Research
10
min read

Austalian Federal Election 2022: Teal Independent Summary

Published on
April 29, 2022
Author
William Wright
for GovConnex Research
Before GovConnex Research is published here, it's sent exclusively to GovConnex Platform subscribers.

NSW

Wentworth - Allegra Spender

The Candidate - Allegra Spender - 43 year old Spender is the daughter of iconic Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti and Liberal MP/Diplomat/Barrister John Spender QC. Spender grew up in Wentworth before studying economics at the University of Cambridge. She has previously worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, policy analyst to UK Treasury, and served as the Managing Director of fashion label Carla Zampatti. She is currently CEO of the Australian Business and Community Network and sits as Chair of the Sydney Renewable Power Company.

What Does She Stand for? 

  • Climate action - net zero by 2030, pro electric vehicles, real action on climate change
  • New economy - wants to build a smart, sustainable, and fiscally responsible economy
  • Accessible education - second public high school for Wentworth
  • First-class healthcare - well funded aged care, mental health services, evidence based Covid response
  • Honest politics – federal ICAC, preserve the ABC
  • Israel - supports the right to an independent Israel
  • Inclusive society - protect LQBTQI+, indigenous, and refugee people
  • Natural environment - investing in protecting Wentworth’s natural environment

The Electorate - Incumbent Liberal Dave Sharma holds the affluent eastern Sydney seat of Wentworth by a margin of 1.31%. Sharma was defeated by independent Kerryn Phelps in a 2018 by-election, eventually winning the seat 7 months later at the 2019 election. Wentworth is the 2nd wealthiest electorate in Australia by median household income.

The Odds: Dave Sharma - $1.90                    Allegra Spender - $1.80

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses)

“Spender will consult the people of Wentworth and this will inform her decision”

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Voices of Wentworth

Her Chances

Allegra is a strong chance to take Wentworth, with some internal polling suggesting she is set to take at least 30% of the primary vote (Kerryn Phelps won with just 29.19% in 2018). Anecdotally, Allegra’s ground game is incredibly strong, signage has proliferated the electorate and hundreds of volunteers have already begun making the rounds. Spender is a popular local with many powerful and wealthy backers.

The Polls

The most recent Wentworth poll shows Spender leading 53-47, with 67% of Wentworth voters disapproving of the Coaltion’s endorsement of Katerine Deves’ transgender views

North Sydney - Kylea Tink

The Candidate - Kylea Tink - Originally from the NSW country town of Coonabarabran, Tink has resided in Northbridge for 15 years. Tink was Managing Director of global communications firm Edelman from 2003-2008. Tink eventually went on to become CEO of the McGrath Foundation and Camp Quality. 

What Does She Stand for?

  • Climate action - net zero by 2040
  • Forward-focused economy - decarbonisation, pro tech, pro small business, pro skilled migration
  • Integrity in federal politics - federal ICAC, end to pork barrelling
  • Equality and respect - paid parental leave, universal access to early childhood education
  • Healthy families and communities

The Electorate - Incumbent Trent Zimmerman holds the affluent north shore Sydney seat by a seemingly safe margin of 9.3%, Zimmerman has held the seat since the 2015 by-election that replaced former member Joe Hockey. The seat last left Liberal hands in 1990 when independent Ted Mack won the seat, holding onto it until 1996.

The Odds: Coalition - $1.52 Independent - $2.40

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

I’ll get the best possible outcome for North Sydney on the issues that matter to our electorate”

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Voices of North Sydney

Her Chances

Tink is a well funded and popular local, much like Wentworth, expect this to be an incredibly tight contest. North Sydney fully encompasses state electorate Willoughby where in February there was a +20.45 swing to relatively unknown and unfunded independent Larissa Penn against Liberal Tim James. If the state sentiment is reflected federally, Trent Zimmerman may be in trouble come May 21.

Mackellar - Dr Sophie Scamps

The Candidate - Dr Sophie Scamps - 51 year old Scamps has 3 teenage children and has lived on the Northern Beaches for 22 years. Scamps has worked as an emergency department doctor at Mona Vale Hospital and as a GP in Narrabeen. Scamps studied medicine at the University of Sydney, a masters of science at the University of Oxford and a Masters of Public Health at the University of NSW. Scamps was a junior world champion at 800 metres running. In 2019 Scamps founded “Our Blue Dot” a non-profit aimed at reducing waste and emissions. In 2020 she was a founding member of “Voices of Mackellar” and in 2021 she founded “Mackellar Rising”, a group aimed at gaining support for an independent candidate in Mackellar.

What Does She Stand for?

  • Climate & Environment - 50% reduction in climate pollution by 2030
  • Integrity & Equality - A strong federal anti-corruption commission, reform political donations, implement Jenkins Report
  • Health - Improve mental health service, increase wages for nurses and midwives
  • Economy - Create jobs in new high tech and clean energy economy

The Electorate - Incumbent MP Jason Falinski holds the seat by a margin of 13.2%. Stretching from Dee Why all the way to Palm Beach, Mackellar encompasses mostly affluent suburbs on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Traditionally safe Liberal, the seat borders Warringah, where Zali Steggall had resounding success amongst a similar demographic.

The Odds

Coalition - $1.35 Independent - $3.00

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

Dr Sophie Scamps will consult the people of Mackellar.

The Backers

  • Mackellar Rising
  • Climate 200
  • Voices of Mackellar

Her Chances

Although much more of an outsider than Spender and Tink, Scamps has gained ground in the last month, thanks in part to a large advertising spend (3x Falinski according to Google’s Political Transparency report), this has also included prime time metro Sydney TV ads. On the ground, Scamp's signs are outnumbering Falinski  significantly and many of the same elements of Zali Steggall’s shock 2019 victory exist in Mackellar. Do not be surprised if another independent turns the Northern Beaches teal.

The Polls

Polling conducted earlier this month indicates Scamps picking up 23.9% of the first preference vote, behind Falinski on 35.2% In 2019, he won 53% of first preferences. Perhaps most interestingly, the same poll found that 62% of voters had heard of Dr Scamps (a high number for an independent), 31% viewed climate change as the leading issue (10% ahead of the next biggest issue) and 52% disapproved of Scott Morrison (39% approved). These numbers are not great for Jason Falinski.

Warringah - Zali Steggall

The Candidate: Zali Steggall - 48 year old barrister and Winter Olympic bronze medalist Zali Steggall is married to marketing executive Tim Irving, she has two kids from a previous marriage. A Manly local, Steggall has fast cemented herself as a popular local member.

What Does She Stand for?

  • New Economy -  future focused circular economy that works for everyone
  • Climate Leadership - transition to a carbon neutral economy
  • Modern Healthcare - convenient and affordable healthcare
  • Integrity and Trust - bring integrity and accountability back into politics
  • Local Environment - protect Warringah’s natural environment
  • Champion Equality - fight for equity and human rights

The Electorate: 

Affluent north shore/northern beaches Sydney electorate Warringah is held by a margin of 7.2%, after Zali Steggall defeated former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2019. The seat is number 1 in Australia for median household income. The 2022 campaign has been plagued by controversy, with many Liberal/Labor MPs and pundits calling for Liberal candidate Katherine Deves to stand down over comments on trasngender people. The decision to run Deves, a trangender sports advocate may be strategic from the Coalition, knowingWarringah was all but lost, her candidacy may simply be a means to appeal to less progressive marginal seats.

The Odds

Independent - $1.04 Coalition - $9

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament?

At the 2019 election Steggall confirmed she would support the Coalition in the event of a hung parliament. There’s no reason to believe that this would change, however Steggall confirmed on ABC program Q&A earlier this month that she would be more likely to support the Coalition if Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not the leader. Opening the door for potential leadership changes post election.

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Voices of Warringah

Her Chances

Steggall will almost certainly retain Warringah.

Hume - Penny Ackery

The Candidate - Penny Ackery - teacher of kids with disabilities and 30 year resident of Goulburn has been endorsed as the “Voices of Hume'' candidate. Ackery is refusing to take funding from Climate 200, GetUp, or any oil and gas companies. Ackery’s husband John passed away earlier this month, however she has vowed to continue her campaign.

What Does She Stand for?

  • Economic Benefits and Regional Jobs
  • Bright Future
  • Protect Integrity
  • Climate Change (Although not overt on her profile, this will comprise a large part of the campaign as a differentiation from Angus Taylor)

The Electorate: Stretching all the way from the outskirts of Canberra to the outskirts of Sydney, mostly rural Hume is held by a very safe margin of 13%.

The Odds

Coalition - $1.08 Independent - $7

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

This is actually an excellent case, if we, the people of Hume find ourselves in this situation. Why? Because it means that I can negotiate hard for the items outlined in my policy platform. These are things that will benefit all of us and the things that you voted for. I will not be pre-empting which party I would work with, because I cannot see what options are on the table, until after the election. However, let’s hope we are in this supreme position to negotiate, for the betterment of all of us.

The Backers

  • Vote Angus Out
  • Voices of Hume

Her Chances

The Liberal primary vote has been above 50% in all elections since 2010, Angus Taylor has overseen three of these. For Ackery to win, the Liberal primary would have to significantly drop, this seems unlikely without Climate 200 funding. That said, Angus Taylor as energy minister has been at the forefront of much of the anger towards the Coalition's climate change policy (a now defining campaign issue for Ackery) and a strong independent result is possible. In terms of feel on the ground, Ackery seems to be running a popular campaign according to local newspapers.

The Polls

The only polling data available is one commissioned by Ackery’s campaign, showing Angus Taylor’s primary vote dropping to 31.6%, a far cry from the 53.3% he enjoyed at the last election. In the same poll Ackery only has 7% of the primary vote.

VIC

Goldstein - Zoe Daniel

The Candidate - Zoe Daniel - 51 year old former ABC Foreign Correspondent Zoe Daniel has spent 30 years reporting on natural disasters, conflict, economics and politics around the world including 4 years in Washington DC during the Trump presidency. Daniel is married with two kids. Her father is former Essendon AFL player Peter Daniel. Born in Melbourne, Daniel spent much of her childhood in Launceston, Tasmania. She describes herself as a swing voter, voting for the Coalition in the 2019 Federal Election due to Malcolm Turnbull’s stance on climate change.

What Does She Stand for?

  • Integrity - National integrity commission
  • Climate - Half emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero before 2050, incentives to increase uptake of electric vehicles
  • Prosperity - Forward focused economic policy in a new non-coal economy
  • Equality - Respect and safety

The Electorate

A coastal seat located in the affluent south east of Melbourne, Goldstein is held by incumbent MP Tim Wilson by a margin of 7.8%. The electorate has a large Jewish population (6.8%).

The Odds:

Coalition - $1.87 Independent - $1.87

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

This election is in the hands of the voters and I will not pre-empt their decision.

I have no pre-meditated position on which major party I would support in a hung parliament situation. My policy pillars and principles are clear, so if the people of Goldstein vote me in, it would come down to a negotiation with both major parties to weigh up who can best deliver on those positions.

If I am elected and we are in a state of minority government I would hope those aspiring to be Prime Minister would want to consult me.

As I have made clear my priorities are:

  1. Real, immediate and more ambitious action on climate change with a clear economic focus
  2. The restoration of integrity to - and the removal of corruption from - politics and politicians (implementing a National Integrity Commission)
  3. Accountability in the spending and allocation of taxpayers' money
  4. Safety for women at work, at home and in the community

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Voices of Goldstein

Her Chances

Zoe Daniel is not merely a chance at taking Goldstein, she is currently in the box seat. Daniel is incredibly well funded, and has an army of volunteers dwarfing that of incumbent Tim Wilson. Daniel has raised $1.1 million so far, $460,000 of that from Climate 200.

 

Kooyong - Dr Monique Ryan

The Candidate - Dr Monique Ryan - 54 year old neurologist Monique Ryan was born and raised in Kooyong, studying medicine at the University of Melbourne she eventually trained as a paediatric neurologist at Boston Children’s hospital. More recently, she ran the neurology department at the Melbourne Royal Children’s hospital. She has 3 kids, lives in Hawthorn, and is married to BioTech executive Peter Jordan. One time member of the Labor party (2007-2010), Ryan claims to have left the party due to their lack of action on climate change.

What Does She Stand for?

  • Action on Climate Change - reduce emissions by 60% by 2030
  • A Strong and Sustainable Economy - take advantage of a new decarbonised economy
  • Integrity and Honesty in Politics - independent federal anti-corruption commission
  • Equality, Respect, and Safety for Women - funding to prevent discrimination, harrassment, and violence against women
  • Diversity and Inclusion - humane treatment of refugees, LQBTQI+ people
  • Health Care - urgent implementation of the Aged Care Royal commission recommendations

The Electorate

Bordered by the Yarra river to the north, the affluent eastern suburbs electorate of Kooyong encompasses some of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs (Kew, Camberwell, Hawthorn). Previously held by Liberal leaders Sir Robert Menzies and Andrew Peacock the seat is held by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg by a margin of 6.3%. Frydenberg faced stiff opposition from the Greens in 2019, with Julian Burnside picking up 44% of the TPP vote, Greens leader Adam Bandt has stated that if the Greens were unsuccessful in the seat he would like to see a climate win instead, indicating that Greens preferences will flow to Monique Ryan. Simon Holmes à Court is a resident of Kooyong.

The Odds

Coalition - $1.60 Independent - $2.22

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

In the event of a hung parliament, Dr Ryan will work with all parties to secure an outcome that aligns with the values of the Kooyong community on which she will be elected.

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Voices of Kooyong

Her Chances

Perhaps the most hotly contested of all the independent seats, the battle for Kooyong has been vicious and is certain to be close. Monique Ryan has raised over $1.2 million from 1800 different donors, she has spent an enormous $150,000 across Google and Facebook so far. For comparison, the Federal Liberal Party has spent just $91,500 on Google across the entire country. Anecdotally, signage and volunteers are everywhere in the electorate, Ryan is currently boasting over 1500 volunteers. Recently, Frydenberg and Ryan have been arguing over the location and broadcaster of a debate between the two. It is worth noting that the Liberal party lost the similar state seat of Box Hill to Labor in 2018 despite having a primary vote of 45.3%.

This battle will go down to election day (and perhaps beyond), expect an incredibly tight contest, and quite possibly, a new Federal Treasurer.

The Polls

A UPoll poll on April 12 found Ryan ahead 59-41, the poll must be taken conservatively . Interestingly, Monique Ryan has secured the top spot on the ballot paper.

WA

Curtin - Kate Chaney

The Candidate - Kate Chaney - 38 year old lawyer and management consultant Kate Chaney come from one of Perth’s wealthiest families. Her father, Michael Chaney is the current chair of Wesfarmers (formerly Woodside and NAB) and former Chancellor of the University of Western Australia. Her grandfather Fred Chaney was a Menzies government minister. She has worked as the head of sustainability at Wesfarmers, innovation director at Anglicare, and a management consultant at BCG.

What Does She Stand for?

Real Climate Action - 50% reduction in emissions by 2030

Integrity in Politics -  federal integrity commission with teeth, mandate disclosure of political donations, implement Jenkins report

Economic Opportunities - make Australia a clean energy powerhouse

Inclusive Communities - humane treatment of refugees and implementation of Uluru Statement from the heart

The Electorate

Julie Bishop’s former seat of Curtin is held by incumbent Liberal MP Ceclia Hammond by a margin of 14.33%, the affluent western suburbs electorate of Curtin is traditionally the safest Liberal seat in WA.

The Odds

Coalition - $1.50 Independent $2.45

Who Would She Stand With in a Minority 

Parliament? (We contacted the offices of each of the independents with this exact question, here are their responses).

If Curtin elects me and neither major party holds a majority, I would negotiate with both major parties on my stated platform issues and support the one that would best support our electorate. I would retain my independence throughout my term, beholden only to the Curtin electorate.

The Backers

  • Climate 200
  • Curtin Independent
  • Doctors for Climate WA

Her Chances

Despite flying under the radar of media attention, Curtin shares many of the same attributes as seats like Wentworth and Warringah. Chaney comes from a well known and respected local family, has 500 volunteers, and has raised $686,000 in donations, with $300,000 from Climate 200. This will be a close seat, and may surprise a few come the vote.

The Polls

Recent polling has Chaney gaining 24% of the primary vote, with the Liberals getting 42%, Labor 20%, and the Greens 9%. On preferences, that may be enough to get Chaney across the line.

Incumbent Independents

Helen Haines

Supported by Climate 200 and incumbent member for Indi (the birthplace of Voices of), Haines is expected to retain her seat.

Andrew Wilkie

Independent member for Clark, Wilkie is also expected to retain his seat. Wilkie held an important role in the 2010 negotiations and has been vocal in his opposition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Rebekha Sharkie

Independent member for Mayo, Sharkie will retain her seat, Sharkie has recently stated that she would support Scott Morrison in the event of a hung parliament.

The Backers

Climate 200

Founded by Simon Holmes à Court (son of Australia’s first billionaire Robert Holmes à Court) on the eve of the 2019 election. Climate 200 aimed to influence climate policy in Australia and unseat Coalition MPs in socially progressive Liberal seats, notably Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong (the electorate to which Holmes à Court lives in). Generally, Climate 200 is providing 30% of a candidate's total funding, for example of the $1.3 million Kylea Tink has raised in North Sydney, Climate 200 has provided 35%.

Climate 200 raised $500,000 for the 2019 election, currently they have raised $9 million for 2022 with a target of $20 million before the May 21 poll. Climate 200 has indicated that they are currently on track to win 7 seats.

Major Donors

  • Simon Homes à Court
  • Mike Cannon-Brookes
  • Millgrom Family

Advisers

 

Voices of/for

Not backed by any specific donor, the Voices of/for movements are grassroots campaigns in individual electorates. The first Voices of/for campaign dates back to 2012 when a collection of local residents approached MP Sophie Mirabella with concerns. Dissatisfied with her response they endorsed Cathy McGowan at the 2013 Federal Election, a seat that she won. The next iteration of Voices of/for came in 2019 with the Voices for Warringah movement in favour of Zali Steggall. Since then, Voices of/for movements have popped up in most Australian electorates often in favour of progressive independent candidates.

Summary

The Federal Election will be close and a hung parliament is a strong possibility. If these well funded Independents are successful (and some of them are highly likely to be, they will comprise the crossbench deciding the next government. The most important takeaway is to not underestimate any of the candidates, it is worth noting that Zali Steggall was a $3 betting outsider against Tony Abbott a mere month from the 2019 election and $1.88 the night before. Steggall eventually took the seat by a large margin of 7.2%.

This time around, the Climate 200 candidates are expected to spend as much as $20 million between them. Steggall spent $1.1 million in 2019, by comparison Zoe Daniel already has $1.3 million with a month left to run in her campaign. The enigma is gone, Steggall’s successful campaign has provided a tried and tested strategy for independents in how to unseat blue ribbon Liberals and they now have the means to scale it. If successful, they could be about to provide a watershed moment in Australian politics, one that could significantly shift policy for decades to come.

Download the full PDF report here

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