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Simms launches political comeback bid

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Former Adelaide City Councillor and Senator Robert Simms has been selected as a Greens candidate for the next state election, InDaily can reveal.

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On Sunday, the party chose Simms to contest Liberal MP Rachel Sanderson’s seat of Adelaide, which she has held since 2010.

In 2015, the Australian Greens propelled Simms from the city council into the senate, but in early 2016 placed him second on the ticket to fellow Greens SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young – and he was not re-elected.

“I feel like I still have something to contribute,” Simms told InDaily.

“Adelaide is the progressive capital of South Australia, but we don’t currently have a representative [for those politics] in the South Australian parliament.”

Simms was a candidate for the seat of Adelaide in 2014, achieving 11.8 per cent of the vote and placing third to Sanderson (48.7 per cent) and Labor candidate, Prospect Mayor David O’Loughlin (36.1 per cent).

But he told InDaily a major international shift towards “anti-establishment” politics in recent years would improve his chances this time around.

“Anyone who suggests that we can’t win the seat of Adelaide needs to look at what’s happening in world politics at the moment,” he said.

“There’s a huge shift away from establishment political parties.

“We can’t predict election outcomes anymore.”

He claims Sanderson “has been in parliament now for eight years and really hasn’t been active on the issues which really matter to the seat”.

Simms nominates housing affordability, renewable energy, homelessness and opposition to Labor’s planning reforms as issues inner-city voters care about, but about which they have had little representation.

Sanderson told InDaily in a statement this afternoon that: “I will be vigorously contesting the seat of Adelaide, especially given it was the greens preferences that delivered this incompetent Labor government.”

“I am committed to ensuring we put the ‘people’ back in planning rather than this Labor government’s development-at-any-cost attitude.

“The Liberals are committed to a new and more diverse economy to support jobs growth into the future.”

Simms added there was “a lot of concern around social justice” in Adelaide and “issues like housing affordability will be key in the seat”.

“Investment in public housing and affordable housing being neglected by the State Government.

“There’s significant support for progressive ideas in the seat of Adelaide.

“The Green vote has been continuing to rise.”

Simms said he would campaign to give a “real voice” to local councils, and the state parliament, in planning decisions.

“I’ll [also] be campaigning strongly on putting democracy back into the planning process,” he said.

He added that his election strategy would rely heavily on door-knocking over the next nine months.

“I’ll be doing a big field campaign,” said Simms.

“We’ve got a big volunteer base in the city of Adelaide.

“Having those conversations does change votes during elections … that’ll be a big part of my strategy.”

The Labor candidate is lawyer Jo Chapley, who previously contested the eastern suburbs seat of Dunstan, held by Liberal leader Steven Marshall.

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