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Change Politics Goes Online

4 August 2010 at 4:48 pm
Staff Reporter
Just 17 days out from the Federal Election, Cheryl Kernot has launched her 'Change Politics' campaign website.

Staff Reporter | 4 August 2010 at 4:48 pm


Change Politics Goes Online
4 August 2010 at 4:48 pm

Just 17 days out from the Federal Election, Cheryl Kernot has launched her 'Change Politics' campaign website.

The Former Democrats leader and current academic within the Not for Profit sector, Cheryl Kernot announced she would stand for a Senate seat in NSW as an independent last week.

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.

The website says Kernot and Cant are leading a group of Australians who share common concerns about the way politics and democratic institutions are (not) working and a belief that things can be different.

Kernot says she wants to reclaim the democratic processes from the grip of major parties that behave like private corporations blindly following opinion polls and focus groups in a short sighted bidding war for popular appeal and with little respect for the ultimate owners of our democracy, Australia’s citizens.

As well she says she wants to reclaim democracy from its domination by a narrow media script with its instant polarisation around issues, its obsession with gaffes and personal intrigue and its constant demonising and fear-mongering.

Kernot is currently taking leave as tthe 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.

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.

View the website here :

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