Green determined

FREMANTLE Greens candidate Dorinda Cox is feeling determined.

She’ll need to be if she’s going to challenge Labor’s Josh Wilson in a largely unwinnable by-election on July 28.

Mr Wilson was forced to resign as the federal MP for Fremantle earlier this month, after the High Court’s ruling on his dual-citizenship status. He is re-contesting the seat, which has been in Labor’s grip for over 80 years.

The Liberals have taken the hint and will sit out the race.

Ms Cox says she’s not fazed about being the underdog in the by-election.

“I like a challenge,” she says. “Having a candidate representing the Greens is about giving people an alternative, someone that is genuine,… comes from the community,… speaks from the heart and… is passionate about giving people a voice.

On the evening of May 22, Ms Cox kicked off the first round of “phone banking” to Fremantle voters.

The Greens’ campaign office on William Street in Perth had a frenetic buzz. A hum filled the space – voices running through the campaign script over headsets, the tapping of keyboards, and the creak and swivel of chairs as the team dug into its voter list. In this productive chaos Ms Cox sat poised and prepared with a headset, making her way through the list of voters telling her story.

An Aboriginal woman

Ms Cox is a former WA police officer who saw first hand effects of inequality in the streets, a small business owner focused on community development and mentoring, a mother, an anti-domestic violence campaigner, and an Aboriginal woman who aspires to be the voice of her Noongar community in federal parliament. It’s a long list of accomplishments, but is it enough to sway voters away from Josh Wilson, perhaps even Liberal supporters?

“I can offer lots of experience,” Ms Cox says. “A voice in parliament that is about lived experiences, that is about supporting people that are genuinely not from more privileged backgrounds. I don’t think Josh has the reach that I do, in relation to being able to come from those lived experiences.”

When pushed for specifics, Ms Cox points to her Aboriginal background and standing up for traditional owners. Fremantle’s One Day event compelled her to run in the first place. As a mother she wants to fight for families who she believes will be hit hard by the 2018 federal budget. She wants to fix the revolving door criminal justice system affecting those suffering from poverty or violence. She wants to get on with the job of banning live exports, and believes Labor will slow down the decision. She toes The Greens party line on putting people and planet first over corporate profit.

“My challenge with all of that is actually working with the community…lots of people don’t actually understand what the Greens are about,” says Ms Cox. “And so my hope is that we can improve the votes in Fremantle. I think that the more that you get your face out there, the more you lift your profile, the more you make those inroads. The people should genuinely think that you’re a candidate worthy of [their votes].” With her quiet confidence, it’s clear Dorinda Cox is ready for Fremantle. However, a more important question remains: is Fremantle ready for Dorinda Cox?

Next week Kavi Guppta, an occassional Herald contributor,  reports on Josh Wilson’s campaign.


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