Kylea Tink
Kylea Tink is unsure whether she will run in another federal seat. Image by Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Axed seat doesn’t sit well with MP as she mulls future

Dominic Giannini June 14, 2024

The planned abolishment of her seat has left federal MP Kylea Tink dismayed, but she expects voters to keep backing independents at the next election.

The Australian Electoral Commission has proposed scrapping North Sydney, which Ms Tink won from progressive Liberal Trent Zimmerman in 2022 after the incumbent had an almost 14 per cent swing against his primary vote.

“We saw an incredible outcome with the election of the largest-ever crossbench in the history of our nation,” an emotional Ms Tink told reporters in her electorate on Friday.

“The issues that saw my community send me to North Sydney, those issues being faster action on climate, integrity and transparency in politics … are just as pressing today as they were In 2022.”

She pointed to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s pledge to walk back the coalition’s commitment on emissions reduction targets, leading to a surge in donations to the broader independent movement.

Grassroot supporters were “feeling that our economy, that our climate, that their children’s futures were all being curtailed by a two-party system that was gridlocked”, Ms Tink said.

Asked whether she would run for the neighbouring seat of Bradfield, which an independent almost won at the last election, Ms Tink said she was focused on her constituents and the rest of this parliamentary term.

“What the future holds is something that we’ll all have to wait and see,” she said.

North Sydney is surrounded by the Labor-held seats of Reid and Bennelong, the Liberal-held Bradfield and the independent-held Warringah.

Paul Fletcher (file image)
 Liberal MP Paul Fletcher may struggle to retain his Bradfield seat. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

Bradfield was now an “extremely targetable” seat for an independent, pollster and strategist Kos Samaras said.

It is held by Paul Fletcher, who narrowly retained the seat despite a more than 15 per cent primary swing against him in 2022.

Warringah MP Zali Steggall spruiked Ms Tink’s work ethic and said she would support her if she decided to run in another seat.

“She’s very passionate and a fantastic independent, so I would absolutely support her in any way I can if that was what she chose to do,” the independent MP told Sky News.

Ms Steggall said she would probably run again at the next election “but there is a lot to be considered about the changes”. 

Zali Steggall and Kylea Tink (file image)
 Zali Steggall (left) says she will back fellow independent Kylea Tink if she runs in another seat. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS 

The AEC was good at balancing the political playing field nationwide, Mr Samaras said. 

If the draft boundaries went ahead, the abolishment of the “teal” seat would be balanced by Bradfield being more competitive for an independent and Bennelong becoming notionally Liberal, he said.

A marginal Labor seat being removed in Victoria would be offset by the creation of a marginal Labor seat in Western Australia, he said.

“So it’s a fairly balanced outcome,” Mr Samaras said.

The flagged change follows a proposal to abolish the inner-Melbourne seat of Higgins and the creation of a new electorate in Perth, called Bullwinkel.

Former Liberal MP Katie Allen was pre-selected to recontest Higgins after she lost it to Labor’s Michelle Ananda-Rajah.

She has written to the incumbent MP to ask whether she plans to contest the draft redistribution after receiving a large amount of feedback from locals concerned about the electorate being scrapped.

The redistribution committee has proposed changing the boundaries of 39 seats in NSW.

It would affect more than 710,000 voters who will change electorates.

Objections to the draft redistribution can be lodged until July 12.