City News

Meet the challengers

Matthew Thompson. Photo: Supplied

By ALLISON HORE

Jacqui Munro (Liberals)

Running for the Liberal Party in the seat of Sydney is first-time candidate Jacqui Munro. For her, it was a passion for the local area that inspired her to run.

Despite being the youngest woman to be pre-selected by the Liberal party, Ms Munro has a wealth of experience in the field of advocacy. She worked on the media team for the Australian Marriage Equality campaign and organises the Liberal Party’s Mardi Gras float each year.

“I have felt strongly about the issue of marriage equality for a long time and I think equality before the law is a very important principle. So being a part of the marriage equality team was a really valuable part of my career,” Ms Munro tells City Hub.

“We’re the party that’s preselected more LGBTQ candidates than any other.”

Ms Munro has also been an active member of the “Keep Sydney Open” movement. In 2016, she left her role as advisor to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian about one month after being spotted in a Keep Sydney Open shirt at a rally against the lock-out laws.

“The lock-out laws were obviously brought in as a response to safety in the city and my feeling is that those concerns have been addressed and can also be better addressed by other measures,” she says.

A global 24-hour city

“When I talk to people in the area they are really interested in ways that we can invigorate the city and ways that we can open up the city to be a global 24-hour city.”

After leaving the Premier’s office Ms Munro became Vice-President of the NSW Young Liberals and worked as a staffer for Dr Kerryn Phelps despite campaigning for her opposition Dave Sharma.

She says it’s renters’ rights that is a key concern of people within the community.

“There are a lot of renters in Sydney, so rental affordability is something that’s come up quite a bit,” she explains.

“The new taxes the Labor Party is introducing will place more pressure on renters.”

In the last federal election, the Liberal Party candidate won just under 34 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis, with a 2.4 per cent swing towards the Labor Party. Will a young, progressive candidate be the one to unseat the longstanding incumbent?

Matthew Thompson (Greens)

Running for the Greens is the outspoken Matthew Thompson, who has certainly made his presence known this election through driving a strong social media campaign.

Like Ms Munro, he’s a young first-time candidate hoping to represent a new generation in parliament. He says that he is worried about what the future looks like for a younger generation if action isn’t taken to address growing social inequality and climate change.

“Our future is on the line and we deserve a seat at the table as decisions that will dramatically impact our lives are being made,” he tells City Hub.

“Growing up in the 90s and 00s, my generation has felt the full force of Neo-Liberalism. We’ve been locked out of the housing market, forced into poverty with substandard social security and we’ll pay the ultimate price for decades of inaction on climate change.”

Mr Thompson, who grew up in Newcastle, describes himself as a “proud queer activist” and is a TAFE graduate and community services worker. For him, it’s important that the voice of diverse Australians, including young people and LGBT+ people, are represented in parliament.

“When you look at our parliament, almost all of our politicians look and sound the same. They don’t reflect or represent the diverse and vibrant communities across Australia,” he says.

A bold vision

The bold vision he puts forward is making housing a right for all, providing free education, transitioning to 100 per cent renewable energy and eradicating poverty.

With such a high profile incumbent, winning the seat for the Greens won’t be easy for Mr Thompson. In the last federal election, the Greens won just under 19 per cent of the primary vote compared to Tanya Plibersek’s 44 per cent.

But Mr Thompson says it is more important than ever that a strong Greens contingent be represented in parliament.

“Now more than ever before we need strong Greens representatives in the House and the Senate to hold the major parties to account and to take strong action on climate change,” he explains.

“The stronger the Greens for Sydney campaign is the more likely it will be that we can keep racists and the far right out of the next parliament.”