Independent candidates could have a huge say on the makeup of Australia’s next parliament.
A number of “teal” independents backed by Climate 200 funds could be looking at successfully snatching seats from sitting Liberal MPs predominantly in inner-city seats, with more Australians voting to prioritise climate action and a federal anti-corruption agency which were centrepieces of the teal campaigns.
Independent candidates including Sydney’s Allegra Spender, Sophie Scamps, and Kylea Tink and Melbourne-based former journalist Zoe Daniel are all on track to claim seats.
The progressive tally shows likely victory for Tink over Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman in North Sydney.
Daniel has claimed victory over Liberal MP Tim Wilson, Scamps has defeated MP Jason Fallinski and Spender leads government MP Dave Sharma 58-42.
“What we have achieved here is extraordinary: safe Liberal seat, two-term incumbent—independent,” Daniel told supporters.
Scamps said she was headed to Canberra to “clean up the culture.”
“People are desperate for urgent action on climate change, they’re desperate for a federal integrity commission which the government has been running away from, and they’re desperate for health and mental health care and equity,” she told Sky News.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is in trouble against Monique Ryan in Kooyong, in Victoria, trailing 53-47, although he refused to concede.
“There’s still thousands of postal votes to count, and so while it’s mathematically possible that we win in Kooyong, it’s definitely difficult,” he said.
Independent Dai Le appears on track for victory in Sydney’s Fowler electorate, leading Labor candidate Kristina Keneally 52-48.
Independent MP Zali Steggall, who will retain the Sydney seat of Warringah, said the swing away from the coalition was clear.
“The community is frustrated, the major parties and the two-party system is broken,” she told Sky News.
“It’s failing to address the really big issues that communities want to see movement on, from integrity to respect for women to climate change policies, and the communities are speaking, they’re looking for alternatives.”
Former Liberal minister Julie Bishop said voters would make their choices on local issues.
“I think it will also come down to the ground game, that is local contests, head-to-head between Liberal, National, Labor and the independents,” she told Nine.
“And the independents, that could be a game changer this election.”
Former Liberal minister Christopher Pyne labelled the teal independents “political deceivers” and “political frauds.”
“They have one purpose and that’s to remove small-l Liberal members from the party room and to make the Liberal Party more right-wing and therefore unelectable,” he told Seven News.
“Calling them independents is really quite false. It’s a very obvious campaign and I don’t think they’ll do as well.”
Crossbenchers in seeking re-election from the last parliament included independents Zali Steggall, Helen Haines and Andrew Wilkie, along with Adam Bandt (Greens), Bob Katter (Katter’s Australian Party), Craig Kelly (United Australia Party) and Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance).