People often wonder what can a Independent candidate do for them when they are elected.

Have a read what Tony Windsor did as an Independent for his seat.

One of the positive things about an Independent politician is they don’t polarise a community, they usually work with everyone. A true Independent is a collective voice for their community and represents their values which are often different to a political party. As and Independent for the Seat of Clarence I see my role, starting from now, is to gain consensus on important issues so that they can be prioritised.

Involving our community in a conversation about their future on a range of topics using questionnaires and hosting forums is a great way to find out what direction they want to head in. If you are interested in attending or would like a questionnaire to fill out let me know.

The Clarence Electorate from Casino to Evans Head, Carnham to Glenreagh, Yamba to Iluka is so diverse there are so many competing  interests to consider and weigh up. Today I had the opportunity to attend the Grafton Sale yards. Farmers who have been doing it tough through floods and drought now have the added burden of some CSG companies knocking on their gate.

Day 11

If you would like more information about Independents read on:

Independent thinking (from Australian Policy Online

Independents pursue their own agendas, but there are some commonalities among independents that reveal why and how they get elected. One such shared trait concerns how independents consult with and pitch their campaigns to their electorates. Independents can challenge dominant concepts of representation, which revolve primarily around national rather than local interests. Attuned to the grievances of voters who feel alienated by the rigidity of the party system, independents present themselves to their electorates in ways that distinguish them from politicians who are members of the major political parties. Election outcomes and qualitative research reveal that independents’ grassroots campaign styles have appealed to voters, particularly in regional and rural Australia, where disaffected voters seek direct, personal and visible presence from their members of parliament. Currently, there is a backlash against major political parties in rural electorates that have not shared with city regions in the spoils of a strong national economy.

The rise of independents’ popularity in rural and regional areas has been raised in the NSW Parliament (link is external), with independent MLA Clover Moore identifying why independents have displaced major political parties at the state and federal levels. The swing towards independents presents a particular challenge to the Liberal and National parties, which traditionally have collected the primary vote in rural Australia. Rather than transfer votes to Labor, voters in rural heartlands are more likely to defect from the National Party to an independent candidate who demonstrates avid understanding of local social and economic issues. Independents who convey to voters that they are accessible and responsive, free of factional and ideological politics and accountable to their electorates rather than captive to party line, present a viable alternative to candidates from political parties whom voters have come to perceive as out of touch with local issues.

Independents have been effective in challenging the notion that only major political parties define the parameters of public policy and political culture. Even when independents do not hold the balance of power or achieve legislative change, they can set the pace in policy design by defining issues as problematic and by offering up alternatives. This was particularly effective in regional and rural Australia in the late 1990s to 2001 when independents identified areas requiring policy improvement, placing the Howard government in a position where it had to court country voters actively to win back support for the Coalition. During this period, the government endeavoured to address rural voters’ concerns by engaging in wider consultation with communities, increasing funding for specific projects, and investing in employment and infrastructure. The government’s plans to privatise Telstra fully were deferred in response to protests from independents and constituents about the need to address social obligations to rural areas in the delivery of telecommunications.

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