10 May 2021

Stefaniak expands Belco Party into Gungahlin, Tuggeranong

| Dominic Giannini
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Bill Stefaniak

Former Liberal Minister Bill Stefaniak created the Belco Party ahead of the ACT’s 2020 election. Photo: File.

Bill Stefaniak’s Belco Party will expand into Gungahlin and Tuggeranong after running an unsuccessful election campaign in the Belconnen-based seat of Ginninderra last year.

The party was formed by the former Canberra Liberals ACT Attorney-General and opposition leader last June and ran with the slogan, “Keep the Bastards Honest”.

Mr Stefaniak said Canberrans outside the Belconnen region wanted to vote for the party but couldn’t because they did not run candidates in any other electorate.

More choices for Canberrans were needed to break up the Labor-Greens coalition, which will have shared power for well over a decade come the next election in 2024, he said.

“The Belco Party would like to see [the coalition] broken up and see a few independents elected to the Assembly,” he said.

“[Having] three major parties and no one else is bad for democracy and informed decision making.

“If nothing changes, we may never see a change of government for the next 20 years.”

The Belconnen branch will be run by president Angela Lount, who ran as a candidate for the party in October last year.

Belco Party candidate Chic Henry

Belco Party candidate Chic Henry received the second-highest first preference votes in Ginninderra outside of the three major parties, while Mr Stefaniak topped the best of the rest. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Former jockey and racing industry stalwart Greg Burke will become the president of the Gungahlin branch while school counsellor Jason Potter, who stood for the Australian Federation Party in Brindabella last year, will head up the Tuggeranong branch.

Mr Stefaniak secured 4 per cent of the primary vote, while the party’s five candidates cumulatively secured just under 10 per cent of the electorate’s primary vote.

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Mr Stefaniak and his candidate Chic Henry received the highest number of primary votes outside the major parties in the Ginninderra electorate.

The party ran on a platform of re-introducing greyhound racing, firecrackers and the Birdman Rally, as well as bringing electric car racing and boat registrations to Canberra.

The party was criticised for being a front for the Canberra Liberals as Mr Stefaniak is a former minister and opposition leader for the party, but he rejected this notion.

Resigned Canberra Liberals candidate Vijay Dubey and Canberra Greyhound Racing Club president Alan Tutt also ran for the party in the ACT election.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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