A last minute surge in nomination means 10 candidates will battle for the NSW Murray electorate on Saturday, March 23.
The Christian Democratic Party and the Sustainable Australia, Country Labor and Keep Sydney Open parties all came to the table just in time for the ballot draw in Griffith yesterday morning.
The 2019 field of candidates is the largest in recent history, with only three contesting the 2011 election, eight in 2015 and four for the 2017 by-election.
All Murray candidates, in ballot order, are:
●Philip Langfield – Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
●Tom Weyrich – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
●Nivanka De Silva – The Greens
●Brian Mills – Independent
●Helen Dalton – Shooters, Fishers and Farmers
●Carl Kendall – Sustainable Australia
●Alan Purtill – Country Labor
●Liam Davies – Keep Sydney Open
●Austin Evans – The Nationals
●David Landini – Independent
The final list offers four more candidates than were invited to participate in the Meet the Candidates forums in Deniliquin next week (see page 9), hosted by the Speak Up Campaign.
Campaign chair Shelley Scoullar was amazed yesterday to discover the interest being shown in Murray.
She said every effort will now be made to contact the additional candidates, and invite them to the Thursday, March 14 forum.
‘‘The number of candidates tells me that people are realising that Murray is up for grabs,’’ Mrs Scoullar said.
‘‘Murray voters are looking for answers.
‘‘For the community, this means they have an option, and that they have some hard decisions to make.
‘‘We suspect there will be a lot of discussion around health and water policies (at the Meet the Candidates forum), but other issues are also likely to be on the agenda.
‘‘This is an opportunity to learn the views of our candidates on a range of matters that are important to our community.’’
One Nation’s NSW leader Mark Latham predicted in January that the NSW Murray would become one of the more fascinating seats in the state this year.
Its safe Nationals seat status was challenged at the 2017 by-election which saw Mr Evans elected to replace fellow Nationals member Adrian Piccoli.
The Nationals’ hold in Murray narrowed at that election, with Mr Evans (53.35 per cent of the vote) only beating Shooters’ candidate Mrs Dalton (46.65 per cent) at the polls by less that 3000 votes.
In the 2015 election, Mrs Dalton stood as an independent against Mr Piccoli and only managed 18.19 per cent of the vote to Mr Piccoli’s 55.5 per cent. Mrs Dalton polled the second highest that year.
This year’s list of candidates presents two new options for the people of Murray, with this being the first time Sustainable Australia and Keep Sydney Open have fielded local candidates.
Formed in 2010 then as the Sustainable Population Party, Sustainable Australia’s main goal is to advocate for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia.
Its candidate, Carl Kendall, is based in Griffith but the party has not yet released any further details on him.
Keep Sydney Open was originally formed to protect Sydney’s nightlife but it says it’s ‘‘morphed into something bigger’’. It’s main aim is to challenge the ‘‘nanny state’’ mentality.
No details were available about its candidate, Liam Davies, at the time of going to print yesterday.
Philip Langfield has been a member of the Christian Democrats for more than three decades and has contested a number of state elections.
His most recent contests have been polling 2.3 per cent in Cootamundra at the 2015 state election, and polling 3.2 per cent in Riverina at the 2016 Federal election. He also stood in the 2017 By-election for Cootamundra after Katrina Hodgkinson’s retirement from politics. He lives in the village of Wattamondara near Cowra.
The other newcomer is Country Labor’s Alan Purtill, who is the mayor of Balranald Council. Further were not known at the time of going to print yesterday.