Fri, 13 Nov 2009 - 17:20
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Paul's Blog: 22 Candidates

I’ve just come back from the Australian Electoral Commission in Chatswood where the Returning Officer announced the list of candidates for the Bradfield by-election. This follows the closing of nominations on Thursday 12 November. There are 22 candidates – an enormous field! A major contributor to the large field is the fact that the Christian Democratic Party has endorsed nine candidates. Amongst the other candidates running there is a wide diversity of views and issues – including the Australian Sex Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Climate Change Coalition and the Greens Party.

It’s good to see such healthy and vigorous competition. Australia is one of the most successful and robust democracies in the world, and we are certainly seeing that reflected in the Bradfield by-election. I congratulate all of the candidates for having a go, and wish them all well.

Of course, with such a large field, we will all have to make sure we explain to voters that they must number all the squares for their vote to be valid. Filling out the numbers from 1 to 22 is going to take some work!

While it’s great to have such a wide range of candidates, voters will have to determine who they want to represent them. It might be a bit of fun to have a pole dancer running for Parliament, and a whole range of other independents. But for voters in Bradfield, it really comes down to a simple question. Do they want to vote for a single issue candidate? Or do they want to vote for a candidate from a major party, with the capacity to represent the electorate across the full spectrum of issues which the federal Parliament deals with?

That’s a pretty important question – so here’s a more trivial question to balance it out. Can anyone think of another lower house election with so many candidates on one ballot paper? No doubt there have been some, so please respond with your thoughts.