These Are The People Running Against Gladys Berejiklian In The State Election
The NSW Premier hopes to keep her party in government -- but she's got to win her own seat first.
The state race is well underway, with multi-million-dollar promises coming in thick and fast, and Gladys Berejiklian appears to be going to great lengths to draw attention away from the controversial stadiums issue.
One day after her government won a last-ditch court battle to stop the demolition of Allianz Stadium -- but not before the group opposing the plan announced an appeal on the court decision -- Berejiklian resisted even speaking the word.
When repeatedly pressed by reporters on when demolition would proceed, she said it was "business as usual for us on everything ... schools, hospitals, roads and rails".
The NSW Premier on Thursday also fielded questions as to why the coalition's blue election bus stickers were printed in the sunshine state.
Queensland leader Annastacia Palaszczuk tweeted photos of Berejiklian's bus, noting the signage was printed by a family-owned company in Waterford, Queensland.
The NSW Premier didn't have an answer and directed the question to the Liberals' state director.
Meanwhile, the NSW Electoral Commission on Thursday conducted the ballot draw for the 93 seats -- or state electoral districts -- in the Legislative Assembly.
Eight candidates have been nominated for the safe Liberal seat of Willoughby, currently held by Berejikilian.
Willoughby is a lower north shore electorate including most of Willoughby Council and northern parts of North Sydney council. It was first contested in 1894 and has existed as a seat for 115 years -- but only twice in its history has it elected a Labor MP.
Here are the candidates running against the NSW Premier on March 23, in the order of how they'll appear on the ballot paper:
Party: Animal Justice Party
Bennett was born and raised on the north shore and lives with her foster dog Hugo. She has a Masters in Health Science and has spent recent years working in health research for the private sector and with universities. She is passionate about protecting animals.
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow Meow
Party: Flux Party (NSW)
He's the candidate with the most interesting name, and perhaps the most unusual backstory.
You might remember biohacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, who was fined last year for implanting an Opal Card chip into his hand. He's also a perennial election candidate, regularly running in political contests.
He has drawn a better position than the Premier, coming in second spot.
Party: Liberal Party
The Premier will appear third on the ballot paper.
Born of Armenian migrant parents, Berejiklian grew up in Willoughby and studied commerce at university. Before entering Parliament, she worked as a National General Manager for one of the country's largest institutions.
Berejiklian has held the seat of Willoughby since 2003.
Party: The Greens
Keogh studied Zoology at university and says he is passionate about protecting public parks and reserves from demolition and development. A science educator, Keogh has lived in the area for four years.
He is running in Willoughby to "change the conversation" in the conservative seat.
A local with a background in biotechnology, environment, health and community work, Penn is the seat's independent.
She vows to stop the development of toll roads throughout Willoughby, promote road safety and grow local business.
Party: Keep Sydney Open
Keep Sydney Open candidate Tom Crowley drew spot six on the ballot paper.
The grassroots community group, created by Tyson Koh to protest the lockout legislation introduced by the Baird government in 2014, registered as a political party last June, with plans to make its case for a "24-hour city" at the election.
KSO will contest 42 seats around the state, including Crowley in Willoughby.
Party: Sustainable Australia
Graham grew up in Papua New Guinea and describes himself as a "qualified home PC technician since 1996, tennis fan and lover of all things Pacific".
He's been a member of independent party Sustainable Australia since 2010. Its policy platform focuses on secure jobs, affordable housing, plans to halt over-development and, of course, a sustainable environment.
Party: Labor Party
In final place is Labor candidate for Willoughby Justin Reiss.
Born and raised in Northbridge, the young candidate supports his party's plans to halt the state government's "destructive" policies impacting the music industry.
Contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured image: AAP