Ballarat: A one horse race, or a potential long-odds victory?


Catherine King

Ballarat is a regional Victorian electorate, nestled in Melbourne’s north-west. It covers both big regional centres like Ballarat, as well as the quieter country towns of Trentham, Daylesford, Creswick, and Hepburn Springs.

The ALP’s Catherine King currently holds the seat by a 10.2 percent margin. But come May 21, Ms King will be facing Ben Green, John Barnes, Terri Pryse-Smith, Julia McGrath, Chris Kelly, Rosalie Taxis, Alex Graham, and Kerryn Sedgman.

Catherine King, Australian Labor Party

Ms King has represented Ballarat since 2001, and currently acts as the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development. Ms King supported Labor’s initiative for Free TAFE at a recent media conference in Ballarat.

“Whether you are a hospitality business in Daylesford or a manufacturer in Ballarat, you are facing the same problems with skills shortages,” she said.

Ms King said she understood the stress skill shortages have had on local businesses in her electorate during the pandemic. The Ballarat region has seen a 15 per cent drop in apprentices and trainees over the past eight years.

“The way to overcome local skills shortages is to train more local workers, delivering a win for local businesses and a win for locals who need an opportunity to get ahead,” she said.

For infrastructure upgrades, Ms King has pledged $4.5 million to rebuild the Sebastopol Senior Citizens centre and deliver a new Sebastopol Community Hub if the Albanese government is elected.

Ms King has also supported Labor’s plan for buyers in regional areas to be able to secure a house with a 5 percent deposit.

Ben Green, The Liberal Party of Australia

The Liberal Party has announced Ben Green as its candidate for the upcoming election. Mr Green has worked as a solicitor in Melbourne since 2008, specialising in construction, defamation, review of government decisions, general commercial, employment, crime, and insolvency. Despite being a relative unknown in the Ballarat region, Mr Green said previous employment in Sebastopol gave him a strong connection with local issues.

“Whilst there might be a perception of a lack of familiarity, I disagree with that. I’m not a household name, but my ties are genuine,” he said in an interview with the Ballarat Times.

Mr Green said Ms King’s large margin would not rule him out contention.

“It’s a bit like picking a Melbourne Cup, sometimes the favourite doesn’t get up,” he said.

Mr Green has supported increased infrastructure spending on Ballarat roads and airport.

John Barnes, The Greens.

John Barnes will be standing for the Greens on May 21. Mr Barnes served on the council of Ballarat from 1996-2001 and was Mayor from 1999-2001. In an interview with The Courier, he said climate change was one of his campaign’s leading concerns.

“We have to get prompt action from our government, and other governments throughout the world, on addressing the climate crisis, and we’re running out of time,” he said.


The Green’s policies, including free tertiary education, free childcare, building one million homes and creating a treaty with the first nations people would “transform the lives of many people in Ballarat”, he said.


“We’ll be running as vigorous a campaign as we can.”


Terri Pryse-Smith, United Australia Party

Terri Pryse-Smith has been selected as the candidate for The United Australia Party for the seat of Ballarat. Ms Pryse-Smith grew in Melbourne and has a history in education and currently runs a small business with her partner.


Ms Pryse-Smith has publicly stated her support for an end to vaccine mandates on her social media accounts. “The only party that will scrape all of these unfair mandates is the United Australia Party,” she said.


“We are successful small business owners. We would run a tight ship, repay the debt and save your homes.”


The United Australia Party has pledged to freeze home interest rates at three percent and repay the national debt with natural resources.


Rosalie Taxis, One Nation.

Rosalie Taxis is the One Nation candidate for the seat of Ballarat. Ms Taxis ran for the seat of South Brisbane in the 2020 Queensland State Election.


At the time of writing, she was absent from One Nation’s website



Julia McGrath, Liberal Democrats

Julia McGrath is the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for the seat of Ballarat. Ms McGrath was raised in the local town of Creswick and returned to Ballarat after several years of interstate working practice.


Announcing her candidacy on her FaceBook page, Ms McGrath encouraged the need for Australians to have greater freedoms.


“I have thrown my hat in the ring at this election to stand alongside individuals in Ballarat who have fought like hell to make decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses and those who seek to flourish in business and employment and those who simply wish to pursue their right to private enjoyment of their own property,” she said.


Ms McGrath said mandatory vaccinations were “incompatible” with a free society and should “never be tolerated.”


Chris Kelly, The Great Australian Party.

Life-long Ballarat resident, Chris Kelly will represent the Great Australian Party. In his introductory statement on his website, Mr Kelly acknowledged the importance of having local representation for working-class Australians.


“As we have it right now, we have a full class of underdogs swelling within our society and needing support through effective representation,” he said.


Alex Graham, Independent

Alex Graham will run for the third time as an Independent for the seat of Ballarat.

In the previous election Mr Graham received 1.6 per cent of the vote.


Mr Graham campaigns for better economic management but has supported the work of Catherine King in the past.


Kerryn Sedgman, The Australian Federation Party.

The Australian Federation Party has announced Kerryn Sedgman as its candidate for the electorate of Ballarat. Ms Sedgman is a Natural Health Practitioner and Educator specialising in Myotherapy, Herbal Medicine & Kinesiology.


As an educator at her own Kinesiology institution, Ms Sedgman is focusing on educational and environmental reform.