Ever tried finding 104 people to stand for Parliament with a start-up party and then each rustle up teams of volunteers to hand-deliver 15,000 flyers into letter boxes and give out 20,000 how to vote cards on polling day?

Welcome to the world of People Power!

This sure is the cutting edge of democracy. Any one-armed blindfolded hack in the two majors can organise an election campaign when you have ready-made infrastructure, staff, and money on tap courtesy of corporate donations, trade unions and public funding.

Doing it with an all-volunteer outfit, with no guarantee of a single seat, is a tad harder. While thrashing out policy and preferences is stimulating, finding and vetting candidates is easily the most interesting, fraught and time-consuming element of the process.

You meet some great people, but the odd nutter also comes along – like the bloke who holds the Australian record for Family Court contempt convictions and changed his name to President something by deed poll so the court would have to call him “Mr President”.

My personal favourite was a wealthy businessman who summed himself up by saying: “I’m a black guy who drives a white Porsche and went bankrupt in the 1980s, but I’m happy for everyone to know that.”

Sadly they won’t because he’s too busy to commit.

Still, the amazing thing so far is the quality of candidates we’ve turned up when all we can offer is a journey to make democracy work better. We’ve got almost 50 candidates confirmed which leaves us a month to come up with another 50-plus – equating to almost two a day.

The reality is that we’ll need a reserve list of people who can be slotted in to fill a few gaps at the 11th hour. Even the better half is prepared to run locally if need be – which hopefully will be off the back of cracking the RACV board next Friday. However, mum and dad are still resisting.

Peter Fray

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