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Byron Shire
July 7, 2022

Mandy for Richmond: ‘I’m there to break things’

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Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot. Photo supplied.

I am deeply curious about whether Mandy Nolan can unseat Labor’s Justine Elliot and win Richmond for the Greens in Saturday’s election.

Prediction might be a low form of journalism, but I believe the Morrison government will be turfed out.

Labor could form government in its own right but a Labor minority government would be far more interesting. A crossbench of Greens, ‘Teals’ and garden variety Independents could tame Labor’s worst instincts and push for actual change, like in 2010 when the Gillard government was forced by the Greens to enact meaningful climate legislation.

But can Mandy win? My assumption was that Richmond was not yet ready to go Green, despite the star candidate. Demography is driving the progressive trend in our electorate and this cycle seemed too soon.

Mandy Nolan. Photo Tree Faerie.

Labor’s Justine Elliot holds Richmond on the back of Green’s preferences: in 2019 she received 31,807 first preference votes, the Greens 20,384, the Nationals 36,979, the various Independents 11,150. There were 8,061 informal votes. After preferences, the result was Labor 54 per cent; Nationals 46 per cent (the 2016 numbers were very similar).

Nationals candidate, Kimberly Hone.

The Nationals have fielded a new smiling female candidate and will likely benefit from the flow of Independents’ preferences. But the Coalition is on the nose – especially here where a well-established progressive trend has been amplified by covid refugees fleeing the cities, and we’ve just been whacked by a disaster most associate with climate change.

To win in Saturday’s three-way contest, Mandy must out-poll Justine. The Greens vote would need to rise from around 20,000 to 26,000. A big task. And if the swing came purely from the Nationals, the seat would remain Labor’s, all other things being equal.

But all things are not equal. Candidates matter. As does mood. Our region is rattled by the floods, and Mandy is not your average candidate. Her name recognition, according to Greens campaign manager, Bec Talbot, is ‘off the chart’. In Ballina, where many people mistakenly believe their local member is Kevin Hogan, Mandy is known by four times as many people as Justine Elliot, their member of 17 years. 

In 2019, the Greens put forward Michael Lyon, then a Byron councillor, as their candidate. Michael was pedestrian, at best, compared to Mandy, and certainly no harbinger of change. Mandy is a loved local brand. An actual activist. Her profile is stratospheres above that of Tamara Smith, who won the State seat of Ballina from the Nationals in 2015 with a 30 per cent swing when the key issue was coal seam gas and she was a quiet school teacher.

Mandy and her team have had conversations with 6,000 people in the community and believe there’s a real chance of victory. Housing and climate are the dominant concerns out there and the Greens think they can deliver solutions from the crossbench. 

When I ask Mandy how she’s faring a week out from polling day, she says she’s been at it for 14 months, working really long hours, noting how the challenger ‘must work twenty times as hard’. But the incumbent is clearly worried. Justine Elliot is mimicking Mandy by wearing pink clothes and sporting blonde hair while accusing the Greens of being ‘as untrustworthy as Scott Morrison’.

I know Mandy well from her writing, performance, and by osmosis, but before speaking on Saturday, our most meaningful interaction was years ago when I nearly got between her and a glass of free champagne at an art launch. This time we had a good chat. I was left with the impression of someone pretty committed to the cause. Her desire to ‘break things’ involves breaking the two-party system, overcoming climate inaction and ‘cleaning up what’s happening in politics’.

When I reference another comedian turned politician, President Zelensky of the Ukraine, whose leadership has captivated the world, I get this reply: ‘Well I’m not Zelensky, but I appreciate the question because it’s about a style of leadership that is missing, and I think when you look towards the arts you start to see bravery and courage and collaboration and vision… We need new ways of doing politics and if that means having comedians, well, so be it’.

If I were a betting man, Sportsbet’s odds of 5:1 for Mandy winning Richmond would be tempting.


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30 COMMENTS

  1. The greens campaign in Richmond seems very focused on returning the Tories. All attacks on Elliott but ignoring the NATs candidate. A bit like life of Brian moment forgetting the Romans were the enemy.

    • The Greens winning Richmond does not help the “Tories” at all, in fact it is the strongest possible way to vote against the Coalition.

      The Nats have no chance of winning Richmond this time though, or perhaps ever again the way the seat is trending.

  2. Just who in the Greens thought Mandy Nolan could come over the top of the establishment?
    To do that, Justine has to do something wrong. That is not going to happen.
    Justine is standing strong working against the floods and the destruction of Climate Change.
    Is there anything wrong with that?

  3. Political Science 101: If you want to beat Scomo et al best vote 1 Labor, then preference Greens otherwise you risk another 3 years of L NP.

    • Failed in political science 101 then……
      That’s not how the preference system works. Greens are preferencing Labor, so it’s not possible for a vote for the Greens risking 3 more years for Smirko and his crooked bunch. If there’s a hung parliament there’s no way the Greens will be supporting LNP.
      If you’re sooo confident the seat of Richmond is only between Labor and Nats then put Labor ahead of Nats in your preferences.
      But top marks at trying to scare voters away from the real progressive towards Labor.
      Can’t help but be suss of first-timers posting false info and scaremongering in the final days of the campaign.

  4. Mandy is obviously intelligent, but she has a “potty” mouth which doesn’t impress me. How would she speak in Parliament?

    • Same as how she spoke whenever she’s appeared on Q & A on ABC TV.
      In case you missed it, speech used for comedic effect is not the same.
      And do you really think no politicians swear?

  5. “When I reference another comedian turned politician, President Zelensky of the Ukraine, whose leadership has captivated the world, I get this reply: ‘Well I’m not Zelensky, but I appreciate the question because it’s about a style of leadership that is missing..”

    Something sure is missing. Zelensky has betrayed his voters. He was elected in 2019 on the promise of stopping the war in Donbas. Instead he escalated it and here we are. Mandy wants to ‘break things’ like Zelensky. Good luck with that, Richmond.

    • Wow that’s a new narrative “Zelensky has betrayed his voters”. Are you ####### serious? you must be one of the few in the world outside of Ruissia pushing that line!

    • Mandy would have us at war with Western Australia in no time cause mining and stuff.
      I think she just wants her turn pretending to playing that piano.

    • Are you a bot? Suddenly appearing on the pages of the Echo immediately before an election and commenting solely to troll Mandy.
      Very Suss! hmmm…. a scared Labor minion? or one of Kimberleys pentecostal anti-science, climate and covid denying nutjobs?

      • Maybe as simple as vestiges of outrage at Mandy’s advocacy of vaccines, masks and a social contract?

        Ironically there seems to be a nexus between the pro Putin, “freedom loving”, dictatorship fearing scamdemic brigade. Wild, I know!

        • The conspiracy is that we don’t immediately believe the TV and we go and check things out ourselves. You guys fail to notice the thing we agree with cause we looked into them and they turned out to be true.

          • Where do you go to “check things out” though? There are rarely accompanying sources – just the implied wisdom behind “we know best. Being an alternative of the mainstream isn’t in itself enough.

            And – I just think it’s passing strange that those who are concerned about the pandemic measures being really about world dictatorship have a tendency to be pro Putin. The guy who cancelled elections and hasn’t held any since. 🤔

  6. I remember the Greens voting with Abbott to block Rudd’s climate policy and thereby creating the last 9 wasted years of LNP nothingness Govt floundering on every policy, let alone climate and the environment. That is the Greens legacy from the former Labor Govt. Just remember when you vote, the Greens can do nothing with one seat in a 151 seat Parliament. When Labor form Govt, Richmond will be at the table with Justine Elliot. Remember when you vote your going to be “Justine Time”, to rid us of this failed corrupted Morrison and his slimy shadowy, completely unaccountable out of control scamvangelical faction! There is no Liberal party any more, it’s the Morrison scamvangelical faction ad it’s terrified of what a Federal ICAC will uncover?

    • Tweed, it is correct that the Greens voted against Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme but your rendering of subsequent events is highly partial. The Greens voted against the CPRS for fear that it would entrench failure — that the legislation would not REDUCE carbon pollution, as its name suggested, but INCREASE it. An increase in carbon pollution may or may not have come to pass, we’ll never know, but at the time the fear was certainly well founded. Industry lobbying had so diluted the scheme — which was based on Ross Garnaut’s report and was initially pretty robust — that the bill the Greens helped vote down was not fit for purpose.

      There’s lots of blame to go around. Of course, Abbott’s opportunism is unforgivable, but in my reading of history, Rudd deserves plenty of blame. One might argue that he created Abbott and the climate wars that proved politically fatal for him by never reaching across the proverbial aisle to Malcolm Turnbull and never involving the Greens in discussions. Rudd had his great moral challenge and was determined to own it, but not sufficiently determined to call a double dissolution election when the CPRS was twice voted down. Rather he shelved it. The rest is history.

      • David, 100%.
        And when the ETS was proposed by ex-PM Julia, it was supported and legislated with by the Greens support because it was very good policy, that worked exactly as it was intended to do.

    • The Greens are actually directly responsible for the ETS/Carbon Price that the Labor/Green/Ind gov of 2010-13 delivered. Labor are getting so desperate spreading all this disinformation.

      • Yes – after much negotiation with Labor to arrive at something achievable (read Greg Combet’s “the fights of my life”) – and it was good but by then the whole issue had become a culture war that deferred any sensible debate for another three terms of Coalition government.

        No need to rewrite history.

  7. This is the subversion of democracy when nearly all of the 7 minor parties and independents, the various activist lobby groups such as ‘put the majors last’ direct preferences to the National’s candidate. There are only three candidates with a chance and the anti-government, anti-vax, anti-mandate and anti border restriction ‘freedom’ parties are directing their protest vote to the very Morrison government they are protesting about. The Greens are also doing their best to defeat Labor in a seat Labor needs to hold if they are to form even a minority government.

    • It’s because they are planning to secede the Peoples Democratic Republic of Northern Rivers and make me the Emperor. Then we are going to conquer Queensland. That’s how you write a conspiracy theory MB. I’ve debunked enough of them to know how it’s done.

  8. The Green vote in Richmond is shrinking in percentage of overall votes.

    Mandy will continue this , in spite of a lacklustre sitting member .

  9. Lisa the borders are closed.. on news breakfast !!
    That was latest Gaff .. !! Is 💯 not up to running this country.. !!

    • Barrow, The LIEberals are gone…on news breakfast!!
      That was the last of your President ScamMO…not up to running the LIEberal Party let alone this country…!!

      Pop the champagne, Australia now under fresh management of…ABC, Brandt, Greens, Court. How Gooooooood is Australia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Joachim and so it begins !! One wrong turn.
        One F/ ing hair out of place.. toothache, headache , period pain , prostate problems
        Chest pain, strains , pains .. to hot to cold
        Not windy enough .not sunny enough
        To much rain , not enough rain ..floods ,
        Fires , boats arrive, corruption, Pre – election
        Broken promises..not enough Promises !!
        Dont worry about a thing !! Every little thing going
        to be alright ! This is my message to you!! ..the Great Bob Marley !! What gos around
        Comes around Joachim.. !!

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