It is one week before the election and I had given up hope in interviewing Anne Charlton after a week of trying. Yet, out of the blue, I receive a phone call, not from a media official or staffer, but Anne Charlton herself. Surprised that her number was not on private, we schedule an interview for later that afternoon.
“I’ll call you in between phone banking,” Anne said in the middle of eating. The phone call never happened; but I expected that given it was one week till polling day. Clearly the race is on for Anne Charlton who isn’t entirely new to politics but new to running as a candidate.
Add to that, the fact that Robertson is considered a marginal seat and this outcome could be a game changer for the overall election results.
Anne Charlton is not afraid to tell people what she stands for but also the difficulties she has endured. She told all about her past in a letter to her constituents.
"I think that it's really important to share my history and what's shaped me with the branch members of the Labor Party – to be open and honest and show integrity and where I've come from," Anne Charlton told Fairfax Media, addressing her past in a letter sent out to all of Robertson.
Anne Charlton is a survivor of drug addiction, which, she describes as a life-changing experience, one that inspired her new direction in community work .In an interview with t ABC News she revealed that she was introduced to heroin at 16 and three years later was stealing from family to support her addiction. In the letter to Robertson cpnstituents she told how she turned her life around.
"Fortunately, I was given an opportunity and residential rehabilitation that allowed me to beat my demons and start a new life."
For the last 30 years, Anne Charlton has dedicated her life to “supporting vulnerable people, helping them overcome dysfunction and family breakdown". Her work in health and community services for government and private sectors led to her current position as chief of staff for New South Wales Senator, Debra O’Neill.
Anne Charlton says she wrote the letter to the Robertson electors as part of her bid to win preselection because "If you don't tell the truth, then people will think oh gosh what else is there to find out.”
In her case she “found an enormous amount of people who relate to my story and who come up to me and say thanks for sharing”
Given what she has overcome Anne Charlton thinks this election is a challenge she can handle.