THERE WAS A strong wind blowing on Saturday morning when around 200 people gathered in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Sandringham to launch former ABC journalist Zoe Daniel’s campaign for the seat of Goldstein, held by Liberal MP Tim Wilson.
People lined up for coffee at a mobile espresso machine bought in for the event. I’m told it’s a very Melbourne thing and it was much appreciated by me after driving two-and-a-half hours down from Indi.
On Friday evening, Daniel put out a tweet urging supporters to “bring dogs” and bring dogs they did. I’m not sure if the barking was always friendly but it certainly added to the atmosphere.
I wandered up and into the rotunda to grab a quick photo of the gathering crowd. Curious about what was going on, a father and young son followed me up to have a look:
Son: Dad is this gonna be on TV?
Father: I think it’s soon gonna be on TV a lot.
Eventually the speeches got underway and they were short. I like short, I think short is stronger.
The former member for Chisholm Julia Banks addressed the crowd. Honestly, I didn’t take in much of what she said, I was busy fluffing about with a camera I barely know how to drive yet.
I noticed Simon Holmes à Court standing in the crowd with (I assume) his dog. There really were a lot of dogs.
Holmes à Court is the convenor of Climate 200. The group aims “to raise at least $5 million to help level the playing field for 10-12 high-quality, values-aligned candidates.”
Voices of Goldstein had asked Daniel to be their candidate, so a roaring reception when she took the podium was probably to be expected.
It’s also why Wilson should be so concerned. He will struggle to match the independent’s ground game. It’s already big and there’s little doubt as the campaign draws closer it’ll grow.
In Daniel, Wilson’s facing off against a large bunch of campaign volunteers that seem intent on making democracy fun again. We all know how that ended up in Warringah for former Prime Minister Abbott.
I’m cynical, but I can’t help feeling the major parties like politics being a shit fight because it keeps people disengaged.
Voices of Goldstein is obviously putting together a campaign that’s fun to engage with (which I’ve seen in Indi community independent campaigns), but in her speech Daniel was serious, blunt and to the point:
On four continents I have covered climate-related disasters, superstorms, floods, fires.
In the United States I witnessed the unravelling of one of the world’s greatest democracies due to the erosion of truth, the mobilisation of misinformation and the loss of trust.
I don’t recognise the major parties and they don’t recognise me.
Trumpian gaslighting is rife.
Where were the modern Liberals when they had a chance to support Helen Haines’ legislation for a National Integrity Commission? … they were far from standing up for integrity, honesty, and truth, they were actively blocking it.
I’m with the Business Council when they say we need a 50 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030.
Check out the full speech transcript.
Daniel began her speech by thanking a number of people including Cathy McGowan and Ian Macphee.
Macphee was a minister in the Fraser Government and the first Member for Goldstein.
The former Member for Murray Valley in the Victorian Legislative Assembly Ken Jasper supported Cathy McGowan’s Indi campaign in 2013 and it was a major factor in her victory.
Australian suffragist Vida Goldstein was one of four women to stand in the 1903 federal election.
That was the first election in which women were allowed to stand.
If elected, Daniel would be the first woman to hold the seat named after one of the nations most famous social reformers, a powerful point she’ll no doubt repeat during the campaign.
On Friday, Wilson tweeted a photo of former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian crowning his Christmas tree, declaring his support for her to run in the seat of Warringah.
Berejiklian resigned after being called to appear before the NSW ICAC.
Curious tweet. By my estimation she’s widely disliked in Victoria after unfairly and quietly accepting additional vaccines for NSW when Victoria was also experiencing a Covid outbreak many consider she caused.
Wilson’s effectively calling into question the authority of – and undermining – a state integrity body lending weight to what many already believe: the Coalition wants to avoid transparency and integrity.
Making democracy fun and engaging is a world away from showing utter contempt for it.
After the speeches finished, Daniel did some media, people milled about and chatted, and others gathered at the rotunda to go on a democracy walk.
I thought about the windy bay and the Bureau of Meteorology’s declaration we’re now officially in La Niña, and how it might be a good idea to order some toddler-size campaign T-shirts for the dogs. They may need them for the democracy walkies.
When Voices of Goldstein announced Zoe Daniel as their candidate, I tweeted Wilson was gone as she seems the perfect candidate for the seat.
Attending the launch didn’t alter that view.
It’ll be a long campaign. As usual the Liberals will get nasty, but barring any earth-shattering scandal involving the independent candidate, I reckon it’s all over red rover.