The Animal Justice Party’s candidate for the seat of Ballina, Angela Pollard, has been told that her services are no longer required.
Ms Pollard told Echonetdaily yesterday afternoon that the party had ‘decided to shift its resources to Lismore, so they’re running in Lismore now’.
But far from being disturbed about being ousted, the prominent human rights lawyer told Echonetdaily she remained ‘a happy member of the AJP’.
‘I have no problem with their decision at all,’ she said.
She added that as the deadline for candidates to register was yesterday, it was ‘not possible for that decision to be reversed’.
‘I’ll now be helping with the upper house campaign,’ she said, adding she ‘had a lovely time’ at the recent candidates’ forum’.
‘For me it’s about getting the message out about animals,’ Ms Pollard said.
Mark Pearson, Animal Justice Party, upper house lead candidate, told Echonetdaily the decision not to run in Ballina related to preference agreements with the ALP and the Greens.
He said both parties ‘have promised some innovative programs for animal welfare’.
‘The ALP were the first party to approach us. I think they saw how well we did in Victoria. Then the Greens approached us,’ Mr Pearson said.
‘It’s very interesting to see that they look at AJP, the new kid on the block, as a party that would help them into government.
‘What they put on the table was a very good deal for animals – as a result of that we have agreed not to run a candidate in Ballina.’
Mr Pearson said the party recognised the ALP stood a good chance in Ballina, with the retirement of longstanding Nationals incumbent Don Page, and that fewer candidates might help their chances.
‘My sense is that fewer candidates in Ballina might help to get the ALP over the line. It’s a seat which is not as sure a seat as it was in the past.’
He praised Ms Pollard, who he described as ‘an excellent candidate’ who ‘will almost certainly’ run for the party in the federal election next year.
He added that the decision to run a candidate in Lismore wasn’t directly tied to the decision to exit Ballina.
‘We also decided to look more closely in Lismore. The candidate there, Cherie Imlah, is in her early 80s, indigenous and with a long history of animal protection.
‘Her candidacy will put us in another good position in relation to preferences.’
Mr Pearson said AJP was ‘a party based on compassion, consideration for the voiceless, not backstabbing.
‘We’ll apply that to all issues in parliament, whether or not they impact directly or indirectly on animals,’ he said.
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