Today voters in five seats are voting in by-elections triggered mostly by the dual-citizenship debacle that has bogged down the major parties, and the minor parties currently sitting in Parliament. Here is a quick guide to who is running in the by-elections, their affiliations (if any), and projected outcomes.
North of Brisbane City, and incorporating a small part of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is the electorate of Longman, held for most of its history by Liberal and/or LNP Representatives, but occasionally by ALP Representatives, such as Jon Sullivan from 2007-10, and by Susan Lamb from 2016 until May this year. Due to the dual-citizenship debacle, Lamb was required by the High Court to resign and recontest the seat in Saturday’s by-elections, where she will face 10 other candidates.
The candidates for the Electorate of Longman are:
- Lloyd Russell (Liberal Democrats)
- Jim Saleam (Australia First)
- Gregory Bell (Labour DLP)
- Jackie Perkins
- James Noonan (Science Party)
- Matthew Stephen (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)
- John Reece (Australian People’s Party)
- Susan Lamb (Australian Labor Party)
- Trevor Ruthenberg (Liberal National Party)
- Blair Ann Verrier (Australian Country Party)
- Gavin Behrens (Greens)
Lloyd Russell is a small business owner and has been active with community organisations, such as Family Business Australia, and the Australia China Business Council, as well as the Ferny Districts Cricket Club. As a libertarian, he seems to be more like Ron Paul than Gary Johnson; as such, he has indicated that he is conservative and patriotic, with a few posts suggesting that he is pro-sovereignty and opposed to the Safe Schools program. Being lucky enough to draw the primary place on the ballot paper, he may receive a small spike in the primary vote.
Jim Saleam, also known as “Jackboot Jim” by his detractors, was jailed in New South Wales during the 1990s for fraud and supplying a firearm to National Action members who fired upon Eddie Funde, an African National Congress representative in Australia. He is also known for being an outspoken advocate for White Nationalism and was a member of the National Socialist Party of Australia, along with Ross May, another neo-Nazi who recently threw his support behind Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. Given his history, he was placed last on How to Vote cards from all parties except the Greens, the People’s Party, and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, as well as the Unions’ How to Vote card. His track record at contesting elections, either with or without his party affiliation, has netted him roughly 1% of the vote each election he contested.
The Democratic Labour Party has decided to field a candidate at the by-election in Longman, but with the trial of a new name on the ballot paper. They will be running as “Labour DLP”, possibly to attract protest votes from disgruntled ALP voters. The ABC reports that he is a long-distance B-Double driver who now resides in Brisbane. Given that many former DLP members have gone elsewhere, and his lack of proximity to the electorate, the vote received on Saturday will be from disgruntled ALP voters who want to punish Lamb for her perceived lack of honesty and transparency.
Jackie Perkins is a veterinarian with a PhD in Veterinary Science, who with her brother-in-law, wrote a book on canine personality types. Having preferenced Matthew Stephen at #2 on her How to Vote card, some people have suggested that she is a PHON independent, but The Unshackled has not seen sufficient evidence to confirm or reject those circulating rumours. At any rate, she is running on a platform of increasing accountability and transparency in politics.
James Noonan has a Criminology degree from Griffith University and currently resides in Springwood, South of Brisbane. His Twitter vilifies opponents of Same-Sex Marriage, and he has campaigned to strip religious organisations of their tax-exempt status. On his electoral material, he has highlighted Healthcare, Education, and “Secularity” as components of his platform.
Matthew Stephen is a small business owner who lives in the Petrie electorate, who has faced scrutiny in the media over the loss of his building licence, and allegations of debts owing to creditors. Polling suggests a primary vote of 14%, but Pauline Hanson’s decision to take a cruise instead of campaign for her candidate has undoubtedly diminished his chances.
John Reece ran as an Independent for the seat of Longman in 2010 but has since joined the Australian People’s Party. He is a qualified fitter and has a penchant for Mini Coopers, which he likes to race in his spare time. In 2010, he won 1.38% of the vote and is likely to have a similar primary vote at the by-election.
Susan Lamb is a former Teacher Aide and organiser for United Voice. She won the seat of Longman in 2016 from the LNP’s Wyatt Roy on preferences (mostly from PHON) but was caught up in the dual-citizenship debacle due to her inheriting UK citizenship from her father. After Katy Gallagher was ruled ineligible to sit in the Senate, Lamb had to announce her resignation. Her chances of retaining the seat are, according to recent polling, improbable, given the Two-Party Preferred vote favouring the LNP to win on preferences.
Trevor “Big Trev” Ruthenberg was formerly the MLA for Kallangur from 2012-15, and prior to that had worked as a tradie, including with the RAAF. In the late 2000s, he was appointed as Executive Officer of the Lutheran Church in Queensland, and later for the Lutheran Church in Australia. Despite being accused [unfairly, in the view of the Political Editor] of misrepresenting his military service, he is still expected to win the seat of Longman for the LNP, albeit on preferences.
BLAIR ANN VERRIER
Blair Verrier is a qualified Financial Planner and a member of CPA Australia. She is active within several community organisations, including the Toorbul Pony Club, and Business and Professional Women. She is 32 years old and has lived in the electorate since she was eight years old. In 2015, she ran for the State seat of Pumicestone under the Palmer United Party banner, winning a respectable third place with 7.39% of the vote. As a member of the Australian Country Party, she is advocating for the construction of a 3D Park in the electorate to create jobs and small businesses in the electorate. Her prospects are reduced by the high number of candidates, including PHON, but she is expected to still get at least 2-3% of the primary vote, doing better than most of the other candidates.
Gavin Behrens works as an IT consultant to small businesses and government agencies and ran for the Greens in last year’s State Election for the seat of Morayfield, garnering a respectable 6%. However, his projected primary vote based on an average of previous elections sits just below 4%.
From Springton in the North to Goolwa in the South, the seat of Mayo was held for 24 years by Alexander Downer, who served as Foreign Minister in the Howard Government from 1996-2007, and the father of Liberal candidate Georgina Downer. Given the victory of the Liberal Party at the recent State election, it is tempting to think that the Liberals will regain this seat from Rebekha Sharkie of the Centre Alliance. As (correctly) pointed out by the ABC, while the seat is very much “a safe non-Labor seat”, it does not make it a blue-ribbon Liberal seat. Alexander Downer nearly lost the seat to the Democrats in 1998, and Jamie Briggs nearly lost to the Greens at the 2008 by-election (as the ALP did not contest it). Like Susan Lamb in Longman, Sharkie was required to resign from the House of Representatives.
The candidates for the electorate of Mayo are:
- Tracey-Lee Cane (Christian Democratic Party)
- Kelsie Harfouche (Australian People’s Party)
- Major Sumner (Greens)
- Georgina Downer (Liberal)
- Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance)
- Stephen Humble (Liberal Democrats)
- Reginald Coutts (Australian Labor Party)
Tracey-Lee Cane lives on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Recreation, and a Graduate Diploma of Divinity. She has had a varied work background ranging from policy development, to work in policing, as a Pastor, to a self-employed consultant conducting social needs studies, and working with the area’s homeless and the disadvantaged. This is the first time in 20 years that the CDP have contested the seat of Mayo, when they only won 1.62% of the vote, but with the absence of an Australian Conservatives candidate, it is possible that she may win just over 4%.
Kelsie Harfouche was born in Geraldton, WA, and runs her own renovations and restorations on property business while raising a family. She has worked as a labourer, shop attendant, in the mining industry conducting soil sampling for laboratories and as a school lab assistant. This will be their first election contesting the seat of Mayo and can probably expect only 1-2% of the primary vote.
Major ‘Moogy’ Sumner AM is a Ngarrindjeri elder, an artist, performer and cultural ambassador. He was invested as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2014, after dedicating his life to promoting Aboriginal health and welfare, and youth and cultural heritage. He formed the Tal-kin-jeri Dance Group almost 30 years ago and has performed around the world. Based on previous results, he can expect to get between 8-10% of the primary vote.
Georgina Downer has worked and studied interstate and overseas, gaining degrees in Law and Commerce and a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics. She has worked as a solicitor and consultant, was a diplomat with the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, and was a Director of Asialink focusing on Australia-Asia engagement. More recently she was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, making regular television appearances giving political commentary. If elected she will be the fourth generation of the Downer family to serve in Federal parliament. Given that she was living in Victoria, however, her pedigree may not be sufficient to convince the electors to elect another Liberal to the House of Representatives.
Rebekha Sharkie’s journey into politics began working in conveyancing and office management, juggling hours with her responsibilities as a mother. She later worked for former member Jamie Briggs and for the SA Liberal party. Sharkie worked as a senior manager in the youth support sector before being chosen as the Nick Xenophon Team candidate and going on to win Mayo at the 2016 election. After Nick Xenophon resigned from the Senate, the NXT rebranded itself as the Centre Alliance, and it will be under this banner which she contests the by-election tomorrow. With preference flows, she is likely to retain the seat.
Stephen Humble was #2 on the Legislative Council ticket at the State election in March for the LDP and contested the by-election for the State seat of Port Adelaide in 2012. He is very much in favour of legalising cannabis, and he is also in favour of fiscal restraint. At the last election, the LDP won 1.21% of the vote, but may do slightly better this time around, perhaps 2-3%.
Reg Coutts is an expert in the fields of commercial radio technologies and telecommunications. He holds a Ph.D in engineering, a BE(Hons) and a B.Sc. After a lengthy career with Telstra, in 1993 Coutts was appointed as Professor of Telecommunications at Adelaide University, establishing the department and putting in place ground breaking relationships with industry. Coutts has advised governments on telecommunication policy and been a member of the Australian Communications and Media Authority. He is a long-term resident of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. The ALP has never won Mayo and is unlikely to start now.
The seat of Braddon in North-West Tasmania is currently held with a margin of 2.2% by the ALP’s Justine Keay, but has to be recontested due to the dual-citizenship issue. The former Liberal member, Brett Whiteley, is recontesting the seat. The seat has been held by the ALP more than the Liberals, but with the Tasmanian State election results putting the Liberals into power, and polling that is too close to call, it could go either way.
The candidates for the seat of Braddon are as follows:
- Jarrod Edwards (Greens)
- Brett Neal (Shooters, Fishers, and Farmers Party)
- Donna Gibbons
- Joshua Boag (Liberal Democrats)
- Brett Whiteley (Liberal)
- Craig Garland
- Bruno Strangio (Australian People’s Party)
- Justine Keay (Australian Labor Party)
Edwards is a 40 year-old Tasmanian Aboriginal man, was born in Burnie, raised in Rosebery, works in Marrawah and lives in Wynyard. He works in Land Management for both his indigenous community and in Natural Resource Management for Cradle Coast. He is in his final year at the University of Tasmania and one day hopes to become an archaeologist and work for himself in cultural tourism and education. He is heavily involved in various Tasmanian Aboriginal community and activist groups and has been involved in the save takayna/tarkine campaign for the last 5 years. The previous election’s result was 6.7% for the Greens, which if repeated would likely retain the seat for the ALP.
Neal is a third-generation farmer from Yolla in the north-west. He has been a farmer all his life, working on his father’s and uncle’s properties at Yolla growing potatoes. He took over the running of the farm at an early age and expanded the business by growing potatoes for Simplot and McCains, further diversifying into other primary industries. These days he is mainly into potatoes, producing 2200 tonnes some years. He contested Braddon at the state election in March and finished second on the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers ticket with 459 of the party’s 1,611 votes. With the Recreational Fishers’ Party not contesting, he has a chance at picking up enough of their 5.7% vote to gain quota.
Gibbons was born, raised and lives in Burnie. She completed general nurse’s training at the Mersey Hospital in Latrobe and has worked as a Registered Nurse in Rosebery, Savage River, Zeehan, Burnie. Sydney, Perth, and London. She completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Public Health) at Curtin University in Western Australia. These days she is a small business owner and is contesting the by-election because she thinks the major parties are not acting in the interest of everyday Australians. Her chances at winning 4% are slim, however, given that both major parties are campaigning hard to win the seat.
A sheetmetal fabricator, Joshua Boag is contesting the seat of Braddon for the second time for the LDP. He is pro-gun and a deer hunter, according to the ABC. When he ran in 2016, he won 2.1% of the vote, but this time will be competing with the SFF’s Brett Neal for votes.
An Alderman in Burnie City Council for three years at the time of his election in 2002 to State Parliament, Whiteley has also been a marriage celebrant, pastor and bank manager. He is a former Vice-President of the Tasmanian Liberal Party. Under Tasmania’s Hare-Clark electoral system, Whiteley found himself defeated by another Liberal candidate at the 2010 state election. In 2012 he was endorsed as the Federal Liberal candidate for Braddon and won the seat at the 2013 election with a swing of more than 10% but was defeated by a swing of 4.8% back to Labor in 2016. By-elections do not tend to favour parties in government, but the polling is too close to call, and within the margin of error. He will likely claw back some of the swing, but it might not be enough to regain the seat.
Craig Garland is a Montagu based fisherman who was born and raised in the north-west, his family having fished, farmed and worked in mines in the region for generations. He has a background in shipping/logistics, as a small business owner, tour guide and as a professional fisherman. Garland contested Braddon at the March 2018 state election and polled 1,967 votes or 3.1%, a strong performance by a candidate in the ungrouped column. He will likely win just under 3% of the primary vote, unless he can convince those who voted for Recreational Fishers last time to put him first on their ballots.
Bruno Strangio is a businessman who has run numerous real estate and construction enterprises throughout Australia. He states that he has worked with key politicians in Canberra in recent decades and been a spokesperson for law and order, according to the ABC. Out of the Australian People’s Party’s candidates, he has the most prominent profile, but will struggle to get above 2% based upon earlier elections.
Keay was born and raised in Devonport and completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Geography from the University of Tasmania, as well as qualifications from Murdoch University in Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management. She has worked in the television industry with Southern Cross Television and WIN TV in Perth WA and as an Electorate Officer for former state Braddon MP Bryan Green for 11 years. Keay unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Tasmanian election for the state division of Braddon, finishing fourth on the Labor ticket, and served on Devonport City Council from 2009 until resigning ahead of contesting and winning Braddon at the 2016 election. Some pundits are expecting her to win, but not by much, as she won on preferences in 2016.
The seat of Fremantle has been held by the ALP for more than seventy years and was also the electorate of the late John Curtin and the late Kim Beazley Snr. Situated Southwest of Perth, it is based around the City of Fremantle and classed as an “Inner Metropolitan” seat by the Electoral Commission. The Liberal Party did not endorse a candidate for either Fremantle or Perth in Super Saturday’s by-elections. Josh Wilson was forced to resign and recontest the seat just like the incumbents in the seat above.
The candidates for the seat of Fremantle are as follows:
- Mark Staer (Australian Christians)
- Dorinda Cox (The Greens – WA)
- Katrina Love (Animal Justice Party)
- Josh Wilson (Australian Labor Party)
- John Gray (Liberal Democrats)
- James H Harfouche (Australian People’s Party)
- Jason Spanbroek
As well as being enthusiastic in discussing his faith, he is also qualified in Science, Computer Technology, and Applied Linguistics. As the Liberals are not contesting Fremantle, he may make the quota of 4%.
Dorinda Cox is an Aboriginal (Noongar) woman from the South West region of WA. She is an Indigenous and Human Rights activist, a business owner and has worked 20 years in government, including eight years as an officer in the WA Police Service. She is completing a Masters in Human Rights at Curtin University and was the Greens’ candidate for Jandakot at the 2017 state election. The Greens are likely to get above 10%, given the demographics of the seat.
Katrina Love is the National Vice-President of the Animal Justice Party and is known for her vocal opposition to the Live Export Industry. A lesser known fact is that she is a horticulturalist by trade, having worked 17 years on native plant breeding programs. She has contested elections before, but the absence of a Liberal endorsed candidate may increase her vote share.
Josh Wilson served as the Deputy Mayor of Fremantle from 2011 to 2016, when he resigned to contest the seat of Fremantle. Despite being favoured heavily by local ALP members, he was defeated by MUA official Chris Brown in preselection thanks to the votes of the Central Committee. Brown was later forced to step aside, and Wilson was duly endorsed. Having been forced to resign and recontest due to dual-citizenship issues, he is still very much the favourite to win tomorrow.
John Gray is currently studying Law at the University of Notre Dame, after 7 years in the Royal Australian Navy which included service in Afghanistan. This will be the first time that the LDP has contested Fremantle, and with the absence of an endorsed Liberal candidate, it will be interesting to see how well he performs against Mark Staer and Jason Spanbroek, the independent candidate.
JAMES H HARFOUCHE
At 19 years of age, James Harfouche is the youngest candidate in the field of seven contesting Fremantle. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University, and is the grandson of Palestinian refugees. His passion seems to be a restoration of access to free tertiary education. It is hard to project what percentage of the vote he will get, as this will be his first Federal election as a voter *and* as a candidate.
Jason Spanbroek, or “Spanner” as he is known to friends, decided to run as an independent candidate because there was no Liberal candidate, and his friends suggested that he should run. He wants to address the issue of the outer harbour and wants to revamp the city. Information is limited on Spanbroek, but independents almost invariably struggle to gain quota unless they already have a high profile in the community.
The seat of Perth is the only seat not having a by-election because of dual-citizenship; the by-election was triggered by the resignation of Tim Hammond who wishes to spend more time with his family. It has been a Labor seat for the past 35 consecutive years and is being contested by a field of 15 candidates.
The candidates for the seat of Perth are as follows:
- Julie Matheson
- Nicole Arielli (Animal Justice Party)
- Jim Grayden
- Wesley Du Preez (Liberal Democrats)
- Colin Scott (Sustainable Australia)
- Ben Mullings (Australian Mental Health Party)
- Patrick Gorman (Australian Labor Party)
- Gabriel Harfouche (Australian People’s Party)
- Paul Collins
- Caroline Perks (The Greens – WA)
- Aaron Hammond (Science Party)
- Ellen Joubert (Australian Christians)
- Tony Robinson (Australian Liberty Alliance)
- Ian Britza
- Barry Mason (Citizens Electoral Council)
Julie Matheson has served as a Councillor in the City of Subiaco for the past seven years and contested the Senate in 2016 with the “Julie Matheson for Western Australia” party that she founded but has since renamed to the Western Australia Party. However, her new party name is not yet registered for Federal Elections, so she will be running as a de jure independent. At the Darling Range by-election in Western Australia, her party polled 5.8% and is hoping to increase her share of the vote on Saturday.
Nicole Arielli has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Management and volunteers her time for both the Stop Live Exports Committee and the Animal Justice Party in Western Australia, of which she is the Treasurer. She is passionate about animal welfare but will be competing with the Greens for a share of the vote.
Jim Grayden is a former High School teacher with a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University. In addition to teaching High School children, he has worked for the Public Trustee of Western Australia and manages a business with interests in commercial properties. He is also a licenced pilot and passionate about farming. His father was a Liberal Party politician who served in both State and Federal Parliaments. However, he is running as an independent after the Liberal Party declined to endorse a candidate. Along with Paul Collins (another Liberal independent) and Ian Britza, he will be vying for the lion’s share of the Liberal Party vote but is unlikely to win.
WESLEY DU PREEZ
Wesley Du Preez is an immigrant from South Africa, having arrived in Australia in 2007. He has a degree in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations. This is the second time that the LDP has contested the seat of Perth, and Du Preez will be hoping to increase the LDP vote from 1.7%, which might be possible given that there is no endorsed Liberal Party candidate. The results will be very interesting to watch.
Colin Scott is a Registered Nurse and the coordinator of Clean Up Australia Day in North Perth. Like Nicole Arielli, he will be competing with the Greens for a share of the vote.
Ben Mullings is a Psychologist who has emphasised Better Mental Health Care, Better Schools, and a Better Economy as his main issues. With the Greens being put at #2 on his How To Vote card, it is obvious that he will be competing for a share of the Greens’ vote with Nicole Arielli and Colin Scott.
Patrick Gorman served as a senior staffer to Kevin Rudd from 2007-2013 before moving to Perth in 2015, where he was soon promoted to State Secretary of the WA branch of the ALP. He is credited for the success of the campaign that put the ALP back into power last year. Given his position inside the ALP and the lack of a Liberal endorsed candidate, he can be quietly confident of winning tomorrow. Sportsbet has him at $1.01 to win. That said, stranger things have happened, but at this stage the Political Editor believes that Patrick Gorman shall be elected tomorrow.
Qualified in both Education and Law, Gabriel Harfouche considers himself a people person, and describes himself as “having a passion for helping people”. He contested this seat for the Palmer United Party in 2013, winning just under 3.5% of the vote before joining the newly formed Australian People’s Party. Having contested the seat before, he may manage to nudge the vote up to 4% through name recognition.
Paul Collins graduated from the University of Western Australia with a Bachelor of Laws and maintained a Legal Practice Certificate for 12 years before joining his family’s property consultancy business. He is also an avid cricket fan, being a former director of the Western Australian Cricket Association, and previously ran for the Liberal Party at #6 in the North Metropolitan Region in 2013. As another Liberal Independent, he will be competing with Grayden and Britza for the Liberal vote.
Caroline Perks has a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University and was senior Sustainability Officer at the City of Perth until she resigned to contest the by-election. The Greens did very well in 2016 with winning over 17% of the vote, but she will have to see off three candidates that will be competing for a share of the Greens’ vote. Given the peculiar circumstances of the Perth by-election, it will be hard to predict how successful she will be in her campaign.
Aaron Hammond graduated with Honours in Mechatronics engineering and has since worked in Australian companies producing high-tech products. This has included designing nano-positioners for research into low-cost medical imaging at Newcastle University, developing electronics and software for ultra-high efficiency engines at Orbital in Balcatta, designing safety-critical systems for oil-and-gas environments at ExBlocks in Malaga, and developing state-of-the-art inertial-navigation products at Advanced Navigation in Osborne Park. His passions are Science, Education, the Economy, Health, Energy, and “Freedom”. He will be competing with the other minor parties for a share of the vote in the Science Party’s first foray into Perth.
Ellen Joubert has Diplomas in Management and Human Resources. She is a speaker, trainer and coach who owned her own business for several years. She also had a successful career in media advertising for twelve years and for the last five years has worked in media as a Senior Advertising Executive and Trainer. She will be competing for a share of the Liberal vote and will be hoping to double the vote from the last result (2.28% in 2013).
Tony Robinson is an orthopaedic surgeon who with his wife Debbie founded the Australian Liberty Alliance in 2015, drawing the ire of the Left and some on the Right, including the National Civic Council. Tony contested the Bennelong by-election last December where he got less than 1%. It is likely that the vote will remain at 1%, given the competition from other candidates.
Ian Britza worked as a counsellor and pastor for over 30 years before successfully contesting the State seat of Morley, which he held until March last year. He was endorsed by the Australian Country Party to run in the New England by-election against Barnaby Joyce but was severely hampered in his campaign. Having returned to his home in Perth, he decided to contest the seat of Perth as an Independent against two other Liberal Independents. Out of the three, it will be hard to tell how much of the vote he will win on Saturday.
Barry Mason is running for the Citizens’ Electoral Council in what is their first election for over ten years in Perth. He has lived in the suburb of Rossmoyne all his life and enjoys sport. He currently works part-time as a driver for a Traffic Management company after having a 30-year career in the Housing Industry. His projected vote is less than 1%.
Whatever the results are on Saturday, the Government will not change, even if the Coalition fails to pick up a single seat. However, if the ALP lose three or more seats, then people in Caucus might start asking questions.