The power of listening was key to the success of independent candidates at the federal election, one of the new parliamentarians says. 

Listening will also be key to enshrining an Indigenous Voice in the constitution at a referendum, Independent MP Sophie Scamps says.

The former athlete and GP made history on May 21 when she ousted incumbent Jason Falinski from the traditionally Liberal-held seat of Mackellar on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Her athlete past trained her to step outside of her comfort zone and run as an independent, Dr Scamps said. 

She described the 2022 election as a watershed moment in Australia’s political history.

“The key, the power I believe, was simply listening,” Dr Scamps told parliament during her first speech on Monday.

“Like my other crossbench colleagues, I listened to my community.” 

Action on climate change, youth mental health and restoring trust in parliament were the common themes Dr Scamps heard from the Mackellar community. 

“In 2022, listening to our communities was our strength. It transformed our community and now I hope it can transform our future,” she said.

“The results of this new type of politics, of putting people first and of listening first, were astounding.”

Dr Scamps pledged to represent young people, advocate for renewable energy and build transparency and accountability into political processes.

“Trust is the glue that holds society together. Without trust, people lose faith in institutions and disengage from their democracy,” she said. 

“I do feel that as politicians we have a duty of care for (young people). It is your future we are creating so you deserve to be heard.”

Dr Scamps said she would use her role in parliament to prioritise building health and aged care systems to meet challenges in the sector.

“I will work hard every day to ensure that the spirit of Mackellar burns brightly here in this chamber, and that your voices and values are heard and respected, so that your vision for a brighter future can be realised,” she said.

“Thank you all for giving Mackellar back our voice.”