Greens candidate for Richmond Michael Lyon.
Greens candidate for Richmond Michael Lyon. Scott Powick

Could Tweed go for Greens?

IF THE seat of Richmond is only a contest between Labor and Nationals, it is news to Michael Lyon.

The Byron Shire councillor is running as the Greens candidate for May's Federal Election.

Discounting the Greens from the Richmond seat would be a foolish practice.

The Greens took 20 per cent of first preference votes in 2016, and the continued disenfranchisement of the major parties could open the door for Mr Lyon.

The Brisbane-born councillor has a large profile in the south of the electorate, where he has been acting mayor of Byron Shire since March.

Mr Lyon said there were a number of issues his campaign would be based around, but his primary focus was on a major Tweed problem.

"In Tweed Shire and Byron Shire we see really high rates of homelessness," Mr Lyon said.

"We know we have some of the lowest rates of social housing provisions in the country.

"Tweed has a much hire rate of rough sleeping, with as many as 500 people homeless in Tweed alone."

The Richmond candidate said he would be a strong advocate for more affordable housing, as well his other major issue, the environment.

"The local member (Justine Elliot) says she is against coal seam gas, but that doesn't help when Federal Labor are going to open up the Northern Territory to fracking," he said.

"When people vote for me and the greens, they know the things I say I believe in are exactly the same things I will be talking about in parliament and they are the exact same things I will vote for in parliament."

While bookmakers currently have the Labor incumbent as the red-hot favourite, Mr Lyon believes this could be the year the Greens take Richmond.

"I do see it as a chance to win," he said.

"What is interesting is the Greens - on the progressive side of politics - have been setting the policy agenda," he said.

"A lot of the changes Labor have taken to this election are being taken from Green policy.

"I think that (Elliot) speaks well at rallies particularly on the environment but we don't see the results when it matters in parliament.

"I don't think she is representing the region well enough -people want stronger action of climate change."

Youth unemployment and better aged care treatment were other issues raised when Mr Lyon spoke with the Tweed Daily News.

Mr Lyon has just over two weeks to gain enough support to cause an upset in the seat.



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