Sharon Cadwallader.
Sharon Cadwallader. Cathy Adams

Sharon Cadwallader considering running as independent

BALLINA councillor Sharon Cadwallader has confirmed she is considering running as an independent in next year's State election.

Ms Cadwallader is a long-term National Party member who has twice stood for preselection for the party - in 2007 for the Federal seat of Page in 2007 and for the State seat of Ballina a few weeks ago.

She says she began seriously considering her options as an independent when a phone poll in the area mistakenly identified her as an independent and triggered a wave of support from people within the electorate - including from some fellow National Party members.

It is not known who commissioned the survey or why.

Running as an independent would mean breaking from the Nationals and taking on the economic might of the party - along with the election spending of Labor and the Greens - with little or no financial support.

Women should be involved (in politics) and be able to share their knowledge and experience around that decision-making table.

However, Ms Cadwallader, who is also vice-chair of the Australian Local Government Association's Women's Association, also noted the declining presence of women in the NSW and Federal parliaments - particularly on the conservative side of politics.

"I don't want to wave the feminist flag - I was buying my first bra when people were burning them. I'm not a hard core feminist, I work well with men ... but it's like it's the dark old days of women coming home and taking their husband's slippers off and getting dinner. You'd like to think those days are done but the numbers (of women) in politics tell us it hasn't," she said.

"We (the NSW Nationals) have 19 MPs and only two women out of those 19 - and we're losing numbers. Jenny Gardiner is retiring, we've lost Melinda Pavey, although we're getting Bonny Taylor. It's the same at the Federal level."

Are women under-represented in Australian politics?

This poll ended on 23 July 2014.

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This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Ms Cadwallader also pointed to the recent furore over an attack on NSW Cabinet Minister Robyn Parker by Murray-Darling Nationals MP John Williams, where he threatened to "tear her a new orifice" and told the minister, who was raped as a teenager, she'd "never had a real man".

She said attitudes in politics, particularly towards women, might be turning women off attempting to stand for election.

"It's not pleasant," Ms Cadwallader said of politics in general. "There's so much ugliness and lack of respect. They might think, do they really want to be there or do something easier where they are appreciated rather than having to fight all the time just for their survival?

"Women should be involved (in politics) and be able to share their knowledge and experience around that decision-making table."

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