WA Greens eye Margaret River’s Lower House seat Warren-Blackwood as first regional State priority

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Greens candidate Julie Marsh.
Camera IconGreens candidate Julie Marsh. Credit: Facebook

The WA Greens have selected a former Extinction Rebellion member as its best bet to claim its first regional WA seat in which Margaret River will play a major role.

The party has identified Warren-Blackwood as its main Lower House target heading into next year’s State election, while also fancying their chances at the Federal Liberal stronghold of Forrest.

The news leaked to the Times ahead of its planned official campaign launch next month and coincided with a weekend meet-and-greet held in Margaret River on Sunday, June 30.

Denmark resident Julie Marsh was the nominee for Warren-Blackwood who the Greens hope would roll one-term Labor incumbent Jane Kelsbie, who herself claimed the seat among Mark McGowan’s landslide 2021 election win after ousting 11-year Nationals WA veteran and former party leader Terry Redman.

The candidate for Forrest was identified as Dunsborough woman Georgia Beardman.

However, it was Ms Marsh who would face the most interest after making headlines in November 2021 for gluing her feet to a wall outside the office of Albany-based O’Connor MHR Rick Wilson.

The action, undertaken as a member of climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, coincided with the start of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow and saw Ms Marsh chalk graffiti on the MP’s office that included messages such as “tell the truth”, “you failed us COP-26”, “2050 too late: act now” and “climate criminals”.

Police later used a solvent to free the protester who has been a member of the Greens since 2018.

An initial charge of criminal damage was downgraded, leading Ms Marsh to plead guilty to the lesser charge and cop 80 hours of public service.

Greens sources assured the Times Ms Marsh was no longer affiliated with Extinction Rebellion and that group had no ties to the Greens.

In a statement provided to the Times, Ms Marsh said she was drawn to activism as a way to highlight the “worsening climate emergency” and undertook her actions in Albany after repeated efforts to reach the politician failed.

“I am not afraid to put myself in uncomfortable situations to get my voice heard,” she said.

“I want to be a voice for those like me who are tired of the lazy arrogance of those who uphold the status quo,” Ms Marsh said.

“I want to show people that they can make a change.

“I want to reassure people that their anger and disappointment with politicians who insist on doing nothing for them is warranted, and that there are people out there who will fight for them.”

The mother of two identified the cost of living and housing crises, as well as the effects of climate change on farmers, as key issues.

A redraft of the electorate’s boundaries to take in the entirety of the Augusta-Margaret River shire was one of the big drivers for the Greens, with local polling booths in 2021 returning strongly for the Greens and effectively helping secure Ms Kelsbie’s win on preferences.

However, it remained to be seen how naming the former activist as their candidate would fly with Margaret River’s well-heeled Greens intelligentsia.

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