NEW England voters will have to choose from a sea of faces in the upcoming byelection, with 17 candidates official announced.
The Christian Democrats candidate, Richard Stretton, drew first place on the ballot, while former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was in the middle of the pack at number seven.
Mr Joyce avoided the ballot draw, preferring to instead continue campaigning across the electorate, “working on winning one vote at a time”.
Labor candidate David Ewings said he was “more than happy” with his 12th place on the ballot.
“It’s fine, we’re up here and we’re in the race,” he said.
“We need change. We need to send a message to the Coalition and to Barnaby Joyce that people won't put up with inaction in this electorate, which has been taken for granted for too long.”
Independent Rob Taber said he was hoping to be slightly higher than his position of 10.
“It wasn’t as good as I hoped – but we’re about the middle, so that's not too bad I suppose,” he said.
The Express was aware of 13 candidates, but there were a number of unexpected runners, including Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, who is standing for the Science Party.
He’s spent the last few months working for an agricultural tech company, which he founded. In that time he spoke to hundreds of farmers.
“I know how federal policy needs to change to enable farmers,” Mr Meow-Meow said.
“When I heard Barnaby Joyce was contesting, I thought this is an area I can really help in, as I've got a good understanding of the issues farmers are facing.
“A lot of people thing farmers are Luddites and don't use technology, and in my experience that's not the case at all.
“By 2050, the world food supply is going to need to double, and I see Armidale as being a tech-hub for the food bowl of Asian.”
At the 2016 election, there were 10 candidates, while in the 2013 election there were nine.
2017 New England byelection candidates, as they appear on the ballot
- Richard Stretton – Christian Democrats
- Skyla Wagstaff – Animal Justice Party
- Andrew Potts – Affordable Housing Party
- Jeff Madden – Independent
- Tristam Smyth – Liberal Democrats
- Dean Carter – Independent
- Barnaby Joyce – The Nationals
- William Bourke – Sustainable Australia Party
- Stacey Warwick – Seniors United Party of Australia
- Rob Taber – Independent
- Pete Mailler – CountryMinded
- David Ewings – Labor
- Donald Cranney – Rise Up Australia
- Peter Wills – The Greens
- Jamie McIntyre – 21st Century Australia
- Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow – The Science Party
- Ian Britza – Australian Country Party