ACT News


Minor voices battle for votes

Declaring gum trees a ''health hazard in urban areas'' and calling for a ''centenary tunnel'' under Northbourne Avenue was certain to help get publicity-savvy political candidate Chic Henry noticed in the lead up to tomorrow's election.

But the Summernats founder and Australian Motorist Party member and other minor party and independent candidates are struggling to get the support needed to be elected to the Legislative Assembly.

A Patterson poll conducted for The Canberra Times found between zero and 1 per cent support for independent candidates across the ACT's three multimember electorates.

Support for the Motorists was between one and 3 per cent, and none of the poll respondents indicated an intention to vote for the Ginninderra-based Marion Le Social Justice Party.

The new Assembly is likely only to include representatives of the Labor, Liberal and Greens parties.

But Mr Henry, who the Liberal Party hopes could help it win power, yesterday said he believed he had a chance of winning a seat in the northern electorate of Ginninderra.


He said the Assembly needed a ''fourth entity''.

''An independent thinker must get in there. It's more than just a balance of power - it's a balance of thinking, That's what I want to do,'' he said.

Mr Henry said rumours he wanted to cut down the bush capital eucalyptus trees were false.

''Nobody's talking about chopping down trees, as such,'' he said.

''What we're saying is if you're going to plant more trees, can you have a bit of a think about not planting any more gum trees, how about a different sort of tree? And if they're going to plant them, don't plant them near the gutters or the footpaths, because they wreck the joint.''

Refugee advocate Marion Le first ran for the Assembly as a candidate of the now-defunct Residents Rally in 1989.

She is now heading a ticket of candidates in Ginninderra.

Ms Le's priorities included helping the homeless and reforming care and protection services.

''I'd like to think I've got a chance of being elected,'' she said.

''A lot of people know me in this electorate.

''I taught here for over 20 years and I've been very active''.

John Warhurst, an Emeritus Professor of political science at the Australian National University, said minor parties and independents had struggled to have their voices heard during the election campaign.


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