Candidates from four different parties are running in the Kingsford Smith election to unseat incumbent Labor member Matt Thistlethwaite on May 21.
The seat of Kingsford Smith, located in the southern parts of the eastern suburbs, is considered a safe Labor seat, having been always held by the party since the seat’s creation in 1949.
Prior to Thistlethwaite taking office in 2013, Kingsford Smith was held by Midnight Oil lead singer Peter Garrett who represented the area for nine years. It was also held by Lionel Bowen from 1969 to 1990, who served as deputy prime minister for seven years under Bob Hawke.
Ahead of the Kingsford Smith election, City Hub has compiled together all the information about the candidates that will be contesting the seat this month.
Kingsford Smith candidates – Stuart Davis (Greens)
Stuart Davis. Photo: Greens.
When asked why he deserves the votes of his constituents, Davis said that “if you really care about climate change, there is really only one choice, and that is the Greens”.
Davis is endeavouring to deliver a “clean, green and prosperous renewable future” for future generations and has reiterated the importance of immediate climate action, which has been a paramount fixture in the Greens’ federal campaigning this year.
While speaking to City Hub, Davis said that he had three key issues that he would be addressing at a local level, including scrapping plans for a Matraville incinerator, which he described as “truly appalling”, working to stop the proposed Yarra Bay cruise ship terminal, and to “return integrity and honesty to politics”.
He said that establishing a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) would be a strong priority that would create a trustworthy government and stop corruption and pork barrelling across Australian electorates.
It comes after an investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald last year found that the Liberal-held neighbouring seat of Wentworth had received more than eight times the amount of federal government grant funding than Kingsford Smith did from 2018 to 2021.
While Kingsford Smith is considered a safe Labor seat, Wentworth has become much more marginal since former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s retirement in 2018, and remains so, with high-profile Independent Allegra Spender mounting a serious challenge to incumbent Liberal Dave Sharma in the northern parts of the eastern suburbs this year.
Matt Thistlethwaite (Labor)
Matt Thistlethwaite. Photo: Facebook.
Matt Thistlethwaite has represented Kingsford Smith in the House of Representatives since 2013. Prior to that, he was a Senator in Canberra and the General Secretary of the New South Wales Labor Party.
Thistlethwaite grew up in Maroubra, went to school in Pagewood and now lives in Matraville. As part of the opposition, he has served as the Shadow Assistant Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, and for the Republic.
As an active lifesaver, he has served as president of the Maroubra Surf Life Saving Club and has also been the president of the Maroubra PCYC.
In parliament, Thistlethwaite has been critical of the cost of living pressures created by the Morrison government. He has also spoken out against the government’s reluctance to install an ‘NSW style’ federal ICAC, which is now an election pledge being put forward by Labor leader, Anthony Albanese.
Locally, Thistlethwaite has campaigned against overdevelopment and traffic congestion, to protect the area’s coastline and for better health services for constituents.
Grace Tan (Liberal)
Grace Tan. Photo: Facebook.
Grace Tan, the Liberal candidate for Kingsford Smith, lives locally in the area and hopes to improve roads, transport, and healthcare services if she is elected to parliament.
On her how-to-vote card, Tan has asked voters to preference Thistlethwaite second (after herself), Davis third, Anthony Tawaf fourth and Darrin Marr last.
Anthony Tawaf (United Australia)
Tawaf has lived in Kingsford Smith since he was a teenager, after migrating from Egypt in 1967. He is a father and a grandfather, and a former owner of a commercial cleaning company.
Tawaf found success starting a time share company for marketing and selling holidays on the Gold Coast in the 1980s. He was forced to fold the company and let go of his 77 staff members after the 1992 recession.
Now, Tawaf said he is “devoting” his time and expertise to win the Kingsford Smith election, and “restore Australia to its former greatness”.
Darrin Marr (One Nation)
City Hub contacted Darrin Marr for comment but did not receive a response. On Marr’s how-to-vote card, the One Nation party has preferenced Tawaf second, followed by Tan, Thistlethwaite, and then Davis.
The Kingsford Smith electorate is located in the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney, comprising suburbs including Coogee, South Coogee, Maroubra, La Perouse, Kensington, Eastgardens, Banksmeadow, Botany, East Botany, Daceyville, Pagewood, Chifley, and Little Bay.