle the region’s youth unemployment issue with a skills training program.

Donald Cranney – Rise Up Australia

Donald Cranney from Yelarbon, a small town in south-central Queensland, is running for Rise Up Australia.

He is calling for an inland rail line from Goondiwinidi to Gladstone (both of which are in Queensland).

He says the freight line would foster prosperity in the region by making it easier for farmers to get their produce from paddock to port quickly.


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