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  • OPINION: Election contest good for Yass

    2019 - 01.16

    Michael Pilbrow shares his views on the 2015 State Election.The Queensland election result last weekend has showed that no government or political party can take anything for granted.

    Three years ago, who would’ve thought that a Labor Party that won only seven seats out of 89 would be on the verge of getting back into government after only one term in Opposition?

    Or that a Liberal National Party that won the biggest majority in Australian history could be thrown out after one term?

    I’ll leave the analysis of the Queensland result to others, but I mention it to point out that it would be a mistake to assume that the upcoming NSW election is a foregone conclusion.

    New Labor leader Luke Foley has made a very strong start in his new role and is winning support for clear and pragmatic policies in areas like horse racing taxes, privatisation and newsagents.

    The situation facing newsagents is a good example. Luke Foley has made it clear that Labor is on the side of small business and will not allow the big supermarket chains to sell lottery tickets.

    Across NSW, this election will be much closer and more interesting than many would have predicted four years ago.

    Here in the new seat of Goulburn, of which Yass is a part, things are certainly hotting up.

    Labor’s outstanding candidate, Ursula Stephens, has been active doing community meetings across the electorate, including one in Yass just before Christmas. The Yass meeting was very positive, with locals coming along to raise issues and test out the candidate – it was great to see grassroots politics in action.

    There was another great example of grassroots campaigning recently in Goulburn, when candidates were invited to discuss renewable energy at a “Politics in the Pub” event.

    Ursula listened and spoke with conviction – and was the only major party candidate who turned up. The Greens, Christian Democrat and Outdoor Recreation candidates all attended and passionately articulated their positions. Other speakers also participated, including a representative from the National Party who spoke very well and highlighted to many the shame that there is not a Nationals candidate in the race.

    Disappointingly, no one from the Liberal Party attended Politics in the Pub, so there wasn’t the opportunity to compare all the candidates – but this didn’t seem to worry the others who were prepared to subject themselves to a raucous night in a room packed with people who care about energy, the environment and local jobs.

    Being part of the new seat of Goulburn is good for Yass. There is no sitting member, no Nationals candidate and a very strong Labor candidate, so this is a great opportunity for the issues important to Yass to get noticed. Make the most of it.

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