Field of 17 in poll race


VOTERS bored with a seemingly interminable eight-week federal election campaign can now begin to focus attention on polling day on 2 July after the political runners were confirmed on Friday.

The Australian Electoral Commission released the official list of candidates on Friday (10 June).

A field of six will contest the seat of Flinders and 11 candidates will battle to win the hotly-contested marginal seat of neighbouring Dunkley.

Liberal Environment Minister Greg Hunt holds Flinders by a whopping 11.8 per cent margin so there seems little chance of an upset victory as he faces challengers Carolyn Gleixner (Labor), Willisa Hogarth (Greens), Ben Wild (Animal Justice Party), Yvonne Gentle (Rise Up Australia Party) and independent Shane Lewis.

Polling suggests the vote in Dunkley could go down to the wire. Sitting member Bruce Billson, the former Liberal small business minister, decided to retire from politics earlier this year after more than two decades.

The affable and popular Mr Billson stepped down after being dropped from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet when he ousted former PM Tony Abbott.

Liberal candidate for Dunkley Chris Crewther faces a fight to retain the seat for his party in the face of a surge in support, according to polls, for Labor candidate Peta Murphy.

Mr Billson won the seat with a 5.6 per cent margin in 2013.

Jeanette Swain (Greens), Tim Wilms (Liberal Democrats), Ruth Stanfield (Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party), Michael Rathbone (Family First Party), Sally Baillieu (The Arts Party), Jeff Reaney (Australian Christians), Lin Tregenza (Rise Up Australia Party), Jack Tyson (Animal Justice Party) and independent Joseph Toscano are the nine candidates joining Ms Murphy and Mr Crewther in the battle for Dunkley.

Preferences could be crucial in deciding whether the seat is retained by the Liberals or it swings to Labor.

The marginal seat of Isaacs – stretching from Mordialloc to parts of Carrum Downs and including parts of Keysborough, Noble Park and Dandenong – is held by Labor MP Mark Dreyfus, the former attorney-general by a marginal 3.9 per cent margin.

Just three other candidates have put their hand up to challenge Mr Dreyfus.

Liberal candidate Garry Spencer, Greens hopeful Alex Breskin and the Animal Justice Party’s Elizabeth Johnston will face off in Isaacs on 2 July.

First published in the Mornington News – 14 June 2016


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