First transgender federal candiate in NSW running for Hume seat

CANDIDATE: Standing for The Greens in Hume is Michaela Sherwood from Bundanoon. Photo supplied
CANDIDATE: Standing for The Greens in Hume is Michaela Sherwood from Bundanoon. Photo supplied

The Greens' candidate for Hume in the impending Federal election is a scientist and keen human rights activist.

Michaela Sherwood is also the first Greens transgender candidate to stand for Federal Parliament from the state of NSW.

Ms Sherwood, of Bundanoon, has been an IT practitioner for 45 years, including an 18-year consultancy specialising in IT procurement and contract management.

She said one of the reasons she was running for Federal Parliament was to increase the visibility of transgender people.

"I am also passionate about The Greens' policies for the environment and social justice," she said.

Ms Sherwood joined The Greens in 2009 as she believed they were the only party to take social inequity seriously.

"The Greens are the only principled party that takes combating social injustice seriously," she said.

"Being a transgender woman, I relate to and empathise with all people of diversity who experience prejudice.

"Social equity is big on my agenda. I am from the working class in England; I put myself through university.

"I am quite sensitive and supportive of people who are getting the raw end of the deal."

As a scientist, Ms Sherwood said one of her concerns was the impact of climate change on farmers in Hume.

"I am particularly concerned about the impact of climate change on agribusinesses in the Hume electorate and will campaign strongly for a properly funded CSIRO to develop appropriate solutions," she said. "I have concerns about impacts in the Goulburn area to changes in patterns of pests and weeds."

She lamented the loss of country town values. "I lived in Canberra for 25 years and retired to Bundanoon, so I know the area well," she said.

"Goulburn has not deteriorated like other NSW country towns, but it has not exactly flourished, either.

"I love NSW country towns and I mourn the loss of their prominence in Australian life, when the country lived off the sheep's back."

Ms Sherwood said the Australian Parliament should decide the issue of marriage equality.

"It should be something the Parliament decides, given the cost of a plebiscite.

"Also, why just have a plebiscite on this issue; why not others? And if we need to have a plebiscite on every issue, then why have a parliament at all?"

On wind farms, she recognised their value in providing clean energy, but also the social division they can cause.

"The Greens' position is that we need to move away from fossil fuels," she said. "Wind turbines can be a good source of energy.

"I do note, however, that they can divide the community and that the issue is becoming polarised.

"From a scientific and planning perspective, it makes sense not to put a wind farm next to a town if it will cause upset among the residents."

Ms Sherwood said there was a need to improve public transport in Hume. Electrification of the railway line would make a big difference, she said.

"The recent staff cuts at stations is also worrying. We have the ironic situation where we have staff on trains checking for tickets and Opal cards, but there is no one manning [at] the stations to sell them tickets."

On communication, Ms Sherwood said the NBN coming through Goulburn was a good thing for residents as well as health and educational institutions.

But she said mobile communication in some parts of Hume was "woeful" and her IT background would help address these black spots.

Ms Sherwood will speak at Politics in the Pub next on Monday, April 11, at the Astor Hotel from 6.30pm.

The topic is democracy and Ms Sherwood will be speaking on why people should vote for minor parties.

Other speakers will include Aoife Champion (Labor candidate), Lee Rhiannon (Greens Senator) and John Egan (GetUp).

Invites have also been sent out to incumbent Hume MP Angus Taylor and Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Geoff Kettle.