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The Candidate is a feature length observational documentary by Helen Gaynor. It follows Greens candidate Alex Bhathal over the final three weeks of her campaign to win a seat in the Australian federal parliament in 2018. In this, her sixth attempt in fifteen years, and with a 1% margin between her and victory, she and her team have good reason to believe that history is finally on their side. But this is no ordinary campaign…
Alex Bhathal is no ordinary candidate. Since 2001, over sixteen years and five elections, she has represented the minority party of the Greens in the electorate where she has also raised her family. A social worker now in her mid fifties, her features reflect her Indian Sikh and Anglo Australian heritage. For her two teenage sons, mum has been the Greens candidate for the area their entire lives.
And this is no ordinary election campaign. The seat of Batman has been a Labor Party stronghold since its creation over eighty years ago. When Alex first ran in 2001, the Greens vote commanded just 4% of the vote. But Alex’s team has managed to build support to the point where the margin between the parties is now only 1%. It is considered the most marginal seat in the country. If Alex wins in this by-election, it will be a game changer for herself, her family, her party and possibly the balance of power in the national parliament.