14 May 2024

Poor health forces departure of Clare Carnell from Independents for Canberra

| Ian Bushnell
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man and woman standing in a park

Clare Carnell with Independents for Canberra co-founder Tom Emerson when they announced their election intentions in January. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Independents for Canberra director Clare Carnell has stepped down permanently from the aspiring political force due to continuing illness.

Ms Carnell took an organisational role in Independents for Canberra because she suffers from a rare autoimmune disease – ANCA associated vasculitis.

She took medical leave from the role two months ago, but her condition has not improved and she is now in hospital.

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In a statement posted on social media, Independents for Canberra said she remained fully supportive of the fledgling party and its ambitions in the October legislative Assembly elections.

“I’m reluctantly stepping away from politics to focus on a different campaign: the fight for my own health. Co-founding IFC has been a privilege. I still believe Canberrans want to, and will, vote for change,” Ms Carnell said.

“And to paraphrase Winston Churchill, ‘this is not the end but the end of the beginning’.”

She will not be replaced in the party organisation.

Party co-founder Tom Emerson said Independents for Canberra would announce its candidates over the next two weeks and that “they will pick up the slack.”

The party has been conducting its final round of town halls, where potential candidates addressed the public and fielded questions before selecting its lead team for October.

The goal is to have at least two candidates in each of the ACT’s five electorates.

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Ms Carnell is a barrister and ANU lecturer. She is the daughter of former Liberal Chief Minister Kate Carnell and is married to John Lane, the son of former ACT Liberal leader Bill Stefaniak.

But Ms Carnell, who publicly backed the Yes campaign in the Voice referendum as a Liberal, left the party and told Region in January that Independents for Canberra wanted fresh perspectives, not career politicians.

She said the party would occupy the sensible centre.

The success of Senator David Pocock’s Senate campaign and independents across the nation inspired the ACT push.

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Sending Clare heartfelt best wishes for any challenges ahead xx

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