Batman by-election candidates speak out

Teresa Van-Leishout held a silent protest outside the Batman candidates forum she was excluded from.An independent candidate in the federal Melbourne seat of Batman has taped her mouth shut in protest after being left off the invite list to a climate change forum.

Independent candidate Teresa van Lieshout said it was undemocratic to only include five of the 10 candidates running in the March 17 by-election to the Northcote Town Hall on Tuesday night.

“I do not think it is even relevant what the topic is. If you disclude five of the 10 candidates in the by-election that is disgusting,” she told AAP ahead of her protest.

“I have strong environmental views. I want to discuss a theological perspective on climate change.

“It could be about any issue, I would still protest for not being invited.”

Climate action, fossil fuels, forests, refugees, and Queensland’s proposed Adani coalmine were among the topics to be discussed at the meeting

Darebin Climate Action Now convener Jane Morton told AAP candidates with “no policy or poor policies” on climate change hadn’t been invited to the discussion.

n Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey was also not included but would have spoken for a quarter of the electorate supporting the Adani coalmine.

Climate activists, attending the meeting, held up placards saying “#StopAdani”.

Labor’s Ged Kearney, the Greens’ Alex Bhathal, Save the Planet candidate Adrian Whitehead, Animal Justice Party’s Miranda Smith and Sustainable ‘s Mark McDonald were all invited to the forum.

n Liberty Alliance’s Debbie Robinson, Rise Up ‘s Yvonne Gentle and n People’s Party representative Tegan Burns were also left off the invite list.

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