Australian Electoral Commission workers Veronica Kwake (blindfolded) and Lorraine Walker draw the ballot paper positions for the seat of Richmond.
Australian Electoral Commission workers Veronica Kwake (blindfolded) and Lorraine Walker draw the ballot paper positions for the seat of Richmond. Crystal Spencer

Libs top spot in Richmond

LIBERAL candidate Joan van Lieshout has scored the number one position on the ballot paper for the seat of Richmond in the Federal election.

The Tweed councillor and former mayor's number came up first in a draw at the Richmond Electoral Office yesterday after returning officer Michael Averay announced a total of nine candidates had nominated. They include four independents.

Sitting Labor MP JustineElliot was drawn in second place on the ballot paper, while National party challenger Alan Hunter landed sixth spot.

Greens candidate Joe Ebono will be listed in eighth place.

‘Lucky last' position went to independent candidate Stephen Hegedus, a lawyer from Byron Bay, following the draw of numbered wooden balls from a rotating wire basket.

He said he was standing on a ‘social justice' platform and wanted to see debate on national issues ‘come out of the party rooms' and into the Parliament.

Neither Cr van Lieshout, Mrs Elliot nor independent Matthew Hartley, a film-maker from Byron Bay, was present for the draw.

But Cr van Lieshout later said her poll position, which gives her the benefit of the so-called ‘donkey vote', was‘exciting'.

Mrs Elliot issued a statement saying: “This election is a tough one.”

Mr Hunter took his position philosophically.

“If you'd asked me where I'd like to be, it wouldn't be there,” Mr Hunter said.

Mr Ebono had hoped to present Mrs Elliot with a pretend ‘rail ticket' for her 43rd birthday, which she celebrated on Thursday, drawing attention to the lack of Federal assistance to put trains back on the closed Northern Rivers line.

Among the surprise independent candidates is Hastings Point resident and campaigner against inappropriate development Julie Boyd, who stood unsuccessfully as an independent at the last state election.



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