Former Liberal Julia Banks Wants To Boot Greg Hunt From His Own Seat
Health Minister Greg Hunt is under threat in his own seat of Flinders at the upcoming federal election, with Liberal defector Julia Banks hoping to cause an upset.
Banks spectacularly resigned from the Liberal party in 2018 following the leadership spill that unseated Malcolm Turnbull, citing bullying as one of several reasons she chose to move to the crossbench instead.
At the time, she said she would not contest her seat of Chisholm at the election as a Liberal, but would take some time to reflect on her next moves.
She's now gunning for Hunt's seat of Flinders, announcing on Thursday morning that voters in the Victorian seat had "expressed their frustration at the major party dysfunction, combative politics and game playing."
The seat has been held by Hunt since 2001, and has been a Liberal seat for more than three decades, since 1984.
"It's important that the people of Flinders are not taken for granted and have a strong Independent representative who listens, gives it their all and takes pride in being their voice," Banks said in a statement.
"I realised that everything I've stood and fought for my entire adult life intersects with this moment in time in Australia. There's still work to be done and unfinished business. I've decided I'm staying in this race."
She said she will run on a platform of climate change action and renewable energy, as well as a "humanitarian approach" to refugees and advocating for gender equality and "equitable workplace cultures".
"Climate change is not only real -- it is happening," she said.
"Clean renewable energy is the future. It will be cheaper, healthier and better for our environment and effective climate change action policy is an urgent imperative."
Hunt was Environment Minister from 2004 to 2007, and again from 2013 to 2016.
During a media conference on Thursday morning, Hunt said it was "a privilege to run" in his electorate, and stood by the Liberal party's decision to oust Malcolm Turnbull.
When asked if he would describe Banks as "a traitor", Hunt replied: "I will let the individual in question explain her own actions."
Earlier that morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had described his minister as having "worked like a Trojan for his community".
"I have no doubt Greg Hunt will be rewarded by his electorate," Morrison said.
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