The Local Network began as the the Local Party, established in Tasmania January 2021 and registered federally in March 2022. The Local Party was conceived by Leanne Minshull and Anna Bateman and was born in response to growing frustration with traditional party-line politics. When government requirements demanded 1500 rather than 500 members before the election, the response was astounding. The Local Party achieved this new target within a few months. 2000 members joined the LP.
The first person to run under the Local Party banner was Pat Caplice in the Tasmanian state seat of Huon. In the 2022 elections, Leanne Minshull was the lead candidate for the senate, support on the ticket by Lara Van Raay and Linda Poulson. Anna Bateman ran for the House of Representatives in Franklin, and Scott Rankin ran in the seat of Braddon. In South Australia Julianne Finney ran for the senate.
At election time, members put in a grand effort with leaflet distribution and attendance at polling booths. The rapid growth of the party was an impressive sign of support for a party that wanted to get Independents into parliament who would represent their electorate rather than merely follow their party line politics.
At the end of 2022, a new Management Committee (Helen Middleton, Andrew Schonfeldt, Marly Flynn and Leanne Minshull) took on the task of continuing to build the party to support candidates in forthcoming elections. The Local Party was renamed the Local Network in order to better represent this mission, to change the political process and make it more democratic through supporting independents into parliament. These candidates will truly represent their communities’ issues rather than be required to follow the party line politics of major parties.
The Local Network was incorporated on 1st July 2023. Talking Circles were run with participants from diverse demographics to ascertain the views of the public. An extensive analysis of what the public want in their candidates was subsequently published. Community preselection events were held in Clark and Franklin to identify community leaders willing to stand in the next Tasmanian election. Preselected candidates commenced campaigning in their electorate in September/October 2023.