News

A veritable tsunami of Senate bids

By Riverine Herald

THE race is heating up in the Australian Senate, with a flood of candidates vying for positions on both sides of the river.

The terms of six candidates in both NSW and Victoria will expire on Saturday.

And with 82 candidates aiming for the Victorian Senate and a staggering 105 for the NSW Senate, voters will face a difficult decision this weekend.

Elected to the Senate in 2016, ‘‘human headline’’ Derryn Hinch will be among Victorian senators facing an uncertain future.

Two Labor candidates, Jacinta Collins and Gavin Marshall, will also reach the end of their terms.

But Ms Collins won’t contest this election, with Labor’s longest-serving female Victorian senator naming ‘‘family health issues’’ as her decision to call it quits after more than 20 years.

As for Mr Marshall, he’ll face a challenging election, brutally dumped from his top-ticket spot mid-2018 in a factional shake-up and replaced by United Voice state secretary Jess Walsh.

In the Liberal Party, Jane Hume and James Paterson will recontest and are polling favourites to be re-elected.

As is Janet Rice from the Greens, who was elected to the Senate in the 2013 federal election and successfully re-elected in 2016, running second on the Australian Greens Victoria ticket.

Across the river, Labor senator Doug Cameron will be retiring after 12 years in the NSW Senate and former One Nation turned United Australia Party senator Brian Burston is back in the ring for round two after he was elected in 2016.

The Liberal Democrats’ Duncan Spender and Mehreen Faruqi from the Greens have barely had time to settle in.

Ms Faruqi took over from Lee Rhiannon in August 2018, while Mr Spender is recontesting just a couple of months into the job, stepping into the role in March after David Leyonhjelm resigned to unsuccessfully contest the NSW election.

Looking to the Coalition, the Nationals have chosen to run a ticket with the Liberals in NSW, despite the risk of having no senator in the state following John Williams’ retirement at this election.

Meanwhile, Liberal senator and retired Major General Jim Molan has been embroiled in controversy, accused of a ‘‘guerrilla campaign’’ after his supporters distributed how-to-vote cards lauding his role in immigration policy and his military record.

While Mr Molan has distanced himself from the cards, he’s facing a challenging election, banished to the seemingly unwinnable third spot on the Coalition ticket.

All Senate candidates are listed at aec.gov.au/election/candidates.htm