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Buying Votes In Aston

May 14, 2001

Aston Electorate - Click to enlarge The electoral contest for the Melbourne electorate of Aston took off yesterday with the announcement by the Federal Government of $220 million of funding for the Eastern Ring Road.

The government's contribution is to be matched by the State Government, which argues that there is a $500 million shortfall for the project.

The Federal funding is to go towards Stage 1 of the project. Coincidentally, Stage 1 will extend the Eastern Freeway from Mitcham to the Burwood Highway, a straight line through the heart of the Aston electorate.

Ultimately, the Eastern Ring Road will be 34 kilometres long and extend to Frankston.

The Aston by-election date has not yet been announced. It is expected that a date will be set by the Speaker, Neil Andrew, on May 22. The by-election is necessary because of the death of the sitting Liberal member, Peter Nugent.

The Liberal Party holds the seat with a margin of 4.24%. Recent reports suggest that Mr. Nugent's widow may contest the seat. This would be an attempt to take advantage of any personal following the former member may have enjoyed.

People Power, the new political organisation formed by Stephen Mayne, the editor of the online political news website, crikey.com.au, announced yesterday that Mark Ward would be its candidate for the by-election.

The Socialist Alliance, an organisation supported by Amalgamated Metal Workers Union Secretary, Craig Johnston, academic Verity Burgmann, and comedian Rod Quantock, has announced that it will also run a candidate in the by-election.

The ALP's candidate is Kieran Boland.

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