YOU might not have seen much of Macgregor Ross on the campaign trail in Calare unless you trawled cyberspace.
Mr Ross, the only independent candidate in a field of eight hopefuls for the September 7 ballot, announced at the time of his nomination that he intended conducting his campaign on social media.
He emerged into the real world long enough to take part in a candidates’ forum organised by the business association in Lithgow and to present his credentials.
Apart from that public appearance he has kept a low profile so far during the campaign.
But at least in his hometown of Lithgow Mr Ross is far from an unknown.
In fact he is well recognised as someone of outstanding organisational abilities after taking the annual two day Ironfest carnival from a sidewalk craft sale to one of the biggest and most popular events anywhere in the region.
Think Ironfest in Lithgow and you think Macgregor Ross.
Mr Ross will be the first to admit that it would take some sort of a political miracle for him to get elected against the high profile and well financed campaigners.
But he keeps trying as a contribution to the democratic process and the all important right of free choice.
He was an independent candidate for the last state election and the experience on that campaign trail clearly inspired the wish to try again - albeit without the inconvenience of hitting the hustings.
So Mr Ross became the keyboard candidate and he says the social media campaign is attracting the hoped for responses.
And while he may not be knocking on your door draped in a please vote for me banner it doesn’t mean he’s afraid to express his opinion on where he stands and what the nation needs.
This week he was targeting the mining industry in its various guises and the headlong rush to flog everything off overseas at any price.
“We shouldn’t be in such a hurry to flog everything off, particularly when the prices are low,” he said.
”What’s happened to value adding in Australia?
“Let’s mandate local minerals processing, set benchmarks and aim for 90 per cent of all minerals to be processed before export by 2050.”
Mr Ross said the former leading cement town of Portland was a good example of what happens when the minerals run out - “and they will run out”.
“The operators of the cement works failed in their duty to restore the site after making their fortune and walking away, leaving an impost on the regional economy,” he said.
He sees potential in the site for a large scale cultural centre by locating groups of ‘tribal’ boat people there after being accepted for refugee settlement in Australia.
His platform also involves a “proper” minerals tax contributing to a locally based futures fund to finance development of alternatives and sustainable local industries.
He would further like to see a policy of “resource recovery” - including a requirement in sales contracts for minerals to be returned to Australian processing plants to create a large scale multinational recycling ability.
Mr Ross says that as a true independent he will not be allocating any preferences but believes he has been nominated as a beneficiary of the Palmer United Party.
He says he’s the only non party candidate in Calare and as such is the only real alternative choice.
“Anyway I’m getting a good feeling from nearly everyone I speak with,” he says.
“People I don’t know are stopping me in the street - party people from all sides telling me I will get their vote.”
Mr Ross believes he’s an outside chance to attract 10 per cent of the vote “and anything over that would be amazing”.
Stranger things have happened in cyberspace.