Teal Independent Monique Ryan No Longer the Underdog in Kooyong

As the 2022 election draws closer, so too does the contest between the two candidates, in what Frydenberg has admitted will be the "fight of [his] political life".


Independent candidate Monique Ryan has established herself as the main contender for Josh Frydenberg's blue-ribbon seat of Kooyong, in Melbourne's inner-east. As the 2022 election draws closer, so too does the contest between the two candidates, in what Frydenberg has admitted will be the "fight of [his] political life".

Ryan, who decided to run due to disenchantment over protracted climate change inaction, has amassed widespread popularity in Kooyong over the last few months.

Figures from a UComm survey of 847 Kooyong residents, commissioned by Ryan on 12 April, showed that she received 59 per cent of the two-candidate preferred vote, compared to Frydenberg's 41 per cent.

Conducted more than a month before election day, this poll already positions Ryan as the clear favourite, and suggests she has far outstripped the popularity of Kooyong’s non-Liberal contenders in 2019—Green candidate, Julian Burnside, acquired 21.2 per cent of first-preference votes, while independent Oliver Yates secured only 9 per cent.

So how has Ryan managed to accelerate to the head of Kooyong's 2022 candidate pack?

Ryan’s proposals for stronger climate action and the establishment of an independent integrity commission—both key policies of the ‘teal independents’—have driven her popularity in the more moderate, ‘small-l liberal’ seat of Kooyong.

According to the survey, 33.8 per cent of voters indicated climate change as their most important voting issue, and another 20 per cent said integrity and trust in politics was their single most important issue.

"[Teal independents are] tapping into a perception amongst some Liberal voters that the government isn't doing enough about [these] issues", said Antony Green, ABC Election Analyst.

Progressive policy platforms aside, the funding flowing into Ryan’s campaign is also adding to her momentum.

As of 18 April 2022, Ryan's campaign received close to $1.2 million in funding, from over 2,000 individual donors.

Ryan stated these donations indicated “a strong mood for change”.

Financial backing from Climate 200 has likewise helped Ryan level the field with the major parties. Although it contributes to less than a third of her campaign funds, it has forced her to dispute claims she is being bankrolled, and that she is not a true independent.

While Frydenberg is expected to spend more than $2 million defending his seat, Ryan's abundant funding has helped transform her campaign from “a David versus Goliath struggle [into] what is now clearly a two-horse race for the seat of Kooyong.”

Without a progressive policy platform, Frydenberg is instead relying on his credentials as Treasurer to uphold his campaign, challenging Ryan to produce an economic outline for her proposals, rather than "relying on just the vibe".

These comments have set the stage for a highly-contested and anticipated debate between the two, which took place on Thursday 5 May on Sky News.


Image from MoniqueRyan.com

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