Who are the Teal independents? How did they challenge Australian politics’ status quo? And most importantly, can a group of independent candidates provide a viable alternative for Australian voters?
The Teals made history in the 2022 Australian election, when voters turned their back on Labor and Liberal partiers and instead voted for independent candidates who vigorously campaigned for climate change, gender equality, and political integrity.
In episode one of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull takes a deep dive into the Teals, a group of mostly female independents politicians who upended the Australian election.
Listen to episode one of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull below:
Teal Allegra Spender and Zali Steggall join Malcolm Turnbull to speak about grassroots politics, the importance of representation and the future of the Liberal party.
Ms Spender, a female member for Wentworth, and Ms Steggall, another female member for Warringah, defeated the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the seat of Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches, during the 2019 election.
Ms Spender said Australia’s electoral system had enabled her to better represent the people in a dynamic way.
“At the end of the day, people might be looking for different representation, looking for better government, more integrity and accountability,” Ms Steggall said.
But unless they can see someone that reflects their values on the ballot paper, they’re stuck. You can only vote for the names that are there,”
Compared with the process in which only paid-up members can choose their party’s candidates, Mr Turnbull said the Teal represented a broader community and enforced a “genuine grassroots movement”.
“The Teal independents mobilise thousands of volunteers in each of the electorates they want. And the volunteers appeared younger, more diverse, more representative of the community whose support they were seeking,” he said.
The first two episodes of Defending Democracy with Malcolm Turnbull are available now on LiSTNR or wherever you get your podcasts.