Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston

Co-publisher and editor-in-chief at No Fibs
Margo Kingston is a retired Australian journalist and climate change activist. She is best known for her stint as Phillip Adams’ ‘Canberra Babylon’ contributor and her work at The Sydney Morning Herald and #Webdiary. Since 2012, Kingston has been a citizen journalist, reporting and commenting on Australian politics via Twitter and No Fibs.
Margo Kingston
Gellibrand Candidates - SBS

Gellibrand candidates – SBS

By Grant Philpots

7 September, 2013

So it’s come to this. My first foray into citizen journalism done. I’m not expecting any changes here in Gellibrand.  Labor’s Tim Watts will be elected as the new member. He’ll have the job for as long as he wants it.

Tim is frontbench material and has the right backing factionally to become a minister one day. The big hope is that he will actually become a good local member. This term is thrown around a bit, but it is a safe seat and could easily be taken for granted.

I indicated early in my nofibs journey (to invoke MasterChef), that I thought the Greens would be out to knock off the Liberal Party for second place. I don’t know if they will, but they will certainly come close. The Greens’ candidate, Rod Swift, has been everywhere, with lots of helpers. This can’t hurt his chances of knocking off the Libs or helping to get the party’s lead Senate candidate Janet Rice elected.

The Liberal candidate, David O’Connell, has been campaigning and told me that the party was keen to support all seats. This mustn’t go as far as appearing at a local forum, but things happen. David is becoming well known in the electorate, and this will probably serve him well when going for preselection in the state seat of Williamstown. Williamstown booths in Gellibrand always have the highest proportion of Liberal votes, and the continued gentrification of that area may see David in with a shot, but not for a couple of election cycles.

The Sex Party candidate, Allan Cashion, is someone I think we will see more of. As long as he doesn’t get disenchanted with the whole process. Their policies are very reasonable, and the lead Senate candidate would be a good addition to the parliament.

Our Palmer United Party candidate, Dwayne Singleton, could also be around for the long term if the party stays intact. All minor parties need to maintain their profiles for the next election. I could see Dwayne going for local council and probably succeeding.

The Australian Christians candidate, Anthony O’Neill, showed up at our forum and presented his views. I don’t agree with them and stated my reasons in my forum post. But in a democracy, he is entitled to them.

Family First has kept very low profile: Kerry Arch has appeared to be a candidate looking for a party. Just about every one of her tweets has been about restoring the parenting payment that the ALP removed. Here’s some news – it won’t happen under an Abbott government!

Kerry came out with this gem on 2 September:  I’m a single parent and Childsupport helped pay for my kids’ private school Now working PT/Newstart I can no longer afford the fees.

David had the best line at the forum, referring to same-sex marriage: Penny Wong might be a great parent, but she will never be a great dad.

What have I learnt?

Having been fairly politically active before means I’ve seen and run campaigns. I was biting my lip a few times, wanting to give suggestions to candidates. At the forum, it was very hard for me to stand back and avoid putting pressure on candidates about things they have said. But t this also strengthened my views on who would get my first vote.

The ALP will always be the ALP, with the multitudes of views and factions. I am very familiar with it having been involved, and I know the right can be very strong in its desire to get what it wants. And will.

The Liberals run a campaign to ensure that their supporters get a chance to vote for their person.

The Greens. I honestly think that the Greens need a bit more bastard about them. Maybe they do behind the scenes, but from what I see the need to be always right, uncompromising and at times unpragmatic could be their downfall.

Politics is all about greys. I think the Greens see black and white at lot of the time, which politics isn’t. Compromise and compassion forms and continues in the grey, and some actions by the Greens in parliament me to think that this is the case.

I think the Sex Party will continue on. Some of their policies I agree with, some I don’t. ACP and Family First, a bit like the Greens, have issues that they believe in and that’s it. Not for me, then.

I said that No Fibs gave me the bona fides to push forward with my reporting here in Gellibrand. It has been a blast meeting and communicating with the candidates, some of whom I’ll keep in contact with, even if it’s only on Twitter. Those I met and communicated with showed themselves to be reasonable and decent people who hold values that they are prepared to stand up for, as not many would.

To end, I’ve had a blast.

Gellibrand seat reports