By Daniel Lang - Managing Director
While a raft of wealthy Australians are banding together in a seemingly desperate attempt to create a centre-right activist campaign to rival it, the long established GetUp activist group is gearing up for the long and arduous battle to unseat former prime minister and holder of deeply conservative values Tony Abbott from the northern beaches seat of Warringah.
The campaign dubbed 'Vote Tony Out' has already seen a significant mobilization of ordinary voters in the Warringah area and gained some quick publicity when former Malcolm Turnbull appeared to 'follow' the campaign's Instagram account within 24 hours of creation.
There is a distinct school of thought that Tony Abbott's backroom work contributed significantly to the downfall of Turnbull as prime minister as an act of revenge for Turnbull previously knifing and ousting Abbott following 30 consecutive negative news poll results.
An information session on Tuesday night reportedly had 700 people in attendance, many of which indicated it was their first time getting involved in the grassroots organisation and could spell big trouble for Abbott given the growing trend of progressive views in the traditionally conservative seat.
The sight of people packing out the northern beaches venue, keen to hear and get involved with a plan to turf Abbott will have come as music to the ears of GetUp campaign director Django Merope Synge, who told news.com.au that the sight was "incredible."
"I've never seen anything like this," he said.
"People are literally queuing up to hear how they can take on Tony Abbott. It's unreal. It feels more like a festival than a community meeting."
Long touted by the right wing as agitators and a villainous lobbying group, GetUp's grassroots approach to community political engagement is clearing making inroads across the country and perhaps even more tellingly in historically safe conservative seats.
A similar campaign launched by GetUp to tackle Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in his seat of Dickson could also see some success given the razor-thin margin the one-time prime ministerial aspirant held at the last election.
Perhaps understandably, the Turnbull family, including the former prime minister, his wife Lucy and son Alex, have backed the campaign to unseat Abbott, turning up the heat on the former prime minister while famous northern beaches resident Layne Beachley has already taken to Instagram to back the campaign.