The list of female candidates preparing to battle for blue ribbon seats at the next Federal election is growing, with MP Julia Banks declaring she’ll run for the Victorian seat of Flinders as an independent, taking on Health Minister Greg Hunt in the process.
Banks declared that “clean renewable energy is the future” while confirming her candidacy with Nine News. She declared she has “unfinished business” in politics and that “effective climate change action politics is imperative.”
Climate change action is also a top priority for Zali Steggall, the Olympian turned barrister who announced over the weekend that she’ll run against Tony Abbott in the traditionally safe Liberal seat of Warringah in Sydney. She told the Sun Herald she wants action on climate change so she can “look my children in the eye.”
Independent Kerryn Phelps also put climate change action at the centre of her campaign when successfully running for Wentworth last year. She said in her maiden speech: “What we do in this house, what we decide here, creates the world of our grandchildren. We all have a responsibility to them.”
Julia Banks also told Nine that everything she’s stood for in life, “intersects with this moment in time in Australia.”
“It’s important that the people of Flinders are not taken for granted and have a strong Independent representative who listens, gives it their all and takes pride in being their voice,” she said in the statement.
Banks’ announcement comes after she quit the Liberal Party last year to go to the cross-bench, and had previously said she would not contest the next Federal election as a Liberal MP due to “bullying and intimidation” during the August leadership spill. She’s currently the local member for the Melbourne seat of Chisholm. The Flinders seat covers much of the Mornington Peninsula and has been held by Greg Hunt since 2001.
Banks, a former lawyer who has a home on the Mornington Peninsula, told the Daily Telegraph over the weekend that: “This is a very important time in history where Australians, particularly women, are speaking up.”
Greg Hunt is a former Environment Minister and was responsible for approving the Adani Carmichael mine. He has previously said he didn’t believe the coal burning associated with the mine “would be a substantial cause of climate change effects”. He supported Peter Dutton during the first leadership spill last year.