As the dust is settling after the election and Labor has emerged with a two-seat majority, Zoe Daniel’s team in inner Melbourne’s Goldstein electorate have rolled up their sleeves to prove that “community can make a difference”.
“Thank you, Goldstein. We’ve found our voice. Now let’s use it,” former ABC journalist, Zoe Daniel, tweeted on May 22 after she won the seat from the prominent backbencher Tim Wilson.
Beside Daniel during the announcement were her family, a sea of teal community members and Greek Australian Angela Pippos, the person who drove the election campaign and Daniel’s friend of over thirty years.
“It’s been a hectic six months. But it makes it all worthwhile when you win,” Pippos tells The Greek Herald.
“When others around us went low, we weren’t drawn into a negative campaign. We stayed upbeat. We stayed optimistic. And that resonated with the electorate of Goldstein. I’m just over the moon for Zoe, and for the community,” says the Adelaide born author and sports journalist.
Pippos was the one who put forward Daniel’s name when community group Voices of Goldstein approached her last year looking for a candidate to represent them.
“I thought of Zoe straight away. At the time I thought she’s a long shot. I didn’t think she’d say yes,” Pippos explains. “But we are journalists, so curiosity got the better of her,” she adds with a laugh.
“Zoe let the idea sit with her family for two months. In fact, it was her kids, especially who said, ‘Mum, we want you to do this. This is for us. This is for our future,’” Pippos says.
And Zoe Daniel obliged. With Angela Pippos and the people of Goldstein by her side.
Women, youth and voters who moved away from the two major parties and towards independent and Greens candidates who campaigned primarily on a stronger response to the climate crisis, gender equality and integrity.
Asked about what this campaign taught her, Pippos says that “people in this country are sick and tired of doing politics in a particular way.”
“The two-party system is so antagonistic, and it’s stuck on matters of importance. What is heartening is that so many people in Goldstein and around the country felt the same way that something needed to be done to disrupt the way things were going,” she says.
“I feel excited about the future that we might go back to a parliament where we can have debate about things that really matter, and not just shouting across the chamber.”
“I also would have to make the point that women of Australia found their voice at this election,” explains Pippos. “Women were fed up with not being seen and with not being heard. Women have been ignored and disrespected and have been unable to thrive.”
Having grown up in the multicultural suburb of Rostrevor and being a trailblazer for women in Australian broadcast sports journalism Pippos has a good understanding about the barriers women of culturally diverse backgrounds face.
“We really want to see more diversity in our parliament and across workplaces. The parliament really sets the standard. And at the moment it does not reflect our country. It does not reflect multicultural Australia.
“So, this is the beginning,” she says. “Women like Zoe can pave the way for other women to follow and help people from different backgrounds find their voice.”
Pippos describes Daniel as “genuine, compassionate and a great listener.”
“From my point of view, she’s got all the right stuff to represent her community. It’s been an absolute privilege to stand by her side,” Pippos says.
Asked about the memories she will take with her from this campaign, Pippos pauses to think.
“In my career I’ve done a lot of things, but it’ll be hard to top this. To be part of a campaign really from scratch. We had to learn to fly the plane in the air,” she says laughing.
“It was a diverse group of people brought together to try and get Zoe elected and we were all doing it for the first time. Zoe was a first-time candidate. I’d never done this before. So really it was a wild ride.”
And what’s next for Angela Pippos?
“I’ve decided to stay with Zoe just to make this transition as smooth as possible for her,” she explains. “So, for three months at least I’m going to help her transition to Zoe Daniel MP,” she says.
It takes a village to win an election, they say. Maybe a village and -as cliché as it sounds- someone of Greek heritage who loves politics to run your campaign.
“A year ago, I had no idea that, this was about to happen and land in my lap. I studied politics at the University of Adelaide. I thought I’d be a political journalist, but I came to Melbourne, and did sport instead. I love politics and this very much agrees with me. All of this,” says Pippos. “It’s going to be hard to let it go.”
“I do have a crazy idea that I should make a documentary about Zoe’s journey and how she got elected in the inner-Melbourne electorate of Goldstein, which is named after feminist activist Vida Goldstein.”
“This would be a really good story to tell.”