The Junction

Independent: Tracie Lund

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Independent candidate Tracie Lund is standing as a candidate for the Morwell electorate for the second time.

Independent candidate Tracie Lund is standing as a candidate for the Morwell electorate for the second time.

Dreads Photography

Dreads Photography

Independent candidate Tracie Lund is standing as a candidate for the Morwell electorate for the second time.

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Tracie Lund, who is standing as an independent in Morwell for the second time, says she is a woman who wears many hats; as the manager of Morwell Neighbourhood House, as a community spokesperson, and as a wife and mother.

“Our community in particular is facing a lot of upheaval and change . . . so I think it’s vital that we have a strong representative that can advocate the needs of the community, so I think that’s my point of difference,” she says.

Although she stood as an independent in 2014, Lund sought preselection for Labor in late 2017. However, that bid failed as the party chose Mark Richards as its official candidate. Undeterred, Lund took to Facebook in September to announce she would stand again as an independent.

In 2014, Lund picked up 4377 votes, or 10.91 per cent of the primary vote, but lost to National-turned-Independent Russell Northe. Her votes contributed to the Morwell electorate becoming a marginal seat.

In that year she lobbied on behalf of the community for an inquiry into the health impacts of the Hazelwood fire that emitted smoke and toxins over Morwell for 45 days. Lund was an active voice in the community and worked with a group to gather 25,000 signatures for the inquiry.

Lund says of the experience, “I think that was the catalyst for the Neighbourhood House and becoming a community leader and a voice for the people who just weren’t being heard.”

Her work at the Neighbourhood House means she is at the forefront of assisting those in the community who are marginalised. The Morwell Neighbourhood House is in the Housing Commission area of Morwell and supports the community with a food bank and lawnmower borrowing system.

Lund says unemployment is a major issue facing the region, with the township of Morwell having an unemployment rate of 14.5 per cent. She aims to prioritise support for local businesses and to create jobs so that residents will not need to find employment outside the region.

Another key area Lund wants to address is the rehabilitation of local mine sites and continued power supplies in the region.

“I think it’s more important than ever that we have really tough conversations about renewables and we open up opportunities to bring a suite of options,” Lund says.

In regards to the mine rehabilitation, Lund says that the most important consideration is what the community wants.

“There is an opportunity for more community input into rehabilitation and what that looks like, but also us having a say, a greater say, in how those disused mines will be left for our community.”

She uses her Facebook page to reach supporters and members of the community. The page has been active for many months, with Lund posting frequently about community events, and commenting on issues in the region.

Lund says about social media use in politics, “It enables you to get feedback . . . and I think that is something that I really appreciate. I think that it’s a good indicator to find out where you are actually sitting, where the community need you to sit, or are you just representing something for yourself?”

In 2014 Lund ran an open ticket and didn’t ask her supporters to direct their preferences to specific candidates. “I encouraged people to really think about their preferencing [sic] and to number according to what they think is in the best interests of their community.”

When asked about what she would do differently this time, she says, “I’ve got the hindsight of experience and I’ve had another four years working here [Morwell Neighbourhood House] which has really entrenched me in the community.

“I haven’t simply gone away since 2014, I’ve been embedded in this community and advocating for it in one way or another for the last four years. I think the difference this time is that people know me well, and I think that is something that will play out at the ballot box.”

About the Writer
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria

The University of Melbourne's Centre for Advancing Journalism offers a Master of Journalism and a Master of International Journalism, as well as a graduate...

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Independent: Tracie Lund