House of Reps

Adam Bandt

Bandt hoping for third term in a row

Jun 16, 2016Liam Clark
Adam Bandt and his dogs. Courtesy of Bandt's official Facebook page.

Candidate Snapshot

Party: GRN
Electorate: Melbourne
First Stood in this Electorate: 2007


Melbourne MP Adam Bandt made history in 2010 when he became the first member of the Greens to win a seat in the House of Representatives. Formerly considered one of the safest Labor seats in Australia, Melbourne was retained by Bandt at the 2013 election.

During his 2013 victory speech, he dedicated his win to running a positive grassroots campaign, declaring "this is a vote for people power, but this is also a vote that says we are sick of a race to the bottom. Policies and elections should be about the best in us. Not the worst in us."

Bandt first contested the seat of Melbourne in 2007 against the incumbent Labor member Lindsay Tanner. He then unsuccessfully ran for Lord Mayor of Melbourne in 2008, finishing in second place behind Liberal Robert Doyle on first preference votes.

Born in Adelaide, Bandt moved to Perth as a child. After leaving school he completed a Bachelor degree in Arts/Law at Murdoch University. In 1995, as a member of the 'Left Alliance' at Murdoch he referred to the Greens as a "bourgeois party" that pushed a socialist agenda and referred to himself as more "left wing Labor leaning".

He has since qualified those comments saying "I have always had progressive views and at uni worked with many young people who identified with the Left side of politics under various labels, including socialists and Labor students."

After leaving Murdoch University he moved to Melbourne to complete a PhD at Monash University in 2008 in law and politics. Since then he has been an industrial relations and public interest lawyer and, like former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, worked for the Melbourne-based trade union and labour movement law firm Slater and Gordon.

Bandt's campaign has received significant funding from the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), which has donated around $300,000. The ETU, which is not affiliated with the Labor party said their support of Bandt was due to his strong stance on industrial relations issues.

The Greens have a strong stated stance on the reform of political donation rules. Bandt defended his decision to accept the ETU donation by stating that he is following the current rules, saying "We will fight hard to change the donations rules, but until then we work with the rules that currently exist, which means accepting donations from those who support what we stand for."

Bandt stands for the socially progressive issues that are at the heart of the electorate of Melbourne, such as marriage equality, the humane treatment of asylum seekers, public transport and protections on welfare for vulnerable Australians.

His main competition will come from Labor candidate Sophie Ismail. In an interview with The Age, Ismail described herself as looking "like a Greens candidate" while suggesting that Bandt looked more "like a Labor candidate".

Ismail has broken party ranks and publicly spoken out against her own party's asylum seeker policy. Bandt responded by saying that "Melbourne needs a member of Parliament who will vote for our values, not just speak about them."

While both candidates represent traditionally left wing policies, Bandt has the backing of a party that is unified, while Ismail may have trouble convincing Melbourne that she will be able to combat the Labor right, allowing Bandt to claim the moral high ground.

Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts by UniPollWatch, Bandt was unable to find time for an interview.

To connect with Adam Bandt

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