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The candidates vying for the seat of Sydney this federal election

Tanya Plibersek (pictured) is the incumbent member for Sydney. Photo: Facebook.

By ERIN MODARO

Six candidates all backed by major or minor parties will be hoping to unseat Tanya Plibersek from the Labor stronghold of Sydney on May 21.

The Sydney electorate encompasses the central business district, the inner-city and the inner-east, spanning a total of 44 square kilometres.

The electorate was first used in name in 1969 after the mergers of east and west Sydney. Labor has held the seat for over 50 years, with the longstanding Plibersek widely expected to retain her seat this month.

The Sydney electorate’s first preference votes have remained highest for Labor during previous decades, with the Greens a steady third preference behind Liberal in recent years.  

Sydney candidates – Andrew Chuter (Socialist Alliance)

Sydney candidates

Andrew Chuter. Photo: Socialist Alliance.

Socialist Alliance candidate Andrew Chuter says his main areas of focus for the election are “the climate emergency, housing affordability and peace, not war”. Chuter told City Hub that “transport is my mega big issue, and the reason I care about that is because of the climate emergency that we’re facing”. 

He says that what differentiates his climate response from other politicians is a focus on reducing the overall consumption of fossil fuels as opposed to only focusing on fossil fuel extraction. 

Chuter has previously campaigned against the construction of the WestConnex motorway as a co-convener of ‘No WestConnex’ and has been an advocate for Fix NSW Transport, which united community advocates and transport unions to support the movement against WestConnex.  

Chuter is a former school teacher and currently tutors in mathematics at multiple universities, as well as being involved with activism in the areas of transport, public housing and climate change.  

Tanya Plibersek (Labor)

Sydney candidates

Tanya Plibersek. Photo: Facebook.

Incumbent Sydney member Tanya Plibersek is a familiar face in the electorate, having held the seat since 1998. Plibersek is Shadow Minister for Education and Shadow Minister for Women and has previously held portfolios in health, medical research, housing, social inclusion and status of women, as well as being the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party under Bill Shorten. 

Plibersek has campaigned on social justice issues such as paid parental leave, worker’s rights and LGBTQIA+ rights. Recently, she has called for better pay and work conditions for women in the workplace, and an increase of First Nations language teachers.   

Born to Slovenian migrants, Plibersek grew up in the Sutherland Shire and studied communications at the University of Technology Sydney and politics and public policy at Macquarie University.  

Ben Ferguson (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation)

Candidate for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Ben Ferguson supports the party’s foreign ownership, affordable energy and cost of living policies.  

Ferguson is a previous business builder and owner and advocates against Labor and Greens social and economic policies. His focus areas include the rising prices of living and, according to his One Nation profile, implementing “realistic measures to promote long-term solutions for Australia’s economy and its precious, unique social fabric”. 

Chetan Sahai (The Greens)

Sydney candidates

Chetan Sahai. Photo: Greens.

Greens candidate Chetan Sahai has a background in the private sector as a software engineer, management consultant and product manager, and has obtained a double degree in chemical engineering and computer science at the University of New South Wales.  

His main concerns for Sydney’s constituents are a lack of affordable housing, an impending climate crisis and racial discrimination.

“Australia is in the middle of a housing crisis,” Chetan said, saying that he has experienced difficulties firsthand as a Sydney renter.

He added that he has “given up on ever being able to own my own home under the current system”. 

Sahai is involved in community efforts supporting climate justice, public housing, and social justice, and has identified anti-racism as something he will “fight for” in parliament.  

When asked about the climate, Sahai said that carbon emissions continue to grow and to understand the breadth of the emergency “we only need to ask the people who lived through the devastating Black Summer bushfires.”  

Wen Zhou (Citizens Party Australia)

Wen Zhou. Photo: Citizens Party.

Wen Zhou, candidate for the Australia Citizens Party, told City Hub that his main promise if elected is to push for the establishment of a National Public Bank in response to the rising cost of living for Australians.  

“The top-of-mind issue for the Sydney electorate is affordable housing,” Zhou said, adding that a National Bank would provide a solution to this issue.

Other focus areas for Zhou are accelerating the transition to renewable energy, funding high-density housing and stabilising the cost of rent.  

Zhou, a second-generation Chinese-Australian, was born in Camperdown and has completed degrees in law and business.  

Alexander Andruska (Liberal)

Sydney candidates

Alexander Andruska. Photo: Liberal Party.

Liberal candidate for Sydney Alexander Andruska is an accountant and has experience working with both large and small businesses, government bodies and the non-profit sector. Andruska ran for the Heffron electorate in the 2019 state election, coming behind Labor incumbent Ron Hoenig.

Andruska supports small businesses and economic development and prosperity in Australia. He has advocated for people experiencing homelessness and women facing domestic violence, as well as being a long-time supporter of humanitarian organisation Doctors without Borders.  

Andruska was a financial controller for a software company and was later employed as an accountant for Australian businessman and investor Tom Waterhouse.  

Sydney candidates

Ryan McAlister. Photo: United Australia Party.

Ryan McAlister (United Australia Party)

City Hub has contacted the United Australia Party office for comment on McAlister’s campaign. 

The Sydney electorate encompasses Camperdown, Erskineville, Glebe, Haymarket, Newtown, Potts Point, Pyrmont, Rosebery, Surry Hills, The Rocks, Waterloo and Woolloomooloo and parts of Darlinghurst.

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