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Meet the 'freedom candidates' in the ultra-marginal seat of Lilley

Updated: May 29, 2022

The seat is currently in the national spotlight after the LNP's candidate was referred to the federal police.

Four "freedom" candidates from the seat of Lilley joined forces at a Q&A forum, two weeks out from the federal election that analysts say will deliver swings to right-libertarian parties.

One Nation, the United Australia Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Informed Medical Options Party were met with cheers from the 60-strong crowd at Sandgate Town Hall as they railed against the major parties, the ABC and vaccine mandates.

UAP candidate for Lilley, Gerardine Hoogland, told 6 News the party will capitalise on rising distrust in the major parties and those disenfranchised with COVID-19 restrictions.

“The other election was pre-COVID," she said.

“United Australia Party now is a whole different beast...I believe we are in for a chance.”

Australian Catholic University lecturer Ben Moffitt told The Tally Room podcast that “freedom” parties will see an increase in their vote as the primary vote for the major parties dips below 40%.

Hoogland, a former Liberal party member, took aim at Liberal preferencing and rebuffed suggestions the UAP is a front for the Coalition.

“In what world does the so-called conservative party preference their arch-enemy Labor over UAP?” the unvaccinated historian said.

Echoing Ms Hoogland’s view that “the ABC is a propaganda outfit,” IMOP candidate Dr Stephen McGrath promised to hold Leigh Sales and Norman Swan “to account” for “the death of democracy in this country”, despite 76% of people saying it is the nation’s most trusted source of news.

One Nation candidate Michelle Wilde called for mainstream journalists to be prosecuted, adding that climate change and the Russia-Ukraine war are “scripted” distractions.

Wilde said it is mutually beneficial to have Lilley’s four “freedom” candidates “working together.”

“We’ve been in discussions for a long time about how we can manoeuvre this next very, very important federal election,” she said.

However, the Greens candidate for Lilley, Melissa Stevens, said working together may backfire.

“I think they’re all running on a very similar platform, and I think they may well have shot themselves in the foot.”

“They may just split the alternative vote between themselves,” she said.

Vivian Lobo is the LNP's candidate for Lilley. He's currently in the national spotlight after being referred to the federal police over allegations he provided false information to the AEC about his residential address.

6 News was filming outside the address he reportedly submitted to the electoral commission when we were told by a visitor to the property that Mr Lobo was inside.

His car was at the property, and a hand could be seen through the curtain - but he wasn't willing to answer our questions.

Four of the seven candidates in Lilley have a freedom focus.

It is the second most-marginal seat in the country, currently held by Labor's Anika Wells on a margin of 0.6%.

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