With New South Wales election nominations closed and ballot paper positions drawn, I have now added full candidate lists to my election guide always one of my favourite things to do. A couple of noteworthy details:
Antony Green has tallied up 537 candidates for the lower house, down from 661 in 2003, and a record 333 for the upper house. However, this will not lead to a repeat of the notorious 1999 "tablecloth" ballot paper, which featured 81 different groups with above-the-line voting options. The implementation of optional preferential above-the-line voting at the 2003 election removed the incentive for establishing dummy parties to harvest preferences, and also required that parties with group voting tickets have 15 candidates. The first change reduced the size of the ballot paper, while the second resulted in a smaller number of parties running a greater number of candidates.
Independent candidates whose nominations were news to me include Debra Wales in Gosford and Ron Page in Murray-Darling. Wales was the Liberal candidate in 1999 and 2003 but was defeated for preselection this time; Page was mayor of Broken Hill until the government dismissed the council in January. Candidates in Keira include the persistent Marcus Aussie-Stone, whose electoral adventures go back to his run against then-Prime Minister Billy McMahon in Lowe in 1972.
Swimming legend Dawn Fraser, who held the seat of Balmain from 1988 to 1991, is a surprise late entry in the upper house. However, she will be running as an ungrouped candidate, so that anyone wishing to vote for her will be required to number 15 boxes below the line. Of the seven ungrouped candidates in 2003, none polled so much as 1000 votes.
One Nation is not contesting the election. There is however a remarkably large field of 56 Australians Against Further Immigration candidates for the lower house. The party fielded 62 candidates in 1999 and did not contest in 2003 (UPDATE: Turns out I’m wrong on the latter count thanks to Charles Richardson for pointing this out). By Upperhouse.info‘s count, there are 57 lower house candidates for the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group). The Greens are contesting every seat.