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HomeLatest NewsTeal takeover bid for upcoming state election

Teal takeover bid for upcoming state election

Buoyed by its success in the Federal Election this year, the teal independent movement has its eyes set on Northern Beaches state seats this coming election in March 2023.

The groups, mostly comprising locals connected with the federal campaigns, have been set up to select independent candidates to unseat state Liberal strongholds of Wakehurst, Manly and Pittwater.

The groups have started canvassing their respective electorates through community surveys set up through websites and are inviting locals to nominate a candidate or someone to nominate themselves to stand against incumbents Brad Hazzard or his replacement in Wakehurst, Rob Stokes’ replacement in Pittwater and James Griffin in Manly.

And like the recent ‘teal wave’ of independents that swept through federal parliament, integrity in government and action on climate change are the key issues on which they seek change.

Dr Sophie Scamps, Independent challenger, takes Mackellar electorate from incumbent Liberal MP Jason Falinski in the 2022 Australian federal election. Dee Why, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart, Saturday 21 May 2022

Wakehurst Independent spokesperson Sarah Baker, who also ran on Mayor Michael Regan’s Your Northern Beaches Ticket in the recent local government elections,  told Manly Observer that there were certain requirements a potential candidate needed to follow to be the successful nominee, and like the current ‘teal’ independents elected to federal parliament, the main ones were a commitment to address climate change and integrity in politics.

Sarah Baker.

“The community’s engagement with independents at the local and federal level in McKellar and Warringah has shown us that the time is right for independents,” Ms Baker said.

“Our ideal candidate is someone who is climate focussed and someone with great integrity, which unfortunately has been lacking in party politics for a long time at federal level and we’ve seen it recently a state level with Barilaro and ‘jobs for mates’ as well as with Gladys Berejiklian and her imminent ICAC findings.”

Scott Porter, who is a spokesperson for the Manly Independent movement who was also on former Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham’s ticket in the recent local government election, said: “The two-party system is broken. There’s a better way to do it and we’re seeing those fantastic examples with Kathy McGowan down in Victoria a few years ago to the recent teal wave. I think the public are starting to wake up that there is a better was to do politics.”

While independent candidates are often self nominated and not beholden to any policy platform other than what they choose to run with, the Wakehurst’s Independent group has highlighted being climate-focused as a mandatory policy platform for a candidate’s selection.

When asked the question how this was then any different to party politics, Ms Baker said it was in response to community demand.

“At the federal level in McKellar and Warringah there were extensive surveys done in those electorates and climate was consistently in the top three of concerns for residents in the northern beaches, so we’re looking for someone who would champion both climate and integrity,” she said.

“The reason for that because It is very much our view that the climate science is not up for debate – the science is settled, so we need someone with the political will to champion this in the parliament.

“We want someone who doesn’t politicise climate but makes sensible adjustments for both climate mitigation and climate action. Unless someone, the candidate, embraces the climate science then they’re not going to be able to look after the future of its citizens and economy.”

Manly Observer asked: Climate change legislation is largely governed federally, so how can state politicians, particularly an independent, make any real impact in this area?

Manly Observer asked: Climate change legislation is largely governed federally, so how can state politicians, particularly an independent, make any real impact in this area?

“Whilst action on climate change is the mandate of federal government, all levels of government are responsible for pulling their weight,” she said.

“There are lost of things the state government does, such as public transport and the move to electrification of buses, which was recently delayed by 17 years. They can also impact planning laws, we would also like to see net zero homes, schools and hospitals by taking into account lowering emissions when planning at the state level.

There is talk Brad Hazzard, who is the current Minister for Health, may retire at the next election in 2023. At the last state election Mr Hazzard retained Wakehurst with 58.9 percent of the primary vote despite a swing of 5 percent against the Liberal party.

From left to right: James Griffin, Brad Hazzard, Rob Stokes, Cafe owner Michael Malouf, and then treasurer Dominic Perrottet announce the Dine & Discover pilot for the Beaches in February 2021. Credit: Sel Soker

The seats of Pittwater and Manly are also considered safe Liberal party seats, but with Pittwater incumbent Rob Stokes recently announcing he won’t stand again, it will be an interesting seat to watch.

Warringah MP Zali Steggall welcomed the movements, saying that it is a natural progression for the community who are frustrated with the major parties at all levels of government, especially on the Northern Beaches.

“Communities that have been engaged at a federal level are saying can we get this at state level as well because on issues like climate, there is frustration at the decision making at all levels of government.

Zali Steggall’s acceptance speech at Balgowlah RSL 21 May 2022. Photo: Ash Berdebes

“It will be interesting to see first with the Victorian elections then the NSW election. Each independent candidate has to approach it locally and really connect with their community.”

All groups have set up websites where people can fill out a survey on the issues that are most important to them in the community and nominate someone, they believe could steal the seat from the Liberal Party.

For more information on each group, visit www.wakehurstsindependent.com.au, www.manlyindependent.com.au and www.independentpittwater.com.au/

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Manly Observer is an experiment in providing non-sensationalist hyperlocal news on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We cover the big news across the LGA, but with a hyper focus on the Manly electorate encompassing Balgowlah, Seaforth, Freshwater, Brookvale and Curl Curl up to Dee Why. It is run by those living in the community for the benefit of an informed community. We care about an informed and connected community. That’s it. Simple. Thank you for your support in keeping quality local news alive!

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