Stephen McIllhatton, Skennars Head
In many ways it is refreshing to see a candidate like Mandy Nolan nominated for public office. She will never leave you wondering where she stands on most matters and appears to have the best interests of many people at heart. Combine this with a fair degree of integrity in what she believes and she is nothing if not authentic. Further, her life experiences and the fact that she has had a real job for a long time, automatically set her apart from at least half of the politicians we have to choose from.
On the surface of it, she presents a real alternative to the current federal and state representatives in our region. Mandy talks about being able to easily hold her own with a baying crowd. Of that we have no doubt.
Therein lies the first problem. It will be her back she needs to watch rather than what is in front of her if she is elected to Parliament.
Already the Federal MP Justine Elliot has publically dismissed her as a candidate on the grounds that the Greens will never form government. Yet that same MP will come, cap in hand to Mandy prior to the next election seeking her Greens preferences. If that is not granted it will be likely that this electorate will become a Liberal seat. So Mandy will have to toe the party line on this issue and a range of others. This will test her integrity, as it would anyone’s.
Mandy Nolan is well known in the area, unlike Justine Elliot who seems to think the electorate stops at Byron Bay. In Ballina, many describe her as Justine Who(?) until we are occasionally reminded that she exists by her wailing mantra of ‘eight long years’.
Australia needs local representatives who are going to stay true to themselves and not necessarily follow party lines in all instances. We need something different.
Like her or loathe her, Mandy is different and not your ‘run of the mill’ candidate. If she can convince the electorate that she will place all of this community at the centre of everything she does, she will have a real chance because our current representatives fail this test abysmally.
I thought her recent article on the divided community at Mullumbimby was a real sign of this intention and an authentic, heartfelt attempt to place people before politics.