A FIFTH candidate has now entered the race to win the seat of Flinders at the May federal election.
Susie Beveridge, a former Mornington Peninsula Shire councillor, announced last week that she would stand as an independent for the seat held for the Liberals by Greg Hunt since 2001.
As well as Mr Hunt, Ms Beveridge will be opposing former Liberal Julia Banks (currently MP for Chisholm) who is also standing as an independent, Labor’s Joshua Sinclair and Nathan Lesslie of the Australian Greens.
Although not backing any one candidate, the left-wing lobby group GetUp! Last week announced it would campaign against Mr Hunt’s re-election for his “repeated attempts to block action on climate change”. Mr Hunt had denied the claims (“Hunt a GetUp! ‘target’ in federal poll The News 20/3/19).
“I am non-political, my allegiance is to the constituent, without any filters,” Ms Beveridge told The News. “I have been a campaigner for the Mornington Peninsula, the bays, the environment and its people for a long time.”
Twice elected to council, Ms Beveridge is questioning “where do we go to from here policy and development wise? It must be sensible, sustainable and sensitive”.
“Commonwealth and constitutional law has always been a driving interest [for me], even at council level. Consistency of law is paramount; it underpins everything we do,” she said. “What are [the other candidates] going to do if they are bankrolled or restricted by party politics? I am free to speak, and to stand as a direct representative.
“Where do their true allegiances lie? If a lawyer, is it to the bar association? Or to a political party? These are barriers to unbiased constituent representation.”
Ms Beveridge said would be “out talking to residents from the back step of my van. I have a 50-year-old heritage picnic blanket where I can sit and chat to people. The van has become a mobile office”.
She says changes to the Private Health Insurance Act due on 1 April “could be seen as a violation of the Competition and Consumer Act” as they discriminate against 17 different practices, including natural therapies.
Ms Beveridge believes the continued refusal by the state government to allow the Otama submarine to be brought ashore in Western Port “is an issue also laden with a some moving of the goalposts… Could it be a restrictive trade practice?”
The Western Port Oberon Association, which is behind moves to bring the submarine ashore, last week issued an invitation to “join us” at a community meeting in its Maritime Centre in Crib Point to meet Julia Banks, the other independent candidate for Flinders.
Ms Beveridge says she has been “working away at in the background for some time” to make sure the Otama is preserved.
Ms Beveridge is also opposed to power company AGL being allowed to moor a gas conversion terminal at Crib Point, which she sees as having political similarities to channel deepening in Port Phillip, where the state government prevailed.