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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Party for One

This was an RMIT hard news assignment completed in my first-year studying a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism),

INDEPENDENT candidates are transforming Australia’s two-party political landscape with a “refreshing” option for voters, according to Veteran ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy.

He said independents were now big players in Australian politics ahead of the May election.

Mr Cassidy joined ABC Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas at a public RMIT forum on Thursday to discuss journalism and politics.

“There aren't many independents in the parliament now but we're about to see that change,” he said.

“We're about to see a real shift. This will be the biggest impact on the two-party process.”

PHOTO: ABC journalists Barrie Cassidy and Patricia Karvelas join RMIT Journalism Manager Alexandra Wake to discuss the relationship between journalism and politics.

The major parties polled their lowest primary vote figures of any recent election in 2019.

Mr Cassidy said the number of independents elected this year would indicate the likelihood of future minority governments.

“I think people have had enough of the way some of the major parties have performed. They've let them down.”

Mr Cassidy said there were several independents who have a “red hot chance” of success, including Goldstein independent candidate Zoe Daniel.

Mrs Daniel said voters were fatigued by the way the major parties are behaving towards each other.

“People find independents to be a lot more direct, a lot more grassroots, and just a lot more real. It's me and our community campaign - it's not a big party machine,” she said.

“People do find that very refreshing and optimistic.”

Ms Daniel said her approach to policy would be underpinned by community engagement and conversations.

“Every vote is a conscience vote in my mind as an independent,” she said.

Speaking at the forum, Ms Karvelas said she was not sure if independent candidates were going to sweep the country.

“But I think they have never been in a better position,” she said.

There are currently three independents - Andrew Wilkie, Helen Haines and Zali Steggall – sitting in the House of Representatives.

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