MICRO parties have given it a rest at the upcoming federal Perth election, fielding only a couple of candidates out of a field of eight.
It’s a far cry from last year’s by-election when voters had to chose from a total of 15 hopefuls.
Absent from the May 18 ballot are candidates from the Animal Justice Party, Sustainable Australia, Mental Health Party, Australian Christians, Australian Liberty Alliance, the Citizen’s Electoral Council (the longest-running of the microparties last time) and a few independents. Here’s a rundown on who’s on this year’s Perth ballot
Western Australian Party
JANE BOXALL: Founded by Subiaco councillor Julie Matheson, WAP has a populist WA-first stance, aiming to get a better deal from Canberra on issues like GST and retaining commonwealth jobs. Matheson ran for Perth last election but the party wasn’t registered in time so she appeared on the ballot as an independent. WAP pulled in 5.4 per cent of the vote. Current Perth candidate Boxall is a teacher, and the party is running 20 candidates across the state in its “first fully fledged federal election”.
PATRICK GORMAN: The 34-year-old incumbent is a clean-cut former Labor party staffer who worked under Kevin Rudd, had a big hand in Labor’s successful 2017 state campaign and was the party’s state secretary from 2015-2018. Labor holds the seat with a margin of 3.3 per cent. Gorman pulled in 39.3 per cent of the primary vote last time, but the numbers were skewed because the Liberals didn’t field a candidate.
JIM GRAYDEN: After the Liberals decided not to field a candidate at last year’s by-election, Grayden ran as an independent and got 4.4 per cent of the vote. About 20 years older than his Labor rival, he says he’s got “real world experience” having worked as a teacher, in small business and as a public servant looking after disadvantaged people. His campaign material emphasises stopping Labor’s “housing tax”. His father Bill Grayden served for 43 years in state and federal parliaments.
GARY DAVIES: THE Science Party was founded in 2013 and is one of the longer-standing microparties, but kept out of the preference-swapping shenanigans of the Minor Party Alliance in the 2013 election. It wants to double research funding, legalise driverless car testing and create an Australian space agency. It also has a range of leftish policies like closing offshore detention centres, signing a treaty with Indigenous Australia and decriminalising drug use. Davies is a software engineer working on apps to help study the environment.
United Australia Party
CHAS HOPKINS: A former lord mayor (1988-1991) and long-serving Perth councillor, Hopkins previously ran as a Labor candidate and has now joined Palmer’s UAP. His campaign material wants “20 per cent less tax for people living in regional areas” and to “stop foreign powers influencing Australian politics”.
CAROLINE PERKS: A climate change policy expert, Perks wants the issue top of the national agenda. The Greens chose Perth to announce a new plan to deliver “real, lasting jobs” with a clean energy export industry in WA. There would be a billion dollar transition fund to make sure coal workers and their communities aren’t left out of work. Perks ran in last year’s by-election scoring 18.76 per cent of the primary vote.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
MEL LOWNDS: The great grandma of the smaller parties, One Nation is usually only seen in the upper house ballot sheet. But this year Hanson announced a candidate would be found for each of the 16 lower house seats in WA. The party might not be allocating a lot of resources to the battle for Perth; there’s no profile photo of Lownds on the campaign website and her bio only explains how preferences work.
CURTIS GREENING: The Flux party wants to have another try at direct democracy – the system in which every person votes on every law. That got a bit unwieldy first time around when thousands of ancient Greeks packed the assembly, but Flux are hoping the web will solve that. There’s no bio of candidate Greening as a quirk of Flux is that backgrounds are immaterial, as his votes in parliament will reflect the online poll.
by DAVID BELL