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‘Teal’ independent Allegra Spender ‘open to negotiating’ in event of hung parliament

High-profile “teal” independent Allegra Spender is open to negotiate with either Labor or the Coalition in the event of a hung parliament.

The independent candidates have been grilled over who they would support if they are elected neither major party wins the 76 seats needed to form government, and if Scott Morrison would be the main deterrent to their supporting the Coalition.

Ms Spender, who is hoping to oust Liberal Dave Sharma in the eastern Sydney seat of Wentworth, said she didn’t have a personal problem with the Prime Minister.

“I’m open to (backing him) and open to negotiating with everyone,” she told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Mr Morrison has tried to frame a vote for independents as a “vote for chaos”, as polling suggests moderate Liberals in several inner city seats are at serious risk of being defeated by Climate 200-backed candidates.

Ms Spender, a businesswoman and daughter of the late fashion designer Carla Zampatti, is one such candidate being bankrolled by the climate change focused fundraising vehicle.

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She vowed on Sunday to put her local electorate’s interests first if she is elected on May 21.

“For me, this is what I can do to give a moderate, sensible, centrist government that is looking after the long-term of Australia,” she said.

“What I have said to people in Wentworth is that I will negotiate with either side if it comes to forming government, but on an issue, I will vote on the interest of Wentworth.”

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Camera IconAllegra Spender is threatening to outset incumbent Liberal MP Dave Sharma. Richard Dobson Credit: News Corp Australia

Ms Spender promised to “consult widely” with the community as well as with experts when voting on any future legislation.

“I think that is crucial. It is about bringing the people and experts back into politics,” she said.

Like those of other Climate 200 candidates, Ms Spender’s campaign platform centres on climate change and government integrity.

She has called for a cut to greenhouse gas emissions of 50 per cent by 2030 and said the target shouldn’t be incompatible with a conservative government.

“I think climate change is one of the most important factors in terms of what is right for the environment but is also a huge economic opportunity for Australia,” she said.

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Camera IconMs Spender has said she would be open to negotiating with either Labor or the Coalition in the event of a hung parliament. Richard Dobson Credit: News Corp Australia

Ms Spender and other independent candidates have called loudly for an independent federal integrity watchdog.

But she wouldn’t be drawn on Sunday about her thoughts on a $500,000 government grant that went towards the Redleaf Beach swimming area in the up-market Wentworth electorate.

“I think we are looking at corruption that is, you know, large-scale and significant, and I’m not going to comment on those,” she said.

“We need an independent corruption authority to identify what is corruption. We can do that in a very responsible way.

“It isn’t appropriate for me to say this is corruption or it isn’t. I am saying, this is the community’s concern.”

Ms Spender also used her interview to call for a review of the tax system including considering raising the GST and changing stamp duty, which she described as a “drag on the economy”.

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