Jeanene Williams shares why she’s running as an independent

Jeanene Williams is standing as an independent in the Perth seat of Hasluck. She spoke to RTRFM’s All Things Queer program earlier this week about why she had made the decision to leap into the political arena.

Williams was manning a booth at a pre-polling station when she chatted to Harriet Kenny about her campaign.

“What got me to started running, to be honest, was a lot of this stuff about the religious discrimination bill, the bullying, the accusation of rape and everything that are happening in parliament at the moment. I decided that somebody needed to step forward and bring a a bit of diversity in.” Williams said.

The candidate said she decided the best way for her was standing as an independent rather than joining one of the major parties.

“I decided I wanted to be able to put my own case forward and not be the policies of the major parties, even though some of the parties I did agree with quite a few of them. I really couldn’t compromise my own views and sort of have to be limited when something I really cared about came up.”

Williams said she attributed the growing support for independent candidates over several election to dissatisfaction with the mainstream parties.

“I think a lot of people are really sick of the backroom deals that keep happening, and they don’t know what people really stand for, because the decisions are made behind closed doors before anyone really comes out.

The aspiring politician said that recent schisms within the Liberal party showed that even politicians themselves were getting tired of following a party line.

Williams said the environment, especially bushfire management, was a big issue for people in the electorate. Listing health care, mental health support, aged care and the challenges of the rental crisis as other top issues.

While transgender women’s participation in sport has been a dominant issue in the election campaign at a national level, Williams – who is transgender- said not a single person had raised it with her while she’s been on the hustings.

“I haven’t had it raised at all in the local community, it’s quite surprising, but I think a lot of people realise it’s a non-issue, it’s really an issue that’s been raised to distract people from other areas.” Williams said.

Williams said she actually been surprised how accepting the local community was of meeting a transgender candidate.

“I was expecting there to be a bit of a polarised effect with myself being transgender, but the local community has been absolutely amazing, everyone is so supportive, even people who don’t agree with my views are all very happy that somebody ids actually standing up.” Williams said.

Williams is one of nine candidates running for the outer-suburban seat of Hasluck. It’s current representative is Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt, who has held the seat for three consecutive terms. Prior to Wyatt’s run, since it’s creation the seat had swung back and forth between Labor and the Liberals.

Also in the field are The Greens, United Australia, West Australian Party, One Nation, Federation, Liberal Democrats and Labor.

The OUTinPerth team volunteer time at RTRFM helping to produce the program All Things Queer.

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