Andrew Thaler is one of three independent candidates contesting the seat of Eden-Monaro.
Based in Nimmitabel with wife Alisa and their three young children, Thaler is a self-employed electrical fitter who learnt his trade at the Liddell and Bayswater coal-fired power stations in the Hunter Valley.
These days he owns the largest private collection of solar panels in the country, with the biggest being the Singleton Solar Farm, containing 6,800 panels, and is a passionate renewable energy campaigner. Under an arrangement which is an Australian first, the Singleton farm supplies all its power directly to the University of Technology in Sydney.
Although Thaler unsuccessfully contested the Eden-Monaro seat in 2013, coming fifth behind the Greens, his enthusiasm for the role is undiminished.
“If not me, who, and if not now, when?” said Thaler reflectively.
“Plus I can offer two other important qualifications: I’m not Peter Hendy and I’m not Mike Kelly.”
An outspoken campaigner, he is comfortable in sharing his opinions.
“If I’m elected I’m prepared to put my views forward, so people know where I’m coming from, but at the end of the day I’m equally prepared to campaign for something that’s not my view if that’s the will of the people,” he said.
He has several concerns about our political system and feels that politicians are rarely seen after being elected.
“I want to return the job of the elected candidate to the people and would work hard to make myself more readily and easily available.”
From a policy perspective, he is a supporter of solar farms, wind farms, and Barton Highway duplication.
“We want our government to listen to what the people want because it’s them who are putting their lives in danger every time they use that road,” he said.
In relation to big-picture issues, he has been pondering a number of them.
“I think there’s too much regulation in society, which is stifling, and there’s too much blinkered thinking in our education system, which reduces the opportunity for our kids to fully develop and challenge their boundaries.”
And how does wife Alisa feel about his second attempt?
“She sees the futility of it but she supports me because it’s for the future of our kids. When we have kids we’re duty-bound to make sure they have the best future possible, and with no political alignments or allegiances to hold me back, that’s what I’m hoping to achieve,” he said.
Andrew Thaler hopes to visit Yass and meet citizens sometime next week.
“I’ll come with a big sign on the big truck and will walk through town saying g’day to people and might go to a few pubs at night.”
“I was working in Yass for a couple of years back in 2005, it’s a great place and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.”