Saturday 2nd of March 2024

An independent challenger to Howard in Bennelong (Troy Rollo)

Like almost everybody here, I believe Howard should face a real challenge in his home seat of Bennelong. The problem is that there is no way Labor, the Democrats or the Greens can successfully do it. Bennelong votes Liberal. They have always voted Liberal, and there's no reason to expect they'll change this time. Even in the GST election he was comfortably re-elected after preferences - he has margin to burn. With the pollsters saying Iraq isn't even a vote changer, it's a pipe dream to expect enough Liberal voters to cross to the other side of politics and put Labor, the Democrats and the Greens ahead of Liberal in Bennelong. If this is where we put our efforts, Howard will win Bennelong as he always has.

That is in large part why I am running as an independent in Bennelong. I believe that enough Liberal voters would be willing to vote for an independent running on a platform of accountability to reduce Howard's vote in Bennelong below the 50% margin. As Antony Green says: 'Even Very Safe seats can become Key seats. A strong independent challenge in a Safe seat may be of interest even if on paper the seat is safe', but as for the Greens candidate Andrew Wilkie, he expects Howard to be safe from that challenge.

This isn't just theory - the independents in the Federal Parliament are all in seats that are normally safe for one party or the other.

Defeating an unaccountable government isn't necessarily about just the marginal seats, and concentrating on marginal seats alone plays into the government's hands - they can use policies directed at buying off just those seats.

Supporting independents - who are more likely to decide an issue on its merits on the floor of the House than just follow party lines.