Lawyer Marilyn Nuske will represent the Animal Justice Party in the seat of Bendigo West, hoping to give the “voiceless a voice”.
It’s the first time the AJP has run a candidate in the lower house in either Bendigo seat since its inception in 2009 and Ms Nuske, of Barkers Creek, said she hopes to focus on duck shooting, live exports and broiler farms during her candidacy.
“I’m standing to give the voiceless a voice,” she said, ahead of the state election on November 24.
“I do care about humans as well, I’m a family lawyer – I have a great deal of compassion.”
She said the plight of animals in family violence situations needed greater attention.
“Some animals can be used as a bartering tool in situations like that and end up finding themselves homeless,” she said.
A number of organisations, including the Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre, Lort Smith Animal Hospital and the RSPCA, provide support for displaced animals, but Ms Nuske argued more help was required.
Ms Nuske described duck hunting as a “cruel blood sport” and suggested closing down the wetlands for part of the year to allow it to happen inhibited the development of the wetlands.
She argued ecotourism at the wetlands could be an alternative way to drive jobs growth.
Ms Nuske said she would support community group Save the Moolort Plains, which is in the midst of a lengthy court battle with a company attempting to built a number of broiler farms in Baringhup.
The AJP is the third political party to contest the seat of Bendigo West, held by incumbent Labor MP Maree Edwards by a margin of 12 per cent.
Former Bendigo mayor Laurie Whelan is the Greens candidate for the electorate, while the Liberal Party said it’s close to finalising its candidate following two unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.
Nationals State Director Matthew Harris last week said it was “highly unlikely” the party would field a candidate in the seat.
Ms Nuske said she understood it would be difficult a difficult task to depose Ms Edwards, but hoped her candidacy would raise some awareness for issues she felt passionate about.
It comes as the RSPCA recently launched a campaign to end battery caged farming for hens.
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