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Can you have an independent party? Elizabeth Farrelly thinks so

The author will be running in the NSW Legislative Council at the March state election.

Author and former Sydney Morning Herald columnist Elizabeth Farrelly has defended the use of the word 'independents' in the name of her new party, as she gears up to run in the state election on March 25.

Farrelly formed Elizabeth Farrelly Independents late last year by essentially taking over The Open Party (formerly Keep Sydney Open) which had registration with the NSW Electoral Commission.

A party has to apply for registration more than a year before an election in NSW, and - while fully allowed - running as a grouped or ungrouped independent means winning an upper house seat is a lot harder.

Speaking to 6 News, she said it was fair to call the party 'Elizabeth Farrelly Independents' because "anybody who knows me...knows my allegiances have always been independent."

The decision to form a party was sparked by a conversation with Greens-turned-independent MLC Justin Field.

Farrelly joined the Labor Party in 2021, reportedly having ambitions to run at local elections, in the state seat of Strathfield and/or the federal seat of Reid.

She ended up running in Strathfield as an independent at the February 2022 by-election, which was won by Labor's Jason Yat-Sen Li.

When asked about her involvement in Labor, Farrelly told 6 News she "joined in July and left in September".

"It was very short-lived, and possibly that was a mistake...I think it was done in good faith."

"Labor in what it says is one thing, and Labor in what is does is another," she said, adding she disagreed with the party 'parachuting' candidates into seats despite them living in other electorates.

Parties with the word 'independent,' 'independents' or another variation of that in their name isn't exactly new.

Australian Independents lasted for 3 years until 2016, the Independence Party was formed last year and Independent Voices For The Senate is currently registered with the Australian Electoral Commission.

Elizabeth Farrelly Independents will be one of several parties and groups contesting what appears set to be a somewhat crowded upper house ticket.

Silvana Nile - wife of retiring Christian Democrats (later Seniors United) MLC Fred Nile - is running for the unregistered Revive Australia Party. Nile himself appeared to join the party a few months ago before the end of his term.

Also running is Lyle Shelton as an Independent Family First candidates. The Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia has previously flagged endorsing independent candidates of their own.

New to the scene is the Public Education Party, formed after a merger of the registered Reason NSW and unregistered Fairer Education Party. It does not appear to be related to the almost identically-named Public Education Party of Australia, which existed as recently as 2012.

Watch Elizabeth Farrelly's full interview with 6 News here.

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