Over the next few months Central News reporters are following around North Sydney’s Independent – a grassroots campaign to find a candidate to challenge for the seat of North Sydney at the next election.

Sunday, June 6, 2021: And so, this is how it begins, no candidate, a bunch of people standing around talking over beers, upstairs at the Crowsnest Hotel.

At the pub the search is launched for an independent candidate willing to take on sitting North Sydney Liberal Party MP Trent Zimmerman in the next federal election.

North Sydney’s Independent launched its campaign on Sunday to bring the community together and find a candidate. The newly formed group has a strong focus on climate change and energy policy, gender equality and corruption in government.

Spokesperson of the group is local mother of two, former nurse and public health researcher, Kristen Lock. Amongst the excitement of the launch we managed to talk to Lock in the quiet of the smokers to find why she decided to launch the campaign.

The community starts talking, we start building connections, and we start connecting with each other to create something that is bigger than the sum of us.

Unphased by her inexperience she says she’s doing it for her kids who are “looking down the gun barrel of climate change”, and that Trent Zimmerman’s time is up after holding the seat for six years. 

“He said all the right stuff, but then he voted the other way,” Lock says.

“The fact that he’s had six years and we have ended up with no electric vehicle policy, no climate action policy, no energy strategy, tells you it’s not going anywhere.”

Inspired by Zali Steggall’s 2019 win against Tony Abbott in Warringah, the campaign aims to build community support to find a suitable candidate.

“The community starts talking, we start building connections, and we start connecting with each other to create something that is bigger than the sum of us,” Ms Lock says.

North Sydney is among the most educated electorates in the country… I think with that sort of calibre of population I’m sure we will find someone strong, someone capable.

The group is critical of party dominated politics and calls for a revival of democracy through elected independents. 

“The parties have a particular problem in their structure… you need to be a yes man or woman to move up, that means you need to say what people (the parties) want to hear and vote the way people (the parties) want you to vote,” Lock says.

The ‘father of independents’ Ted Mack was the last independent to hold the seat, holding it for six years until 1996. The group says that with a proud history of independents in the area they are confident they will find the right candidate.

“North Sydney is among the most educated electorates in the country… I think with that sort of calibre of population I’m sure we will find someone strong, someone capable,” Ms Lock says.

As of now, North Sydney’s Independent could not confirm when they would gather next. But, after wrapping up with a group photo Ms Lock and her team assured us this is just the beginning.

Stay tuned.

Main image: Kristen Lock speaking at campaign launch. Photo: Aston Brown