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    Neighbours star launches new career in politics

    Madeleine West, star of Neighbours, has begun her new political career with an appearance on one of the country’s most popular television series.

    Ms. West spoke on Tuesday’s episode of The Project to discuss her earlier declaration that she will run for state office and what motivated such a drastic turnaround.

    Ms. West made it plain throughout the current federal election campaign that she would run as an independent in the 2023 NSW state election for her hometown of Ballina.

    “I’m running for state, so let’s not confuse the issue; it is not about the federal campaign, but I believe that politics is for the people and it’s about being the voice of the people,” she said.

    In the wealthy seat of Ballina, which covers Byron Bay, Ms. West expressed concern about “a significant disparity between the haves and have-nots.”

    “My area is beautiful, we see it on Instagram and everyone celebrates it as a tourist destination, but the reality is the people serving the coffees and cleaning up the Airbnbs can’t afford to live in the Shire anymore,” she said.

    Ms West originally stole the hearts of Australian fans when she played Dee Bliss on Neighbours for three years over 20 years ago. In 2017, she returned to the show for a third three-year run.

    The mother of six has recently been more involved in reforestation efforts, having begun a relationship with environmentalist Maximo Bottaro in 2020 while working on a project.

    Last month’s flooding calamity in northern NSW further highlighted the 41-year-old Australia’s plight and the need for a community focus in the coming months.

    “I’m lucky to have a national platform, yes, but I think that makes me uniquely qualified to bring a spotlight on local issues because what we’ve been through realistically is a microcosm that the rest of Australia can expect to experience,” Ms. West said.

    Being a politician, she argued, boiled down to being accountable and actually caring about the community – even Australia’s “community.”

    “I’ve been agitating for change for a very long time in a lot of different philanthropic spheres and now I want to be the change that I want to see,” she said.

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