LAST WEEK Guardian Australia’s rural and regional editor, Gabrielle Chan, coined the phrase the ‘The Barnaby Line’ and questioned whether in electorates south of this line, such as Nicholls and Mallee, Barnaby Joyce’s regional appeal was now in the negative “losing his MPs and candidates more votes than he attracts.”
Mallee was a bit of a surprise package at the 2019 election, being the last seat called by the Australian Electoral Commission, almost a month after the election, which saw the Nationals suffer a 28 percent primary vote swing against them.
Early in February this year Sophie Baldwin, announced her candidacy as an independent for Mallee in the upcoming election. Sophie describes herself as – “a wife, a mum, a single mum, a dairy farmer, a journalist, a CEO and a water advocate,” and not afraid of hard work. She believes “rural and regional Australia has been left without a voice while petty party politics destroy the country”.
Today I am talking to Ray Kingston – one of the three climate focussed independents that ran in Mallee in 2019 and shared over 21 percent of the primary vote – about his experiences as a past candidate and now as a supporter of Sophie Baldwin.
Ray contributed to some of Sophie’s early strategy meetings, is a proud supporter of hers and has been regularly asked for advice throughout her campaign. Important for Sophie’s campaign and her voter recognition have been endorsements from Ray Kingston and independent state MP for Mildura, Ali Cupper.