Let’s Get Behind Mandy

April 29th, 2022


The federal seat of Richmond includes Byron, Ballina and Tweed Shires. Ex-police officer Justine Elliott has held the seat for the ALP since 2004. Historically, it was a Country/National Party stronghold, for decades firmly in the grip of the Anthony family. Patriarch Larry (who before going into politics, he was the biggest banana grower in Australia) was Minister for Transport under Menzies. His son Doug was National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister under Malcolm Fraser and Doug’s son Larry (junior) lost the seat to Justine Elliot in 2004.

These days Richmond is a three-way contest between the Nationals, Labor and the Greens. The Nationals historically polls the most primary votes but it does not get the 50% needed to win outright, and since 2004, Labor has won the seat on Greens preferences. In the 2019 Federal Election, the Greens’ candidate was current Byron Bay, Mayor Michael Lyon. He won 20.3% of the vote behind Justine Elliot’s 31.7%, who won on Greens’ preferences. This time around, the Greens need a very achievable 5% swing for their candidate Mandy Nolan to overtake Labor on first preferences, to then win the seat on Labor’s preference flow.

The Main Players

Tweed-based Labor incumbent Justine Elliot has been a relatively innocuous and timid (if not complacent) backbencher who now realises she has a serious contender in Mandy. The National Party’s candidate is Kimberly Hone, a business coach, mother of three, and Pentecostal Christian in the mould of Scott Morrison. There are ten candidates in all including the usual One Nation, Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and various pro-choice/anti-vax single-issue candidates.

The Greens are very keen for a second seat in the House of Representatives to partner with party leader Adam Bandt. The party machine is putting a lot of effort into getting Mandy over the line. With two seats they can table motions and have them seconded, which gives them a lot more clout. The Greens have two other winnable seats – Kevin Rudd’s old seat of Griffith in Brisbane, and the inner Melbourne seat of Macnamara. But it is Richmond that is the main aim.

The Main Game

The main game is to have two or more seats on the crossbench along with the ‘teal” independents and have the balance of power. The Teal Independents are the very impressive professional women who are challenging the formerly safe Liberal seats in the cities. This is where real change can occur and where good democracy can happen now that the two-party system is looking old and tired.

A hung parliament with a balance of power held by independents is considered a terrible outcome by the pale, stale males in power. But this can be a good thing for democracy and encourages negotiation and compromise. Yes, sometimes it can be messy putting a governing coalition together as sometimes happens in Europe.

There is a flip side to this outcome. If the votes fall the wrong way for progressives, the balance of power in a hung parliament could be held by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s UAP. They will then put Scott Morrison and his crew back in and make Oz a very different country – depressing thought.

This alternative scenario is why this election is important and worth some attention. I understand there will be some of you who will have to hold your nose at the thought of voting Greens. There is also the concern that a vote for the Greens may be a wasted vote when the main game is to get rid of ‘Scotty from marketing’. But the reality is it will be either Mandy or Labor that wins this seat and it will not be a wasted vote.

Chance For Independents

Mandy made the decision to run for the Greens instead of an independent in order to have the backing of a party. From what I can see, this was probably a good decision. Her campaign is strategic and competent and very well-run, unlike the fiasco of the recent Council election in which the Green’s vote collapsed.

Federally, there is a general drift away from the two major parties. This will help independents as well as the smaller parties. Adam Bandt is doing very well on the hustings and getting some attention. I have been door-knocking and Mandy’s recognition factor and level of support are high. It is astute for them to keep the Greens Party branding in the background and promote Mandy upfront.

Mandy can win this seat but it will require all hands to the pump. These are the things you can do: Go to the website and donate or volunteer, you can ‘host a poster’ on your front fence, you can man a booth for pre-polling or hand out ‘How to Vote’ leaflets on election day at one of the many polling booths.

Also, it would pay to go to the Greens website and read the policies and see they are not wild or crazy. Let’s get behind Mandy and send her to Canberra! Just imagine how much more colourful, fun and interesting politics will be if she gets in! Let’s vote Mandy for Richmond!

9 Replies to “Let’s Get Behind Mandy”

  1. agree with all you have said michael. go mandy. we should all do what we can, and at this stage there is much we can do, to send her to canberra. she will make jacqui lambie look quiet and reserved. won’t that be fun.

  2. Don’t disagree with this assessment Michael yet it’s hard to vote Green when they have not committed to enshrining a voice for First Nations people in Parliament via a referendum. Hard choice this time around.

    1. I think you will find the Greens policy goes even further with indigenous recognition. They want to also adopt a treaty before going to voice to parliament. Personally, I think this complicates an already difficult process.

  3. I can only agree that the Greens policies are not wild or crazy – but very idealistic and not particularly ‘progressive’ (I rail against people calling themselves ‘progressives’) as they are policies that most people would aspire to.
    It could be Mandy’s year!

  4. Is there a forum somewhere to pose questions to Mandy such as whether she supports the rail trail or returning trains to the tracks?

    1. Hi Janet, I don’t want to speak for Mandy but I think the greens policy is pro-public transport, which includes bringing back trains. I am for the Rail Trail primarily, unless we are able to build villages along the rail trail therefor making light rail feasible.

  5. You have a way with words! ‘Stale pale males’ LOVE IT.
    Host a poster!
    ‘Scotty from marketing”
    ‘Innocuous and timid’

    Put this article on the Byron Bay thread on REDDIT. Please.

    1. Hi Carole, Thanks for your feedback and support for Mandy. I have posted this on Reddit as you have requested.

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