JAMES Houston has withdrawn from the race for Indi, believing an independent “cannot provide a strong enough voice”.
Mr Houston, of Burrowye, was set to contest the seat as a candidate for the 21st Century Australia Party, a new party that aimed to “offer a real alternative” to the Labor or Liberal parties.
But the party was not registered with the Australian Electoral Commission in time for the federal election and as such all of its candidates would instead have to run as independents.
Mr Houston said since discovering this last week, he had been debating whether he would run or not.
“I think running as an independent won’t provide a strong enough voice for Indi,” he said.
“I don’t feel there is going to be a hung parliament and I think your voice as an independent would be lost without a team to back you.”
Mr Houston said he was still part of 21st Century Australia and would be running next election.
Mr Houston is the third casualty of the race for Indi — independent Alan Lappin was forced to withdraw for health reasons and Katter Australian Party’s Lee Luvara stood down due to personal reasons.
He was replaced on Friday by Beechworth shearer Phil Rourke.
It brings the number of candidates for Indi to nine, with nominations to close on Thursday.
The commission will officially announce the candidates on Friday.