The Wentworth Wash-up

It’s the day after the Wentworth by-election and it appears that independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps has won the seat of Wentworth.  While voting continues and there is a slim chance Liberal candidate David Sharma may fall over the line on the basis of postal votes, the size of the swing against the Liberal party is approximately 19%.

There are many factors at play in the Wentworth result, but one message is clear, people are unhappy with the Liberal party and this directionless and desperate coalition government.  From the lack of an effective climate and energy policy, to the interference and undermining of the ABC, to prioritising the funding of private schools over public education, to bungling incompetence including the second-rate NBN roll-out, stuffing-up the NDIS and the $440m Reefgate scandal, this government is an unmitigated disaster.  It’s only priority is preserving its own power and privilege.

Labor’s Tim Murray ran a brave campaign and did an honourable job of communicating Labor’s policies ahead of the next election.  The final count will be no reflection on Tim, his campaign or Labor. The Wentworth result is a community making a strong statement to the Liberal party about its dysfunction.  The next election will be about the kind of government and policies Australia wants to have and it’s an election I am greatly looking forward to!

The Implications for Warringah

Some observers and commentators have been quick to draw a parallel between Wentworth and Warringah. Both are Liberal seats which have been safely held for a very long time, but that’s about where the similarities end.

The Wentworth by-election was just that, a by-election.  Yesterday the people of Wentworth voted with the knowledge they would be back at the polls within 6-7 months.  Yesterday’s poll was a great opportunity to lodge a protest vote against the loss of Malcolm Turnbull and the abysmal track record of the coalition government with the understanding they will be back to the polls again soon.

The next member for Warringah will be decided at a general election. The decision the voters of Warringah will make is who do we to represent us in the parliament for the next 3 years?

Any way you look at it, the battle for Warringah at the next election will be a very different battle to the one we’ve just witnessed in Wentworth.

The LetsDoBetter Campaign Keeps Rolling

Yesterday I spent seven hours talking to people at the Manly Village Public School markets.  It was a great day.  I met and spoke with over one hundred people.  99% of the conversations were positive and encouraging.  The mood for change in Warringah is building and I feel, more than ever our campaign is on the right track.  We asked people to write on a card their ideas for what we need to do better as a community or a nation. Here’s a small selection of what the people of Warringah want to do better.

Thank you to everyone who came down to say hello yesterday.  Thanks also to our volunteer leader Natasha for organising and running our “listening stall”.

Talking Business

I spent time in the electorate this week talking with local business owners about their views and aspirations for their business and our nation.  Common themes raised in these discussions were the need for our economy to work better for everyone, not just large corporates. The need for more investment in education and training to create a skilled and capable workforce and the need for greater confidence about the future direction of the local, national and global economy at a time of rising household debt, low wages growth, ballooning government debt and the uncertainty caused by unstable national leadership.


Looking Ahead

There’s going to be lots of noise and conjecture about Warringah going forward.  Already there are discussions of potential independents who may or may not run for the seat at the next election.  My mantra is clear and simple, work hard and the rest will take care of itself.

The Labor party has the best policies to create a better country for all Australians at the next election.  If I am lucky enough to be elected, the people of Warringah will have a dedicated member of the community who will be a voice for them and the issues they care most about within the next Labor government.