Meet the Independents: Christine SINDT (Ungrouped, Eastern Victoria)

It’s always nice (and so unusual!) when one starts one’s little journey into the land of small parties and independent candidates with someone who gives every appearance of being sane and intelligent.  Dr Christine Sindt looks suspiciously as though she might be both of these things.

Of course, I’m probably biased in her favour by the fact that she is a scientist (crystallography and biologically-active compounds) and speaks English, French and German.  And I really love the fact that she helped establish the Sudanese Nuer Community Language School in the La Trobe Valley.

Dr Sindt is currently a La Trobe City Councillor, and is running as an Ungrouped Independent in the region of Eastern Victoria, which runs from the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne (Belgrave, Lilydale, Mornington), and stretches all the way to East Gippsland, taking in part of the Victorian Alps along the way.  She is clearly very passionate about education, and is absolutely against a proposed merger between Monash University Gippsland and the University of Ballarat, on the grounds both of educational quality and governance (she is concerned that if the Churchill Campus is run from Ballarat, local priorities will be ignored).

As an ungrouped candidate, Dr Sindt gives no obvious clues as to which political parties she does and doesn’t approve of, so you’ll have to guess based on her policies…

In terms of policies, her key platforms are removing a water tax, improving education, and boosting employment.   She is very keen on improving the TAFE system, and believes that education in general is key to social improvement:

“When you’ve got an educated society, everything else will follow.  Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue what makes them happy with the support of a good education.” (Latrobe Valley Express, November 14th)

There’s a lot to like in this statement.

On the subject of water, Dr Sindt is deeply concerned that Gippsland is paying more for their water than anywhere else in Victoria, even though quite a bit of Victoria’s water comes from Gippsland.  There is an entire section of her website devoted to this, with links to a Water Hardship Policy which she was responsible for, as well as correspondence to government bodies and ministers regarding water prices in Gippsland.  I have to say, if the letters and policy are anything to go by, it sounds like water prices really are shockingly high, and this is likely to be a winning platform.

Dr Sindt is also concerned about electricity prices, commenting that “Our water rates are double those of Melbourne and our council rates subsidise the power generators. Our electricity should be cheaper than Melbourne since we have the coal.”

Dr Sindt highlights her record in job creation, working with the Gippsland Resource Group to establish or relocate services to regional areas, and also expresses concerns regarding infrastructure generally – drainage, freeway closures, and land slippage near the mines.

And that’s around about it.  This looks to me like the portrait of a good, competent local candidate, who is very aware of the issues in her region.  It’s difficult to tell how well this is likely to translate to being an Upper House representative, given that all I really have to go on is Dr Sindt’s self-assessment that she will be good at this.  She certainly knows how to write a policy document well, which ought to count for something.

Edited to add: However, please see comments and links below.  It turns out that I may not agree with this candidate quite as much as I had thought…

In terms of getting elected, the fact that she got voted into Council speaks in her favour, but as an Ungrouped Independent, she is at a huge disadvantage, as she will have no box ‘above the line’ and will be reliant on people who vote below the line – or on preferences from larger parties – for her share of the votes.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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8 thoughts on “Meet the Independents: Christine SINDT (Ungrouped, Eastern Victoria)

  1. Ah, yes. Christine Sindt. Supporter (and reposter of Larry Pickering) in opposition to the Bendigo Mosque (on her council page). Supporter of Schapelle Corby. Uses facebook to make vicious personal attacks on fellow councillors. Makes wild claims (the westgate bridge is falling down!) But scrubs up well until you watch her for a while

    • Hi Jim,

      If true, this is indeed cause for concern, and I invite you to post links to any supporting information.

      Ms Sindt, if you are reading this, you are also very welcome to comment.

      And for anyone else reading – please note that I do moderate all comments on this blog, and I’m probably going to be extra conservative in moderating comments on Independents, because these tend to be more personal, and I don’t want to encourage personal attacks in this space.

      Catherine

  2. Thank u Catherine.
    I have posted screen shots from her fb on my fb – you are welcome to msg me with an e-mail address and i will send more. Jim

  3. Thank you for posting the comments – I had not heard of the Gippsland Resource Group – although it does look like it is just a mouthpiece for Christine Sindt and a couple of others dressed up to look official. Jim

    • No worries. I invited you to provide supporting information to your comments, and you have done so. I think you’ve made your point, however, and I really would rather this didn’t turn into a vendetta, so let’s leave it at that for now.

  4. It seems that “Jim” and ” Broad Bean” are not prepared to reveal their true identities. In that context, I would take any comments they make with a grain of salt.

    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for your comment, and apologies for my delay in replying (Christmas will do that).

      Most people who comment on this blog provide only a first name and (confidential) email address. I’m not going to hold commenters to quite the same standards as public figures – though you will note that I asked Jim to link to evidence of his assertions, which is a polite way of saying “provide actual data or stop making unsubstantiated claims”. He did, in fact, link to your Facebook page and posts and comments you had made there, which I deemed an acceptable response, since it simply points people to a place where you are expressing your views in your own words (as you are welcome to do here).

      Since I am not a member of your electorate, and therefore did not need to make decisions about my own vote, I did not choose to engage further, and simply left the links so that others could follow them and draw their own conclusions, positive or negative. In all honesty, I think anyone who cares enough about small parties and independents to read this blog is more than capable of following the links and deciding for themselves what they think. I certainly hope that this is the case. As I informed Jim, I’m not going to enable vendettas, and I would not allow a link to a hate site – but a link to something that you yourself wrote is, I think, fair game.

      Best wishes,

      Catherine

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