Friday, November 27, 2020
Voters in the Australian electoral district of Groom are scheduled to go to the polls in a by-election this week following the resignation of Liberal National MP John McVeigh for family reasons.
Groom is located in the state of Queensland, and is centred around the city of Toowoomba. At the last federal election, the Liberal National Party, Queensland’s dominant conservative party, won this seat by over 70% of the two-party-preferred vote, and since the seat’s creation in 1984, it has been held by conservative political parties.
Some political analysts considered this a foregone conclusion, with analyst Kevin Bonham having declared it on his blog as “Australia’s most boring by-election”, however Bonham noted the size of the swing may have been indicative of the dominant centre left Labor Party’s general performance in Queensland. There was a 4.2% swing against the Labor Party in the state of Queensland at the previous federal election.
Wikinews spoke to one of the four candidates running in the by-election, Sandra Jephcott, who is running for the Sustainable Australia party. Sustainable Australia describes itself as a “independent community movement from the political centre”. According to the party’s website, Jephcott is a veterinarian and farmer, who has completed a veterinary degree from the University of Queensland, as well as a Master of Business Affairs at Bond University and a Master of Science at James Cook University. With Wikinews, Jephcott discussed climate change, COVID-19, water security, and foreign ownership.