AJP: the major parties are starting to listen to us


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AJP candidate for Macnamara, Craig McPherson.

Being a full-time electrician and animal lover, Craig McPherson never anticipated he would one day be running for Parliament.

However, at the 2019 election he will be representing the Animal Justice Party (AJP) in the Macnamara electorate.

Mr McPherson has been involved with the AJP for a few years, as well as with a number of non-profit organisations such as Sea Shepherd and The Coalition Against Duck Shooting.

“I’m running to represent animals. I want to be their voice and try and communicate a message of kindness and compassion to the public,” he said.

The AJP selected Mr McPherson to be the Macnamara candidate based on an interview and his involvement with the party.

The candidate said he is well aware that one of the major parties is likely to win the Macnamara electorate, but that does not mean the AJP cannot make an impact.

He has met with the Labor candidate for Macnamara, Josh Burns, and will meet with the Greens’ candidate, Steph Hodgins-May, soon to discuss a number of issues relevant to the AJP agenda.

“Those parties will be trying to get us on side. As a smaller party we can help swing the seat of Macnamara,” he said.

Given that the Labor party only beat the Greens by 447 votes at the first-preference stage in Macnamara  in 2016, the AJP preference could be vital in determining the winner at this election.

The biggest issue on Mr McPherson and the AJP’s agenda is the live export of animals.

During his discussion with Mr Burns, Mr McPherson learnt that the Labor party wants to ban only the live export of sheep.

Wanting to protect all animals from live exports, Mr McPherson said he will wait until he hears from the Greens before deciding who he will preference.

While animals are at the forefront of Mr McPherson’s campaign, he also wants to improve the lives of humans.

The AJP candidate has been a vegan for four years and says that he has been thriving on a plant based diet, and would like to see all Australians move away from meat.

The candidate said he would like to see incentives introduced for those working in the meat industry to transition into more sustainable forms of farming and food production.

“The AJP is for farming, but for plant farming, where no harm is caused to animals,” he said.

Mr McPherson said he also wants a carbon tax scheme put in place to hold people accountable for their emissions and wants Australia to transition from coal to renewable energy sources.

Federal environment minister Melissa Price recently approved the Adani Coal Mine Project’s key water management plan. This took the project one step closer to execution, but several state based approval decisions are still pending.

Craig McPherson opposes the construction of the Adani Coal Mine and said it is a threat to the Great Barrier Reef, the sea creatures that live there and the thousands of jobs connected to reef tourism.

“When the government in power allows a company like Adani to build a coal port and mine that could threaten the Great Barrier Reef, that’s probably an environmental crime,” he said.

Although the AJP is a small party, they are currently running 18 candidates across Victoria in this election.

Mr McPherson said “one of the goals for this party is to get 4% of the vote…from that we get federal funding and that is very important for a small growing party because we can employ more staff and run more advertising campaigns.”

He is optimistic the AJP can achieve this as their values of equality, compassion and nonviolence resonate with a lot of voters.

“The larger parties are realising that and want to work with us. Not just because we can help swing a seat in their favour, they understand the issues and we represent a lot of the values society holds,” he said.