When Scott Morrison unveiled Indigenous politician Warren Mundine as his captain’s pick to run in the marginal NSW seat of Gilmore, it angered many local branch members, including preselected candidate Grant Schultz, who quit to run as an independent. Mundine has never lived in Gilmore, on the South Coast of NSW, but referred to the area as his “ancestral home”.Mundine’s candidacy in a seat where he doesn’t live is hardly new. Australian politics is filled with instances of high-profile candidates being parachuted into seats to which they often have little connection.
In 2004, the ALP pulled off arguably the biggest celebrity coup in Australian political history, when rock star and environmental activist Peter Garrett became their candidate for the safe seat of Kingsford Smith in Sydney’s East. But it wasn’t an easy road for the Midnight Oil frontman — local branch members were incensed with Mark Latham’s pick, labelling Garrett an outsider. Meanwhile, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, unimpressed with Garrett’s opposition to logging, labelled his selection “a pathetic version of political celebrity squares”.