ONLY nine candidates have so far thrown their hat into the ring for the south-west’s five upper house seats, five months out from the state election.
Four of the five incumbent MPs for the Western Victoria region have chosen to re-nominate for their spot in the Legislative Council while Liberal MP David Koch has chosen to retire.
All eyes will be on the region’s fifth seat — held by National Party MP David O’Brien — which is generally decided on preferences.
Mr O’Brien will recontest the position coming up against Vote1 Local Jobs candidate James Purcell, Country Alliance’s Garry Kerr, The Greens candidate Lloyd Davies and Save The Planet’s Adrian Whitehead.
Mr Whitehead is the latest contender for the upper house.The Melbourne-based teacher said his party was different to The Greens in that its policies were specifically related to climate change.
“The reason why I joined the Save The Planet party is because there’s no other group out there that’s solely dedicated to combating climate change,” Mr Whitehead said.
“We believe the Greens have become distracted by social issues like gay marriage and refugees whereas our party is completely focused on climate policy.”
The fifth position is also likely to be contested by Democratic Labour, Family First, Australian Christians and the Palmer United Party.
Katter’s Australian Party has entered into a coalition with Country Alliance and will therefore be represented by Mr Kerr. Based on previous voting trends, Labor and the Coalition are almost guaranteed to secure two seats each.
In lower house constituencies, businessman Steve Price will run as the Country Alliance candidate for the Lowan electorate being vacated by retiring MP Hugh Delahunty.
Mr Price is the fourth contender to enter the race following the Labor party’s Bob Scates, National Party’s Emma Kealy and independent Liberal candidate Katrina Rainsford.
Former South Coast Shire councillor Simon Northeast is the Greens candidate in Polwarth, joining Liberal MP Terry Mulder and Labor candidate Joe Brown.