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Federal Election 2013 – candidate interviews

Tanya Plibersek holds Sydney with a two-party preferred margin of 17.1 per cent and Malcolm Turnbull holds Wentworth with a margin of 14.9 per cent, well up on the 2.5 per cent margin he had prior to the 2007 election. The Greens came within 4.2 per cent of upsetting Anthony Albanese in Grayndler in 2010, but that was with Liberal preferences, something they are unlikely to receive at this election.

The distance between second and third is, in every seat, much closer. In Wentworth and Sydney the Greens need swings of 3.7 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively to move into second place, while in Grayndler, often regarded as one of the Greens’ strongest seats, the Liberals need only to lift their vote by 1.7 per cent to push the Greens into third place.

And at least on paper, the Liberal team is stronger than last election. Turnbull, sometimes described as “the most popular politician in Australia”, has had another three years to entrench himself in Wentworth. In Grayndler, Dr Cedric Spencer is far more experienced than the previous candidate, the 19-year-old Alexander Dore. And in Sydney, Sean O’Connor is widely regarded as a better “fit” for the electorate than the previous candidate, Gordon Weiss.

All three Greens candidates are experienced activists. Dianne Hiles, standing for Sydney, is probably most notable for being a founding member of ChilOut, the refugee advocacy group. Mathew Robinson, standing for Wentworth, is also a refugee advocate. Hall Greenland, candidate for Grayndler, is a long-time activist. A participant in Charlie Perkins’ Freedom Ride of 1965, Hall turns 69 later this year. He may prove to be something of a loose cannon. In July of last year, he described the federal Greens leadership and the Greens membership as “neoliberals on bikes”.

For Labor, the member for Grayndler, Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Tanya Plibersek, member for Sydney and Minister for Health and Medical Research, are both well known to the electorate, and both will be doing most of their campaigning outside of their own electorates. Di Smith, candidate for Wentworth, is a long-time progressive activist, but may be better known to the electorate as A Country Practice star Dr Alex Smith.

Other candidates known to be standing are:

  • In Sydney, Jane Ward, Independent; Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance; Lesley Mason, Christian Democratic Party; Joanna Rzetelski, Independent; Timothy Kelly, Palmer United Australia Party and Leah Gartner, Bullet Train for Australia.
  • In Wentworth Marsha Foxman, Palmer United Australia Party; Thomas Beresford, Christian Democratic Party and Pat Sheil, Independent.
  • In Grayndler Joshua Green, Christian Democratic Party; Joel Scully, Bullet Train for Australia and Mohanadas Balasingham, Palmer United Australia Party.

The SSH contacted as many candidates as possible. We have posted the responses of all those who replied by our deadline.

Sydney

Peter Boyle

Socialist Alliance
Sydney

Dianne Hiles AM

Greens
Sydney

Tanya Plibersek

Labor
Sydney

Wentworth

Marsha Foxman

Palmer United Party
Wentworth

Di Smith

Labor
Wentworth

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