The Greens are confident this election will bring in an A.C.T. Senator, with Tim Hollo and Penny Kyburz running as candidates, writes Chris Mordd Richards.
CANBERRA IS IN A UNIQUE POSITION this Federal Election. A major electoral boundary redistribution has occurred with the Division of Canberra altered quite substantially. A new seat has also been created in the south, Bean, which picks up many voters who previously lived in the Canberra division.
On top of this, the previous Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann, has resigned from Parliament and is not contesting the seat again, leaving Labor to run a much lesser known candidate – Alicia Payne – to try and win the “new” seat back.
In the A.C.T.’s two Senate seats, Labor most likely still has “their” seat firmly in grasp going into this election with Katy Gallagher standing again. The Liberal Senator, Zed Seselja, on the other hand, is intensely disliked in Canberra, even by some in his own base.
This is in good part due to Zed’s pivotal role in helping Peter Dutton unseat Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister. In the last two federal elections, Zed’s seat has come down to a final preference distribution each time to claim the seat, so narrow has his primary vote margin been each time.
All of this has the Greens feeling somewhat confident that this election could just possibly bring about not only an A.C.T. Greens Senator but also, they hope, an A.C.T. Greens House of Representatives member in the Division of Canberra.
I've come to Canberra to help support Penny and Tim because they are exactly the kind of people we need to break up the two party system. The A.C.T. presents a really unusual opportunity — the chance to win a balance-of-power Senate seat off the Liberals and the unusual situation in Canberra where there is no sitting MP. I don't think most people realise we're within striking distance in both seats.
IA spoke with both candidates and asked them to tell us why they are running and what they will bring to Parliament if elected.
Tim Hollo had this to say:
I’ve been working for climate action, in different capacities and with different approaches, for 20 years. With so little time left, we desperately need this next Parliament to be the one that puts us on track. That is why I’m running for the new seat of Canberra, one of the most forward-thinking electorates in the country.
In 20 years of campaigning, I’ve never seen the level of concern in the community that we have now and people here in Canberra know that, to get serious climate action, we need to remove this Government of deniers and delayers and make sure we have a strong Greens cross-bench in both houses to pull an incoming Shorten Government towards stronger action.
Tim is passionate about climate change and intends to bring his knowledge and participatory democracy to his campaign. He is running a series of public meetings to ‘get Canberra’s incredibly engaged community involved in making the decisions that shape our future’.
Penny Kyburz had this to say about her Senate run:
I am running for the Senate in the A.C.T. because I want to represent the progressive values of our community in the Federal Parliament. Our current representation is failing us, with Zed abstaining from the marriage equality vote in 2017 and voting against the A.C.T. having the right to legislate on voluntary assisted dying in 2018, as well as trying to make Peter Dutton our Prime Minister. We need Greens in the Federal Parliament to ensure that our community has a voice and that our rights and values are being represented.
As a lecturer in computer science, I also want to ensure that we have the infrastructure and support that we need to contribute to the global knowledge and information economy of the future. At the same time, we must ensure that our human rights are protected in the digital space, as we live more and more of our lives online. We need people in the Parliament who understand technology and the increasing role that it is playing in our lives and society.
Penny is passionate about replacing Zed Seselja with a truly representative voice in the Senate representing Canberra. The Greens are also running a second Senate candidate, Emma Davidson, Andrew Braddock in Fenner, where Andrew Leigh is the incumbent for Labor and Johnathan Davis for Bean, which has no existing member.
The same question posed to Tim and Penny was sent to all five candidates, but Emma, Andrew and Johnathan were not able to reply by the date of publication.
Interviews have been completed or are underway currently with other A.C.T. candidates, including Robert Knight and Therese Faulkner for The Progressives, Independents Jamie Christie, Anthony Pesec, Nicholas Houston and Steven Bailey, as well as Alicia Payne for Labor and Mina Zaki for the Liberals.
A candidates forum was held on Saturday the 13 April in Canberra with most of the candidates mentioned above. You can see the full 100-minute long event video if you wish to know more about the candidates and their views.
You can follow Chris Mordd Richards on Twitter @Mordd_IndyMedia.
Calling for an end to hate speech & any tolerance of it: Greens candidates @timhollo & @DrKyburz at candidates panel for the #Election2019 at @SmithsAltBooks #Democracy #Canberra #AusVotes2019 #ClimateElection pic.twitter.com/UnAZCPGExG— Gillian King (@GillKing01) April 13, 2019
Wouldn't it be great for @timhollo to join @larissawaters in our Parliament!— The Australian Greens (@Greens) April 15, 2019
Tim's running for the newly created electorate of Canberra, you can volunteer to make history here 👉 https://t.co/MAMtmS6swb #AusVotes https://t.co/LXukedh5BR
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.