Northern Beaches Advocate: 30 Sept 2022
Within minutes of Pittwater MP Rob Stokes announcing he will not contest the next election, jockeying began to replace him.
Just before 9.30am this morning (Friday, 30 September), NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Cities and Active Transport Rob Stokes issued a statement confirming speculation that he would not contest another term in the NSW state seat of Pittwater, which he has held for the Liberal Party since 2007.
Within an hour of Minister Stokes’ announcement, NSW Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) and Minister for Families and Communities, and Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones announced her intention to nominate to replace him as the member for Pittwater.
The statement has alarmed local Liberal Party members, who are still angry about factional deals to parachute members into electorates before last year’s federal election, that saw ‘Teals’ sweep the Liberals from office on the Northern Beaches. A number of local Liberal Party members are said to be seething at the prospect of a denial of a fair and open pre-selection, which party insiders say Minister Maclaren-Jones has little chance of winning.
Spokesperson for the Independent Pittwater campaign, Rebecca Clarke, was involved in Voices of Mackellar and volunteered for the election campaign of Dr Sophie Scamps.
“Rob Stokes has been a long-time MP for Pittwater. I think everyone in the community thanks him for his service, including the team at Independent Pittwater.“
“But while Minister Stokes was popular, the Liberal National Coalition he is a part of no longer enjoys the same popular support. The NSW Government has been rocked by integrity scandals and is out of touch with the real concerns of the Pittwater community.”
“People are tired of party political politics and are waking up to the power and integrity that comes with having an independent local voice in government. We have seen the federal electorate of Mackellar, that includes Pittwater, choose an Independent in Sophie Scamps, so we know there is an appetite for a different kind of candidate amongst local voters.”
“As a longstanding safe Liberal seat, Pittwater has been taken for granted by NSW Liberal and Labor governments. Our community deserves a local member who can genuinely put our community above party politics on all issues. As Minister Stokes says, ‘It’s time to make room for a different perspective and a new voice for Pittwater’,” said Ms Clarke.