Independent Candidates Propose Job-Sharing for Australian Parliament Seat

Two independent candidates in Australia's 2024 election propose job-sharing an MP role, challenging traditional political norms and seeking greater flexibility and inclusivity in the system.

Geeta Pillai
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Independent Candidates Propose Job-Sharing for Australian Parliament Seat

Independent Candidates Propose Job-Sharing for Australian Parliament Seat

In an unprecedented move, two independent candidates, Lucy Bradlow and Bronwen Bock, are running for the inner-Melbourne electorate of Higgins in the 2024 Australian federal election on a job-sharing platform. The longtime friends propose to split an MP's salary and responsibilities if elected, aiming to prove that politics can be done differently and with more flexibility.

Bradlow and Bock believe that job-sharing would enable better representation for working parents, people with disabilities, and carers in parliament. They have outlined a plan to work in a week-on, week-off capacity, utilizing shared communication and project management systems. If elected, they would be one vote and one voice in parliament but would contribute two perspectives, skill sets, and life experiences.

However, their unconventional approach faces legal and constitutional challenges. The current Australian Electoral Act does not allow for job-sharing candidates, and the nomination form only permits a single candidate. Constitutional law experts have advised that while it may be permissible to run as joint candidates, the validity of job-sharing arrangements in parliament is uncertain.

Despite these obstacles, Bradlow and Bock remain determined to fight for change. They argue that if job-sharing can work in the corporate world, it should also be possible in Canberra. The pair plans to jointly nominate as a single candidate on the ballot and share official duties if elected. If the Australian Electoral Commission rejects their joint nomination, they are prepared to challenge the decision in court.

Why this matters: The job-sharing proposal by Bradlow and Bock challenges traditional norms in Australian politics and could pave the way for more diverse representation in parliament. Their campaign highlights the need for greater flexibility and inclusivity in the political system to accommodate a wider range of voices and experiences.

While the Albanese government has no current plans to amend the Electoral Act to accommodate job-sharing candidates, the concept has sparked discussions about the potential for more flexible work arrangements in politics. Nationals MP Darren Chester has criticized the idea as "completely unworkable," but Bradlow and Bock remain confident that Australia is ready for a new way of working in politics, focusing their platform on key issues such as climate action, government integrity, and cost-of-living pressures.

Key Takeaways

  • Two independent candidates propose job-sharing for Higgins MP role.
  • Aim to enable better representation for diverse groups in parliament.
  • Face legal and constitutional challenges due to current electoral laws.
  • Determined to fight for change, plan to challenge rejection in court.
  • Proposal highlights need for flexibility and inclusivity in politics.