Teal independents

The teal independents, sometimes simply referred to as teals, are a loosely-aligned group of independent and minor party politicians in Australian politics. They have been characterised as strongly advocating for increased action to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon emissions along with improved political integrity and accountability. They also are social liberal on most social issues including LGBT rights.

The eponymous colour teal, which has been interpreted by some journalists as a blend of the green of the environmental movement and the blue of the Liberal Party,[1][2] was a dominant feature of campaign branding used by high-profile independent candidates Zali Steggall, Allegra Spender, Monique Ryan, Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel and Sophie Scamps;[3][4] however, not all candidates used the colour.


Voices for Indi, a campaign group formed in the regional Victorian seat of Indi which successfully campaigned for independent candidate Cathy McGowan in the 2013 federal election, is considered a predecessor to the popularity of teal independent candidates.[5][6] McGowan retired from parliament at the 2019 election and Voices for Indi campaigned for Helen Haines to succeed McGowan,[7] while Voices of Warringah in inner-northern Sydney successfully campaigned against incumbent member and former prime minister, Tony Abbott, in favour of former alpine skier Zali Steggall as their candidate.[8] Influenced by the corresponding groups in Indi and Warringah, a number of Voices groups organised before the 2022 election, around issues relating to the environment and political integrity.[9][10]

At the 2022 federal election, teal independents defeated six sitting Liberal MPs; Allegra Spender in Wentworth, Kylea Tink in North Sydney, Zoe Daniel in Goldstein, Monique Ryan in Kooyong, Kate Chaney in Curtin, and Sophie Scamps in Mackellar.[11][12][13][14] In addition, Zali Steggall, Andrew Wilkie, Rebekha Sharkie and Helen Haines were re-elected.[15]

Voices groups and Climate 200 stood candidates number of seats at the 2022 Victorian election,[16][17][18] however none won their seats and only three reached a two-party preferred vote.[19][20] In the 2022 Willoughby state by-election, Larissa Penn who already ran back in 2019 gained 29.66% (or 46.70% in TCP). She has been counted as teal candidate.[21][22] There have been reported to be considering standing candidates at the upcoming 2023 New South Wales election[21] with some groups confirming their intention to support a state-level 'teal' candidate.[23][24][25][26]


Most teal independent candidates have received the support of fundraising group Climate 200 (a political funding company led by Simon Holmes à Court), and were largely female candidates challenging Liberal Party incumbent MPs. Ten candidates for the House of Representatives and one candidate for the Senate considered teal independents were elected in 2022, seven for the first time.[27]

Teal independents have been categorised in the media by financial and administrative associations with Climate 200. They are generally unaffiliated to a political party, except Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance, first elected in 2016) and some candidates from The Local Party.[28] Senate candidates David Pocock and Kim Rubenstein also formed political parties for ballot purposes.[29]

In addition to financial support from fundraising organisations such as Climate 200, candidates raised significant amounts of money directly through their personal fundraising arms.[30][31][32]


At the 2019 election and subsequently at the 2022 election, a number of the high-profile candidates in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth used teal colours in their campaign, including Zali Steggall, Allegra Spender, Monique Ryan, Kate Chaney, Zoe Daniel and Sophie Scamps.[33][34] This led to many using this colour to describe the whole movement by calling them the "teal independents" and calling the independent victories on election night a "teal wave" and "teal bath".[35]

Cathy McGowan's Voices for Indi adopted the colour orange, while her successor Helen Haines continued to use it. Likewise, Rebekha Sharkie has used orange since 2016, in line with her Centre Alliance party, previously known as Nick Xenophon Team.

Other candidates associated with teal independents did not use teal, such as successful candidates Kylea Tink (pink),[36] David Pocock (salmon), Andrew Wilkie (orange) and unsuccessful candidates Claire Ferres Miles (burgundy) and Nicolette Boele (mulberry).

The selection of the colour teal, a mix of blue and green, alludes to both the Liberal (blue) electorates they run in, and "green" policies.[37][2]


Political law professor Graeme Orr describes the movement as a "nascent political movement", sharing resources and strategies across seats, and with similar policy focuses on climate change, government integrity and gender equality.[38]

A number of former politicians on the advisory council of Climate 200 endorsed the teal independents, including Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor and Meg Lees. Others endorsed specific candidates, such as former Fraser government minister, Ian Macphee who endorsed Zoe Daniel.[39] In one supportive editorial, The Age found that the teal independents "have often struggled to articulate policies crucial issues to Australia, including its relationship with China, the mounting debt bill, tax reform and cost-of-living pressures".[40]

Because many teal independents contested the 2022 election in seats that were generally considered to be Liberal Party strongholds, multiple incumbent and former Liberal politicians were highly critical of the movement in the months prior: Christopher Pyne accused the teal independents of deliberately seeking to consign the Liberal Party to long-term opposition by targeting moderate centrist voters;[41] Josh Frydenberg and Tim Wilson, who were both directly opposed by teal independent candidates, criticised the movement's open association with Climate 200 and called them "fake independents" and "so-called independents";[42][43] and Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued that sending teal independents to the federal parliament would have a negative impact on Australia's political stability.[38]

The teal independents were criticised for their lack of diversity by Australian-based South African writer Sisonke Msimang.[44]

Due to the impact and significance of the teal independents, 'teal' was announced as 'word of the year' by the Australian National Dictionary Centre.[45][46]


2022 federal electionEdit

Incumbents in italics did not re-contest their seats.

† denotes an incumbent MP

House of Representatives
Candidate State Division Incumbent MP Incumbent party % 1st pref. % 2CP Elected Colours
Jo Dyer SA Boothby Nicolle Flint Liberal 6.54%       [47]
Nicolette Boele NSW Bradfield Paul Fletcher Liberal 20.89% 45.77%         [48]
Kate Hook NSW Calare Andrew Gee National 20.40% 40.32%       [49]
Claire Ferres Miles Vic Casey Tony Smith Liberal 8.34%           [50]
Andrew Wilkie Tas Clark Andrew Wilkie Independent 45.54% 72.12%         [51]
Caz Heise NSW Cowper Pat Conaghan National 26.26% 47.68%       [52]
Kate Chaney WA Curtin Celia Hammond Liberal 29.46% 51.26%           [53]
Despi O'Connor Vic Flinders Greg Hunt Liberal 7.24%       [54]
Zoe Daniel Vic Goldstein Tim Wilson Liberal 34.47% 52.87%         [55]
Liz Habermann SA Grey Rowan Ramsey Liberal 11.26%       [56]
Georgia Steele NSW Hughes Craig Kelly United Australia 14.33%           [57]
Helen Haines Vic Indi Helen Haines Independent 40.69% 58.85%       [58]
Monique Ryan Vic Kooyong Josh Frydenberg Liberal 40.29% 52.94%         [59][60]
Sophie Scamps NSW Mackellar Jason Falinski Liberal 38.11% 52.50%       [61][62][60]
Rebekha Sharkie SA Mayo Rebekha Sharkie Centre Alliance 31.42% 62.27%         [63]
Kylea Tink NSW North Sydney Trent Zimmerman Liberal 25.20% 52.92%       [64][60]
Hanabeth Luke NSW Page Kevin Hogan National 13.13%           [65]
Alex Dyson Vic Wannon Dan Tehan Liberal 19.29% 46.08%           [66]
Zali Steggall NSW Warringah Zali Steggall Independent 44.82% 60.96%         [67]
Allegra Spender NSW Wentworth Dave Sharma Liberal 35.77% 54.20%       [68][60]
Candidate State % 1st pref. Elected Colours
David Pocock ACT 21.18%         [69]
Kim Rubenstein ACT 4.43%         [70]
Leanne Minshull Tas 1.44%           [71]

2022 Victorian state electionEdit

Legislative Assembly
Candidate District Incumbent MP Incumbent party % 1st pref. % 2CP Elected Colours
Sarah Fenton Bellarine Lisa Neville Labor 4.58%         [72]
Jacqui Hawkins Benambra Bill Tilley Liberal 31.70% 49.06%       [73]
Felicity Frederico Brighton James Newbury Liberal 9.10%         [74]
Nomi Kaltmann Caulfield David Southwick Liberal 6.50%           [75]
Melissa Lowe Hawthorn John Kennedy Labor 19.98%         [76]
Sophie Torney Kew Tim Smith Liberal 21.10%         [77]
Kate Lardner Mornington David Morris Liberal 22.42% 49.30%           [78]
Clarke Martin Sandringham Brad Rowswell Liberal 6.91%         [79]

2023 NSW state electionEdit

Legislative Assembly
Candidate Division Incumbent MP Incumbent party % 1st pref. % 2CP Elected Colours
Victoria Davidson Lane Cove Anthony Roberts Liberal         [80]
Joeline Hackman Manly James Griffin Liberal       [81]
Helen Conway North Shore Felicity Wilson Liberal         [82]
Jacqui Scruby Pittwater Rob Stokes Liberal         [83]
Karen Freyer Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton Liberal     [84]
Judith Hannan Wollondilly Nathaniel Smith Liberal         [85]
Legislative Council
Candidate % 1st pref. Elected Colours
Elizabeth Farrelly       [86]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Australian conservative party faces teal independent threat". The Independent. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b Elias Visontay (21 May 2022). "Australia election: conservative government voted out after nearly a decade". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Teal and Green wave surges through inner-city seats". Australian Financial Review. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  4. ^ "'Teal' independent Zoe Daniel claims victory over Liberal Tim Wilson in Melbourne seat of Goldstein". ABC News. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  5. ^ Elder, John (14 September 2013). "Ironies abound in the battle for Indi". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  6. ^ Hendriks, Carolyn M. (16 September 2017). "Citizen-led democratic reform: innovations in Indi". Australian Journal of Political Science. 52 (4): 481–499. doi:10.1080/10361146.2017.1374345. S2CID 158447839.
  7. ^ "Indi remains independent as Cathy McGowan's successor claims victory". ABC News. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  8. ^ "'Bye bye, Tony': Warringah abandons a former PM". Crikey. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  9. ^ "The independents are coming: women on a mission focus on climate and integrity". Crikey. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  10. ^ Wingerei, Kim (24 September 2021). ""Voices Of" ignites 30 independent movements across Australia". Michael West. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  11. ^ Taflaga, Marija. "What now for the Liberal Party? A radical shift and a lot of soul-searching". The Conversation. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  12. ^ "Teal independents: who are they and how did they upend Australia's election?". the Guardian. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  13. ^ Nethery, Amy. "The big teal steal: independent candidates rock the Liberal vote". The Conversation. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  14. ^ "'Independence day' as Teals pick off key seats in Liberal heartlands". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  15. ^ "'Independence day' as Teals pick off key seats in Liberal heartlands". www.9news.com.au. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  16. ^ Smethurst, Annika (22 August 2022). "More independent women poised to shake up Victorian election". The Age.
  17. ^ Godde, Rachael Ward and Callum (25 August 2022). "Ex-mayor to contest Vic election in teal". Goulburn Post. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  18. ^ Smethurst, Annika; Sakkal, Paul (16 August 2022). "'Teal' candidate poised to take on Liberals in state seat of Caulfield". The Age.
  19. ^ "Victoria Election 2022 Results". abc.net.au. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  20. ^ "'Teal wave' turns out to be barely a ripple as number of Victorian independents goes backwards". the Guardian. 27 November 2022. Retrieved 1 December 2022.
  21. ^ a b McGowan, Michael (9 June 2022). "Group that helped unseat a federal Liberal MP sets their sights on NSW election". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  22. ^ "How the teals have changed the political playbook". The Australian Financial Review. 28 December 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  23. ^ Cormack, Lucy (28 August 2022). "'Refuelled:' Grassroots campaign mobilises for teal push at NSW election". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  24. ^ Ward, Mary (1 January 2023). "The small rule that could make a huge difference to the NSW election". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  25. ^ Rose, Tamsin (12 December 2022). "Teal-style independent Helen Conway to run for North Shore in NSW election". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  26. ^ Gardiner, Andrew (15 February 2023). "The light on the hill is looking a distinct shade of teal". The Fifth Estat. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  27. ^ "Female 'teal' independents are stepping up for change — and conservatives seem spooked". ABC News. 7 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Climate 200 supported candidates". www.climate200.com.au. Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  29. ^ "David Pocock officially becomes the ACT's first independent senator, unseating Zed Seselja". ABC News. 14 June 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  30. ^ "Teal independents: who are they and how did they upend Australia's election?". the Guardian. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Who are the 'teal independents'? Your questions answered about the candidates fighting for some of Australia's wealthiest electorates". MSN. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  32. ^ "'Level' the playing field. Teal independents spent millions to win Liberal seats". ABC News. 7 November 2022. Retrieved 7 November 2022.
  33. ^ "Teal and Green wave surges through inner-city seats". Australian Financial Review. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  34. ^ "'Teal' independent Zoe Daniel claims victory over Liberal Tim Wilson in Melbourne seat of Goldstein". ABC News. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  35. ^ "The 'teal bath' of independents heading to parliament". ABC News. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  36. ^ "The teal wave: Meet the women who took on the Liberal Party and won". The New Daily. 21 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  37. ^ "Australian conservative party faces teal independent threat". The Independent. 19 May 2022. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  38. ^ a b Millar, Royce (6 May 2022). "A secret party? Immoral? Explaining who the 'teal' independents really are". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
  39. ^ December 2021 | #auspol, Ian Macphee | 1; #ausvotes; #GoldsteinVotes; #IndependentsDay; Page, Front; Macphee, Ian; Jansson | 1, Wayne (1 December 2021). "ESSAY: Former #GoldsteinVotes moderate Liberal MP Ian Macphee makes the case for Daniel". No Fibs Independents Day. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  40. ^ View, The Age's (13 May 2022). "Who's afraid of the independents?". The Age. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  41. ^ Pyne, Christopher (8 May 2022). "What the 'teal independents' are really doing". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2 June 2022.
  42. ^ "Tim Wilson is getting hysterical". The AIM Network. 13 December 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  43. ^ Nethery, Amy. "Why teal independents are seeking Liberal voters and spooking Liberal MPs". The Conversation. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  44. ^ "I'm excited by the teal independents – but where's the racial and ethnic diversity? | Sisonke Msimang". the Guardian. 14 May 2022. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  45. ^ Power, Julie (22 November 2022). "The colour of change: How teal became Australia's word of the year". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  46. ^ "Australia's Word of the Year is a colourful nod to the teal wave of independents that swept the federal election". MSN. Retrieved 24 November 2022.
  47. ^ Jo Dyer's Facebook Account
  48. ^ Nicolette Boele's Website
  49. ^ Kate Hook's Twitter Account
  50. ^ Claire Ferres Miles's Website
  51. ^ Andrew Wilkie's Website
  52. ^ Caz Heise's Website (Archived)
  53. ^ Kate Chaney's Website
  54. ^ Despi O'Connor's Instagram Account
  55. ^ Zoe Daniel's Website
  56. ^ Dylan Smith and Bernadette Clarke. "Independent Liz Habermann looking to upset Liberals in South Australian seat of Grey". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  57. ^ Georgia Steele's Website
  58. ^ Helen Haines's Website
  59. ^ Monique Ryan's Website
  60. ^ a b c d Jake Evans. "Who are the independents likely headed to parliament after election night's 'teal bath'?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  61. ^ Sophie Scamps' Website
  62. ^ Sophie Scamp's Twitter campaign video
  63. ^ Rebekha Sharkie's Website
  64. ^ Kylea Tink's Website
  65. ^ Hanabeth Luke's Facebook Account
  66. ^ Alex Dyson's Website
  67. ^ Zali Steggall's Website
  68. ^ Allegra Spender's Website
  69. ^ David Pocock's Website
  70. ^ Kim Rubenstein's Website
  71. ^ Leanne Minshull's Facebook Account
  72. ^ Sarah Fenton's Website
  73. ^ Jacqui Hawkins's Twitter Account
  74. ^ Felicity Frederico's Website
  75. ^ Nomi Kaltmann's Website
  76. ^ Melissa Lowe's Website
  77. ^ Sophie Torney's Website
  78. ^ Kate Lardner's Website
  79. ^ Clarke Martin's Website
  80. ^ Victoria Davidson's Website
  81. ^ Joeline Hackman's Website
  82. ^ Helen Conway's Website
  83. ^ Jacqui Scruby's Website
  84. ^ Karen Freyer's Website
  85. ^ Judith Hannan's Website
  86. ^ Elizabeth Farrelly Independents's Website