Greens candidate for the seat of Higgins Dr Clive Hamilton has spoken up for same-sex marriage shortly after announcing he will run for the blue-ribbon Liberal seat.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown announced Hamilton would stand for the party at the December by-election caused by the resignation of long-time Howard government treasurer Peter Costello.

“We are in this election seriously to give the people of Higgins a great alternative. They’re used to having very formidable representatives in Canberra and in Clive Hamilton we offer them another one,” Brown said.

Hamilton is former head of left-leaning thinktank, the Australia Institute, has been involved with the Climate Institute and has written several books on Australian society.

Hamilton told Southern Star he would go into bat for GLBTI issues if elected.

“I’ve had a strong sensitivity on these issues for a long time and commitment to equal rights must extend [to same-sex marriage]. It’s one of the last areas really where equal rights need to be extended,” Hamilton said.

“Voters in Higgins have always given quite strong support to the Greens, so we’ll be hoping to extend that. I think for gays in Higgins who are concerned, particularly about equal marriage, there’s really not much choice [in the major parties].”Although Hamilton was unaware when asked about the push for federal change on anti-discrimination legislation to include sexuality and gender identity, he said he had ‘in principle’ support.

Climate change is central to Hamilton’s campaign agenda and it is likely he will play on local concerns over big picture issues.
“There’s no greater threat to Australia’s future than climate change,” he said.

“I’m appealing to the voters of Higgins to think of themselves at this moment first as Australians and second as residents of Higgins and think about the future of Australia because it’s now or never on climate.”

In the 2007 election the Greens secured 10.8 percent of the vote, however, a win is still considered unlikely in the Liberal stronghold where Costello held 57 percent of the vote in 2007, despite a 1.7 percent swing to the ALP.

Former Costello staffer and National Australia Bank executive Kelly O’Dwyer will contest the seat for the Liberal Party.
O’Dwyer’s campaign so far has focused on the economy, improving housing affordability, health care and investment in local infrastructure.
The Labor Party, which has a GLBTI-specific faction in its South Yarra Branch, will not contest the seat.

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