Bradfield is now marginal, having been reckoned as a safe seat for most of its existence since 1949. I received 46% of the vote after preference allocation and Team Nic achieved the second biggest swing in the country in the 2022 Federal election.
I'm excited to stand again to represent Bradfield and I am motivated by a belief that political representation can, and should, be better. I've reflected, regrouped with some of our Team Nic leaders and returned - ready for the next phase of community engagement which I am going to call being a Shadow Representative. So far as I know, such a role has not been attempted in Australia before, but I think it is worth the experiment. I will be fleshing out more thoughts on the nature of the role in coming editions, and I am keen to get your thoughts.
So, welcome to this first edition of the Boele-tin (bulletin!). This will be my regular update to you, letting you know:
- what I've been up to
- what Team Nic is doing
- what's happening nationally
- what's happening in Bradfield
I hope you will enjoy it and feel connected and energised to continue the journey with me to make Bradfield independent.
Since I was last in touch with you in May, I took a deep breath and relaxed ... briefly, before I appeared on The Drum on 13 June where I spoke about:
- how great it is to see different types of Australian people being nominated for the Queen's 2022 birthday honours list
- stamp duty changes proposed by NSW
- it's stunning that families in NSW and Queensland are facing potential electricity blackouts and we still don't have a Federal energy policy
- where you've seen electorates choosing to have a candidate that represents them, it's because they can't see a major party getting the hard things done - 'the party has deserted the people'
After that television appearance, I have been busy connecting with Bradfielders and developing plans for the next phase. Given the close election result, my passion and the community's commitment to support me again, I've decided on a newly created role description - Shadow Representative for Bradfield. Too much? Your ideas and thoughts are welcome here.
I outlined my plans for being the Shadow Representative on 6 August, when I presented at the online convention organised by the Community Independents Project - a collaboration to enable communities and community Independent candidates to build participatory democracy and conduct successful election campaigns.
I spoke about how I can operate as if already elected. We'll bring volunteers back into our Gordon office, so that we can connect constituents with local/state/federal government for information or processes to help fix their issues. I spent periods of my 25-year career in and out of Parliament House in Canberra, working for different non-profits and think tanks. I can't solve everyone's problems but I can be in action to help remove barriers and give people representation, which isn't always there when the sitting Member chooses to vote along party lines.
Watch the panel 'making a safe seat marginal and next steps' here.
Appointment of Chief of Staff - Carey Francis
Now we are ramping everything up to another level and I am delighted that Carey Francis has agreed to be Chief of Staff for our office. Carey left her role of Development Director at Primary Ethics and started on 1 September, working 4.5 days a week. You will know Carey from the 2022 election campaign where she led our 600+ strong volunteer corps. I am over the moon to have Carey’s expertise and deep thinking to lead our upcoming work program and manage our office operations, allowing me space to fit in paid work alongside being your Shadow Representative.
Carey: It's great to be working for Team Nic. We achieved so much in a short time with amazing volunteers during the 2022 elections. I'm looking forward to getting the crew back together and welcoming new faces. I can't wait to see Nic elected and hear her having collaborative conversations in Canberra.
My passion for all things renewable continues. I attended the NRMA / Ku-ring-gai Council Electric Vehicle meet on 24 July and watched locals meet and talk with EV owners; it was a sell-out event with every 'test drive' allocation filled over the two days.
Nic's Net Zero house
Our household recently welcomed 7kW of solar PV to our new-to-us all electric house. It feels good to contribute locally to climate solutions. If you're interested but not sure where to start, check out and JOIN Zero Emissions Sydney North and don't forget to join the group in your local council.
Hornsby Shire Council Sustainability Programs
Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council Net Zero Communities
Willoughby City Council Our Net Zero Community
Nic's recent meetings
Here is a list of some of Bradfield's communities and stakeholders with whom I have recently met. Please feel free to contact me if you would like any information or a chance to meet.
- Australian Democracy Network
- Climate-KIC, EU
- Climate Action Network Australia
- Community Independents Project
- Hornsby Chamber of Commerce
- North Turramurra Action Group
- Saving our Species
- Support the Marian Street Theatre
- Sydney Sustainability Lunchers
- Zero Emissions Sydney North
Team Nic operations
Team Nic has been reviewing and learning. We surveyed our volunteers at the end of the 2022 campaign and have seen valuable feedback - e.g. our training sessions were well received but we need to improve how we incorporate people's specialist skills into campaign activities. We're preparing to run a skills audit of our 2022 volunteers so you might get a phone call.
We're liaising with other independents' teams to hear how they are setting up their electorate offices.
When Nic launched her campaign on 30 January this year, we started everything from scratch off the back of Voices of Bradfield. As the campaign progressed and grew, so did we – our systems, our team, our understanding. It was a wild ride!
The Office of Nicolette Boele, Shadow Representative for Bradfield
Nic envisages her office as a place where Bradfield constituents can seek information and connections to help with their issues - from what to do with 'bill shock' to finding the right person in government to assist with a parent's visa application. Active democracy means empowering the many - getting citizens engaged, supporting our volunteers and their issues or causes.
Building a more confident citizenry in Bradfield
The May election showed us that there is significant appetite in our electorate for more conversations about issues that matter to us. But many of us feel shy or uneasy to talk about topics that may appear to be 'political'. Climate action is one of these because caring about the climate has been politicised for decades. As a community Independent aiming to represent your views, Nic values informed discussion and a contest of ideas; we should feel safe and supported to enjoy both. It's what we hope from the activities that we can co-create over the coming months and years, right here on Sydney's upper north shore.
There are two work streams:
- community engagement - to put people not parties into the centre of policy and law-making, and put purpose (not just profits) into the centre of business decisions. Nic would like to be comprehensively engaged in the Bradfield community, from implementing renewable energy to collaborating with other groups on their issues, e.g. protect local theatre, engage and inform people about the proposed Voice to Parliament (explain what the Uluru Statement means). She wants to meet with community groups and people, and hear their hopes and concerns so that she can amplify their messages and support collaborations;
- build our volunteer network further - We need to continue to strengthen our wonderful volunteer corps. This will involve selecting suitable technology platforms and establishing the right structure to enable us to triple our numbers (at least) while remaining organised and nimble so that we can meet and discuss important issues and, of course, Nic can listen to your ideas and thoughts.
Democracy is precious. As an Independent and a Shadow Representative, Nic relies on donations. We will be asking for donations along the way and we're currently finalising our fundraising plan.
The first project is a silent auction of holiday properties. Do you have a holiday home that you can spare for a week over Spring or Summer? Let us know so we can auction off a stay.
We might run themed silent auctions in the future, so watch this space and contact Carey if you have a holiday property or other items (art, jewellery, wine, chocolates etc.) that you'd be willing to donate to an auction: [email protected]
The first 100 days of the Albanese Government have clicked over - and given the political and economic challenges, we're sure many of you would agree with Nic, that it's been a productive and promising period of political inflection. The two weeks of sitting in August produced the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response) and Climate Change Bills which both now go to the Senate.
Climate Change Bills
Nic was relieved to see the Climate Bills pass the Lower House with most crossbench amendments intact including three critical ones.
Firstly, Zali Steggall, MP Warringah, ensured that nationally determined contributions (a requirement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) can ONLY be communicated if the advice comes directly, or indirectly via the Minister, from the independent Climate Change Authority. This is key to de-politicising the setting of future emission reduction targets.
Secondly, the Objects of the proposed law includes a reference to 'drawing on the best available scientific knowledge' (Kate Chaney, MP Curtin) which further pivots target-setting from ideology to science and shores up science as the basis of Australia's future policy responses.
Thirdly, Zoe Daniel, MP Goldstein, codified that nothing in the Bills limits Australia reducing its net emissions beyond 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. Important for business, householders and particularly state and local governments to know they can go harder and earlier when needed.
Other amendments included changes made to the annual climate change statement:
- to include the physical impacts of climate change, economic and social impacts on regional and rural Australia (Helen Haines, MP Indi), and sector impacts of policies (Allegra Spender MP Wentworth); and
- to be tabled in the House of the Parliament not just on the Climate Change Authority's website (Kylea Tink, MP North Sydney)
Only the amendments proposed by Andrew Wilkie MP Clark, were not adopted - he proposed to increase the emission reduction targets from 43% to 75% and for net zero to be achieved 15 years sooner, by 2035.
Nic concedes that the Climate Change Bills fall significantly short of the ambition that scientists tell us we need but, after 25 years of faltering, it feels like Australia is at least - and at last - making progress.
She'll be watching to see if Australia adopts Scope 3 emissions - those from indirect activities from the polluting entity, e.g. householder using grid (coal-fired) electricity - as well as difficult but important sources such as emissions from international shipping and aviation in its emission reduction scope and reporting. Currently the bills ensure that emissions from these sources are excluded from national totals.
From hidden electricity price hikes to mystery ministerial appointments, it may take months, or even years to see just how bad things were in Parliament House over the last decade.
On the upside, it's the great work of so many, including Bradfield's own Anthony Whealy QC, that means the Government will soon be tabling its national Anti-Corruption Commission bill. Nic will be watching to see that it codifies whistle-blower protections.
Out and about in Bradfield
Nic is keen to get involved with your issues and would welcome an invitation to your community group.
Voices of Bradfield
A hearty congratulations to the incoming Voices of Bradfield Executive - wishing you the best for priority setting for the coming months.
Marian Street Theatre
Via the great team at Ku-ring-gai Views Facebook page, we found out that Wahroonga Ward Ku-ring-gai Councillor Cedric Spencer submitted a motion to rezone the Marian Street Theatre land so that it could be sold to developers for residential high-rise buildings.
Team Nic members attended the Council's Public Forum on August 9 and, after discussions with local group Support Marian Street Theatre, were encouraged to write to their local councillors asking them to vote against the motion at the August 16 Council meeting. Team Nic members attended the council meeting dressed in the colour of local campaign Support Marian Street Theatre – red.
We're pleased to report that the motion didn't have a seconder, and so it wasn't put to that Council meeting. Nic thanks the large majority of Councillors for their on-going support for this essential community cultural asset. The Council might be eligible for NSW grants, which could assist in turning the soil to redevelop the theatre - for example, the Club Grants Category 3 Round for Infrastructure Grants (closes on 21 September).
It's an excellent opportunity for our local federal MP, Paul Fletcher, to have a conversation with the relevant State Liberal MP.
Ku-ring-gai ECO festival
The ECO Festival gathers solution makers aimed to connect, inspire, educate and empower our Ku-ring-gai Community to live more sustainably. It runs from 1 to 30 September 2022. The month-long festival is packed with workshops, talks, live performances, market stalls, fun family entertainment, and information on living cleaner, greener and more sustainably.
The Festival aims to engage community in ways around sustainable living in our local community through demonstrating practical ways to reduce our impact on the planet.