THE electorate of Bendigo is set for a showdown between two rival elements of Australia's political far-right when Australia votes next month.
Senator Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party candidate for the marginal Labor seat is Julie Hoskin, a former Bendigo councillor who led an unsuccessful legal objection to a mosque all the way to the High Court, where she was refused leave to appeal and later went bankrupt, unable to pay the costs of the case.
Her One Nation opponent will be local businessman Vaughan Williams who is running on a platform of "Australian values, sane immigration policies, protecting farmers" and preventing Australia "heading down a road controlled by a non-elected United Nations and their global policies".
The seat is currently held by Labor MP Lisa Chesters, a former union organiser.
Bendigo became a national flashpoint for the far right between 2014 and 2016 when a proposal to build a mosque in the goldfields town was used as a rallying cry for extremist groups across Australia, attracting counter-protests from anti-fascist groups.
Several anti-mosque rallies by hard-right outfit the United Patriots Front sparked large police operations and attracted national attention to the central Victorian town.
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Senator Anning's Conservative National Party will field 40 candidates in lower house contests around Australia as well as in the Senate.
His party will go head-to-head with his former colleagues from Pauline Hanson's One Nation in 31 seats, most of them in Queensland.
In the Queensland seat of Oxley, birthplace of Senator Hanson's political career in 1996, Senator Anning will run Scott Moerland, who was a senior figure in the United Patriots Front, which was once the leading far-right organisation in Australia and attracted the community's most prominent figures, Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson.
Senator Anning pledged earlier this month not to run any white supremacist or far-right candidates on his ticket.
Senator Anning first entered the national Parliament in late 2017 on a One Nation ticket but quit the party after a falling-out with colleagues before briefly joining the Katter's Australian Party, only to be expelled from the minor outfit for "racist views".
The Queensland senator then courted notoriety by calling for a "final solution" to Muslim immigration in a speech to the Senate and was recently condemned by his fellow parliamentarians for inflammatory comments about the Christchurch mosque massacre.
One Nation is also contesting the Victorian seats of Latrobe and Monash as well as vying for one of the state's Senate seats.
- The Age
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