By-election line-up

LAST Friday the Australian Electoral Commission announced the ballot order of the seven candidates who’ve nominated for the Fremantle federal by-election, which is to be held on Saturday July 28. Here’s how the balls rolled;

MARK STAER is a teacher running for Australian Christians, having had previously unsuccessful tilts at state seats Cannington in 2008, Thornlie in 2013 and Vic Park in 2017. Staer argues that the notion of church/state separation has been misunderstood, and that it was meant to protect people so they could worship unhindered, not prevent them from participating in politics. “The Christian values of freedom, respect and human dignity are extended to every person. This is what the Australian Christian party stands for,” Mr Staer says.

DORINDA COX is the Greens (WA) candidate. A former police officer who reckons she’s seen enough on the beat and raising her two daughters to be pinned down as a parliamentary seat-warmer, Ms Cox supports changing the date of Australia Day and was recently in the Herald calling for Cockburn Cement to be pulled into line over its emissions. She’s also a business owner and government consultant, and became the first Aboriginal Australian woman to attend an APEC economic forum, heading off to host nation Peru in 2016 to ensure an indigenous viewpoint on economic development got heard.

KATRINA LOVE is the appropriately named local champion who’s spent decades fighting to ease the suffering of livestock on the hot, stinky, crowded live export ships that ply their trade from Fremantle. Ms Love gave her front room and verandah over to Stop Live Exports WA and her couch has been packed many times with protest and petition-writing organisers. But her heart’s not just in it for the sheep and cattle, as she’s no fan of the scandalous destruction of greyhounds who can’t run fast enough and a myriad of other animal-based issues. So it’s no surprise she’s running for the Animal Justice Party.

JOSH WILSON is the Labor party’s candidate and considered a shoe-in given there’s no Liberal contender. Mr Wilson was the member for Fremantle until he got caught up in the incredibly silly dual citizen farce (couldn’t everyone just blink while the appropriate forms were filled out? Would have saved the country a bucket and generated less drivel in federal parliament) and had to resign. In his time in Parliament he’s called for the phasing out of the live export industry and more funding to tackle homelessness, took on former boss Melissa Parke’s battle against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, opposed tax cuts for big business and paid tribute to 40 years of Sea Shepherd protecting Australia’s waters from whalers and illegal fishers.

JOHN GRAY is a decorated former submariner and entertainer with the Starlight Children’s Foundation and is running for the Liberal Democrats. Sporting a dashing u-boater’s beard, he’s keen on reducing the cost of living for ordinary Australians (not the Canberra cronies he’ll join if elected) and plans to do that by removing the excise on fuel (which would instantly drop the cost to less than $1 a litre) and the GST on power bills. Mr Gray says he’s less concerned about big-talking Lib Dem senator David Leyonhjelm’s spat with the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young than he is about the further erosion of our rights through the latest espionage and foreign interference bill. “Next time you click a link or watch a video about the DL/SHY feud, or any other issue that doesn’t matter, take a second to realise that politics has become a circus and you’re part of the show,” he says.

JAMES H HARFOUCHE is the Australian People’s Party choice, which wants a complete halt on immigration for the next five years. The APP also want to reduce bills, but also wants to take university education back to the dark ages when it was free, freeze pollie’s pay for five years (that’ll earn a few votes), increase the aged pension, match import tariffs to those we face from our export partners and “stop current immigration quotas for five years”.

JASON SPANBROEK is a prolific social media contributor and massive fan of the Perth Freight Link who’s running as an independent. It’s fair to say he’s on the right of the political spectrum, with his description of Fremantle council leaving little to the imagination: “Idealistic, treasonous, socially devious and devicive [sic], Marxist agenda.” If that wasn’t convincing, and in the interests of political free speech, there was this reference to an unsuccessful Cockburn candidate: “Hypocrite devious devicive [sic] socially corrupt deluded idealistic treasonous snowflake lefty muppet.”


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