Worried about freedom of choice? With nine candidates in Barker, you’ll have plenty
A late flurry of candidates opposed to COVID-19 restrictions, lockdowns and mandates has made our 2022 federal election race a crowded one.
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Voters angry about lockdowns and mandates will be spoilt for choice in Barker at the upcoming federal election.
A record-equalling nine candidates will contest the electorate which includes the Murraylands.
Five of them have freedom from government restrictions as a key policy:
United Australia’s David Swiggs
One Nation’s Carlos Quaremba, a builder from Victor Harbor who ran in Finniss at the recent state election
Australian Federation Party candidate Kym Hanton
Independent Vince Pannell, an IT consultant from Mannum
Independent Maddy Fry, a leader of the Limestone Coast Pro Choice Movement
Mr Pannell and Ms Fry will run on something of a joint ticket, appearing at events together and promoting one another’s campaigns.
“Anyone who’s for freedom, we’re with them,” Mr Pannell told Murray Bridge News.
Several candidates attended a ballot draw at Murray Bridge Library on Friday, at which Australian Electoral Commission staff used an arcane method to determine the order of names on everyone’s ballot papers.
Balls were placed into a rotating drum and drawn back out by a blindfolded staff member.
The Nationals’ Jonathan Pietzsch drew top spot, while incumbent Liberal MP Tony Pasin wound up in the middle of the list.
It is the first time since 1998 that so many candidates have run in Barker.
Former mayor will be Labor’s candidate
Meanwhile, former Wattle Range Mayor Mark Braes has been named as Labor’s candidate, and Mr Pasin’s most prominent rival, at the upcoming election.
Mr Braes is a workplace and family mediator by trade, and lives at Millicent.
As well as serving on the local council, he previously chaired both the Limestone Coast Regional Development Board and the Limestone Coast Natural Resource Management Board.
He ran against Liberal MP Nick McBride in MacKillop at the recent state election.
The Greens’ Rosa Hillam rounds out the crowded field of candidates.
Read more about Mr Braes: www.alp.org.au.
Here’s your chance to get the candidates talking
Regional Australia’s housing crisis will be one of the issues the Member for Barker will have to confront after the May 21 election.
It has so far proven to be the most important issue among respondents to Murray Bridge News’ latest citizens’ agenda survey.
Climate change, health, aged care, public transport and COVID-19 restrictions are among locals’ other top issues.
Have your say in the survey and shape Murray Bridge News’ election coverage over the coming weeks.
Murray Bridge News is also planning a public forum with the candidates in the week leading up to the election ... as long as a venue can be found with a stage that’s big enough.
Disclosure: The author served as an official witness at the draw, checking that the result had been recorded correctly.
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