Podcast #70: Rise of the independents


Ben is joined by Narelle Miragliotta and Stewart Jackson to discuss the rise of the Voices independents movement, and the Victorian seat of Casey.

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  1. Is it a true rise of independents or just a collection of ex-liberal Karens under a loose climate/federal icac banner?
    I don’t see much broad diversity amongst the current rise of independents in either philosophy or diversity.
    There’s only 2 that really stand out separate to the Vox de Karens: Dai Le in Fowler and maybe Natalie Baini in Reid.
    I still think the independents running in Liberal strong holds would be better forming a party rather than going it alone. For starters, forming a party numbs the Libs argument of being spoilers or Labor lackies in parliament because they would be an entirely
    separate caucus.
    Gaining party status also allows them Federal funding and not having to rely on the Holmes-A-Court stipend.
    And the novelty of a new party with moderate undertones, gives greater confidence to voters that this an established and serious player in the political scene.
    This will be a massively wasted opportunity if they don’t sweep these seats given the money and free coverage via ABC and Fairfax they have received. Even more so the distinct possibility that other than Steggall and Haines they gain nothing.
    Strategically most if not all should’ve at least had stints in Local Government as Mayor or even Deputy Mayor, that would’ve provided a more substantive platform to work off.
    Coming in cold with no name recognition is always a difficult task

  2. LJ Davidson, I wouldn’t say that all of these ‘independents’ are going in with no name recognition. A few either have family connections (Allegra Spender and Kate Chaney being daughters of former Liberal MPs) or are well known personalities outside of government (eg Zoe Daniel, former ABC reporter).

    But I agree with the rest of your post that these independents should have formed a party, as some are campaigning with each other.

  3. The whole point of the “Voices” movement is that they are representatives of their electorates independent of one another, individually selected by groups of concerned citizens, and that as independents they are best placed to act on issues of accountability and integrity. Placing them under the banner of a party is a Liberal talking point and they would be very stupid to play into it.

  4. Adda, is it true that although each candidate may be selected individually from their own communities, there is also a bit of an overarching structure in terms of financing? I have read that some high profile figures like Simon Holmes a Court are providing a large amount of funding to these candidates, which would make it more of a party like structure.

    If candidates were truly independent, they would seek out most funding sources from their own electorates. Granted, some high profile candidates like Zoe Daniel can self fund to some extent and will no doubt have pre-existing connections nationwide.

  5. Outside groups funding to independents is by no means a new thing. Getup, for example. Climate 200 is getting a lot of attention this particular cycle for being a huge fundraiser but the Voices movement predates that. There’s no organisation binding the individual Voices for {electorate} together. A few Voices candidates even reject Climate 200 donations (see Nicholls’ Rob Priestly).

    In any case, my point is not whether an independent is “truly independent” if they get a lot of funding from a particular organisation, but that their purpose for existing would be directly undermined by forming a political party. That is, the idea that political parties cannot be trusted to act on integrity issues and a local independent is the best way to ensure accountability in parliament and for the electorate. The entire reason the Liberal party has been seeking to conflate the Voices movement and Holmes’ organisation is because this turns them into being “just another party”. So they would be committing electoral suicide by playing into that trap.

  6. Fair point Adda, conservatives usually like to target parties and individuals who oppose them by arguing that they receive funding from outside sources, one of their main targets being Getup and union groups who provide funding for Labor.

    This ignores the point that there are large think tanks like IPA and also industry groups such as Minerals Council who lobby and provide support/funding for conservative party candidates. This means that the Coalition are being hypocritical by pointing out flaws in the system that they themselves are able to exploit heavily.

  7. I worked for GetUp for years and they never would have donated money directly to a candidate. They intervene with their own campaigns which never directly endorse a single candidate but don’t bankroll independents directly.

  8. Fair enough, I will stand corrected. Still, the point remains that there are innumerable examples of lobbying groups that will donate to candidates, independent or otherwise. It’s long been part of the system.


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