Ping-pong ball fallsin Causley?s court

By ALEX EASTON

THE shocks came thick and fast as the Federal candidates for Page were drawn from a small wire cage in Grafton yesterday. However, it wasn't the candidates themselves being dragged out of the cage by their feet, rather it was their names on a ping-pong ball. The occasion was the electorate ballot draw ? an event somewhat akin to a chook raffle, where ping-pong balls, with numbers representing candidates, are drawn at random from a round wire cage to decide the order in which they will appear on the ballot paper on election day. When the cage was empty, Lismore resident and Democrats candidate Julia Melland was off the list, but Belinda Anderson, of Turrumurra on Sydney's exclusive north shore, and Chris Mateer of Randwick were both on. Ms Melland, who has lived in Australia for 33 years and is on the electoral role, said she learned on Tuesday she was not allowed to stand for election to Federal office because of her Kenyan birth. She has previously stood in State and council elections. Federal Member for Page Ian Causley came out of the draw with little to complain about, winning a head start through the donkey vote after taking a higher positing on the ballot paper than Labor candidate Kevin Bell. More importantly, Mr Causley will not be fighting off farmer Tom Cooper, who won more than seven per cent of the conservative vote in 2001. Also missing from Page this year will be Pauline Hanson's One Nation, which last year made off with 5.4 per cent of the vote. Helping Mr Bell's battle to close the 2.7 per cent gap on Mr Causley will be the Greens' decision to direct its preferences to Labor. Lismore resident John Corkill won 7.2 per cent of Page's vote for the Greens in 2001 and this year's candidate, Mark Jackson, said he hoped the party's growing profile would increase that vote.



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