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Kernot to Contest Election to Represent Third Sector

30 July 2010 at 1:48 pm
Staff Reporter
Former Democrats leader and current academic within the Not for Profit sector, Cheryl Kernot is to stand for a Senate seat in NSW as an independent.

Staff Reporter | 30 July 2010 at 1:48 pm


Kernot to Contest Election to Represent Third Sector
30 July 2010 at 1:48 pm

Former Democrats leader and current academic within the Not for Profit sector, Cheryl Kernot is to stand for a Senate seat in NSW as an independent.

Kernot will contest the coming election under the banner of 'Change Politics!'.

Kernot says the quality and expense of the current election campaign with its narrow, superficial focus and avoidance of the complex and challenging issues facing the nation has led many NSW residents to contact her in despair.

Running alongside Kernot under the banner of ‘Change Politics!’ is Simon Cant, an innovation consultant who has worked extensively in the commercial and Not for Profit sectors. 

Both candidates have expressed their desire to use their professional skills to champion the Not for Profit sector.

Kernot is currently the Director of Social Business at the Centre for Social Impact at Sydney University. She has also been elected as Chair of the Fair Trade Association Australia & New Zealand. Since December 2007 she has been an honorary board member of Foresters Community Finance which is pioneering social investment in social enterprises, and is also on the founding committee of a UK charity which works to provide shelter and education for street children in Kampala, Uganda.

The Centre for Social Impact says Kernot has not resigned, but will take a leave of absence to work on the campaign.

Kernot was leader of the Democrats from 1993 to 1997 before she famously defected to Labor.  She served as the MP for Dickson in Brisbane from 1998 until she was voted out in 2001.

Her political portfolios included, amongst many, Indigenous Affairs, Treasury, Employment, and Women's Policy. She played a major parliamentary role in the introduction of compulsory superannuation and in the introduction of Native Title. Her policy interests have been in social justice and social structural reform and in 1994 she introduced legislation to legitimise parental leave; in 1998 she introduced trial social inclusion projects to the Labor Party's employment platform.

Following her political career, Kernot spent the five years working in the UK as a Program Director at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurs at the Said Business School at Oxford University and as the Director of Learning at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London. Her specialist role at the Skoll Centre was to assist and mentor start-up social businesses particularly in the delivery of innovative health services. 

The decision to contest the election was made on Tuesday evening (July 27th), after meeting a small group over the past few months to discuss a longer-term political strategy.   Kernot says the deadline to nominate of 12 noon Thursday was made with only a few minutes to spare. 

The candidates say they do not underestimate the challenge of being noticed in a 3 week campaign, but they are determined to at least start the process of building a movement for change.

Kernot says she has still has something constructive to contribute to Australian political life.

The Change Politics website will be up and running by Wednesday, August 4th.

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