Who's who in the local political zoo
WITH less than 12 months until voters go to the polls for both the NSW and Federal elections, we take a look at the local characters of politics.
This list will be updated in the future as more candidates are selected and confirmed.
FEDERAL CANDIDATES FOR PAGE:
The electorate of Page includes the Lismore, Kyogle, Richmond River and Clarence River local government areas as well as parts of Ballina Shire and the City of Coffs Harbour. The electorate's main centres are Casino, Lismore and Grafton, the electorate also including Woolgoolga and some northern parts of Coffs Harbour. Page is a marginal seat that has gone with government at every election since 1990. It was won by National Kevin Hogan at the 2013 election.
- Nationals - Kevin Hogan (incumbent)
The former school teacher and financial planner was first elected in 2013, when he defeated Labor MP of two terms Janelle Saffin on a wafer thin margin. He won re-election again in 2016, with an 0.8% swing against him. His main focus has been the economic development of the Northern Rivers, and has managed to deliver millions of dollars in infrastructure grants for various projects across the region. He has also been a consistent opponent of coal-seam gas industry, which neutralised Labor and Greens opponents when it was a hot button election issue.
- Greens - Daniel Reid
The 28-year-old university student and fourth generation son of the Northern Rivers is pledging to hold other parties to account on climate change, human rights and political donations from corporations. Mr Reid also said his policies included harmonisation regarding drug issues. In a press conference earlier this month, he said 70 per cent of people in Australia had a severe mistrust of politicians and a sincere belief politicians only acted in their own interest. But he said it was time for people to be able to trust those who represented them. "If this is not indicative we need change of governance in Australia then I don't know what is," he said. "It's time to remove parties who have vested interests from large corporate and sizable personal donors."He has also discussed the importance of funding for health, education and childcare, creating secure jobs and supporting businesses that don't compromise our environment and wellbeing. Mr Reid is studying political science and governance at Southern Cross University but will reduce his study next semester to fulfil his political commitments.
- Labor - Patrick Deegan
The Casino man manages a regional service supporting families that are impacted by domestic violence, homelessness, mental health issues and financial stress. He works from Lismore, Casino and Grafton offices. He has lived in the Northern Rivers most of his life and is a long-term member of the labor party. Mr Deegan has previously said his campaign will be based on "standing up for the working people...impacted by cuts to penalty rates and who want proper funding for health, education and agriculture in our region."He has also listed services and infrastructure as a focus, including transport and NBN services.
- Christian Democrats: At this current time no candidates are official. A list will be announced in either June or early July.
FEDERAL CANDIDATES FOR RICHMOND:
Richmond covers an area from the New South Wales/Queensland border in the north to Ballina and Pimlico in the south. The main towns include Ballina, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Burringbar, Byron Bay, Hastings Point, Kingscliff, Lennox Head, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Suffolk Park, and Tweed Heads.
- Labor - Justine Elliot (incumbent)
The former police officer has held the seat of Richmond since winning office in 2004. The electorate traditionally included Tweed and Byron Shires and part of Ballina Shire as far south as Lennox Head, but prior to the 2016 was expanded to include the town of Ballina (formerly part of Page). Richmond was a fairly safe Labor seat, but at the last election Elliot suffered a 4% swing against her and the seat now considered marginal. Before becoming a Federal MP, Elliot also worked as a Youth Justice Convenor with the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice. Her husband Craig Elliot also happens to be running for the state seat of Tweed against long-term Nationals incumbent Geoff Provest.
- Greens - Michael Lyon
The 44-year-old has been a Byron Shire Councillor since 2016, when he was elected as part of the Greens ticket on a platform of supporting local sustainable agriculture and a chemical-free shire. He was heavily involved on the committee of the last Richmond Campaign as Treasurer, which saw a swing of 5% to the Greens. He holds a Bachelor degrees in Law and Commerce and a CIMA professional qualification. He has been the General Manager of Santos Organics for the last six years, and turned the company which was near bankruptcy into a thriving not-for-profit and community hub for sustainable living.
STATE CANDIDATES FOR LISMORE:
- Nationals - Austin Curtin
At 38-years-old the Tregeagle farmer set to replace retiring MP Thomas George at the 2019 state election, brings "a fresh face and new energy" to the party. Curtin grew up in Lismore and is the son of a Lismore trauma surgeon by the same name. The father-of-three and husband of an ABC journalist has degrees in economics and communications, and has worked in agriculture, education and human resources sectors. He said for his vision for the NSW seat of Lismore he will advocate for the areas of: health, agriculture, small business and industry, education and safer communities.
- Greens - The Greens are still finalising their candidate, with an announcement set to be made in early June.
- Labor - Janelle Saffin
The former Federal MP for the seat of Page left school at 13 and moved to Lismore when she was 24. Her career history began with unskilled labour, then social services in domestic violence support, and she later retrained as a lawyer. She won election to the Federal seat of Page in 2007 and retained the seat in 2010, but was unseated by Kevin Hogan in 2013 on a margin of under 3%. She is aligned with the left faction of the Labor party.
STATE CANDIDATES FOR BALLINA:
The Ballina state electorate encompasses Ballina and Byron Shires.
- Greens - Tamara Smith (incumbent)
She won office in 2015, and was the first non-Nationals MP ever to win office in the traditionally conservative seat of Ballina. It was also the first rural seat ever won by the Greens. A solicitor with a background in social justice and energy law, she is also a trained teacher and has worked in Ballina for almost 15 years. She campaigned hard against coal-seam gas in 2015, when fear and anger over the threat of the industry was white hot. More locally, she campaigned to "save" TAFE, and get funding for the Ballina Indoor Sports Centre, which has since been achieved.
- Labor - Asren Pugh
A local union organiser and environmental activist who is based in Byron Bay and has been involved in various union roles for the last 10 years. His current role is the regional organiser for the Public Service Association (PSA) and was previously the assistant secretary of the Australian Services Union. He will be campaigning for high quality local health services, maintaining funding to local public education, and a push for a "bed tax" in Byron Shire.
- Nationals: Still undecided, with a pre-selection battle expected to take place later this year.
NSW UPPER HOUSE MEMBERS (MLCS) FROM THE NORTHERN RIVERS:
- Greens - Dawn Walker
Walker is aligned with the environmental wing of the party in the mould of founder Bob Brown, as opposed to the so-called "watermelons" who have a large influence on the NSW Greens, and are led by Senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW MP David Shoebridge. She has recently campaigned against the NSW Government's proposed to native logging regulations which conservationists argue could open up widespread logging in sensitive areas of state forests which were once protected.
- Nationals - Benjamin Franklin
The former state director of the Nationals attended elite Sydney private school Cranbrook and was elected to the Upper House in 2015 after pre-selection while a resident of North Shore Sydney. He then moved to Byron Bay and is currently the Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW.
- Liberal - Catherine Cusack
The long-serving NSW Liberal was elected to the state's Upper House back in 2003. Prior to that she was the first female NSW Young Liberal president and served on the Liberal Party executive from 2000 to 2003. She has served in a number of roles while in Opposition and Government (since 2011), and is currently the Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Inclusion. She is also married to former Northern NSW Local Health District boss Chris Crawford.