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Greens preference Pirates in cut-throat Brisbane by-election
Feb03

Greens preference Pirates in cut-throat Brisbane by-election

LAST UPDATED // Monday, 03 February 2014 14:20 Written by // Andrew Shaw

A Pirate Party member and a Kevin Rudd impersonator are two of 11 candidates in the Griffith by-election to be held February 8.

The seat, vacated when former PM Kevin Rudd left politics after Labor’s general election defeat last year, is being contested by candidates including comedian Anthony Ackroyd, the Bullet Train For Australia candidate, who is also a Rudd impersonator.

At last year’s general election, Greens’ preferences went to Labor, helping Kevin Rudd get across the line with a margin of 5,201 votes.

However, this time the Greens will preference ‘micro parties’ – the Stable Population Party, the Pirate Party of Australia and the Secular Party of Australia – on their how-to-vote card.

Griffith Liberal National Party (LNP) candidate Dr Bill Glasson, who beat Rudd on first preferences last year with a 6.42 per cent swing but lost out on two candidate preferred votes, will contest the seat this year against Labor’s Terri Butler.

It is expected that without Greens preferences, Butler will have a fight on her hands to beat Glasson.

Butler said although the Greens had preferenced some parties ahead of Labor, they still preferenced Labor ahead of the LNP.

“I know this by-election is going to be tight,” Butler told QP, “but the people of Griffith deserve a strong voice – they need someone who will stand up for the Southside and stand up to Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott.

“My opponent has already shown that he won’t do that, he didn’t stand up for Griffith when Campbell Newman cut local health services and jobs, and he won’t stand up to Tony Abbott.

“That’s why this by-election is so important and why we must win it – the people of Griffith and the issues facing our local community are too important to have an LNP rubber stamp as the local member.”

Butler said she shared with Kevin Rudd a support for same-sex marriage, adding that although Glasson had indicated his support, he would not be able to exercise that support if elected because Tony Abbott has not allowed LNP MPs a conscience vote.

Greens candidate Geoff Ebbs told QP many constituents were “expressing anger at Rudd”.

“Without his strong personality in the mix it will be more a clear choice between the parties’ values. The people we speak to are pleased and impressed that the Greens stand up for climate action, a fair and well-funded health and education system for all Australians, equal marriage rights for couples who love each other and a compassionate approach to refugees.”

Asked whether Bill Glasson was a shoo-in to win given his performance last year, Ebbs said Griffith voters were more progressive than conservative.

“It will be harder for [Glasson] this time as the Abbott Government is suffering an unprecedented swing against it due to Abbott’s brutal agenda. As a result, Bill’s primary vote will drop significantly.

“Many of these voters will look to the Greens as a mature party with a long-term vision that is prepared to tell the truth and take the consequences.”
QP contacted Bill Glasson for comment but had received no response by print deadline.

In August last year, ahead of the general election, Glasson told The Australian he would argue for same-sex marriage in the party room if he were elected.

“I believe in a conscience vote and I would vote in favour of gay marriage […] I think it comes down to respect. It should not be a gender-based decision; it should be a principle-based decision,” Glasson said.

In preferences, Glasson places Labor fifth, ahead of Family First (ninth) and the Greens (tenth).

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Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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