The battle in Goldstein has taken an interesting turn this election. Zoe Daniel, an acclaimed former ABC journalist has been brought in by an independent group called the Voices of Goldstein to take on the incumbent Liberal candidate Tim Wilson since 2016 who is also a former Australian Human Rights Commissioner.
With more and more opinion polls showing voter disaffection with the usual, run of the mill politics, and drift towards minor parties and independents, Zoe offers voters in Goldstein a candidate who will not only represent them but in an independent and transparent manner – being “un-chained” and not suffering from the shackles of a political party.
For Zoe, who will happily negotiate with either of the leaders (in case of a hung parliament), every vote will be a conscience vote.
I spoke to Zoe Daniel to discuss her dive into politics, the reasons for it and how she would make a difference to the electorate of Goldstein and Australia.
Here is a brief snapshot of the interview:
Why would a journo who has seen politics closely would join politics?
“I’m doing it because I was asked to. And I didn’t necessarily see myself ever going into politics, because I’m not a party political person. But when the voices of Goldstein community group came and asked if I would run as an independent, although my initial response was still no, because I know politics can be pretty toxic. I really did believe and I do believe that there are major issues that need to be addressed” Zoe Daniel told Bharat Times in an interview.
Zoe listed the following as ‘the issues’ in this election:
- Better and faster action on climate change, particularly with an economic focus.
- Integrity, honesty and sincerity in politics (in parliament and our leadership).
- Gender equality and safety for women and girls.
Zoe says major parties do policymaking only to get re-elected, policies have to be least offensive, popular with people rather than being for the common good.
That view perhaps resonates with people which is why many are drifting away to Independents and Minor parties.
But how are these issues relevant locally to Goldstein?
Look, I think in an urban and wealthy electorate like this, many of the many of the issues are kind of nationally oriented, but perhaps with a local flavor. So people are concerned about the big picture issues of climate change, for example, but then at a local level that goes to the sort of beach erosion that we see around the bay, …
Signs up, Goldstein! #GoldsteinVotes
— Zoe Daniel (@zdaniel) April 29, 2022
Why should people vote for Zoe Daniel and vote Tim Wilson out?
“… we are taken for granted as a safe liberal seat. Goldstein has always been Blue Ribbon liberal seats. The incumbent member has been in that position for six years. But the voting record of the local member reflects an alliance with the more conservative wing of the Liberal Party, and in effect, the National Party, which holds the balance of power currently. … it’s much more conservative than the general reflection of the electorate. So for example, we know that roughly 80% of people in the electorate want faster a better action on climate, yet, the climate policies effectively being held back or roadblocks by the National Party…”, Zoe Daniel argues.
“… And for people who normally vote Liberal, that sit closer to the center of politics, and what they might describe themselves as small l liberals, they just don’t have anyone to vote for, who does have a more progressive approach on some of those issues, but also has a conservative approach to economy. And so therefore, now they have me as an option. And also, this, it really is about doing politics differently. It’s about being an independence not being aligned with party politics, therefore not having to vote a particular way.
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“Every vote is a conscience vote. And all of the underpinning of the concepts is community engagement and genuine and sincere community interaction and communication. So a lot of listening, and a lot of them taking the views of the community directly forward to Canberra, which is something that you don’t get when your local member is a person from a major party, but labour or liberal”, Zoe passionately continues.
Zoe prosecutes her argument cogently and (as Australians have known her as a journo) persuasively. She is going to give Tim Wilson a fight to remember. If this time she falls short, Tim Wilson may have to look at another seat next time.
To listen to the full interview, click here.