Labor calls on ‘Independent’ Newcastle candidate to come clean on who is behind her campaign

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The NSW Labor Opposition has called on former Tim Owen staffer Sophie Mill to come clean on what her links to the Liberal Party are – and where she stands on key issues facing the Hunter.

The call follows reports that Ms Mill – the former staffer to disgraced Newcastle Liberal MP Tim Owen – has announced she will contest the upcoming by-election as an independent candidate.

It is reported that Liberal Party operative and campaign manager for Mr Owen, Josh Hodges, has been asked to assist her campaign – despite the ICAC hearing allegations Mr Hodges’ involvement in the campaign was potentially paid for by illegal developer donations.

“These reports raise very serious questions for Ms Mill and her candidacy in the upcoming by-election,” Labor Leader in the Legislative Council Luke Foley said today.

“Given Ms Mill was one of Tim Owen’s staff members and Liberal operative Josh Hodges is involved in her campaign – she should come clean about who exactly is behind her campaign.

“We know the Liberal Party turned their back on the Hunter by publicly declaring they would not run candidates – but we now see a former Liberal Party staffer put their hand up.

“Ms Mill needs to explain who approached her to run for the seat, who are her political and financial backers and what is her plan for the Hunter?

“Is Ms Mill the de facto Liberal candidate for Newcastle?

“Does Ms Mill support the Liberal Party’s fire sale of public assets in the Hunter?

“Does she support privatising Hunter Water and privatising our states electricity poles and wires – something that will see $1 billion taken out of the state budget each year and will result in cuts to services or tax hikes?

“The Hunter deserves better than a candidate who claims to be independent – but in reality is nothing more than a puppet of the Liberal Party who won’t stand up for the region.”