Public housing campaigner on the trail

Alan Menadue received just 82 votes at the 2014 state election but did not let his disappointment discourage him from recontesting the Greens-held seat of Prahran. Sandra Milutinovic reports.
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Alan Menadue received just 82 votes at the 2014 state election but did not let his disappointment discourage him from recontesting the Greens-held seat of Prahran. Sandra Milutinovic reports.

Alan Menadue knows he’s an underdog.

“I’ll spend $350 on the nomination, $150 on paper for signs and handouts and I will probably lose that money,” he says.

The 64-year-old Independent received just 82 votes at the 2014 state election but did not let his disappointment discourage him from recontesting the Greens-held seat of Prahran.

Though he says he’s “the candidate who lives in public housing and in virtual poverty”, his socio-economic status makes him better able to understand significant issues affecting the inner eastern electorate.

“I understand how to create change to improve all people’s minimum living standards in society,” he says. “I want to make a positive impact on Prahran.”

Mr Menadue, a Prahran resident for five years, says the most significant issues facing the community are housing density, traffic congestion, public transport and that there is a serious public housing shortage in the area.

He says the 12-storey block in which he lives is an ideal model for this accommodation and condemns the gentrification of the area, which has forced tenants in nearby buildings to leave.

“These buildings have been around for decades,” he says. “Many of the residents in the King Street housing blocks are refugees who fled Russia during the 1990s. They have nowhere to go.”

Originally from Wunghnu, a small town in the Goulburn Valley region of northern Victoria, he says he has seen much change including increasing inequality in Australia in recent decades.

“Young people are forced to rent because they don’t have the means to buy property,” he says. “This is unfair and unsustainable.”

He says younger generations feel disconnected from politics and he hopes to “…engage all demographics and get the best outcomes for all of society, not just voice empty promises”.

Mr Menadue says he has not sought financial assistance and is funding his own campaign with his savings. He says this is a small price to pay to “create a better Australia for today’s youth”.

“I think I’m the best candidate because I have a lot of life experience and genuine intentions of representing people’s best interests,” he says.