'Keep the bastards honest': Former leader of Australian Democrats joins high-profile group supporting independent | Scott Morrison | MCU Times

‘Keep the bastards honest’: Former leader of Australian Democrats joins high-profile group supporting independent | Scott Morrison

As Scott Morrison coming to the end of a bumpy parliamentary week, the organization, which bankrolls independent, challenging liberals established in their metropolitan area, has amassed an election war chest of more than $ 4 million and strengthened its advisory body.

Former Australian Democrat leader Meg Lees is a member of the Climate 200 Advisory Council, as is former Liberal Party leader John Hewson and Labor veteran Barry Jones.

Moderate metropolitan liberals facing challenges from climate-backed Independents 200 have increased their visibility during the last few months of major political debates – climate change, religious discrimination and the long-delayed Federal Integrity Commission.

Morrison has faced open revolt during the penultimate parliamentary week of lawmakers opposed to mandatory vaccinations and of the moderate liberal Bridget Archer, who crossed the floor Thursday to support an attempt by independent Helen Haines to create debate on a federal anti-corruption body.

Liberal moderates, including Andrew Bragg, Dave Sharma and Trent Zimmerman, have been vocal during the internal debate on the government’s religious discrimination package, arguing for the protection of gay teachers and students at the same time, not 12 months after the religious discrimination legislation enters into force.

This was announced by former ABC journalist and foreign correspondent Zoe Daniel on Thursday she will run as a freelancer in the forthcoming federal election in the Melbourne seat Goldstein, which is currently being held by Liberal MP Tim Wilson.

Lees said she had joined Climate 200’s advisory council because “if there has ever been a need to keep the bastards honest now, it’s time.”

“I have no doubt that the founder of the Australian Democrats, Don Chipp, who made the statement his appeal, would be appalled by the state. Australian politics today, and so am I, ”said the former Democrat leader.

“I was Senator for Southern Australia from 1990 to 2005. I worked consistently and made legislative changes whenever possible to support climate change efforts.

“Since then, I have largely stayed away from public political activity, but now I feel we have reached a critical turning point, and neither the coalition nor Labor are making decisions, advocating policies that are in Australia’s best interests or the world’s best interests. coasts. “

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Guardian Australia revealed last week that Hewson had teamed up with Jones to support one advocacy campaign focusing on social media targeted Scott Morrison’s record in integrity issues and climate action in the run-up to the federal election.

The voluntary non-profit organization, the Truth and Integrity project, has some crosses with it Climate 200 and with “voices” community groups modeled after the successful 2013 campaign by independent Cathy McGowan.

Hewson and Jones have also joined the Climate 200 Advisory Council.

Climate 200 is established by climate activist Simon Holmes à Court. The organization is a business not a charity. It does not select political candidates, but it is one fundraising tool for bankroll campaigns by independents.

Holmes à Court is the convener, Damien Hodgkinson – who worked with Kerry Phelps during her campaign to win the Sydney seat in Wentworth – is the director of the company, and Byron Fay is the group’s CEO.

With the recovery in pre-election activity, Bragg, the Liberal senator in New South Wales has already written to the Australian Electoral Commission requesting an inquiry into the “voting” movements organizing independent campaigns.

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MPs on both sides of politics believe it is possible that the forthcoming federal election may be close enough to deliver a hung parliament. If that happens, crossbenchers in the House of Representatives will be kingpins, determining Australia’s next government and influencing its political agenda.

Holmes à Court said the events of the past week demonstrated the applicability of crossbench. “It is particularly fitting that former leader of the Australian Democrats, Meg Lees, has accepted Climate 200’s invitation to join our Advisory Council.

“She is the second former party leader to sit on the board and join John Hewson as well as former Hawke Gov. Barry Jones and former independent lawmakers Julia Banks and Kerryn Phelps,” he said.

“Everyone has decided that if we are to restore integrity, accountability and decency to politics, a crossroads of societal independence is the way to do it.”

But Zimmerman, one of the liberals facing a challenge, told ABC on Thursday that the level of organization behind the challengers indicated that this was not a group of independents. “I wonder when these independents stop calling themselves independents when in fact it is such a coordinated network?”

He also questioned the value of independent targeting progressive liberals.

“It’s quite bizarre that this is the approach they would take because I have the strong position that always has before I was in Parliament, the Liberal Party, the government is better served by having progressive voices like my own or like Tim Wilson in it. “

Zimmerman said he had never taken his own re-election for granted, “and there has always been fierce competition in northern Sydney”.

“I have had two election campaigns against very high-profile independents in my first election and in my second after my memory,” the moderate liberal said.

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