top of page

Dear Hughes, We need to talk. Tonight there was to a be a post on social media about victorious positive politics. An article on Cathy McGowan’s second win as independent member for Indi felt like a mirror of what is driving We Are Hughes. I was quite taken with the language as it is so reflective of what we have been saying. To see the article in the context of a win was uplifting, I was hoping to share that feeling. As it turns out, today presented other news in our electorate. Frank Zumbo, Craig Kelly’s trusted senior aide – or Chief of staff as he is often described – was charged with alleged historical sex offenses. On this journey of We Are Hughes from an idea to about promoting constructive inclusive politics to where we are today, preparing the ground to endorse a fantastic independent, there has been input from some extremely clever people who I tip my invisible hat to. One such person articulated very well that people do not want problems. We are all so bogged down in the act of living that to engage with a problem is an act that takes some negative energy and reserves that many of us simply don’t have. That made perfect sense to me. There has certainly been times where the art of living my own life, family, work, issues, some big some small, had me enacting “see, hear, speak no politics" out of a kind of self-preservation. There is little wonder that we prefer to engage when things look promising. That moment, that very short-lived moment, when it looked like state and federal governments were working together for a good outcome for the life threatening and economic challenges of the pandemic is a good example. We were prepared to discuss politics with our friends, even with those we knew voted differently as we could together feel a little self-congratulatory. Fast forward. The vaccine roll out is either a “challenge” or a “farce” depending on how it is framed or what media you consume. Naturally we avoid that conversation with people who we assume vote or read differently. Today in Hughes however, the news of Frank Zumbo, Craig Kelly’s senior staffer being charged with alleged historical sexual assault charges, there is an imperative to talk. This conversation is about protecting the vulnerable. The subject does not need to conclude guilt or innocence, the very notion that this is serious enough for the police to press charges means this is something that should be discussed. We are certainly aware of the need for discretion and that a trial will be ongoing, and justice is not assisted by assuming guilt or innocence. However, we do need to talk about a political culture that seems unable to address allegations of this nature. The following quote is from a guardian article ( *Linked at the end of this post) and speaks to a culture of deflect rather than address "" *In 2018, the then vice-president of the Liberal party Kent Johns, who had been attempting to win a preselection battle with Kelly, sent an email and copied in the entire Moderate faction of the NSW Liberal party executive. Addressed to the moderate powerbrokers Sally Betts, a Waverley councillor, and Trent Zimmerman, the federal MP for North Sydney, Johns made numerous allegations about problems within Kelly’s office. “What disgusts me more than anything is that we are all [aware] of what is said to be occurring in Craig’s office irrespective of him tearing down the party, climate change denial and attacking marriage recognition. “The treatment of young woman [sic] in his office over the last six years was made aware to all from the prime minister down. The behaviour you walk past is the behaviour you accept,” Johns wrote at the time. "" End of article quote When taken in context of recent rape allegations by Brittany Higgins and the subsequent backgrounding on her partner in what is alleged to be an effort to discredit her, we can be excused for thinking there is pattern of deflect rather than to deal with these allegations. Christian Porter’s untested allegation due to the accuser taking her own life and the reticence of government to have an independent investigation into the alleged rape allegations point to a similar pattern. The recent march for justice across our country saw hundreds of thousands of mostly women coming together to demand justice in the wake of the allegations. Rather than come outside and meet with protestors our Prime Minister said “"Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets, but not here in this country,". This was deflection in the most astounding manner. Hughes .we need to talk. It is not comfortable, it is not easy, and it is not as fun as cat videos, but it is important. More importantly we need to act. For this massive problem of party protecting party before people, we need solutions. Our solution is our vote. We will endorse a candidate who has integrity, who’s only commitment is to good representation and constructive politics. Party politics has its place, but my goodness, it needs to learn a lesson that party brand is never more important than the people it is supposed to represent. Below some reference articles: Solution article : How we win – Cathy McGowan positive politics article Link To Guardian article Frank Zumbo charged with historical sexual offences * Link to quoted guardian article

bottom of page