Stephanie Hodgins-May named Ballarat Greens candidate

AUSTRALIA’S next federal election might be as far away as November 2013, but voters in Ballarat now have a clear picture of the three major candidates. 

The Greens yesterday announced Blampied-based lawyer Stephanie Hodgins-May would contest the seat of Ballarat against MP Catherine King and Liberal challenger John Fitzgibbon.

Ms Hodgins-May said her experience in environmental and planning law would benefit the electorate as Australia faced the challenges of climate change and economic development. 

The daughter of former Hepburn Shire mayor Rod May, the 27-year-old founded the Vivien Hodgins Foundation in honour of her mother, who died in the 2009 Samoan tsunami.

Ms King holds the seat with a comfortable margin of 11.8 per cent, despite Greens candidate and current Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates receiving 11 per cent of the vote at the 2010 election. 

“We will most definitely try to increase on the Greens result from the last federal election,” Ms Hodgins-May said. 

“We are really positive the Greens vote is increasing and improving around Australia and I think the recent council elections show Ballarat is supportive of Greens policies and ideas.” 

She highlighted the achievements of Greens senators and MP Adam Bandt in securing an almost $5 billion investment in dental care from the Gillard government, and said renewable energy, education and health were priorities. 

“I can’t speak for the other parties, but we want to run a really positive campaign. Obviously heads will butt in certain areas, but we hope to take on board the views of the community and offer strong views,” she said. 

Ms Hodgins-May said it was too early to say which candidates she would preference in the election. 

The next federal election is due by November 30 next year.