Greens happy with Melbourne ballot draw

The Greens have had their chances of retaining their only lower house at the federal election improved with Adam Bandt appearing above his Labor rival on the ballot paper.


Sixteen candidates will contest the seat of Melbourne – the most for any lower house seat in the country, the Australian Electoral Commission said at the close of nominations on Friday.

Mr Bandt drew the fifth position on the ballot, just above Labor candidate Cath Bowtell at number six.

Independent Anthony Main is in the top spot.

The 16 candidates represent a range of parties including the Palmer United Party, Stable Population Party, Sex Party, Animal Justice Party and Family First.

Mr Bandt said he was pleased with his position on the ballot paper, but it would only make a difference “at the margins”.

“It’s obviously better to be higher up than lower down, but I think in an electorate like Melbourne where people are pretty savvy and pay attention, and a very high proportion of people don’t follow their how-to-vote cards anyway and vote the way that they want, I think if it makes any difference it will be minimal,” he told AAP.

Ms Bowtell said being “in the middle of the ruck” meant people would have to decide to put Labor number one.

She said the Greens had the benefit of incumbency and it would be hard to beat Mr Bandt.

“We’re convincing (voters) to put us number one, they’re going to have to look for my name and we’re going to hand them a how-to-vote card and hopefully they’re going to follow that,” she said.

“I think people in Melbourne are smart enough to work out who they’re voting for and they will put number one who they want to vote for.”

Ms Bowtell said a decision on where Labor will direct preferences will be made now they have the full list of candidates.

The Greens hold the seat by a six per cent margin.

Mr Bandt won the seat in 2010 with the help of Liberal preferences, but Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has directed candidates to preference the Greens last on September 7.

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