‘Devilish’ event casts doubt on safe Liberal seat

ABC’s election analyst Antony Green said Zimmerman’s alleged primary “seems a little low,” but “if he’s under 40, he’s in trouble.” The typical independent strategy, he said, “is to force the liberal first preference vote under 50, preferably under 45, then get yourself in your 30s and win on preferences”.

Tink holds weekly ‘meet the candidate’ sessions; the Herald attended one at the Northbridge Golf Club on Wednesday. About 80 people, including some Tink volunteers, heard her speak about four priorities: climate, integrity in politics, economic governance and equality.

Kylea Tink met voters at Northbridge Golf Club on Wednesday night.Credit:Wolter Peeters

Tink said the government’s goal of net-zero emissions — which Zimmerman proudly cited as a victory for his cohort of so-called “moderate” liberals — isn’t good enough and that the goal should be net-zero by 2040. She is open to a target of 60 percent reduction by 2030.

“But I also don’t want to send our economy and our society into some kind of coronary shock by saying it should be zero by 2030,” she told the newspaper. Herald

This cautious environmental awareness is embraced by several climate independents; advocacy without disrupting the apple cart. Tink strongly supported a statement by the Climate 200 group last week condemning Fireproof Australia for blocking the Spit Bridge during rush hour to protest inaction on climate change. “That’s not the way to get the change we need,” she said.

Tink’s characterizes her opponent as a “nice guy” who is unable to get the desired results within the Coalition. A similar argument is being made by other independents who are trying to oust progressive liberals – they may say the right things at home, but they go to Canberra and succumb to their party.

“Recently someone said to me, ‘Trent is not Tony Abbott,'” Tink told the crowd on Wednesday night. “I said ‘you know what, he’s not’ because with Tony Abbott at least you knew what you were getting. Love him or hate him, he spoke as he voted. We’ve got a guy who speaks one way and votes like Barnaby Joyce or Peter Dutton or Matt Canavan,” she said to applause.

Zimmerman is not just any liberal moderate. He is a faction leader; he was the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives, and he used his maiden speech in 2016 to call for the legalization of same-sex marriage — an issue he pushed through his first term.

If Zimmerman loses North Sydney, it won’t be because voters have rejected his values, but because they don’t believe he can effectively use those values ​​in the current government. In background research for this story, many liberals said the prime minister was highly unpopular in the area.

“Scott Morrison shouldn’t be visiting ‘blue’ chairs,” one said, referring to the campaign color popular with independents (Tink’s campaign is pink).

Zimmerman said he is proud to be part of a team — a government — and “within that team I have strong views on the issues that matter to my electorate,” such as stronger climate action, LGBTQI equality and the digital economy. “I think people recognize that I am someone who represents the values ​​of an area like North Sydney,” he said.

North Sydney Labor candidate Catherine Renshaw, a human rights professor, is campaigning on Saturday.

North Sydney Labor candidate Catherine Renshaw, a human rights professor, is campaigning on Saturday.Credit:Rhett Wyman

That meant crossing the floor of parliament in February to support laws protecting transgender students from discrimination in religious schools (although the government pulled the package out of the Senate, so it never became law).

Tink gives her opponent some credit for that move, but not much. “It was really good to see him do that,” she says. “I wish he’d gone on. That is the first time in seven years that he has come across.”

Zimmerman’s overlapping MP, Felicity Wilson, in the North Shore seat, said the Liberal Party needs more people like him to keep it moderate. It’s the same case Dave Sharma made to his local newspaper last week, warning that if moderates like him or Zimmerman were voted out, the Liberal Party would look more like the US Republican Party.

“This is a truly progressive community and it should have a progressive voice in Parliament,” Wilson said. “The question is whether there should be someone in a major party, a Liberal, who sits on the board, who delivers results within a government, who keeps the Liberal party honest – or should it be an independent party?”

Asked about the warning shot voters fired at conservative Tim James in the Willoughby state by-election, Wilson said, “The member for North Sydney is not the same as the member for Willoughby.”


Renshaw, the Labor candidate, is keen to remind people that it is a three-horse race. She said voters were angry with the government and wanted change. “They are looking for a place to direct that energy and that anger,” she said, arguing that Labor as an alternative government is the better choice than an independent one for those who want to voice their dismay.

Renshaw said she hadn’t thought about preferences, as crucial as they may be in who North Sydney transports. Tink said she wouldn’t tell voters how to fill out the rest of their ballot papers, and if there’s a pending parliament in which she has to help decide who forms the government, she’ll look at how her voters voted to support her decision.

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