NIMMITABEL small business man Andrew Thaler worked hard to raise his profile as an independent candidate in Eden-Monaro this election, staging a sit-in protest at the Queanbeyan 'Meet the Candidates' night and taking to Twitter to spruik his independent credentials.
He told The Queanbeyan Age he was disappointed to achieve just over 1 per cent of the total vote (958 first preference votes at time of print).
"To be honest, I was disappointed," Mr Thaler said.
"I really thought I did a better job than what was reflected, but according to people smarter than me at all of this, to come fifth behind the major parties, with all the money they spent ... and all the flag-wavers at the booths when I didn't have a single how-to-vote card, apparently that's a good indicator for the future.
"The analogy a mate gave me was that I just entered my wife's diesel 4WD into the Melbourne grand prix and I finished, and I didn't come last," he said.
Mr Thaler ran an aggressive campaign against the major party candidates, publicly calling Labor MP, Mike Kelly, a "liar" at the Queanbeyan candidates forum, and labelling Palmer United Party candidate Dean Lynch "corrupt and a liar" on his website www.andrewthaler.com.
He also had his Twitter account suspended for the last 10 days of the campaign after a number of complaints from political rivals and members of the public that he was "aggressively bulk following" Twitter users. However Twitter soon reconnected his account after Mr Thaler successfully rebutted the claims.
He told The Age that he'd struggled to achieve the same media air time as the major party candidates throughout the campaign, and said the federal political system was more difficult to enter for an independent.
"It's a lot of work and a lot of time ... the last week took a toll on me. I was pretty tired and I put up a Facebook post saying I'd run out of positivity. I just got to the end of it and hit the wall a bit, because I'd just had a baby (during the campaign) and had a business to run in the background.
"So it's hard, but in a way it's hard by design by the bigger parties. They don't want independents, they don't want smaller parties in the mix. So they've created a system where there's a very high threshold to get over," he said.
However Mr Thaler said he'd be running in the electorate again at the next federal election.
"I've started my campaign for the next election with this election," he said.