The Voices of Hume campaign selected Penny Ackery, a teacher and 30-year-old Goulburn resident, to face Angus Taylor in the 2022 election.
- The Voices of Hume party say it is not affiliated with any other party and will be a completely independent voice for the community.
- Hume’s seat is considered a safe Coalition seat, with a swing towards Angus Taylor at the last election.
- Mr Taylor rejected claims that he had lost contact with his constituency and accused Voices of Hume of being “another front” for “green activists”.
The 64-year-old was announced as the candidate at an event in Goulburn on Saturday after an 18-month community consultation period.
“It’s really time for both independently to stand up and find out what their community wants and actually say,‘ Well that’s how I vote, because this is what my community wants me to do, ’” Ms. Ackery said.
Mr Taylor increased his bipartisan preferred margin by 2.8 per cent to 6.3 per cent in the 2019 election.
In his 2022 Federal Election Pendulum ABC election analyst Antony Green leans the Liberal Party to improve on Hume’s 10.2 percent margin by nearly three points next year.
But Ms Ackery said many in the community believed Mr Taylor had stopped listening to them.
“People find that they can’t always easily communicate and talk with our current representative,” she said.
“He actually voted against raising the old pension, he voted against the drought relief package in 2019, he voted against protecting our freshwater supplies, especially at Boorowa.”
Ms Ackery said her focus would be on sustainability, better roads, including support for the Picton bypass, reliable internet and reliable leaders.
She said she has been a high school teacher for 36 years and wanted to make sure students have greater opportunities.
“I just want to make sure that all those kids that all the teachers have worked with and will work with have a really good future, where the government is an open democracy, where the government also allows them to have elections,” she said.
Dissatisfaction with a bipartisan system
The Voices of Hume campaign is part of a growing movement shaped by Cathy McGowan’s successful 2013 campaign, which won Indi’s secure Liberal seat in regional Victoria.
Her result was replicated by her successor, Helen Haines, and Zali Steggall, who beat Tony Abbott at the last federal election.
Ms Ackery said it was a “movement to shake democracy”.
“What’s exciting is that so many people realize that democracy means everyone has a choice, everyone has an opinion,” she said.
The wider movement has the support of Climate 200 founder and Cleantech investor Simon Holmes à Court.
Mr Holmes à Court said Climate 200 is supporting candidates in strategic seats through campaigns that are in line with the organisation’s values on climate action, integrity and treatment of women.
He previously told the ABC that his group had worked with campaigns in Wentworth, North Sydney, Mackellar, Flinders, Goldstein and Kooyong.
Mr. Holmes à Court was at the launch of Mrs. Ackery in Goulburn and tweeted his enthusiasm for her authenticity.
Ms Ackery said she was unaware of any support from Mr Holmes à Court and that “while overtures may have been made, nothing is stoned”.
“Activists” dressed “as independent”
Following the announcement of Ms Ackery’s candidacy, Mr Taylor said in a statement that he respects his constituents and does not take any election “for granted”.
“People are allowed to run and I respect that,” he said.
“But unfortunately, this is just another front for green activists to dress as independent as we see across the country.