Residents in the Adelaide electorate of Boothby have expressed sadness Liberal MP Nicolle Flint will not recontest her seat at the next election, lamenting the prevalence of sexism directed at female politicians.
Ms Flint announced yesterday she will not re-nominate for the seat, one of the Morrison government’s most marginal electorates.
The second-term MP has previously spoken out about sexist abuse she has suffered since becoming an MP, including being targeted by a male stalker and having her campaign office defaced with graffitied words “skank” and “prostitute”.
Her announcement comes amid the fallout from Brittany Higgins’s allegation a Liberal staffer raped her in a ministerial office and as an unnamed serving Cabinet Minister is accused of a historical rape.
The Prime Minister acknowledged Ms Flint’s “efforts to stand against the bullying and nastiness of particular groups and individuals” in a statement yesterday.
Boothby electors said today that Ms Flint was a hard-working local member and many were saddened by her departure.
“I think she’s a great local member.”
Leigh Fopp said Ms Flint had been a responsive and hardworking MP who was actively involved in her community.
“She’s really good to work with,” the Boothby elector said.
“She communicates with us, she returns emails … I think it’s a real shame [Ms Flint is not recontesting],” he said.
Resident Warren Lloyd said he was “very sad really because I think she’s a good representative of the electorate”.
“She’s leaving through no fault of her own.”
Last year, Ms Flint posted a video to Twitter wearing a garbage bag and calling out sexist “rubbish” that she and other women in politics are forced to deal with
It was a reference to ABC radio host Peter Goers, who wrote a column criticising the glossy brochures issued by MPs, at taxpayers’ expense, to their constituents.
In his column, for The Advertiser, Mr Goers referenced Ms Flint’s “pearl earrings and a pearly smile” and “vast wardrobe of blazers, coats and tight, black, ankle-freezing trousers and stiletto heels”.
Flint’s departure leaves Liberal Party more vulnerable in marginal seat
Nicolle Flint was re-elected on a slim margin of 1.4 per cent to the suburban seat of Boothby, just south of Adelaide’s CBD, in 2019.
Flinders University politics expert Dr Rob Manwaring said Ms Flint’s exit would harm the Liberal Party’s chances of retaining the seat.
He said it was also a significant blow to efforts to improve women’s representation in the Coalition and in Parliament more generally.
“Many senior Liberal women have spoken out about some of the problems within the culture of the party,” Dr Manwaring said.
He said it remained a tough ask for the Labor Party to flip the electorate, which successive Liberal MPs have held since 1949.
“On the one hand, the Liberal Party have an incumbent which they’ve lost [so] it’s much harder for a new candidate to get traction,” Dr Manwaring said.
“[It] makes it much more difficult now for the government to built momentum and hold onto [and] secure a majority.
“[But] the Labor Party has not won the seat in its various different forms since the second world war. They will see this might be a change or an opportunity, but it still seems a hard ask.”
The Coalition was last week reduced to governing by a one-seat majority when Craig Kelly shifted to the crossbench.
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