After a court victory ensured supporters can proudly hoist her campaign flag, independent challenger for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, says major parties must now stop vilifying hundreds of thousands of voters in Australia.
Bayside City Council, which regulates political advertising locally, mounted an extraordinary attempt to ban the display of Ms Daniel’s campaign material.
Her Goldstein opponent, Liberal MP Tim Wilson, used his parliamentary correspondence to argue the signs were illegal, and encouraged neighbours to dob in those guilty of violations to cop a $1000 fine.
The court’s overrule had been widely expected by experts, who had argued it had adopted a “strange” interpretation of state-based planning bylaws.
“Our supporters can now feel free: who could ever have predicted this to be an issue in our campaign for federal parliament?” Ms Daniel told The New Daily.
Mr Wilson even insinuated some of his electors were “lawbreakers”, and encouraged other residents to dob them in to him personally.
Goldstein has been in Liberal hands since its inception – despite a major swing at the last election the party sits on a two-party-preferred margin of nearly 58 per cent.
But senior Liberals are now tipping the seat to fall, not even mostly because of the sitting member’s “mystifying” support for a move to impose criminal sanctions on electors in the affluent areas but also under the strength of the campaign run by Ms Daniel, who is on the vanguard of a new electoral politics.
That Mr Wilson ever took such an unlikely yet provocative tack has become a widely used example of the depth of the party’s fears.
And he is joined around the country.
Prominent examples of seats facing independent challenge have recently focused on Bronwyn Bishop’s old seat of Mackellar in North Sydney and Josh Frydenberg’s seat of Kooyong. Colleagues say that increasing and irregular outbursts from Dave Sharma show how tenuous his hold on Wentworth is.
But the weekend’s state election in South Australia was yet another reminder, if it were needed, that the groundswell is growing nationally.
Independents had an unusually prominent role in last weekend’s election due to a number of government MPs moving to parliament’s cross-bench at the beginning of the most recent term.
But as counting continues in seats such as Finniss, where Lou Nicholson continues to hold on to a win-making swing of 17.5 per cent, experts say a greater threat to Liberals from independents is now all but assured.
That has particular implications for several seats but particularly Boothby, the federal marginal Liberal seat which will face a spirited challenge from Jo Dyer. Rebekha Sharkie, the crossbench MP currently representing the blue-blood seat of Mayo, is proof such shifts can happen and that the ingredients for their rise have long been observable.
Political scientists say the growing