19 April 2022

Goulburn's Penny Ackery challenges Angus Taylor for the seat of Hume

| Clare McCabe
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Independent candidate Penny Ackery

The Voices of Hume group has backed Independent candidate for Hume, Penny Ackery. Photo: Supplied.

Backed by the Voices of Hume group, Independent candidate Penny Ackery hopes to disrupt the Liberal’s two-decade hold on the seat of Hume in the upcoming federal election.

A mother and teacher from the outskirts of Goulburn, Ms Ackery has been vocal about an anti-corruption committee since her selection as the representative of the Voices group last November.

Like many Independent candidates, Ms Ackery has stated her biggest single policy is “integrity” and establishing an “anti-corruption commission”. She has also added her voice to ending the “power of political donations”.

“The Liberal party has had three consecutive terms to install an anti-corruption commission, promising to do so and yet, every time they have failed,” Ms Ackery said.

“It’s all about the accountability of our representatives to the people who elected them… We need honest, accountable government.

“I’ll take advice when I’m elected on the most effective model for a federal integrity commission. But I can promise it will have teeth and it will be truly independent.”

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Ms Ackery has distanced herself from accepting donations from any political group including GetUp, Climate 200 and corporations from mining, pharmacy, oil and gas.

“My campaign is crowd-funded and most donations come from within our electorate,” she said.

Ms Ackery moved to Goulburn around 30 years ago where she worked as a teacher at Goulburn and Picton High Schools for children with special needs and learning disabilities.

She was chosen as the independent representative for the Voices of Hume at a town hall-style forum in August 2021.

Ms Ackery’s policies focus on improving the cost of living and wage stagnation, stopping corruption, health and education, economic management and protecting the environment for future generations.

“We are going to put absolutely everything into it because this is the best chance [we’ve had] in 30 years to make a change,” she said.

“Together we will win.”

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Around 250 people attended the Goulburn Workers Club earlier this month with special guests former independent MP for Indi Cathy McGowan and ABC journalist Kerry O’Brien.

The focus of the evening, hosted by Ms Ackery, was to “discuss the needs of contemporary democracy”.

Ms McGowan, who defeated a Liberal MP in 2013 and broke the Liberal-National Coalition’s hold on the seat, gave the crowd a message of hope and stressed that “true democracy requires engagement and continuous input from members of the electorate”.

Hume has been held by a Liberal candidate for two decades, the current member Angus Taylor since 2013. In the 2016 election he held the seat winning almost 54 per cent of the votes. Before Taylor, Liberal politician Alby Schultz was the federal member since 1998.

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A Liberal or Nationals member has primarily held the seat for many years; the last Australian Labor Party member to be elected in Hume was Frank Olley in 1972.

“My campaign is focused on the middle ground, not the extremes. This is what people want from their representatives; leaders who listen,” Ms Ackery said.

“We can take this seat with the hundreds of impassioned volunteers behind us.

“It’s a real community effort for better, more transparent representation. People want investment in schools, hospitals, roads and infrastructure while still protecting the environment.”

Contesting the election is Angus Taylor for the Liberal Party of Australia, Greg Baines for the Australian Labor Party, Independents Penny Ackery and Sheneli Dona, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’s Rebecca Thompson, Karen Stewart for the Greens and for the United Australia Party, Garry Dollin.

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