Independent Candidate for the seat of Port Stephens



Dear News Of The Area,,

With this being my first campaign I must admit I feel a little like David must have when confronting Goliath and the Philistine army!

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This feeling of insufficiency begun to roll over me during my last trip into Raymond Terrace, every corner I turned there was Kate Washington or Jaimie Abbott smiling politely from someone’s front yard or fence. They must literally have dozens of these signs around the electorate, then on the way home along Richardson Rd in Salt Ash I really understood how important Port Stephens has become to the Berejiklian government.

The Lib’s have purchased a billboard on the side of the road that’s bigger than a Subaru and bluer than Poppa Smurf!!!! Five will get you ten that it cost more to print the thing than I paid for my car!

This got me to thinking “How do they afford it?”. Of course I understand that candidates for the major parties have the benefit of their respective political machines and donors behind them but I didn’t realise the extent that the public purse is used to fund their campaigns.

As I understand it being an Independent like the major and minor parties, I can claim back any campaign expenditure which meets the requirements laid down by the NSW Electoral Commission. One of those requirements is that I must get 4% of the first preference votes, no walk in the park let me tell you. Also as an Independent, I need to get a minimum of 25 registered voters from the electorate to nominate me so that I can get on to the ballot paper along with paying the electoral commission $1000.

Candidates for any recognised party don’t need to do any of this because the party does it for them, this leave them to campaign, campaign, campaign.

I have set aside about $2000 from our saving to challenge for Port Stephens including my grand to the Electoral Commission, basically anyone wishing to challenge the major parties duopoly needs to put their own money up or shut-up. Once the votes are counted whomever gets at least 4% of the first preferences gets a payday! After the 2015 election the major parties pocketed $23 million of taxpayers money between them! Great work if you can get it.

Now, the kicker to this is that while an Independent or new start party needs to find sponsors or go into their own savings, all the major parties can get some of their payment for votes money in advance. Yes in advance! For this election alone the major parties and their compatriots have been paid in excess of $11 million of taxpayer money in advance to fund their election campaigns. I’m not sure how many people will feel deceived or robbed by this information but I feel like a right Muppet, not only am I funding my own campaign but I am funding both of my adversaries as well.

Of course, I can buy as much advertising as I wish but with my budget I need to consider how and when to do so in order to achieve greatest impact or get best “bang for my buck”, as advertising is not cheap. I don’t begrudge the media organisations trying to make a buck, without them unemployment would be greater and local knowledge would be lacking to say the least. Plus they have the major parties throwing our money at them one way or another as though it fell off the mythical money tree.

The sad thing is that this isn’t where it ends. We also have different levels of government taking advantage of each other. For example I can hire a council public hall for around $150 for the day but if it’s to be used as a polling station the council now wants in excess of $300 for the day!! Go figure that one. Who says that prices aren’t inflated for government dealings? Governments rip each other off so what chance do we surfs have?

So the next time you see one of our major party candidates smiling at you from someones front lawn or paddock, remember it was your tax dollars that put it there, but they still can’t afford air-conditioning in our schools or adequate nurse numbers for our hospitals.

Bill Doran
Independent Candidate for the seat of Port Stephens

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