Jenny O’Connor is not your stereotypical hippie, loony kind of green.
The nurse, Indigo Shire councillor and mother says she is just an ordinary person with strong views on social and environmental policies, which should be the real stereotype of the party.
“I’m not what people expect from the Greens,” she said.
I’m not what people expect from the Greens.- Jenny O'Connor
The July 2 election will be Ms O’Connor’s eighth time running for public office, including both federal and state upper and lower house seats and local government.
The Greens primary vote in Indi dropped from 9.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent between the 2010 and 2013 elections when independent Cathy McGowan entered the race.
So why has Ms O’Connor continued to run for seats she was unlikely to win?
She believed an increase in Greens votes would send a message about policy to the candidate who will eventually win the seat of Indi.
“We do influence the outcome,” Ms O’Connor said.
“Particularly in this election, the focus is on the personalities, especially among the major players.”
She has been passionate about supporting the humane treatment of refugees.
The Greens policy was for the federal government to process asylum seekers overseas, before they boarded boats to Australia.
“I think we’ve lost our way in the way we treat refugees and I don’t think they’re a threat to our borders,” Ms O’Connor said.
“If we start losing our way on human right, we start losing our sense of decency.”
She said the federal government also needed to provide the mechanisms for people to invest in technology to combat climate change.
Ms O’Connor’s home used solar panels for lights and hot water, but she said she was lucky her family could purchase the technology.
It would not have been possible when she lived as a single mother, so she wanted to see government help make renewable energy more affordable.
Ms O’Connor has been travelling around the large Indi electorate to hear complaints about issues such as water management in the Murray Darling Basin Plan, health, education, trains and the need for a better public transport between towns.
But while Labor’s Eric Kerr has stood down from Wodonga Council and forfeited his pay during the campaign, Ms O’Connor has continued with Indigo Shire.
She said she had a responsibility to serve the municipality, especially during an important time when the budget was being finalised.
“You get elected to do a job for four years,” Ms O’Connor said.
The candidate said she was disappointed with the major parties’ policies.
“The way to change is for people to user their vote,” Ms O’Connor said.
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