Independent MP Monique Ryan is pledging to restore the light on Canberra’s Capital Hill with action on climate change, improved integrity and equality for women. 

Dr Ryan made history when she ousted former federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg from his Melbourne seat of Kooyong, turning a traditionally blue-ribbon seat teal. 

She is the first woman and independent elected to represent the seat but said she would not be the last. 

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Former independent MP Cathy McGowan who broke the Liberal-National coalition’s hold on the Victorian seat of Indi inspired Dr Ryan and other independents to take on high-profile incumbents.

“In a true democracy one votes on one’s values: for a person, not a party,” she told parliament during her first speech on Thursday.

“The people of Kooyong … sought change, not for their individual interests, but for decency and democracy, and above all … for action on climate change.”

Dr Ryan pledged to restore respect and integrity among Australia’s elected representatives.

“In these last years, many Australians have perceived a dimming of the light of Australian democracy,” she said. 

“Many of us felt that our elected representatives no longer reflected our values.”

She said her vote in parliament would always be independent, guided by evidence and her constituents. 

Dr Ryan, who prior to the election was head of the neurology department at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria, committed to working for world-standard health, disability and aged care. 

“When our children ask us what we did for our country, we will be proud to answer that we were the changes that we wanted to see, and that in doing so we changed Australian history,” she said, paraphrasing Gandhi. 

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Peter Fray
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