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Candidate in Australia Runs as Cyclists Party

Former Australian cycling magazine publisher, Phil Latz, is running for public office as part of a slate of challengers from the Australian Cyclists Party — the first political party in the world based on issues surrounding cycling, transportation, health and urban livability issues.

Latz said he doubts he will win his election for a seat in the New South Wales Legislature, but his candidacy has opened up doors to elected politicians and Australia’s bureaucracy.

“By running for office, I get a chance to push for ongoing issues. It’s given me and the party more access to highly placed officials,” he said.

Latz is running for a seat in the lower house of the New South Wales Legislature, and is one 22 candidates running in the election.

While the party is relatively new, it could have the opportunity — if it captures a seat in the House of Representatives — to help influence policy through building coalitions with the Green Party and Labor. “If we could get a candidate in into the upper House, we could then have an impact,” Latz said.

“I’m running a grass-roots campaign,” said Latz, who is well known throughout Australia’s cycling community. He sold his company, Lake Wagnary Publishing, to Yaffa Publishing, one of Australia’s oldest, family-owned media companies last year and continues to play a role cycling journalism. 

Omar Khalifa founded the party two years ago. He is a New York transplant — now an Australian citizen — who has worked as a business executive for major international corporations including Apple, GM and Hewlett-Packard. A longtime cyclist, Khalifa has become an advocate for environmental issues.

 

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