Face-to-face campaign the key for Kevin Host

Kevin Host, Australian Christians, Stirling


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Australian Christians candidate Kevin Host

Australian Christians’ Kevin Host will be hoping the third time is the charm as he campaigns for the marginal seat of Stirling.

The plumber is representing the Australian Christians in the federal election after previously standing for the 2013 state election and the 2016 federal election.

Mr Host has a limited social media presence and political history, but the Australian Christians’ website described the Stirling candidate as a “devoted husband and a plumber by trade”.

In an email interview with The Junction, Australian Christians state director Maryka Groenewald said small business development and boosting the manufacturing sector were of significance to Mr Host.

Mr Host was unavailable for comment due to travel, which was taking him away from the electorate until a week before the May 18 election.

On Mr Host’s behalf, Ms Groenewald said it was important to reduce reliance on the international importation of goods.

“We need to become more competitive and creative if we are to compete with other international markets,” Ms Groenewald said.

Ms Groenewald said the Stirling candidate viewed religious freedom as the most pressing issue this federal election, in line with the party’s policies surrounding “the preservation of Judeo-Christian values”.

“The only way we can address it, is to have honest, open conversations about it,” Ms Groenewald said.

“Sadly, these days it seems healthy debate is no longer encouraged.”

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census data, almost 50 per cent of people in the City of Stirling were Christian while 30 per cent held secular beliefs or had no religious affiliations.

The City of Stirling has similar boundaries but is slightly bigger than its namesake federal electorate.

In 2017, the City of Stirling council discussed removing the opening prayer in place of an acknowledgement of country for First Nations people in WA to reflect Australia’s multi-faith community.

In 2018, the decision was made to include both rather than remove the opening prayer after concerns were raised in council about the “possible detrimental effects on reconciliation”.

Regarding the candidate’s lack of social media presence, Ms Groenewald said Mr Host believed “nothing beat face to face” communication, and he enjoyed being out and about.

According to Business News WA political columnist Peter Kennedy, this direct and traditional approach to campaigning was not an easy practice.

“I think face-to-face communication can be effective, depending on the personality I think, of the candidate, and a lot of voters do appreciate door-knocking and things like that,” Mr Kennedy said.

“But really, face to face for most candidates is a very time consuming and very difficult way of campaigning.”

Mr Kennedy said the distribution of preferences would be significant to the Australian Christians, after Mr Host received just 2.4 per cent of first preference votes in the 2016 election.

“Based on the last election, the Liberal party tends to be the main beneficiary rather than the Labor party,” he said.

This election, Kevin Host’s name will appear second last on the electorate’s ballot papers.

The Australian Christians senate candidate, Ellen Joubert, was contacted for comment on Mr Host but did not respond.