News

Tatura man Josh Hudson off to form own party

By Shepparton News

Not everyone starts their own political party.

But in the interests of giving himself the best chance possible at winning a seat in Victorian Parliament’s upper house at the November election, that is what Tatura’s Josh Hudson is hoping to do.

It was a ‘‘big decision’’, but in part empowered by the election of neighbouring independent MPs Suzanna Sheed and Cathy McGowan to state and federal parliament respectively, Mr Hudson decided to give it a go.

‘‘I saw the good work (Ms Sheed and Ms McGowan) were doing for their regions,’’ he said.

‘‘Why not try take it region-wide so we get more things happening ... outside of the major parties.’’Mr Hudson, 33, is a married father-of-one who grew up in the region and has for the past five years worked as manager of the social enterprise The Work Group in Shepparton.

Research told him that winning a seat in Victoria’s upper house would be difficult as an independent.

He instead decided to create a minor party — aptly titled Hudson for Northern Victoria — to contest with. This way, the candidate can accept votes below and above the line on election day.

‘‘I initially wanted to run as an independent, but found they rarely get elected to the upper house,’’ Mr Hudson said.

‘‘That’s why we arrived at decision to start a party.

‘‘We think we can represent the region better than bigger parties.

‘‘I’m not worried about gaining government or retaining government ... just 100 per cent focused on Northern Victoria.’’

Mr Hudson has submitted his application to the Victorian Electoral Commission and is awaiting confirmation of approval of the party’s registration.

The election hopeful knows that if successful he could present an important crossbench vote in the upper house; something he suggested could serve to bring ‘‘more government investment, more attention’’ to the region.

As for areas of focus, Mr Hudson pointed to youth engagement as a major challenge and the need for water security across the region.

But by and large, he hoped to primarily be ‘‘fighting locally on local issues’’ if elected.

Mr Hudson is under no illusions as to the size of the area he wants to represent; the Northern Victorian region stretching all the way from Mildura in the north-west to Wodonga in the north-east.

But he said he was prepared for plenty of driving across the north of the state on the campaign trail over the coming months.

‘‘It’s going to be tough, I will need a lot of first preference votes ... and a lot of preferences to fall my way as well,’’ he said.

‘‘It will be a challenge, but I’m hoping to get there.’’