THE AUSTRALIAN Sex Party’s Benjamin Staggard says McMillan has responded well to his candidacy but he will campaign in electorates closer to Melbourne on Saturday.
Pictured: Benjamin Staggard. Image supplied by Mr Staggard.
Mr Staggard, who does not live in the electorate, told The Warragul Citizen McMillan voters were interested in change but the party’s focus was getting party leader Fiona Patten elected to the senate.
“I’ve never lived in the electorate of McMillan to be honest,” Mr Staggard said.
“I’ve been living in Victoria for about five years now and have basically been living in the electorate of Dunkley the whole time up until a month or two ago.
“I won’t be doing the rounds with the polling booths in McMillan unfortunately as it’s quite a way out of my residence and I’ll be campaigning somewhere else with another candidate.
“The aim that we have this election is not to get candidates into the seats in the House of Representatives, it’s to get people talking about our lead senate candidate Fiona Patten.”
Mr Staggard said a number of councils had contacted him with policy priorities but he was unsure how he would vote on at least one key local issue if elected.
“I’ve been contacted by the councils of Cardinia and Latrobe City and they’ve given me some priority project lists and whatnot,” he said.
“A lot of the issues I’ve noticed in the area are regarding infrastructure and employment growth and whether or not that includes coal mining and coal seam gas and all of those issues on top of keeping in mind the agricultural value of the area.
“I don’t think I’d be rallying for anything in particular (in regards to CSG) until I found some really concrete evidence before I’d support or be against something.
“The party hasn’t had the resources to invest in researching coal seam gas, it’s something that I’m really interested in figuring out if it’s a good thing or not.
“I’m a bit of an environmentalist myself [but] I wouldn’t want to make promises I couldn’t keep.”
Mr Staggard said the party’s name had not provoked a negative response from voters.
“I haven’t had any adverse reaction, I’ve been included just as equally as all of the other candidates as far as I know which has been nice,” he said.
“It is a bit of a conservative seat I guess, I mean it’s a marginal conservative seat but I think the people… are all quite open minded and I think they’re all interested in seeing some positive changes.
“I don’t think they really care too much who has that positive change, just so long as it happens.”
Mr Staggard said his passion for the party prompted him to stand in the electorate and he and his fiance may move to the area after the election.
“It’s quite ironic how I found myself running in McMillan because my fiance and I have been discussing our future in terms of where we’re going to live and where we’re going to buy and build property and South Gippsland was one of the places that came up for me,” he said.
“I wanted to find land to buy to build on which is great because I get to experience the electorate and that area politically before I get to experience it in any other way, which is nice because I think that has a pretty strong effect on your living situation, which is something I’d not really considered until now.”
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