Editorial: Bizarre lack of answers from independent

EditorialThe West Australian
When will Kate Chaney reveal which side she would back in a hung Parliament?
Camera IconWhen will Kate Chaney reveal which side she would back in a hung Parliament? Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

As the run towards election day rolls onward, the key to The Lodge remains up for grabs.

The Labor Party has overcome a fumbled start by its leader Anthony Albanese, and may be gathering momentum.

And yet the polls have continued to have Scott Morrison in front as preferred prime minister, and it would be foolish to underestimate him yet.

All of which means there is still a very real prospect that voters will deliver outright power to neither major party.

We will, instead, be left with a hung Parliament.

That means a collection of minor-party and independent MPs could actually decide who becomes our next prime minister. And so it means we need to look very closely at those who say they are running as independents.

The highest-profile candidate in that category in WA is Curtin hopeful Kate Chaney. Seeking to unseat Liberal MP Celia Hammond, Ms Chaney has a serious war chest, including the deep pockets of Simon Holmes a Court’s Climate 200.

Her campaign focuses on climate action and integrity in politics, including a Federal integrity commission “with teeth”. And yet, as The West Australian reports again today, Ms Chaney continues to refuse to reveal who she would support in the event of a hung Parliament.

The leaders of both major parties have repeatedly ruled out negotiating with independents in the event neither Labor nor the Coalition manages to secure the seats required to govern.

Ms Chaney should take her own advice and tell the electorate where she stands.

That suggests any of the so-called “teal” independents with a shot at winning traditionally Liberal seats — including Ms Chaney — would be forced to decide who to back based on their pre-existing policy platforms.

But Ms Chaney has bizarrely rejected the suggestion Labor’s policies were much more closely aligned with her own than the Coalition’s, or that she would support Mr Albanese in the event of a hung Parliament.

“Of course, both parties will negotiate if neither holds a majority; it’s ridiculous of them to say they won’t and nobody believes it,” she said.

Ms Chaney is a very accomplished candidate with runs on the board in her professional career.

Her platform makes much of her concerns about “the lack of integrity and transparency in politics”.

Her website says: “Australians need to be confident that people in public office are held to the highest ethical standards.”

“We expect decision making in government to be transparent and fair. People who seek public office must conduct transparent and honest campaigns,” her website reads.

And yet she remains less than transparent herself.

Given her emphasis on climate and an integrity commission that Mr Morrison has routinely rejected, it appears absurd to think she would do a deal with anyone but Labor.

So why be disingenuous? Why not be upfront and tell voters she will do a deal with Labor?

Ms Chaney should take her own advice and tell the electorate where she stands.

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