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Glenn Druery: Who’s who in the NSW upper house election race

Let’s take a leisurely stroll through the ballot paper for NSW’s Legislative Council election and acquaint ourselves with some of the candidates.

It’s worth noting that since the so-called electoral reforms to the upper house in 1999, it has become increasingly challenging for ordinary people to secure a win in the election.

While I may not necessarily endorse most of the groups or factions I’m about to discuss, in the spirit of Voltaire, I’m pleased that our political system permits diversity.

Group A

Includes Lyle Shelton, a well-known figure in the religious right who campaigned against same-sex marriage and is the former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Group B

Craig Kelly, the pin-up boy of the Sovereign Citizens cults and the far-right cookers, is in this group.

Craig failed to nominate 15 candidates, which has resulted in him not having an above-the-line box on the ballot paper, despite having his own column.

Craig Kelly

Kelly is one of many familiar faces trying to grab a spot in NSW’s upper house. Photo: AAP

This means that voters who want to support him will need to number the candidates below the line, dramatically reducing his already slim chances of winning.

Silvana Nile of Group G, the wife of former veteran MLC Fred Nile, plus a few other relatively unknown candidates, have also opted for this strategy.

Group C

Nestled among the far-right extremists and fresh from an Orwellian convention are the herbivores of Animal Justice.

If these sushi-loathing ideologues can manage to keep their disagreements private, they may very well find themselves vying for the final seat.

Group D

Labor, a party founded by some shearers taking a break under a tree, has managed to establish itself as a fixture in urban working-class areas, solely for the purpose of blocking the Green Party’s influence.

Group F

Won by the Socialist Alliance. However, if this organisation genuinely believes in the principles it espouses, it should urge its followers to give equal preference to all candidates.

Group H

Elizabeth Farrelly Independents. Who?

Group I

Comprises two Australian political parties – the Liberal Party and The Nationals.

The Liberal Party was founded by Robert Menzies with the aim of representing the middle class, but over time, it has transformed into a party that mainly serves the interests of the wealthy.

The Nationals, on the other hand, are seen as the less affluent relatives of the Liberal Party, based in rural areas. The Nationals are generally well behaved and tend to follow the directions of their leaders.

Group J

A factional war within the Liberal Democrats has seriously destabilised the party and it has moved the Libertarian party to become a more conservative one.

John Ruddick’s dumping by the Libertarian faction as lead candidate caused a factional punch up that evidently saw him reinstated by his now dominant conservative gang, as he heads the party’s ticket.

Given the internal problems and the poor position of the Liberal Democrats on the ballot, the party could struggle to win a seat.

Group L

In the middle of the pack is the Public Education Party.

This group might just be the underdog to watch out for in the election.

The party was started by teachers, school principals, and other public education advocates.

This Public Education Party is taking a bold stance against the rampant subsidies given to elite private schools and is demanding that taxpayer funds be redirected back to public education.

Group M

Home to the Informed Medical Options Party, who are known for their anti-vaccination stance.

They are distinct from the other so-called ‘freedom parties’ and various groups of the far-right who are also running as grouped independents, highlighting the divisions within the extreme right and conspiratorial movements that have blossomed since COVID.

Group O

Featuring the controversial former Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham blazing the trail for the Legalise Cannabis Party.

Legalise Cannabis is sure to ruffle feathers among those who staunchly oppose any sort of drug legalisation.

Group P

Let me tell you about Danny Lim, a much-loved anti-hero who has made quite an impact in Sydney.

He’s not afraid to speak his mind and express his views through his creative signs and demonstrations.

Danny Lim is running for parliament. Photo: AAP

Unfortunately, in November 2022, Danny sustained injuries during an attempted arrest in the Queen Victoria Building that left him hospitalised. Thankfully, the arrest was discontinued, and after two days in St Vincent’s Hospital, he was released.

When I saw Danny at the LC draw last Thursday his face was still not fully healed.

Group Q and R

The pseudo-hipsters of the Greens and alt-light One Nation Party have much in common, being placed on the tail end of the ballot paper that spans up to Group U.

It’s widely speculated that each group will likely secure two seats each, but my sources within the Greens are telling me they think three seats may be possible.

Despite the recent chaos in the lower house, which resulted in three Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MPs betraying the party, it is highly probable that veteran MLC Robert Borsak will be re-elected to the upper house.

Group N witnesses his typically forceful entry into the election, while I anticipate that his primary vote may be affected by the shenanigans within his party, ultimately we’ll likely see his fierce countenance around the Parliament for a while longer.

William Bourke from Sustainable Australia aims to reduce corruption and halt overdevelopment, but he may not be easily found at Group S on the ballot.

Currently, he is a councillor and was even the deputy mayor of the well-regarded North Sydney Council.

This experience may benefit him in the upcoming election. Could he finally land a seat in Parliament?

Glenn’s Nostradamus, or ‘a bob each way bet’, for the Legislative Council outcome:

Probable

Lib/NATS 6-7 seats

ALP 7-8

Greens 2-3

One Nation 1-2

Shooters Fishers and Farmers 1

Likely

Animal Justice 1

Legalise Cannabis 1

Possible survivalists and fighting for the last seat

Sustainable Australia

Liberal (now conservative) Democrats

The one to watch and upper house dark horse

The Public Education Party

Glenn Druery is a political strategist who has worked with minor parties and candidates at elections across Australia. He formed the Minor Party Alliance.

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