Penny Ackery has had a lot to contend with in this federal election campaign particularly as a community independent candidate in a largely conservative electorate, but more so with the loss of her husband of nearly 30 years, John, who passed away two weeks ago.
Ms Ackery was spurred on by her husband not to “drop the bundle”. She has taken his words on board and despite it being a difficult time is rallying on and happy to be out and about campaigning for change.
The independent was picked from four community candidates in Hume in November 2021 and has been heavily campaigning to raise her profile she said some people have welcomed her as a “voice” for their concerns.
Her discussions with the community have centred on integrity, cost of living, lack of wages growth, aged care, NDIS support as well as environmental issues.
“Front and centre for most people, is cost of living, integrity and the issues around China and the Solomon Islands; this is something that a number of people have mentioned during our door knocking sessions.”
Ms Ackery said integrity and renewable economy as well as women’s equality and domestic abuse have also been discussed.
“Everyone I have been speaking to, are looking for a change.”
She has had conservative voters talking to her about looking elsewhere; they are unhappy with the two party system and would like to see a “third option”.
“It doesn’t matter what parties people are from…somehow the party system is not serving us as well as it could and really need to get back to integrity in our democracy and we need to feel that our government and the politicians and the leaders within the government are actually being accountable…
“This is the time to rescue our democracy…people feel that they don’t have the trust in government that they used to have.”
She backed it up by saying too many decisions are being made behind closed doors or under “commercial in confidence”.
Ms Ackery said she isn’t part of the “teal group”.
“We are not a movement or a group…what I am doing here is vastly different from the other independents in other electorates.
“This is a rural out of the limits of the city electorate vastly different from the inner city areas…it’s a big electorate and the issues are quite different…roads are a huge issue on a local level, communications or lack of, mobile and internet reception…
Ms Ackery said her only announcement is “if we want integrity back in government and want our democracy back you need to vote for an independent. In this election you vote one for me.”