Come election day in the seat of Chisholm, the name at the top of the Ballot best placed for the donkey vote is Ian Dobby.
Dobby, a carpenter, was born in Chisholm and has always lived in the area. He’s worked in the building industry for 30 years, has been a small business owner and a foster carer. He also brings some experience to the table, having run as an Australian Christians party candidate in the seat of Deakin in the 2013 Federal Election.
That campaign yielded unimpressive results, with this election also looking tough for Dobby as he runs as an Independent candidate in a two-horse-dominated race against Labor’s Jennifer Yang and the ALP’s Gladys Liu.
Prior to campaigning, the margin between Labor and the ALP in Chisholm stood between 2.9 per cent and 3.4 per cent in the Liberals’ favour, up from 1.2% prior to the electorate redistribution in June, 2018.
Although he is not likely to win the seat, Dobby’s preferences could play a part in which major party wins control on Saturday.
On Dobby’s candidate Facebook page he states that: “A vote for an Independent, (or minor party) isn’t a wasted vote. It’s actually a double vote (2 for 1) because your vote will flow to YOUR preferred major party.”
Despite multiple unsuccessful attempts to get in contact with Dobby, it is near certain his preferences will go to the ALP. This is owing to his right-wing history with the Australian Christians, and his ‘How to Vote’ Card – Gladys Liu a suggested number two vote and Jennifer Yang a suggested number six vote.
From Dobby’s Facebook page, it can be seen that his targeting voters who are sick of the rigmarole of politics. Dobby urges Chisholm voters: “Don’t keep voting the same way.” “If you’re not happy with the merry-go-round in politics,” he says, “then something has to change, otherwise we’ll keep getting the same results.”
So, what result is Dobby promising in his campaign? With minimal information online, in databases and on social media about Dobby and his current campaign, his Facebook page is the only place you can find the Independent’s policies – a minimal attempt at informing the voters in his electorate.
Dobby’s policies focus on seven main areas: economy; welfare; health; infrastructure; Australian culture; immigration; and environmental action.
With a background in small business, it is no surprise that Dobby wants to encourage the growth of small business and entrepreneurialism in Chisholm.
He appears to prioritise environmental action in his policy layout, a more left-wing sentiment, that may bring him favour with undecided left-leaning voters.
The remainder of Dobby’s policies, however, appear to align with Liberal values, including controlling immigration, maintaining freedom of speech, pushing back on extreme political correctness and restricting those without citizenship from owning property.
What’s notable is that, despite a background with the Australian Christians party, Dobby’s proposed policies make no mention of religion of any kind.
Whilst Ian Dobby is almost non-existent online, his wife, Karen Dobby, is more traceable. Ian and Karen have been married for almost 38 years and, after their two daughters grew up, the pair decided to become foster carers; a role there is a great need for.
The couple was featured on a 2013 episode of Lateline, highlighting the strain on the foster system – too many kids and not enough carers. Just one year later, Karen was told by Anglicare that the Dobbys were no longer wanted as foster carers. This was after a blog Karen published, whilst running as a candidate for Isaacs in the 2013 election, revealed homophobic sentiments and spoke out against the “infiltration of the Islamic culture”.
It is unclear whether Ian and Karen are foster carers anymore.
Karen, herself, has also had a taste of politics – not only running as an Australian Christian Party candidate for the electorate of Isaacs in the 2013 Federal Election, but also in the electorate of Ringwood in the 2014 Victorian Election, and the electorate of Deakin in the 2016 Federal Election. With both Ian and Karen having a history of candidacy for the Australian Christians, it begs the question – why has Ian broken with them and decided to run as an Independent this time around?
Overall, the limited literature of Dobby seems to reveal him as a generous, well-established and experienced character, but the lasting impression of his candidacy in Chisholm is that of mild confusion. His ‘campaign’ constitutes less than 10 posts on his Facebook page.
When heading to the polls on May 18, remember that a donkey vote in Chisholm will probably mean your vote will end up with the Liberals.