Richmond electorate: Meet the candidates
AS VOTERS prepare to head to the polls to vote in the federal election, we take a look at the local candidates hoping to secure the most votes to become the next Member for Richmond.
The federal election of the 46th Australian Parliament will be held Saturday, May 18.
To nominate as a candidate the lodgement of nomination period for both House of Representatives and Senate candidates closes occurs at exactly midday on Tuesday, April 23.
The electorate of Richmond covers an area from the New South Wales/Queensland border in the north to Ballina and Pimlico in the south.
The main towns include Ballina, Bangalow, Brunswick Heads, Burringbar, Byron Bay, Hastings Point, Kingscliff, Lennox Head, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Suffolk Park, and Tweed Heads.
Tally room assessment: Richmond is still a marginal seat, even though Labor has held on here for well over a decade. The Greens also have ambitions of winning this seat. They are still some way off overtaking Labor or the Nationals but are worth watching.
Labor - Justine Elliot (incumbent)
The former police officer has held the seat of Richmond since winning office in 2004. The electorate traditionally included Tweed and Byron Shires and part of Ballina Shire as far south as Lennox Head, but prior to the 2016 was expanded to include the town of Ballina (formerly part of Page). Richmond was a fairly safe Labor seat, but at the last election Elliot suffered a 4 per cent swing against her and the seat now considered marginal. Before becoming a Federal MP, Elliot also worked as a Youth Justice Convenor with the NSW Department of Juvenile Justice.
Nationals - Matthew Fraser
It will be the third time Mr Fraser has contested the seat after he ran in both 2013 and 2016 but lost to current Labor MP Justine Elliot. The Tweed Heads businessman owns Hungry Jacks in Tweed Heads South and also operates a range of international retail and distribution businesses. Mr Fraser has been vocal on social media in recent months on Labor policies and promises, including the debate over the re-location of the Tweed Hospital.
Greens - Michael Lyon
The 44-year-old has been a Byron Shire Councillor since 2016, when he was elected as part of the Greens ticket on a platform of supporting local sustainable agriculture and a chemical-free shire. He was heavily involved on the committee of the last Richmond Campaign as Treasurer, which saw a swing of 5 per cent to the Greens. He holds a Bachelor degrees in Law and Commerce and a CIMA professional qualification. He has been the General Manager of Santos Organics for the last six years, and turned the company which was near bankruptcy into a thriving not-for-profit and community hub for sustainable living.
United Australia Party - Hamish Mitchell
As a small business owner operating in asbestos removal, demolition and remediation, Mr Mitchell is running as a UAP candidate after he lost faith in the major parties. His candidate profile on the United Australia Party stated he "is fed up with present day politics which seems to be more about self-preservation than serving the people." Originally from Victoria, Mr Mitchell has lived in the Richmond electorate since 1997 and enjoys acting, cricket, AFL, athletics and golf.
Independent - Ray Karam
THE Ballina business owner is putting his hand up for the third time in an election cycle, with unsuccessful aspirations of becoming the Ballina Mayor and Nationals candidate for Lismore. Despite having connections to Serge Benhayon, who a jury in a failed Supreme Court defamation case last year found was "the leader of a socially harmful cult" called Universal Medicine, Mr Karam wants to consider him on his own merits on election day. The 47-year-old and former police officer, who now owns the Nourish Bulk Health Organic store and In Detail Car Cleaning, was previously a member of the NSW Nationals before retiring from the party last year. He said he retained "a lot of respect" for The Nationals but had also attended a Greens event in the past and felt it was time to "move on into other things". Running as an independent for Richmond, Mr Karam hoped his diverse background in policing, business, with Ballina Chamber of Commerce and with the Port Ballina Taskforce would show voters a "well rounded" view of him as a candidate. Mr Karam was born in Casino before moving to Redfern as part of his police assignment. Despite running for government before, Mr Karam's if elected will help cut red-tape for small business and create a renewable energy plan.
Involuntary Medication Objectors - Tom Barnett
HOLISTIC health practitioner Tom Barnett has been picked as the Involuntary Medical Objectors Party candidate seat of Richmond, despite only joining a month ago. The Byron Bay man joined the party after he believed dental fillings and vaccines left him suffering chronic. Mr Barnett claimed he spent much of his 20s and 30s sick due to self-diagnosed "vaccine and (dental) amalgam damage". The party wants the compulsory National Immunisation Program dumped and water fluoridation stopped. The 38-year-old candidate said the party's only policies were "saying no to forced meds', no to coercion in vaccination and no to fluoridation of our water".
Sustainable Australia Party - Ronald McDonald
The Banora Point retiree spent his career working for Telstra as a technician and is now hoping voters will support him in the upcoming federal election. Mr McDonald previously ran for the seat of Tweed during March's NSW State Election said while he wanted to give running as a candidate another go after we gained 3.81 per cent of the primary vote in March. Campaigning on "a sustainable environment and population", Mr McDonald is also hoping to assist first home buyers and renters with more affordable housing and stop over-development. He also wants to increase jobs within the Richmond electorate. He's served as a director on the board of Australian Central Credit Union, now Peoples Choice Credit Union, for 10 years, and is a life member of the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.
Christian Democratic Party - Morgan Cox
THE Northern Star has approached the CDP for information about this candidate.