I BECAME POLITICALLY active before the 2007 Federal Election, after the community activist movement GetUp! established. GetUp had a small office in Drummoyne with a campaign objective of unseating John Howard, then Prime Minister, from Bennelong. I collected How-to-Vote cards from GetUp and with some friends, door-knocked and letter-box dropped over several weekends in the Bennelong electorate.
This campaign was close to my heart due to my experience growing up in the Exclusive Brethren. My 2015 memoir Joy & Sorrow, the Story of an Exclusive Brethren Survivor, with a foreword by the Investigative Journalist for The Age Michael Bachelard, tells the story. The Exclusive Brethren secretly donated money to the Howard Government for the 2007 election, and John Howard’s overthrow was a sweet victory for me.
I remained involved with GetUp from 2007 to 2019. In each federal election campaign I was a front-line volunteer for GetUp in many roles – booth captain, booth coordinator, door-knocker, phone-banker, and for several years I was a volunteer front-desk receptionist at GetUp HQ in Pitt Street, Sydney. From 2017 to 2019 I helped run the GetUp Mackellar Action Group (MAG), now defunct.
I was also involved with #LocktheGate, particularly as a phone volunteer, and in the #StopAdani movement.
Soon after moving to Mona Vale in 2018, I joined the Northern Beaches Climate Action Network and helped Nigel Howard, the NBCAN FB Coordinator, run an annual NBCAN Picnic at Narrabeen Lagoon, where spokespeople from 30 progressive groups in the area addressed attendees.
At the September NBCAN picnic I learned that the Voices of Mackellar (VOM) movement had been formed by Sophie Scamps, Anyo Geddes, Rebecca Clarke and Leonie Scarlett. To me, following the lead of Indi and Warringah was the only way to achieve similar success in Mackellar.
I volunteered with VOM doing various tasks like letter-box drops, then became a VOM Scribe, scribing for Kitchen Table Conversations (KTCs) both face-to-face and online until Dr Sophie launched her Independent Campaign in December 2021.
When Mackellar Rising was formed to find a candidate I handed out leaflets and conversed with more Mackellar constituents.
NBCAN also initiated the Candidates Forums for Mackellar and Warringah held in May. I was delighted to be part of the organizational team.
When Dr Sophie’s campaign launched I threw myself into her campaign as a volunteer.
I was worried that my previous connection with GetUp might preclude me from being a volunteer with Dr Sophie’s campaign team because of negative public perceptions re GetUp. I asked both Dr Sophie and Mark Connelly of Populares about this and both assured me there was no problem. So I door-knocked, letter-box dropped, phone-called, banner waved and street listened. ing, etc etc.
It was the best experience of my life.
When Anthony Green called for Dr Sophie on the night of 21 May 2022, my euphoria knew no bounds.
To wrap up this wonderful experience, on 31 May I went with VOPM co-founder Rebecca Clarke to Canberra to deliver Mackellar Independents ephemera to the National Library for their archival collection. On Thursday 9 June, I made a similar delivery to the NSW State Library in Macquarie Street.
I’m now totally involved in organising the upcoming NBCAN Soapbox event at the CEC North Narrabeen, to be held from 2 to 5 pm on Sunday 26 June.
No Fibs #MackellarVotes coverage
- 1. #transitzone interview with Sophie Scamps before she decided to stand.
- 2. Sophie Scamps’ campaign launch speech, December 2021
- 3. Twitter’s report on Sophie Scamps’ launch.
- 4. #transitzone interview with Sophie Scamps’ wing woman, Louise Hislop.
- 5. Women of #MackellarVotes rose: Voices of Mackellar cofounder Leonie Scarlett on the miracle win
- 6. Elation and relief after volunteering for Sophie Scamps at #MackellarVotes: Paul Boland’s story
- 7. Julie Donald’s story on that ear shattering moment on election night when #MackellarVotes made history
- 8. Michael Osbourne’s story: Regret for voting for Morrison and redemption by voting for Sophie Scamps #MackellarVotes
- 9. Alice Thompson’s #IndependentsDay campaign in 2019