Keep Sydney Open is running 63 candidates in the upcoming NSW state election to be held on 23 March 2019. We will be running 42 candidates for the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) and 21 for the Legislative Council (Upper House).
Scroll down to learn more about who we are, where we come from and how we want to make NSW a more vibrant, liveable and affordable place to live.
The Legislative Assembly consists of a member elected by each electorate in NSW. In 2019, Keep Sydney Open is running in 42 electorates. If you are unsure of which electorate you live in you can check the NSW Electoral Commission.
Kieron Lee - Auburn
Kum Seng Kieron Lee (Kieron Lee) is 32-years-old and lives in Auburn. He is half-Australian, half-Malaysian and has worked in the retail sector a majority of his life. He understands how damaging the Liberal Government’s ignorance towards issues facing the people in Western Sydney. He wants a more representative government for all people and not just land developers. New South Wales and Auburn deserve better and has a candidate for Keep Sydney Open will do better.
James is a 36-year-old Radio Broadcaster, Filmmaker, Futurist and father of three. James has been a resident of the Byron Shire for five years. James aims to rally the people in the Ballina electorate in opposing over-policing and unfair regulations that threaten the viability of large public events across NSW and in the Ballina region such as Bluesfest and Splendour in the Grass.
Emilia Leonetti– Balmain
Emilia Leonetti is a Balmain local having both grown up and worked in the electorate all her life. She loves everything Balmain has to offer from its boutique coffee shops to its street festivals celebrating the cultural diversity of the local community. She believes it is an imperative to keep arts, music and culture alive for both Sydney and the state of NSW and to support our small businesses. She is deeply concerned by the closure of establishments that people in the Balmain community hold so dear. Emilia will work to create a stronger sense of community, end the Liberals’ war on young people and ensure the community is safe, well-looked after and that there is plenty of space to learn, grow, and challenge ourselves.
Tim Hansen – Bathurst
Born and raised in Orange, a graduate of CSU Bathurst and currently a resident of Carcoar, Tim Hansen has lived over half his life in the Central West of NSW. He is a teaching artist, theatre-maker, composer, cabaret performer and producer, as well as a passionate advocate for community arts and culture, particularly regarding opportunities young, emerging artists in rural areas. Tim has worked with a number of major youth arts organisations around Australia and overseas including Australian Theatre for Young People, Canberra Youth Theatre, Shopfront Youth Theatre, Music for Everyone and Musica Viva. He has twice been artist in residence at Hill End and is on the panel for the Blair Milan Memorial Scholarship at CSU. Currently Tim is a facilitating artist with Milk Crate Theatre, a company that develops theatre with people who have experienced homelessness.
Mark is a five times world championship freestyle skier who has represented Australia for over 14 years, including at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. He ran the Taylor Square Newsagency in Darlinghurst owned by his family for three generations (84 years) until it was shut down due to the reduction of foot traffic in the area as a result of the lockout laws. This has given him firsthand experience of the destructive impact of overregulation in NSW and the $16b loss in the NSW economy. He is extremely concerned about the NSW Government’s war on fun, festivals and culture and how this has devastated small business, civil liberties, openness and transparency in NSW and across the Blue Mountains electorate.
Daniel Aragona – Camden
Daniel is a DJ and Producer with 11 years in the NSW music scene. He has played at many top venues across Sydney & NSW and has been a regular in the ARIA Club Charts in the past year. He is incredibly disappointed by the destruction of venues and events across NSW and the impact this is having on the NSW economy and diversity of the state. He is standing as a candidate for his love of music and culture and the important role it plays in the state of NSW.
Joe is a Clovelly local and loves the Coogee area. It was his grandfather’s home and has always been an important place for his family. Joe is proud of his long role in the maturation of Keep Sydney Open from activist group to political party. Joe plans to end the stifling nanny state and ensure infrastructure development in the Coogee electorate is initiated with transparently and effectively so they serve the community rather than lobbyists.
Phillip is a 28-year-old small business owner residing in the Sutherland shire area. With businesses ranging from small bars, cafes and operating live music events from the south coast and across Sydney. Phillip has a passion for the arts and culture that Sydney has since lost since the lockouts where introduced 5 years ago. Small business, transport, education and bringing culture back to Sydney is what drove Phillip to become the candidate for Cronulla.
Jacob has been a resident of St Ives his entire life and is a son to Jewish immigrants from Soviet Ukraine. His experiences in Sydney and abroad have convinced him that a vibrant cultural and nightlife scene is essential for Sydney to maintain its status as a true World city.
David Roberts– Drummoyne
David is an experienced journalist and media professional, born and raised in Sydney and currently living in the inner-west. He runs a small photography business specialising in music and artist photography. He is concerned with Sydney’s status as a ‘world class city’ slipping due to unfair regulations on small businesses and a lack of decent public transport leading to congested toll roads and a devastating loss of jobs and opportunities across the State. David’s aim is to make the electorate of Drummoyne more livable, affordable and fair.
Lisa Maddock– East Hills
Lisa has been a resident in the East Hills electorate for over 20 years and understands the issues facing the local community. She has a professional background in the Technology and Legal sectors and has first-hand experience in the start-up business industry. Lisa is passionate about supporting culture, arts, diversity and a revival of the night time economy. She believes in building better transport options to decongest our roads, implementing progressive environmental policy, preserving local community organizations and ending the crisis on housing to making Sydney more affordable and livable.
Sam is a passionate musician who has grown up in Epping and has been an active member of the community being a member of his local church, having organised clothing collections for the homeless and assisting with street clean-ups while still finding time to pursue his passion in life: music. He has seen firsthand the destruction of the NSW Government’s lockout laws having worked at Candy’s Apartment in Kings Cross when they were introduced. He is deeply concerned with gentrification and the nanny-state war on live music and young people. Sam will fight for youth, creativity and culture of Epping and the entirety of NSW.
Perran Costi– Hawkesbury
Perran lives and works in St Albans and grew up on the Hawkesbury River. He began his two-decade career with sustainability, art and culture by running festivals in the 90s. He led Amnesty International Australia's Freedom Festival as part of the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign and most recently created a community-focused eco, arts and culture farm at St Albans in the Hawkesbury region.
Chris Ryan– Heffron
Chris moved to Zetland in 2010 and quickly became a part of the community after working in Alexandria. He is concerned that an area with such a young vibrant population feels throttled, that traffic is at a standstill and that public transport is not meeting demands. He believes affordable housing is a major problem with a large amount of people paying over 30% of their salary on rent. He was heavily involved in the campaign for same-sex marriage alongside his partner and is standing as a candidate for Keep Sydney Open because he believes the current government is not working for the people of Heffron and NSW.
Hayden was born and grew up in Western Australia, moving to Sydney to pursue his studies in Business. Hayden is a firm believer in the power of the people and bringing the forgotten voices of the community into the spotlight. Hayden hopes to achieve a greater network between communities and businesses to move towards a cleaner environment. He aims to put greater pressure on the NSW Parliament to invest in more sustainable, effective technologies to alleviate the NSW energy crisis.
Natalie Resman – Kogarah
Natalie was born to Croatian parents and grew up in Western Sydney before moving east to finish her studies at the University of Sydney. She aims to inspire women to strive for excellence and she believes that women should have complete autonomy over their own destinies. Natalie is concerned about how the lack of 24-hour public transport makes life as a woman in Sydney less safe and believes police should be more active in the community working on education rather than punitive measures.
Liam Blood– Ku-ring-gai
Liam grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, went to school in Terrey Hills, and University in North Sydney. Liam is an active member of his community, involving himself in Surf Life Saving and local Soccer teams. Since the lockout laws were introduced Liam lost trust with government and felt a disconnect between policy-makers and those they are supposed to serve. He watched local businesses, clubs, bars, festivals all shut down due to knee-jerk and uneducated policies introduced by state government. He aims to see NSW become the culturally vibrant state it once was.
Omar Najjar– Lakemba
Omar was born to Lebanese-Syrian parents and grew up around Punchbowl and Lakemba. His aim is to restore integrity to policy-making and increase accountability for the police to end the police state. He believes the community suffers the consequences of fear over evidence. Omar's aim in politics is to flip the model on its head.
Joanne Spiteri– Lane Cove
Joanne Spiteri grew up in Sydney and has lived in Lane Cove for the past 15 years. She works as a senior accountant, office manager and tax consultant on the North Shore. Her partner David is a music producer, and they are passionate about the local music industry.
In Lane Cove, the population has increased significantly without an increase in public infrastructure. Locals rely on buses to get to work, and she has experienced the frustrations of seeing public transport woefully under-resourced. She supports strategic planning to reduce empty shops on main streets and in order to create local villages that are vibrant and engaging.
Scott is a young Communications professional from Glenfield who. He has a background working with disenfranchised communities and aims to ensure all voices are equally represented in the discussions that will shape this city for generations to come. He believes that Sydney's multiculturalism is key to the city's identity. Scott will put cultural values at the forefront of this election, especially those held by the people of Macquarie Fields. Safety, prosperity and community will be at the heart of his campaign.
James Lawson– Maitland
Dane Murray– Manly
Dane has been living in Manly for 8 years. Dane has helped build communities including Manly Entrepreneurs, co-hosting over 100 events for local Startups since 2012, and Burning Manly, an organization which has run over 100 community beach cleanup gatherings, with live music, at Shelly Beach since 2015.
Dane works as a Collaboration Designer as freelancer within many top Australian Companies, State and Federal Government Agencies and not-for-profit community groups. Dane co-founded the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre at UNSW, is a Lecturer in Sustainable Design Thinking at UNSW, and a Facilitator in Purpose-based Vision-focused Entrepreneurship at UTS. Dane regularly works with the leading Collaboration Design capabilities in Sydney: KPMG U-Collaborate; Transport for NSW Sydney Trains Customer Central, Two Collaborate and PwC’s The Difference.
Rowan Kos– Maroubra
Rowan has lived in Sydney and Maroubra for 20 years, currently works as an Audio Visual Technician and Courier. He is recognised for having developed not-for-profit sustainability initiatives within the festival space and campaigning alongside farmers in the Manning Valley area to advocate for local food consumption. Rowan considers himself a working-class man with Aussie values who is deeply concerned with resolving the $16b annual loss to Sydney’s economy, particularly for small business, due to the lockout laws and overregulation. He wants to clean up NSW politics and bring transparency, accountability and fairness back into politics.
Claudia Looker– Newcastle
Claudia is a 21-year-old architecture student at The University of Newcastle, and a passionate candidate for Keep Sydney Open in Newcastle. Coming from a Defence Force family, Claudia has lived all over Australia before landing in the growing city of Newcastle in 2015. As a young adult who thrives on music and whose study and future career depends on cities with a strong urban economy, the values of Keep Sydney Open have been close to her since its beginning. She witnessed the effects of the lockout laws in first Newcastle, then Sydney and Claudia recognises that it’s time for a new approach. With more developments and plans for the honeysuckle and metro area, Claudia believes Newcastle needs Keep Sydney Open now more than ever.
Laura White – Newtown
Laura is a third generation Newtowner who has been living in the Inner West for the last six years. She currently works in travel and has worked for Sydney's art and night life scene since she was 19 at Chinese Laundry and Funktrust as well as the Sydney Theatre Company and festivals including Good Vibrations and the Sydney Film Festival. She is passionate about music, arts, and culture in Sydney and NSW. She believes in the right to have fun, eat, listen to music, dance, talk on the street, and have safe transport after midnight.
Colin is a tour guiding specialist and marketing and project management specialist is passionate about people, fun, and experiences. Colin has experience running fundraising campaigns for community bodies and organising community awareness campaigns. People play a big part in his life and he believes being surrounded by the right people will make the right things happen.
David is an Orange local who moved to the area in search of a better lifestyle and diverse work options. He currently works as a marketing manager specialising in delivering unique products only made in the Orange area. He believes Orange and the surrounding areas are vibrant with culture, especially music, food and wine, and that the State government’s policies threaten that vibrancy. David seeks to support farmers, musicians, artists, and winemakers and to showcase their work across our various festivals.
Sam Bellwood– Parramatta
Sam is a 28-year-old musician raised in the heart of the western suburbs. Being a musician in a band Sam has seen the decline from the lockout laws firsthand and decided to help bring a more suitable culture and nightlife back to Western Sydney as the member for Parramatta.
Michael Newman– Pittwater
Michael has lived on the Northern Beaches for 14 years. He is strongly connected to the area of Pittwater and is very proud to represent the area due to the culturally diverse atmosphere it offers. He has a long-standing passion for music and have become increasingly interested in observing how music alongside arts of all kinds contribute in creating vibrant nighttime economies. He would like to promote Pittwater as a place that embraces cultural diversity and that allows culture to flourish to its full potential. He is focused on creating a dialogue proposing alternative solutions in managing the nighttime economy as a key campaign issue.
George Tulloch– Rockdale
George is a young creative business owner who moved to Sydney in 2010. He has worked for entertainment institutions such as Candy’s Apartment and Ministry of Sound before launching his creative and marketing agency in Alexandria in 2018. He sees the government’s continual attempts to legislate the youth and the arts out of NSW and is concerned that without conscious effort NSW will lose its global appeal. He believes the rampant, corrupt development of infrastructure that only caters to the big end of town is ignoring what Rockdale really needs, a comprehensive 24-hour public transport system and the fostering of small businesses. He seeks to fight for the broad range of music and cultural communities and activities.
Sophie was born to Armenian parents and raised in Ryde. She is gymnastic teacher and self-taught in violin and guitar. She currently studies at Macquarie University with a passion for public speaking projects, aiming to offer a revived outlook on Sydney's political landscape. She seeks to be a role model for the younger Australians within NSW and show the power of the youth voice in keeping a vibrant culture across Australia.
Vinay Orekondy – Strathfield
Vinay was born and raised in Strathfield. He now works as a teacher, lawyer and mediator after several years working in international law in Europe and the United States. He is committed to keeping Sydney a powerful symbol of openness, diversity and internationalism. Vinay wants to cut red tape to allow local, diverse businesses to grow. He also wants to prevent the cities lockout laws from pushing violence to the local area and instead focus on effective harm minimization.
Andrea Makris– Summer Hill
Andrea grew up in Belmore and has worked in the creative industries for over two decades in the government, corporate, and not-for-profit sectors, and as a small business owner. She is passionate about culture, community and diversity. She has programmed and managed large-scale festivals and events across iconic venues in both Melbourne and Sydney, and recently worked on Vivid Sydney and Sydney Festival. She is passionate to represent communities and causes that support festivals and creative opportunities for people of all backgrounds.
Jake Fitzpatrick– The Entrance
Jake Fitzpatrick is a surfer, pizza maker, musician and engineering student. Having lived on the Central Coast his whole life, he understands the relationship locals have with the natural environment. He thinks there are too many out of touch politicians in politics and hopes to inspire others to get involved. He is a supporter of evidence-based decision making and hates when politicians ignore the facts in front of them. As a lover of music, he’s worried that those in power are forgetting its importance, both for mental health and for building community.
Mark MacSmith – Vaucluse
Mark has lived in Bondi since 2014 and is a Marketing Strategist and founder of The Australian Millennial Report. He wants to return Sydney to the creative and cultural standards we all expect from a truly global city and to stop creatives and the people of Sydney from moving to Melbourne and overseas. Mark believes that the Keep Sydney Open Party is the only way Sydney can return to once again being Australia’s Number 1 City.
Katika Schultz– Wakehurst
Katika was born in Mona Vale hospital and brought up on the northern beaches. She worked in the hospitality industry for over 16 years and is an artist. She believes Sydney’s public transport options do not reflect a world class city, of which The Beaches should be a destination. The Northern Beaches has so many places that want to play music, show art and gather like-minded people. She is advocate for the “Agent of Change” model to noise complains and believes there are plenty of examples of other cities having easy transport, collaborative policy-making and dedicated arts funding.
Thomas is a Willoughby local having moved to the area at the age of eight after living on an organic beef farm in the far north west of NSW. He has been a long-time volunteer in the area as well as a mentor at the Can-Too foundation which has raised over $21 million for cancer research. Thomas is passionate about community and friendship and how music brings people together. He is very concerned with how the lockout laws supported by the Premier are denying people of all ages, in particularly young people, from meeting in safe, diverse and fun environments. He wants to ensure that local small businesses have a voice so that the area can reach its full potential in terms of opportunity, creativity and culture at all times of day.
James Hehir – Wollongong
James grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and now lives in the south coast beach town of Bulli with his three children. He is a small business owner as a specialist welding, machining and light weight metal fabricator. He is passionate about ensuring young people enjoy opportunities and experiences in open, safe and fair cities. He believes overregulation of industries and night life have stifled people’s opportunity and creativity, particularly in his own community. He wants to see an end to the nanny state. James will pursue transparency in local and state government around political lobby groups and donations and providing an alternative voice for the wellbeing of society and the Wollongong community.
The Legislative Council is made up of members who are elected by the entire state of NSW. They do not represent any single electorate and so every person in NSW gets to vote on who to elect to the Legislative Council. In 2019, Keep Sydney Open is running a ticket of 21 candidates for the upper house.