Meet your Wannon candidates

May 12, 2022 BY

FOLLOWING on from the editions published today (Thursday, May 12), here are the full responses from the eight Wannon candidates to the questions sent out by the Times News Group earlier this month.

All candidates were asked the same nine questions:

  • Name:
  • Resides:
  • Occupation:
  • How long have you lived in Wannon?
  • What’s your involvement with the community?
  • What’s your political allegiance?
  • Who are you preferencing?
  • What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support – if so, from who?
  • For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon?

Candidates were asked to keep their complete response to between 250-300 words, and their full, unedited answers are listed below in ballot paper order.

Graham Garner – Independent

1. Interstate Transport Operator since 1988 and Industry driver since 1982.
2. I have lived in Colac since 1974 and the immediate surrounds , all my life.
3. I played football in District clubs around Colac and even the Super Rules up until about 42. Being in business and Operating Tippers at one point , we supplied services to the Farming Sector . I am well known in Business circles . I did also spend time in the local SES earlier on in life but had to take leave of that to start our own business. We operated on contract to transport milk from Fonterra Cobden to Melbourne for the period of February 2017 to February 2021 . This contract saw us operating 22 hours a day , 6 days a week and resulted in employment opportunities over that period. I have also been engaged with Richard Riordan , our local member of parliament in regard to the disastrous state of our roads. To Richards credit , he fronted up at midnight one night to come with me and get a first hand experience of the perils associated with driving a B/double on the route from Colac to Cobden and return . Which I might add , is the damn same on the majority of roads within the electorate. I was also a member of the “ Colac Ratepayers Jury” which was convened over several weeks to decide on “ Colac 2050” . This jury of 50 Ratepayers covered all aspects of where Colac needed to go by 2050.
4. My “ Allegiance” is to the “ Electors of Wannon” and their concerns and as the word “ INDEPENDENT” states , “ Free from outside Control “ . What follows then is whatever they come to me with , I will put forward, that is my role.
5. My campaign budget is around $5000 of which 2 businesses in Colac have donated $1000 each and about 10 people whom support my candidacy have thrown in $100 each . I paid the candidate fee of $2000 from my own funds and all travelling costs and getting around now over these next 2 weeks is at my own cost .
6. Electorate and Elector issues / concerns.
A. Mandates , Future restrictions on Movement and Our Rights
B. Cost of Living for Families and Pensioners and HOUSING LOAN INTEREST RATES of ULTRA IMPORTANCE.
C. Respect and Care of the Aged . Aged Care Facilities in particular.
D. Targets 2030 and the Impact and Affordability of them.
E. Removal of the Diesel Fuel Credits from the Transport Industry. The treason for recent increases in transport .


Dan Tehan – Liberals

I grew up on a family farm in rural Victoria, with my three brothers and two sisters. My father ran Merino sheep and Hereford cattle while my mother started her own small business in a nearby town to earn off-farm income.
From an early age, my parents and grandparents taught me that people in small communities deserve a fair go and that you need to be prepared to stand up and fight for what you believe in.
My education, personal experience and career have given me a real understanding of the needs of people living in our regions. Importantly, it has also taught me how to get the action to address these needs.
My career has always been involved in achieving outcomes for rural, coastal, and regional communities.
I have been the Member for Wannon since 2010 and was sworn in as Minister for Trade, Tourism, and Investment on 22 December 2020.
The electorate of Wannon has new boundaries, and I will work hard to deliver for you and your community. Our local communities need strong representation on the issues that matter.
As your local member, I have listened to you and by working together, we can build a stronger future.

My Strong Local Plan includes:
1. Better Roads and Rail with more Federal Funding for our local roads, highways, and rail networks
2. Strengthening our economic recovery, Creating Jobs by supporting small businesses and farmers and Cutting the Cost of Living for families and individuals
3. Delivering Regional Services so we can all benefit from better health, education, aged and disability care, and communications
4. Protecting Our Environment and delivering sensible and practical policies to enhance our land, coast, and waterway management
5. Delivering Community Projects and supporting our volunteers so we build strong local communities

I look forward to asking the people of Wannon to put their trust in me at this election.


Ronnie Graham – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Candidate had not responded to questions by deadline.


Hilary McAllister – Greens

Hilary McAllister

Aireys Inlet

CEO of For Wild Places, a small not-for-profit organisation that empowers trail runners to become sports activists

How long have you lived in Wannon?
I moved to Aireys Inlet during the 2020 lockdown after leaving Melbourne. I’ve been spending summer holidays down here since I can remember.

What’s your involvement with the community?
Through my work with For Wild Places, we have hosted some local events in Torquay. I am a member at the Fairhaven SLSC, and worked with Go Ride A Wave earlier this year in Anglesea. I’m also a keen trail runner and have completed the Surf Coast Century once, and volunteered at the event. I absolutely love and appreciate the wonderful community along the Surf Coast.

What’s your political allegiance?
I am a member of the Victorian Greens, and am running as the Australian Greens candidate for Wannon.

Who are you preferencing?
First and foremost, who people preference is up to them. Our How to Vote Card (which is a suggestion) will give our preferences to left leaning and progressive candidates, whereas right wing candidates will be located near the bottom. In effect: The Labor Party will always be preferences above the Liberals on our ticket and the likes of One Nation will always be at the bottom.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support – if so, from who?
Our campaign is funded by donations from the public, which goes towards printing materials and advertising. It is a very grassroots campaign, which relies on passionate volunteers to help letterbox, display a sign and help out on election day. The Greens are a people powered movement and all donations are listed on our website.

For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon?
After spending several months travelling throughout Wannon and talking with people, many issues have arisen. Some of these include access to affordable and available housing, the rising cost of living, and the need for a Federal Anti Corruption Commission. The good news is the Greens have policies in place to tackle these issues head on.

However, the biggest issue confronting Wannon, and indeed Australia, is the threat of climate change. I am proud to be the only candidate running for Wannon with climate policy that will see us stay below 2 degrees of warming by committing to net zero by 2035. It is essential we take immediate action to phase out fossil fuels and transition to a renewable future to avoid future climate catastrophe, and protect our communities, coastlines and Country.


Alex Dyson – Independent

Name: Alex Dyson

Resides: Warrnambool

Occupation: Radio Presenter, Author

How long have you lived in Wannon? 19 years, in total. I spent my entire youth here, moved away to Melbourne for uni, then Sydney for work, and since December have moved back into my childhood home to run the campaign (I suppose I’ll have to at least move across the road from dad, if I win).

What’s your involvement with the community? I love sport, so I’ve been getting involved with my home footy club Russells Creek, competing in Park Runs across the region, and have even taken up croquet, recently, which has been surprisingly delightful! I also have a long association with Holiday Actors, a local amateur theatre group, and have been DJ-ing regularly around the region. I first ran as an Independent in 2019, so across multiple elections I’ve built up a great knowledge base as to what the area is looking for.

What’s your political allegiance? My only allegiance is to the people of Wannon and my hypothetical grandchildren.

Who are you preferencing? Nobody; I trust each individual voter to make up their mind as to where they want their preference to flow. I want to offer an alternative to the traditional way of approaching elections, in which political parties direct us to vote in a way that benefits them, not us.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support – if so, from whom? We were lucky enough to receive $30k in seed funding from Climate200, who are donating to Independent candidates who prioritise Integrity, Climate Action and Respect for Women. Word has come through that we might be getting a bit more from them for a final advertising push — so apologies in advance if my face starts popping up on your social media feeds! As well as that, we’ve had over 300 individuals make donations to our campaign, ranging from $5-$1000 dollars. Alongside my own contribution, this pushes our entire budget to around $110k. To me, that number seems monumental, but in relation to other professional political campaigns we’re still at the lower end. At least now we’re able to compete with the major parties!

For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon? The things that are coming up most frequently in my discussions with people across the electorate are:
• Housing: whether it’s access to social housing, sky-rocketing house prices, or the critical shortage of rental properties, this issue is coming up constantly, which is why I’ve made it a key pillar of my campaign. Housing in turn is tied to the economy, attracting healthcare and education professionals, and the staffing crisis across the region within industries like hospitality and agriculture.
• Federal government investment: as a traditionally “safe” Liberal seat, Wannon has been left behind in many areas when it comes to Federal investment. This failure can be seen really clearly in areas like infrastructure (roads, rail, telecommunications, NBN), healthcare access, and funding for community organisations, which have all been neglected for far too long.
• Added to that are core issues like climate change, NDIS, aged care, education, treatment of refugees, and, at the core of everything, Integrity. Voters want a politician who is accessible, authentic, and willing to be honest and own up to their mistakes. It’s a tough job, but I’m ready to put everything I’ve got into representing this community.


Craige Kensen – United Australia Party

Name: Craige Kensen

Resides: Casterton, Electorate of Wannon

Occupation: Self Employed

How long have you lived in Wannon? Over 12 years

What’s your involvement with the community? I have been an Ambulance Community Officer for over 8 years and over 9 years as a CFA fire fighter, secretary, and treasurer up until this year when I was stood down. I refused to comply with a government whose politicians are not required to be mandated, but I was. Disgraceful, unconstitutional and a violation of basic human rights.

What’s your political allegiance? I am a candidate for the United Australia Party who support freedom and human rights

Who are you preferencing? I am preferencing other freedom parties and true independents. For Wannon that will be Amanda Mead LDP, Graham Garner Independent, Ronnie Graham One nation.

What’s your campaign budget? It is a modest but adequate budget.

Are you receiving financial support – if so, from who? I am fortunate that the UAP is being funded with the help of Clive Palmer, who generously has covered my expenses while campaigning in the Wannon electorate

For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon?
Mandates and Jobs in Wannon-

Governments have forced the use of an experimental mRNA treatment against the people of Wannon, with no safety data or long-term clinical trials, are irresponsible. The idea that a government can tell its people that they must do what they say, or lose their jobs, and human rights is fundamentally and constitutionally wrong. There is a shortage of workers in Wannon that have been forced to remain in their homes, Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, Retail, Industry and more who should be at work right now! How cruel and short sighted, by governments that work for us! There will be no more mandates in this electorate or Australia under UAP.

Hospitals and Aged Care in Wannon-

Our hospital/aged care staff are overworked, ill prepared for increasing demand. Funding for building new hospitals, beds or investing in the health care of Wannon, has been forgotten. Portland Health has closed hospital services; its board is in crisis! Hamilton and Warrnambool hospitals are overloaded, and understaffed. The hospital system and aged care has reached breaking point. In government the United Australia Party will allocate $40 billion additional funding for health across Australia directly available to hospitals. States have shown they cannot be trusted with our health services. Health care is close to my heart, and I will make sure all in Wannon receive the health and aged care they deserve.

Protecting Families Future-

Families move into their first homes, with record high values and low bank rates, all bolstered by government incentives and homeowner schemes. If one partner loses a job, interest rates start to climb and/or market housing values fall it is a formula for economic disaster. With high valuation to loan ratios of up to 95%, valuations fall, and rates rise as predicted, Wannon families will be left homeless, penniless, and with large debts to the banks. The UAP will make the first $30,000 paid on a home loan tax deductible each year and cap interest rates at 3% for the next 5 years. These policies protect families from losing their homes in Wannon.


Amanda Mead – Liberal Democrats

Name: Amanda Mead

Resides: Narrapumelap South

Occupation: Salon owner

How long have you lived in Wannon?
I am originally from Victoria but moved up and down the east coast for my previous job as an educator for a hair colour company and my husband was in the Military. Once he discharged from the army I wanted to move back to Victoria where we have bought our “forever” home.

What’s your involvement with the community?
As a small business owner, I am very engaged with my community. I have also supported local netball and football teams.

What’s your political allegiance?
I am part of the Liberal Democrats. We are party based on the Libertarian philosophy of “less government, low taxes and free market capitalism”. We are the only party that will never vote in favour for a raising/adding of taxes and will ALWAYS FIGHT to protect your individual liberties.

Who are you preferencing?
I would like to make it very clear that your preferences are just that YOURS. Our how to vote cards are only a guide. We have on our how to vote cards up the top are “freedom friendly” parties at the top including UAP, One Nation and one true independent candidate. Being the most fiscally conservative party running in this election we will align more with other conservative parties then left leaning parties and independents.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support – if so, from who?
My campaign is predominately funded by my personal savings. It was my choice to put my hand up so I believe that I should be footing the cost. I do not ask or chase large donations, this only leads to compromising my ethics and morals. Large donations are not free, there are always strings attached and I would rather stay true to myself then become a pawn for a billionaire that is set to make money off of getting people elected.

For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon?
The main issues I have heard the most about are, cost of living/inflation, small business are struggling, as well as debt/deficit that Australia is in. We plan for a flat tax for income tax of 20% and raising the tax free threshold to $40000 to leave more money in people’s pockets. We also want a flat 20% rate of tax for small business, along with the removal tax on profits reinvests back into the business, this will allow businesses to expand and grow. We also have a policy to cut all government department (accept defense) spending by 10% with a further 1% each year until the debt is repaid. We are the only party that will not try to buy your voted by offering up more funding. We are prepared to make the tough decisions now so that we leave future generations a more prosperous economy.


Gilbert Wilson – Labor

Gilbert Wilson



How long have you lived in Wannon?
I’m a fifth generation “Wannonite”, born and bred.in Portland.

What’s your involvement with the community?
Local Government Councillor (23 years including 3 years as Mayor.)
Maintenance volunteer (Thursday Gang) on the Great South West Walk (250km),
Portland Uniting Church sound and data volunteer.
Life Member of the following: South West District Football Netball League, Portland Basketball Association, Portland referees Association, Dunlop Basketball Club.

What’s your political allegiance?
Endorsed Candidate of the Australian Labor Party

Who are you preferencing?
Hilary McAllister-2; Alex Dyson-3, Graham Garner-4.

What’s your campaign budget? Are you receiving financial support – if so, from who?
Budget of $20,000 with support from Supporters, Labor Party branch members and fundraisers..

For you, what are the most important issues in Wannon?
Climate Change and coastal sea level rise. As an electorate with a long coastal boundary, sea level rise will affect our coastal communities. Climate change will affect our farming sector as well. The Labor Climate Change Plan to reduce our emissions to 43% by 2030 and to nett zero by 2050 is a strong plan that will support regional industries and local jobs in renewable energy projects into the future. This will see a sensible transition from coal and gas to having a fully renewable energy supply.