3 June 2024

Independents for Canberra finalises its team for October election

| Ian Bushnell
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The Independents for Canberra team: Mark Richardson (Ginninderra), Anne-Louise Dawes (Murrumbidgee), Sara Poguet (Kurrajong), Nicole Lawsonn (Brindabella), Thomas Emerson (Kurrajong), Dr Vanessa Picker (Brindabella), David Pollard (Yerrabi), Sneha KC (Yerrabi), Paula McGrady (Murrumbidgee). Photo: IFC.

Independents for Canberra has finalised its team to contest the ACT election in October, announcing its lead candidates in the electorates of Kurrajong and Murrumbidgee.

Restaurateur Sara Poguet will join IFC co-founder Thomas Emerson in Kurrajong.

Originally from Perth, Ms Poguet has lived in Canberra for the past 25 years and owns the Chez Frederic restaurant in Braddon.

She is a single mother and has been recognised by the Australian Institute of Management as one of the top 30 Australian managers under the age of 30.

Ms Poguet said she wasn’t convinced the current governing parties were acting in the community’s best interests.

“During election campaigns, I’ve noticed the Labor-Greens members roll out grand plans and ambitious commitments that repeatedly fall short,” she said.

“That’s why I’ve joined Independents for Canberra. We will be there to hold the government to account.

“Our approach is simple: transparency, action and integrity. Our commitment is to provide real change for Canberra.”

Deputy chair of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Paula McGrady and public servant Anne-Louise Dawes have been endorsed as lead candidates for Murrumbidgee.

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Ms McGrady is a Goomeri/Bigumbul woman who has called Canberra home for more than 20 years and served in the community sector in areas such as family and domestic violence, sexual abuse, youth justice, homelessness, education, counselling and support.

She said she put her hand up as a candidate because she was tired of seeing the system fail the people who most needed it, and that she was ready to move into politics to create positive change.

“I love people. I love what I do. I want to do more,” Ms McGrady said.

“To feel safe and to live without fear is something we all deserve as a human right. We know we are failing the most vulnerable and marginalised people across our community but nothing ever seems to change.

“People should feel that what affects them does matter and I will be there making sure that is the case as their representative.”

Ms Dawes is a descendant of the Dawes and Franklin families that moved to the Brindabella region before Canberra was formed.

A career bureaucrat, Ms Dawes has developed a strong interest in social justice and equality, and a deep working knowledge of both levels of government.

She grew up on the north side before moving to Chifley, where she raised two children.

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Ms Dawes said she saw in Independents for Canberra something fundamentally different from what she’d experienced elsewhere.

“A lifetime of supporting ministers, good and bad, as a senior public servant showed me how much can be achieved if people are honest, authentic and act with integrity,” Ms Dawes said. ”Sadly, these qualities are increasingly rare in politics.”

She wants Canberra to live up to its potential as a city of innovation.

Mr Emerson, a small-business owner and staffer for ACT Senator David Pocock, said he was humbled to have both Ms McGrady and Ms Dawes join the movement, with Ms McGrady choosing to run for the Assembly under the IFC banner rather than pursuing another term on the Elected Body, and Ms Dawes opting to join the independent movement having been courted by other parties.

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Saul Goodman12:15 pm 04 Jun 24

Dear Independents, if you DO get balance of power, just ensure that the party of howard, abbott, morrison and kindred spirit of thatcher and trump are kept in opposition.

I guess some rusted on leftie ideadlogues can’t change

We need 2 year terms. Then people would be happy with a protest vote.

It’s better to vote Labor out at all costs now. In 4 years time they will want to represent you. They just represent their own interests currently.

The average voter needs to see that Labor green always promises different things on divisive issues. However behind the doors they are only one group and one stance. It’s all a cheap facade to get votes. Coupled with fake fights before elections.

These are not real independents. This is a political party led by the son of a former Labor minister.

What Canberra needs is real independents, prepared to stand on their own and to represent the people of their electorate.

Capital Retro8:56 am 04 Jun 24

Emerson was/still is an adviser to David Pocock.

It’s just another Labor scheme to harvest preference votes for the left.

@Mary Taylor
“This is a political party led by the son of a former Labor minister.”
… and until recently, when health issues forced her to resign, the daughter of a former Liberal Chief Minister.

@Capital Retro
So you won’t be voting for any “Independents for Canberra”, CR? I’m sure someone is interested.

Capital Retro12:07 pm 04 Jun 24

Claire Carnell is still listed as a joint venture owner of the registered business name Independents for Canberra.

Capital Retro12:10 pm 04 Jun 24

This coming election I will be voting informal and I urge all others that are sick of the Labor/Greens oligarchy to do the same.

Saul Goodman12:12 pm 04 Jun 24

Emerson is an independent who works for….guess who? a FEDERAL independent senator. How else can he prove his neutrality and independence?

@Mary Taylor [edited]
“This is a political party led by the son of a former Labor minister.”
… and, while she is currently on medical leave due to health issues*, the daughter of a former Liberal Chief Minister.

*Thank you, CR, for highlighting the error.

An intentional informal vote is a wasted opportunity if change is what you’re seeking. If you’re really anti-government, then vote Independent. But if you’re another conspiracy theorist, then vote for the other party. Sure, that’s probably a wasted vote in Canberra too, but at least your vote will be noted in a statistical way.

Oh here we go. The “conspiracy theorist” term has come out. Next it will be “Disinformation”. They are grasping at straws. LOL

@Capital Retro
“This coming election I will be voting informal …”
There’s an (un)intelligent use of your vote.

Hopefully, there are not enough Canberrans, “sick of the Labor/Greens oligarchy”, who will take any notice of you, CR. For, if they did, the informal vote would be astronomical and, given Canberra is ostensibly a Labor town, it’s reasonable to infer there are more rusted on Labor supporters than rusted on Liberal supporters, then that will hand the result to Labor.

Perhaps you’d like to rethink your strategy, CR, as voting informal could effectively be a vote for Labor.

I’m promoting voting for real independents, not this political party

Both of those statements are true. As is the fact that one of their Brindabella candidates “recently resigned from the Labor Party”

@Mary Taylor
‘one of their Brindabella candidates “recently resigned from the Labor Party”’
Dr Vanessa Picker resigned from the ALP therefore, if elected, she is not bound by party rules to vote in line with Labor. Isn’t that the very definition of independent?

Keyboard Warrior6:01 pm 03 Jun 24

Labor need a shake up, they have been complacent for far too long.
For the better of the ACT we need urgent change, please vote for any party other than Labor! They have wasted two decades of uncontested reign and have little progress to show for their time at the helm.

GrumpyGrandpa5:24 pm 03 Jun 24

I think every Independent candidate should be asked:

“If ALP/Greens had 12 seats and the Canberra Libs had 12 seats and you had secured the remaining seat, who would you support as Chief Minister?”

Maybe David Pollard could provide us with an answer since he is already commenting here?

I’ll wait. LOL

@GrumpyGrandpa The question proposed misses the whole point of an Independent. They are not there to support a Chief Minister, but to input to matters from a non-partisan perspective. Sure, it’s possible that such input may align with the majority party, but also that they may not.
Whichever way people commenting here may wish to dress this, it’s undeniable that a representative operating outside of a party will operate as a check to those inside.

It doesn’t miss the point at all. When a government is as on the nose as the current ACT Labor/greens, the environment is perfect to bring in trojan horse “independents” to catch protest votes. A party concerned that their grip on power may be slipping would do well to get their supporters and ex members to run as “independent” candidates while actually being sock puppets.

And using your cynical conspiracy theory, Ken, a party with No grip on power could equally do the same to increase their opposition.
Regardless, I prefer to think in a more constructive way and note that the only option for voters to create checks following Labour’s inevitable return is to assume that the Independents will operate as they espouse.

“Hurrrrrr! CoNsPiRaCy ThEoRy!!!”

Cool story bro. Needs more dragons.

I shall be voting for The Independents of Canberra and hope they can eventually field five candidates in my Yerrabi electorate so that I can vote down the line.

The announced candidates seem people of integrity who love Canberra. I believe we need to move away from the major parties in order to effect improvement in accountability. Our finances are in a mess and our health, housing, education and prison outcomes are poor and getting worse.

Elected Independents will have a voice that is accountable to the voters, but not to a party machine.

But your voting ALP if you vote for them. How is that moving away from the major parties? Sure your certainly moving away from one of the major parties. I likewise don’t vote for both the major parties but I don’t vote independent either. Because voting that way installs a permanent Socialist Federal Government and that’s not a good thing.

David Pollard5:07 pm 03 Jun 24

Thanks Julie! I’m sure we will field 5 candidates in Yerrabi. Along with Sneha and myself as lead candidates, we already have 2 more great candidates and are having conversations about who the right person as a 5th could be.

@ Julie
Well said.

Capital Retro3:14 pm 04 Jun 24

It appears to me that all your candidates are “Manchurian” ones.

As I said elsewhere on this thread it is a scheme to harvest more Labor preferential votes.

If you want to break the stranglehold of the Left in Oz politics, you need to vote away from labor, liberals and teals. It appears the teals are just privately-funded trojan horse leftists.

“It appears the teals are just privately-funded trojan horse leftists.”
The teals have never hidden their left credentials, so exactly what is your point?

The TEALS claim to fame has “NEVER been hidden.” YES it has from anybody not smart enough to see what their voting history has always been, VERY LEFT. Very Left politics and politicians are dangerous to democracy, just like very right politicians. Whenever zealots gain power in any democracy right or left that’s when that democracy is at its weakest. Australia’s democracy right now is getting weaker and getting weaker because of the people elected as independents are in reality extreme left.

What country are you living in? There hasn’t been a left leaning/socialist party in Australia for years, if ever. Labor is centre-right and the Libs are just right wingers, and the rest are confused.

Yeah, but to people like you Peter H, Karl Marx was a centrist.

You think that the Libs are part of the ‘stranglehold of the Left’ ???? I cannot imagine who your preferred candidates/parties would be.

“independents” = appear to be “green/Left” by any other name….i.e. Leftist trojan horses…..

I won’t vote independent EVER! All the Australian so-called independents are in reality unbadged ALP/Green Representatives. You only have to look at how they use their votes both in the Reps and Senate to prove it beyond doubt. They are funded by rent seeking billionaires who are detached from the real world because of their wealth yet push their stifling green political agendas through financing these people into parliament. Pocock is a prime example of what’s wrong with voting independent. If he voted even occasionally with the LNP you couldn’t say this with any certainty, however he doesn’t. This year anti-democratic ALP legislation surrounding media censorship and a digital ID are about to come before parliament. The ALP will be relying on the independents to push this through the senate and likes of Pocock and the other independents are about to go along with it. Disgraceful!

So what you are saying, Rob, is that these MPs, for whom you did not vote, are not using their vote in the Reps and Senate in the way you think they should, therefore they are not independent.

Perhaps independents, like Pocock, are voting according to the principles they outlined in their campaign platform – which would never be acceptable to conservative supporters like you.

We have been over this. Your boy Pocock is a bought and paid for stooge, owned by self interested billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Simon Holmes à Court.

No, what I am stating as an absolute fact Justsaying is that ALL the billionaire funded independents are very left of centre. Even you admit that in your reply. An independent means exactly that, independent of both the major political parties. Not independent of only one political party. Indeed Pocock and nearly ALL the others are elected with substantial preferences from both the ALP and the Communist Australian Greens. You know that to be fact also. Indeed Pocock was preferenced heavily by both the ALP and the Greens and that’s the only reason he got elected. So, mate independent means exactly that, not your twisted version of it. Your version of independent seems to mean independent of the LNP only but subservient to both the Socialist ratbag parties. Correct?

@Ken M
“Pocock is a bought and paid for stooge, owned by self interested billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Simon Holmes à Court”
OK, if we have been over this before, please repost the factual evidence you provided, that Pocock’s political actions, specifically his voting as a Senator, since being elected, have benefitted Mike Cannon-Brookes and Simon Holmes à Court.

I don’t have to prove it. They poured cash into every single teal. It’s objective fact. They are all owned.

“No, what I am stating as an absolute fact Justsaying is that ALL the billionaire funded independents are very left of centre.”
Did I really “admit that” in my reply? I didn’t realise that Ralph Babet (funded by Clive Palmer) was “very left of centre”. Nevertheless, you stated it as a fact, so it must be correct – after all you never make up facts.

“An independent means exactly that, independent of both the major political parties.”
No, Rob, an independent means they are not affiliated with, i.e. a member of, a political party. Being independent does not mean a politician cannot follow a particular political orientation. Pocock has demonstrated that his politics are, inter alia, progressive and pro-action on anthropogenic climate change – the very things on which he campaigned. You obviously can’t handle the fact that a large proportion of the electorate chose to vote for independents who lean to the left of the political spectrum. It must bother you even more that independents like Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, who I assume are more to your liking, are irrelevant in the current parliament.

“Indeed Pocock and nearly ALL the others are elected with substantial preferences from both the ALP and the Communist (really? – how puerile) Australian Greens. You know that to be fact also.”
Yes, so what? In present day politics, I doubt if any politician gets enough primary votes to be elected. They all rely on preferences to get over the line – it’s actually why we have a preferential voting system.

“Indeed Pocock was preferenced heavily by both the ALP and the Greens and that’s the only reason he got elected.”
Well, Rob, you are entitled to your opinion. I suspect that a majority of Canberrans were tired of the lack of representation they got from the incumbent, former Senator now Mr Seselja. The fact that Seselja’s personal primary vote at the 2022 election was 1.96% compared to Pocock’s 5.45% is a pretty good indication. Facts are here: https://results.aec.gov.au/27966/Website/SenateStateFirstPrefs-27966-ACT.htm

“Your version of independent seems to mean independent of the LNP only but subservient to both the Socialist ratbag parties. Correct?”
No, Rob, not correct – refer my comment above. And I’ll just let your vacuous political jibes go through to the keeper.

He pushes their political agenda, that’s how! Does this again and again and NEVER annunciates policy from one parliament to the next, one subject to next or even one sitting to the next. Then votes left every single time. That is NOT independent, that’s being an ALP stooge.

@Ken M
Every political candidate receives financial support in the form of direct donations or, where applicable, party funding. So if you won’t (probably more accurately can’t) prove your assertion that “They (teals) are all owned” we should just treat it as blithering.

Independents for Canberra7:21 pm 03 Jun 24

Thank you for sharing your perspective, Rob. We can understand your cynicism, which we’re hearing a lot of people are feeling toward politics at the moment. This movement is motivated by a LACK of faith in the current Labor-Greens government, not a desire to somehow back them in. Regarding funding, we are not supported by billionaires (C200 included) but instead rely on the support of our local community and dedicated volunteers. Our commitment is to the people in our electorates, not to any other political party or organisation.

@JustSaying, kudos for a relevant and to-the-point response. Sadly wasted with some of the others here…

Oh my, you really do have a ‘cracker up your a**e’ over Pocock don’t you, Rob?

Such vitriole without any basis in fact. You haven’t done any research on how Pocock votes at all, have you? Instead you just make these unsubstantiated blitherings and expect people to accept your ‘gospel of BS’.

To what end, Rob? Do you seriously think people will read your nonsense and say, “Oh! He’s right” and change their vote? If that is what you believe then you are totally delusional.

If you can actually come up with some facts to support your blithering you might get somewhere. Here’s a start – check out Pocock’s voting history (https://theyvoteforyou.org.au/people/senate/act/david_pocock/divisions/2024).

Saul Goodman12:05 pm 04 Jun 24

do you take the same offence when right of centre “independents” and clive palmer and co, craig kelly, hanson etc move heaven and earth to destabilize any & all ALP governments?

This is such a good thing. Who knows what will happen at the election, but giving the two majors a run for their money in a serious way, unlike the usual independent or micro-party set-up, is very welcome. The Labor/Greens alliance is tired and the Liberals are so not an option based on their ties to the federal party, meaning that they are not really working for Canberrans unless it suits the federal party.

It would be good to hear what the majors think about this and how they will be campaigning. @RiotAct? Any plans to check this out? Bet it will be the usual ‘oh, we aren’t worried’. Well, they should be.

Stanleyhistory1:49 pm 03 Jun 24

I’ll never vote Liberal, but I’m completely disillusioned with Labor-Greens (the tram, kangaroo cull, rampant development, health services crisis, etc. …) If electing Independents can break the Labor-Green dominance – a G-L-Independents coalition, perhaps – I’ll be happy to give it a try. Electing the Liberals is not an option for me.

I agree, you have nailed it.

Canberra is, of its nature, a left leaning town, but only the staunchest Labor/Greens supporters are not disliiusioned with the current government.

Unfortunately, despite Elizabeth Lee being a potentially acceptable moderate, the Liberals have far too many right wingers in the background to garner enough trust to carry the vote.

So, these independents are an acceptable compromise.

Mind you, they will have to deliver or the tide will turn irrevocably against them.

Liz is a moderate… WHAT.

Agree totally!!!!

David Pollard5:13 pm 03 Jun 24

“Mind you, they will have to deliver or the tide will turn irrevocably against them.” Absolutely – and that is a strength of voting Independent. Our only allegiance is to the people of Canberra, and if we don’t prove that continually, we’re out. The same consequence doesn’t seem to apply to the major parties.

Margaret Freemantle5:52 pm 03 Jun 24

The Tram – the means of transport preferred worldwide.
Kangaroo Cull – don’t you care for country? The damage is considerable and no other life will live there if we don’t urgently cull
Rampant development – not rampant enough to home us all
Health Services – agree a lot needs to improve. Not the buildings, the culture and service quality.
Voting libs is not an option and let’s hope people refrain from voting Green

@David Pollard
“The same consequence doesn’t seem to apply to the major parties.”
True – but isn’t that why you are running, because it doesn’t currently apply?

I look forward to seeing the shared policy positions of you and your fellow candidates plus any on which you are not so collegiate.

Rail not tram is preferred transport

Saul Goodman12:29 pm 04 Jun 24

you’re spot on about the libs – party of howard, abbott, morrison, the kindred spirits of thatcher and trump. No thinking Canberran or Australian should elect such luddites and unrepresentative swill

If they support Barr and Labor then it would have all been for nothing

@D. Jack
If the independents end up holding the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly and they stick to one of their principle objectives: “We will be there to hold the government to account”, then isn’t that the outcome that disenchanted Canberrans want, irrespective of who is in government?

Yep, not independent and are ALL very left of centre.

Mate if your for it then that shows it’s probably the wrong way to go. Just like your green zealotry eh mate?

Agreed, it appears so.

If my ‘green zealotry’ is synonymous with shooting down in flames your rabid falsehoods, Rob, then yep – I’ll wear it.

Finland, 75% drop in power orices since OLK3 came on- line, Correct, oh yes it is as much as you hate it. So the only point you “shot down” was the fact Finland had a pre-existing nuclear program that I was not aware and I corrected. Agree? The rest Mr Socialist zealot I was exactly correct, wasn’t I? HE HE!

Rabid falsehoods? Deny this nuclear has reduced Finlands electricity prices by 75%. The only thing I was mistaken on was that places pre- existing nuclear industry, correct? Long as we are throwing labels around looks more like rabbid hyperbole from you mate on just about everything.

Your claims around Finland’s nuclear program were comprehensively proven false.

Finland has a long standing nuclear industry.

The plant was over a decade late in delivery.

It cost over 3 times more than initially estimated at $18billion AUD.

You either were ignorant of the facts or deliberately lied.

And as advised on the other thread, the main reason why the new plant has reduced electricity prices is due to their of their previous reliance on Russian energy imports, that has been disrupted and banned because of the Ukraine war, creating artificial shortages, rather than any inherent benefit of this one nuclear plant.

Take a look at the last 5 years of wholesale electricity prices in Finland wow that nuclear power plant that didn’t exist yet must have been doing wonders in 2019-20when prices were lower than they are now.



More like “Catch the protest votes and still back Labor”.

You do realise this party was co-founded by Clare Carnell right? And that Emerson has been working for Pocock the last few years? So what evidence do you have that this group is merely a Labor proxy?

Pocock ONLY votes left. That’s the proof.

Just goes to show the word “independent ” has a very left meaning in Australian politics with very, very good reason.

Yes, those despicable left “independent” MPs from the PHON and the UAP definitely deserve your ire.

“Pocock ONLY votes left. That’s the proof.”
Proof of what? That he’s a left leaning politician. Guess what, Rob? He’s never tried to hide it.

They (PHON, UAP, KATTER) are not independent matey. They don’t claim to be, unlike your independents. They have a party structure and policies that are very clearly enunciated at every election. Pocock and others deliberately don’t enunciate policy or voting intentions on anything at election time and they hope they just slip through. Not this time matey, the mask has slipped and a few so-called independents will looking for job the first quarter of next year. Watch this space….he he! But finally I will go back to my initial statement Justsaying “anything your in favour of is probably a bad idea.”

You do know that the David Pocock Party had two candidates at the 2022 election, and qualified for ‘above the line’ voting, don’t you, Rob? So perhaps he’s an “independent” like the other single representative parties (UAP and Katter)? Or the Jacqui Lambie Network party, which like PHON has two representatives.

“Pocock and others deliberately don’t enunciate policy or voting intentions on anything at election time”
Oh dear, Rob, why do you make it so easy to debunk your falsehoods? Pocock had clearly stated policies on his website prior to the election. I can’t say his policy page (https://www.davidpocock.com.au/policy) hasn’t been updated – bit it was certainly there before the election.

“… a few so-called independents will looking for job the first quarter of next year”
Possibly, Rob – so what? I suspect Pocock won’t be one of them, given his performance to date, but we’ll let democracy take it’s course shall we?

‘“anything your in favour of is probably a bad idea.”’
You might be right – but then again, my care factor of your opinion of me? Zero.

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