Goulburn's Penny Ackery kicks off independent campaign for Hume

TAKING THE PLUNGE: Penny Ackery, who lives in the Goulburn district, will stand as the independent candidate for Hume. Photo: Louise Thrower.
TAKING THE PLUNGE: Penny Ackery, who lives in the Goulburn district, will stand as the independent candidate for Hume. Photo: Louise Thrower.

Penny Ackery admits she has a hard task ahead in winning Hume at the next federal election.

But the Goulburn district resident and semi-retired teacher is throwing her hat in the ring nevertheless, saying there's an appetite for change.

Ms Ackery was revealed as the independent candidate for the seat at a launch in Goulburn on Saturday. Actress, television presenter and comedian Julia Zemiro launched the campaign with independent member for Indi, Cathy McGowan.

"I want to run because when I speak to people in the community there is a real appetite for change," she said. "They feel their needs are not always being met... They want to talk about it and have action taken. They want change on how they're represented."

The semi-retired secondary school teacher of 36 years lives on a Goulburn district property and is married with one son.

She has worked with young people with special needs, developing special education programs and volunteering in the community.

The Vote Angus Out and Voices of Hume groups will endorse Ms Ackery. However both groups are pitching her as the "community independent for Hume," rather than directly aligning themselves. Voices of Hume co-founder Matt Murfitt said she was chosen from four candidates after a series of online 'town hall' meetings in August and September.

Ready: Penny Ackery addressed a crowd of more than 350 people at her campaign launch at Goulburn basketball arena on Saturday morning. Photo: Alex Tewes.

Ready: Penny Ackery addressed a crowd of more than 350 people at her campaign launch at Goulburn basketball arena on Saturday morning. Photo: Alex Tewes.

Ms Ackery said she was asked to join the Voices of Hume project two years ago.

It describes itself as a grassroots organisation aimed at "reclaiming the relationship between politicians and the people and to create a new standard for politics in Australia".

A similar movement has supported independents Zali Steggall in Warringah and Ms McGowan and her predecessor Helen Haines in Indi.

"It didn't matter where we were, pretty much everyone wanted to communicate with their political representatives on community needs and they didn't feel that happened," Ms Ackery said. "It resonated with me. I was in a position to do something and had the time to get involved."

She said she was not a Vote Angus Out member but had attended rallies throughout the electorate. While both had backed her candidature, she was not running for either one but would accept their volunteer support on the campaign.

Mr Taylor, the member since 2013, sits on a 13 per cent margin. Ms Ackery said while large, it wasn't impossible to overhaul and she was buoyed by the level of support for the group, its website and attendance at Vote Angus Out gatherings.

She argued Mr Taylor had not always voted in the electorate's interests, including on increases to the aged pension, drought support and "against Australian industry."

People generally wanted politicians to be "open, transparent and trustworthy."

People travelled from around the electorate for the campaign launch. Photo: Alex Tewes.

People travelled from around the electorate for the campaign launch. Photo: Alex Tewes.

Ms Ackery said in her travels around the electorate it was clear that people wanted more sustainable development, better roads, vastly improved mobile reception, especially in emergencies.

"People are worried about how the raising of Warragamba Dam wall will affect them. Picton has also been waiting on a bypass forever," she said.

Climate change was "undeniable" and more urgent federal action was required. She said research had shown that independents could achieve more for their electorates than party aligned candidates and were not bound by political lines or donors.

This story Independent candidate for Hume revealed first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.