Bill Spragg is well known in the Adelaide Hills but as an independent standing on a policy of Stopping Population Growth he still faces an uphill battle getting enough people to make the switch from one of the major parties to an independent candidate.
We have string team of locals who are keen to make sure he makes a splash. Firstly there are those people who are directly affected by population growth - people in the Mount Barker Council area who will be asked to pick up the costs for increasing their population by about 30,000 - they can see at first hand the price of population growth. Even if there were no financial implications a few have done their sums and realised that the extra pressure on the free way will mean that they will need leave earlier home and get back later to try and avoid the rush hour.
Then there are the Hills growers - they apparently have lost the battle to stop the importation of Chinese apples and pears but decisions can be reversed. A strong showing by Bill in those areas that traditionally vote Liberal will set alarm bells ringing in party headquarters.
Our real challenge is to get people to understand that voting for Bill is a good strategic move.
Australians really do not fully understand the preference system. (It would help if it was taught at school but sadly many teachers do not understand it either!)
It really is quite simple. Under a preferential system your vote is never wasted - if your first choice does not win then your second choice will be considered.
On election night the objective is to end up with two piles of votes - one for the successful candidate and the other for the runner up.
So as there are a total of eight candidates standing in Mayo what will happen in the count that two of these candidates will end up with all the votes cast.
Closer to the election I will try and describe in greater detail how the voting system works.