Australia: Wikinews interviews Wayne Connop, independent candidate for Daly by-election

Monday, September 6, 2021

The electoral division of Daly within the Northern Territory, highlighted in green.
Image: User:Canley.

In the Northern Territory of Australia, voters in the electoral division of Daly are scheduled to vote for a new Member of the Legislative Assembly on September 11. The previous Member, Ian Sloan of the Country Liberal Party (CLP), resigned in August. Daly covers communities near Darwin, as well as more remote places such as Timber Creek and Wadeye.

Wikinews spoke to one of the four candidates in Daly, Wayne Connop, who is running as an independent candidate. Connop has previously stood for both the Labor Party (ALP) and the CLP. He pleaded guilty to perjury in 2018 after inaccurately claiming on his website that his legal expertise covered work, health, and safety law.


 ((WN )) Why do you want to represent Daly?

 ((Wayne Connop )) The people of Daly have raised issues close to their hearts and they’ve been ignored and sold out by the ALP and CLP governments. I want to give members of the Daly electorate a voice. I want to take the issues important to them to the government and work in collaboration with the community.

 ((WN )) Daly covers a mix of more urban suburbs on Darwin's outskirts and more rural and remote communities such as Timber Creek and Wadeye. How would you, as the MP for Daly, balance these interests?

 ((Wayne Connop )) There are so many unique interests within the region which is why we need direct consultation instead of playing to the political circus. Genuine collaboration is needed to put forward all the diverse voices of the Daly to the government.

 ((WN )) You've run in many previous elections, including a 2008 run here in Daly as a Country Liberal candidate. What drives you to run for office?

 ((Wayne Connop )) I want to serve the people and the people feel the ALP and CLP policies don't reflect their wants, needs, or lifestyles.

Wilcannia's Club Hotel in 2017.
Image: User:Bahnfrend.

 ((WN )) At the moment, in New South Wales, we are seeing a COVID-19 outbreak in the remote town of Wilcannia, which is majority Indigenous. What are your thoughts on how the vaccine rollout is progressing in regards to Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory?

 ((Wayne Connop )) Indigenous people have been eligible since the beginning of the year, so it's disappointing to see such low vaccination rates in remote communities. Everyone who wants to be vaccinated should have access to it; the government needs to do better.

 ((WN )) What experience have you had within your community that qualify you to be an MP?

 ((Wayne Connop )) I have 27 years of experience in federal and state public service as well as decades of experience as a lawyer. I've run several businesses in the Top End and provided service delivery directly to many communities in the Daly region. Most of all, I'm a fair dinkum Territorian; not a blow in like these other mob. I know what the issues are, I know where the gaps are, and I'm willing to listen.

 ((WN )) How have you been running your campaign as an independent?

 ((Wayne Connop )) I've taken a grassroots approach, and I've been running this campaign independently with the support of friends, family members, and members of the community who are ready for change.

Darwin Private Hospital in 2008.
Image: User:Bidgee.

 ((WN )) How do you think the delivery of health services could be improved in the Northern Territory?

 ((Wayne Connop )) One of my policies is to create a regional health board so people of the Daly electorate can access allied health services.

 ((WN )) What are your thoughts on the criminal justice system?

 ((Wayne Connop )) I've worked within the justice system for decades. It's broken and doesn't reflect community expectations. We need a full-blown review of our current policies to fix what's not working.

 ((WN )) How are you funding your campaign?

 ((Wayne Connop )) My campaign is entirely self-funded.

 ((WN )) What's one key law reform you'd like to pursue as an MP?

 ((Wayne Connop )) There are so many issues to consider, not just one. However, I think economic recovery from COVID-19 should be a priority; no more wasteful spending on unnecessary things. I'm also interested in youth justice reform, as many community members have raised their concerns.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.