Federal election: The Grayndler candidates challenging Albanese

Federal election: The Grayndler candidates challenging Albanese
Image: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured) reaffirmed his government's commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart on Thursday. Photo: Facebook.


The Inner West seat of Grayndler has long been viewed as a safe seat for Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese, who has represented the electorate since 1996 and is currently running for prime minister as Leader of the Opposition.

Established in 1949, Grayndler has historically been known as a working-class area, being held by the Labor Party since its inception. Significant composition shifts in demographics have taken place in the area through gentrification and migration.

While the seat of Grayndler is widely predicted to remain with Albanese at this election, the current candidates represent a diversity of parties and views.

Read on to learn more about the competition Albanese faces for the seat of Grayndler.

Sarina Kilham (Independent)

Sarina Kilham. Photo: Twitter.

Sarina Kilham is an Independent candidate with a background in international aid and agriculture, having previously worked for the UN in East Timor. Kilham was Chief of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and holds a PhD in sustainable biofuels.

Kilham’s core focuses in her candidacy are policies relating to climate action, developing a Human Rights based approach to federally funded services, equity in higher education, and anti-corruption in politics and advertising. She currently resides in St Peters with her partner and two children.

Michael Dello-Iacovo (Animal Justice)

Michael Dello-Iacovo represents the Animal Justice Party NSW and is co-founder of the party’s youth wing, and the deputy convener of the party’s NSW branch. The Annandale resident has run for office at all three levels of government and was previously the CEO of international non-profit Effective Altruism Australia. Dello-Iacovo has a PhD in space science and is backed by eight years of climate change and animal activism.

His priorities for the federal government in this campaign focus on animal and livestock welfare, limiting subsidies for environmentally damaging industries, supporting farmers in efforts for sustainable farming, and climate action.

Rachael Jacobs (Greens)

Rachael Jacobs. Photo: Greens.

Rachael Jacobs will represent the Greens in this election and advertises herself as “an alternative to the stale, pale and male mindset of the old parties”. Jacobs, a former high school teacher, has a background in education and is currently working as a lecturer at Western Sydney University. She is a founding member of Teachers for Refugees, and a community-based artist, sitting on the board of various arts organizations.

Jacobs is motivated to campaign for climate action, refugee rights and public education as well as giving voice to the LGBT community and people of colour. She aims to protect the education sector from ‘decimation’ and to bolster the local arts community in the Inner West.

Grayndler candidates – Dave Smith (UAP)

Dave Smith (pictured) is running for the UAP in Grayndler. Photo: UAP.

Reverend Dave Smith (also known as the Fighting Father) is the United Australia Party’s candidate for Grayndler. He is a former boxer and managing director of Fighting Fathers Ministries and Anglican parish. Smith has served as a priest for 30 years in Sydney’s inner west, and recently authored a book titled ‘Christians and Muslims can be friends’. Smith’s work with at-risk youth helped him rise to prominence and gain the recognition that led to his three-time nomination for Australian of the Year.

Ben Zhang (Liberal)

Rozelle businessman Ben Zhang previously ran as the Liberal candidate for Balmain at the 2019 NSW election. Through his running of a local small business in Balmain for over 29 years, Zhang has cultivated a strong focus on the economy, creating jobs, economic support for small businesses and bringing opportunities to the people of Grayndler. Zhang migrated to Australia from China in 1992, completing his MBA at the University of Technology Sydney in 1998.

James Haggerty (Fusion Party)

James Haggerty is representing the Fusion Party in Grayndler, which touts its priorities as ‘ethical governance, fair foreign policy, and future-focused industries’. Haggerty ran as a Future Party Senate candidate in 2013. Haggerty is a father of two and currently works as a software developer for Grok Learning, a Sydney-based non-profit. Haggerty’s background is primarily in Computer Science and education. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science with Honours and a Master of Teaching (Secondary). Haggerty says he is running because he “wants there to be a place in Australian politics where evidence-based reforms are explored without fear”.

Paul Henselin (One Nation)

Paul Henselin is running for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in Grayndler. On the party’s how-to-vote card, voters are encouraged to preference Smith (UAP) second, Kilham third, and Jacobs last.

Grayndler covers most of Inner West Council, including the suburbs of Balmain, Birchgrove, Rozelle, Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Rozelle, Petersham Stanmore, Enmore, Haberfield, Summer Hill and parts of Newtown, Ashfield, Dulwich Hill and Marrickville.

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