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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Returns go to Spender: inside the Wentworth revolution

Returns go to Spender: inside the Wentworth revolution

The music was pumping and the pinot gris sloshing as teal independent Allegra Spender romped to victory in the Liberal stronghold Wentworth.

https://www.crikey.com.au/author/margotsaville/ Margot Saville writes in Crikey

When Antony Green first mentioned the Wentworth electorate at 7.24pm, saying that Spender and Sharma were at 59.5% and 40.5%, the Bondi Bowling Club erupted into ear-splitting cheers.

With 1200 volunteers on Spender’s team, about half that number — sweaty, exhausted and ecstatic, turned up to drink pinot gris and eat sausages with their fellow foot soldiers.

At 9pm, as a feeling of optimism started to settle over the crowd, the opening bars of the Black Eyed Peas, “Tonight’s going to be a good night“, boomed out of the speakers and the crowd started to dance.  The music and dancing continued, Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day” rang out, as Spender made a very slow progress through the crowd.

With her was her sister Bianca and Lyndell Droga — one of the founding members of Wentworth Independents, who put this campaign together last year.

Also there are several members of Spender’s advisory circles, which feature a stellar list of ASX top 50 company directors and a good chunk of the membership of Chief Executive Women, all of whom were willing to put on a teal T-shirt and stand at a polling booth as well as offer high-level strategic counsel.

Spender said that although a final result wasn’t known, it was a victory party because it was a victory for community movements around the country.

“You said you were standing for the community, not the party, for taking responsibility, not blaming, for compassion, not division and for the future, not the past. You’ve called time on negativity, spin and shouting at the TV. Whatever happens, you have invested in the democracy of this country,” she said.

“Together we can create a future so much better than the past, we can act on climate change and integrity in politics and women in politics. I’m so proud to be here standing with you. So proud and so grateful for every single thing you did. You have to be the change you want to see in the world and congratulations you absolutely have done it tonight.”

Margot Saville

Columnist @MargotSaville

Margot Saville practised as a lawyer for one year before becoming a journalist in 1987. She has worked at The Australian, ABC Television, the Nine Network and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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