New Liberals candidate Karen Porter steps up for Eden-Monaro byelection

Karen Porter of Bredbo is declaring her intention to stand as a candidate for Eden-Monaro under The New Liberals banner.
Karen Porter of Bredbo is declaring her intention to stand as a candidate for Eden-Monaro under The New Liberals banner.

Bredbo mother-of-five and businesswoman Karen Porter wants to "bring back the love to Eden-Monaro".

Ms Porter has announced her intention to stand as an independent candidate in the upcoming byelection, under the banner of new political group The New Liberals.

It remains to be seen whether that party name is accepted under parliamentary rules, but Ms Porter said the New Liberals' core values align closely with her own - particularly consideration of climate action, a focus on health, and investment in development and entrepreneurship.

She has run a successful energy efficiency business in Fyshwick for the past 14 years - Solace Creations - and was in the public service before that.

"It ended up that I couldn't not listen to the news anymore - bushfires were destroying lives and the science of global warming is not being listened to," Ms Porter said.

"It has been a distressing time and I realised I could keep complaining, or I could make things happen.

"If an independent gets up, I plan to join with others who are active on climate, which gives us a stronger voice in the parliament," she said.

"This isn't a matter to be experimenting with, it needs to be taken seriously."

Other matters to be taken seriously, Ms Porter said, include the lives being lost on the Monaro and Barton Highways, the potential to build manufacturing opportunities - "we must be able to build solar panels locally for example" - and the region's health infrastructure.

"If you're in Yass and want to have a baby you have to go to Canberra. I know there are plans to build a level four hospital at Moruya, but if you're on the South Coast the only options are the South East Regional Hospital, or Canberra.

"I feel like we're being left behind. Why have we got such poor services here in Eden-Monaro?

"In particular there's a need for improved mental health services, especially for everyone coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns, we need better support.

"I want to bring back the love to Eden-Monaro; the whole region needs a hug.

"A woman in the job can bring an empathetic ear - put the macho chest beating to the side and let us get on with the job."

While the former bellwether electorate has been a close-fought marginal seat for decades, Ms Porter said having an independent voice not beholden to party lines could help make "some profound changes".

"It could be really good to have someone fresh and someone who doesn't have to fall in line. We're values driven - we're real people wanting change."

While a date for the Eden-Monaro byelection is yet to be called, a number of people have made public their intentions to stand.

Labor has preselected Bega Valley councillor Kristy McBain and has already been active on the campaign trail in recent days.

Liberal Democrat Dean McCrae, coordinator of the party's southern districts branch, has also entered the fray, as has independent Andrew Thaler, a solar farm developer from Nimmitabel.

The Christian Democratic Party has named Cobargo bushfire survivor and entrepreneur Narelle Storey.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Party is holding an internal ballot this weekend to determine its candidate - either Fiona Kotvojs or Mark Schweikert.

This story 'Bringing back the love' to Eden-Monaro first appeared on Bega District News.