One of the team members behind federal “teal” independent MP Sophie Scamps is now running in the same area on the Northern Beaches for the state election.
- The independent candidate for Pittwater is a lawyer and business climate change advisor
- The Liberals have held the seat for almost all of its 50-year history
- Treasurer Matt Kean dismisses the “teal” threat, urging people to “vote for the real deal”
Jacqui Scruby has announced she will be the independent candidate for the seat of Pittwater, and has the backing of the Climate 200 group.
Ms Scruby is an environmental lawyer and business climate change advisor.
“People want people over politics and they want representation that represents their communities,” she said.
Pittwater is held with a 21 per cent margin by the Liberal Party’s Rob Stokes.
It’s been a Liberal seat for almost all of its 50-year history — except when it was briefly won by an independent in a by-election in 2005 — before Mr Stokes reclaimed it for the party in 2007.
The infrastructure minister is now retiring from politics.
The federal seat of Mackellar, which overlaps with Pittwater, was also a very safe Liberal seat until the May federal election when Ms Scamps was successful with an almost 16 per cent swing away from the Liberals.
Ms Scruby says the same issues that captured voters in the area in May will apply at the state election in March, referencing the federal teal platform of “climate, integrity and gender equality”.
“Many of the issues that were federal issues are ultimately and vitally state issues.
“I think the community is awake and engaged enough to realise that this New South Wales election really is one that counts.”
The 39-year-old points to former deputy premier John Barilaro’s controversial appointment to a lucrative US trade job as an issue of integrity. And concerns over offshore oil and gas drilling, as well as native forestry protection, as environmental issues.
But Premier Dominic Perrottet has dismissed the teal threat.
“Our government has a very strong track record in relation to the issues that they’ve been focused on,” he said.
Treasurer Matt Kean agrees.
“For those voters that are concerned about responsible action on climate change, for those voters that care about increasing women’s economic opportunities, those voters that care about integrity, you don’t need to vote teal,” he said.
“You need to vote for the real deal — the Perrottet government.”
The Liberal Party is yet to put a candidate into the field in Pittwater as a replacement for Mr Stokes.
Communities and Families Minister Natasha Maclaren-Jones had wanted to make the switch from the Upper to Lower House, but bowed out of the Pittwater preselection when she didn’t have the numbers.
Another female, Claire Longley, was ruled ineligible over her Liberal membership fees, despite the party resolving a similar issue for Transport Minister David Elliott.
Northern Beaches Councillor Rory Amon is set to be the candidate but is waiting to be endorsed by the party.
There are two other teal independents running in nearby northern Sydney seats.
Joeline Hackman is challenging Environment Minister James Griffin in Manly, while Victoria Davidson is running as an independent against Planning Minister Anthony Roberts in Lane Cove.