From Liberal to Independent: Julia Banks


Image supplied

Julia Banks, Independent for Flinders.

Dead-set on changing the pace of things in the Flinders electorate, Julia Banks will be contesting as an independent candidate in the 2019 federal election. Her main opponent is her former Liberal colleague, Health Minister Greg Hunt. Ms Banks is now challenging the party she left after a high-profile speech in parliament in 2018 in the wake of the leadership spill that saw Scott Morrison replace Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister.

Her support leans towards policies reflecting economic growth whilst being socially progressive. Keeping this in mind, Ms Bank’s campaign focuses on climate change, refugees and gender equality. Other issues such as aged care, health, education, gender equality, childcare along with growing and supporting the local community are also a part of her policies.

Having lived on the Mornington Peninsula for over two decades, she has a strong connection with the local community.

Her ambitions and dedication to the work she does comes from her mother. In an interview with News Weekly, Ms Banks said her mother was her role model, because she chose to work for a better life for her and her brother.

Born to Greek parents, her father migrated to Australia when he was 15 years old and worked long hours as a waiter, while her mother worked as a medical receptionist.

Growing up, she had her share of difficult times being a victim of racism. This experience developed into a passion to fight for social justice and gender equality.

A mother to two kids, Sam and Emma, Ms Banks said she believes motherhood and work go hand in hand for her, News Weekly reported.

Ms Bank’s resignation from the Liberal party came as a huge blow to the party in the wake of the leadership spill in August 2018. In a statement she released, her resignation was, among other things, attributed to “unfinished business” in the Flinders electorate.

“It’s important that the people of Flinders are not taken for granted and have a strong independent representative who listens, gives it their all and takes pride in being their voice,” Ms Banks said, The Guardian, reported.

Climate change is a top issue in Ms Banks campaign.

“The people of Flinders and our environment have been ignored for too long – with only lip service being paid to what are serious environmental concerns,” she said, according to The Guardian.

“Preserving our spectacular Green Wedge is a key priority for me. I support only engaging in appropriate, sensitive development.”

“Transparent information is vital for effective government decision making on climate change,” she told The Guardian. Ms Banks also stressed the need to establish a credible, scientific based Climate Change Authority and opposed going ahead with the Adani Coal Mine project.

Supporting local businesses is another one of Ms Banks priorities.

“I understand business. Prior to entering Parliament, I worked in business for over 30 years. I know first-hand how hard the work and commitment is to sustain and grow small businesses. My experience and understanding of business will always underpin my support for the thousands of people in the seat of Flinders who own or work in small businesses,” Ms Banks said on her website.

Her other policies for the electorate include enhancing public transport services for the electorate to get rid of social exclusion, better educational opportunities on the Peninsula, an urgent upgrade of Rosebud hospital and protecting the income and investments of seniors and retirees.

Prior to creating a stir by contesting as an independent candidate for Flinders, Ms Banks was elected as the Member for Chisholm in 2016. She served on the house of representatives Economics Committee and was the Chair of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee. She has been a lawyer for over two decades and is a member of the Climate Change Action group.

Despite several efforts to book an interview with Ms Banks, The Junction was told by her media team: “now that the campaign is in full swing with pre-polling booths open, unfortunately time does not permit in this instance for an interview.”