The True Value(s) of Being Independent

I’m standing for your support, to represent you in Kooyong. The chances are that we haven’t met yet, and that you don’t know what I stand for and what has led me to this point on my political journey. So it’s more than fair that I fill you in.

I’m one of seven children. You can’t be too precious or have too much ego when you’re one of seven. From birth, life was one long experience of compromise, negotiation, give and take, and the accommodating of diverse perspectives. It made me who I am today. 

I have always been driven by my values, but never by ideology. 

I have always wanted to conserve our way of life. I come from a family with liberal values, grew up in Liberal heartland and have been represented by Liberal icons for much of my life. But I am not a Liberal.

I have always been an environmentalist. I love nature, think climate change is the most important issue we face, and desperately want to conserve our green spaces. But I am not a Green.

I have always believed in helping the underdog. I want a strong social safety net, think workers should be safe and secure, and even briefly joined the Labor Party once when Kevin Rudd said he’d ratify Kyoto. But I am not Labor.

I am an Independent. 

No party can convince me to sign over my values, no matter which way the political winds take them. No one party can expect me to step away from my conscience to stick with them no matter what, as I would my footy team. (Confession time: I’m a Carlton tragic).

Like you, and everyone else in Kooyong, I am not a one-dimensional political creature. I like aspects of each party’s platform, support some policies and disagree with others, applaud some gestures and abhor others.

To think any person can fit neatly in a political box is to misunderstand and underestimate human nature. 

Like many Australians I have had moments of affinity with different parties, but voting with your values means deciding on the issues at each election and not being tied to blue, red or green. 

I admired John Howard's historic environmental conservation efforts and Renewable Energy Target. I hoped that Malcolm Turnbull would end the climate wars and marry socially progressive values with a modern economy. I had similar hopes for Kevin Rudd when he promised to be a "socially progressive and economically conservative" leader, and declared that climate change was “the great moral challenge of our generation.” In vain hope I even signed up to the promise of ‘Kevin07’ as a member, but like many Australians, I was disappointed. When Kevin Rudd walked away from climate action, I walked away from him. That was over a decade ago and I haven’t put my faith in a political party since. 

I am a member of this community first, completely unaligned to any political party, free of factional loyalties, unfettered by debts to mining or gambling companies, and able to speak my truth rather than toe a party line. I want what’s best for Kooyong and the country. 

I believe that the community is calling out for effective action on climate change, more integrity in government, a stronger economy and better treatment of women. In 2022, it will not get all of those things from any of the major political parties.  

You don’t grow up with six siblings thinking that it’s your way or the highway, but that’s how our political parties treat us. I prefer to respect all perspectives and find common ground. If no party will stand up for my beliefs, I will do that myself. That’s why I am an Independent. 

If you make your own mind up about each issue as it arises, then you are an Independent too. 

If you think the good of the community comes before the good of the politician, then you are an Independent too. 

If you choose to vote in each election according to your beliefs and values, then you are an Independent too.

Let’s move past the petty politics of parties. We are smarter than that. It’s time for us all to reclaim our independence.