Push to unseat Tehan by independents

FEDERAL MP Dan Tehan could have some strong competition at next year’s election, with a growing number of people keen to see an independent MP elected.

The group Voices of Wannon has been formed with an aim of finding an electable independent to take on Mr Tehan in the traditionally conservative seat.

The group is made up of people from across the Wannon electorate, which takes in Ararat, the southern part of Pyrenees Shire, Warrnambool, Hamilton, Portland, Colac and parts of the surf coast.

The group has been seeking a meeting with Mr Tehan to discuss key community priorities, but spokesman Greg Twitt said so far, nothing has happened.

“As the group has been unable to meet with Mr Tehan, we will look for an independent candidate who endorses the priorities and who its members can support in the forthcoming Federal election,” he said.

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“The failure to meet was disappointing, given the support for these matters in the electorate. People in Wannon have expressed overwhelming support for immediate action on a range of matters including climate change, and greater integrity in government,” he said.

Voices of Wannon has conducted a consultative process with residents across the electorate during the past year to establish the key priorities of residents.

More than 170 residents from twenty towns across the participated in the consultative process.

The residents identified actions they want to see from the Federal Government. This included action to address five main matters:

  • Real and urgent action on climate change
  • Improved integrity and transparency in government
  • Compassionate treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum
  • Increased availability of affordable and social housing
  • Improved access to health services (including mental health)

Voices of Wannon is modelled on the successful Voices of Indi and Voices of Warringah campaigns, which have successfully led independent MPs elected.

Mr Twitt said the group is keen to hear from people interested in running as an independent.

“We’ve found there is an appetite for change away from the major parties. Amongst the people we spoke to, some were supporting of Dan Tehan but there are also many dissatisfied with the way the Liberal National party are going but also politics in general,” he said.

“We think we need a member of parliament who represents our views,”

Mr Twitt admits Voices for Wannon will run a campaign on a small budget.

“We’re on a shoe string budget, so it’s all funded by individual community members, we are advertising in local newspapers but we can’t afford big ads at this stage,” he said.

Voices of Wannon has documented the results of its conversations in a report that can be downloaded from its website at www.voicesofwannon.net.

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