Pil­bar­ians head to the polls

Rourke Walsh, Glenn Cord­ing­ley and Ben Leahy look at the lo­cal seat con­tenders in the July 2 Fed­eral poll.

Pilbara News - - Front Page -

Can­di­dates for the seat of Du­rack have made their fi­nal pitch to vot­ers in the North West ahead of Satur­day’s Fed­eral Elec­tion.

Six hope­fuls are set to con­test the bal­lot, with the four ma­jor par­ties all run­ning can­di­dates, along with the lesser-known Aus­tralian Chris­tians and Rise Up Aus­tralia Party.

Greens can­di­date Ian James se­cured a small ad­van­tage ear­lier this month when he was drawn by Aus­tralian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of­fi­cials to appear first on the bal­lot paper.

Mr James will be fol­lowed by Carol Martin (La­bor), Gra­hame Gould (Aus­tralian Chris­tians), Mitchell Sam­bell (Rise Up Aus­tralia Party), sit­ting MP Melissa Price (Lib­er­als) and Lisa Cole (WA Na­tion­als).

Ms Martin, the Mem­ber for Kim­ber­ley in State Par­lia­ment for more than a decade, is the most high-pro­file of the chal­lengers to Ms Price.

She said she hoped to use that pro­file to erode the Lib­eral Party’s stran­gle­hold over the seat and maybe even win it for the first time since it was cre­ated with re­dis­tri­bu­tions ahead of the 2010 poll.

“In a democ­racy you need choices when you ac­tu­ally go to poll,” Ms Martin said.

“I put my hand up be­cause I am La­bor through and through and I have got a bit of a pro­file.”

Ms Martin iden­ti­fied ed­u­ca­tion and jobs as the key is­sues for peo­ple in Du­rack and said she would fight for them if elected on July 2.

“It’s OK to live in a place like a cap­i­tal city where you can ac­cess all these re­sources if you are on the poverty line, but in the re­gions it doesn’t work like that,” Ms Martin said.

Ms Price, the Lib­eral mem­ber for Du­rack since 2013 when she was drafted by the party to re­place pop­u­lar long-time North West politi­cian Barry Haase, said she had a record of de­liv­er­ing for peo­ple in her elec­torate.

She listed the sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing for the Kar­ratha Arts and Com­mu­nity Precinct, se­cur­ing fund­ing for the new Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice base in Broome, road im­prove­ments across the north and $500,000 for the Kim­ber­ley Cane Toad Clean Up pro­gram as ev­i­dence of this.

“I am work­ing hard to im­prove mo­bile re­cep­tion, im­prove sup­port for men­tal health, and di­ver­sify the re­gion’s lo­cal econ­omy through our agri­cul­tural poli­cies,” she said.

Ms Price’s clos­est ri­val in 2013, the WA Na­tion­als, se­lected Bruce Rock mother and party State Trea­surer Lisa Cole as its can­di­date last month.

Ms Cole said WA Na­tion­als had a strong his­tory of stand­ing up for re­gional WA and were the only party fight­ing to end the GST rip-off and get rid of the back­packer tax for good.

“These are both fun­da­men­tal eco­nomic is­sues for Du­rack and all of re­gional WA,” she said.

“Du­rack is the pow­er­house of the Aus­tralian econ­omy and as such should be the land of op­por­tu­nity.”

“I am in­spired by the in­cred­i­ble de­ter­mi­na­tion, spirit and pride of the con­stituents from right across the elec­torate (and) I want to see Du­rack di­ver­sify its econ­omy and en­sure all res­i­dents have the same ac­cess to em­ploy­ment and key ser­vices as peo­ple liv­ing in Perth.”

Mr James, a Wheat­belt farmer hav­ing a sec­ond crack at win­ning Du­rack for the Greens, said he had ini­tially de­cided to run for the party be­cause of con­cerns over ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied canola.

How­ever, he said there were now sev­eral is­sues in the Kim­ber­ley, in­clud­ing min­ing, dams and in­ten­sive ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture, for which he held the same sort of sen­ti­ment.

“A lot of that stuff we can’t turn back, so we should tread care­fully,” he said.

“An­other thing that both­ers me a lot is frack­ing, the dam­age done to land­scape is pos­si­bly very per­ma­nent and wide­spread.

“That should be looked at very closely and if we can we should halt frack­ing un­til we get cor­rect reg­u­la­tory pro­cesses in place to look af­ter the safety of the coun­try and the land­scape.”

Rise Up Aus­tralia Party can­di­date Mr Sam­bell said he be­lieved the main is­sue for Du­rack was the sale of Aus­tralian land and busi­nesses to in­ter­na­tional pow­ers.

Aus­tralian Chris­tians can­di­date Mr Gould said democ­racy and in­di­vid­ual rights were very close to his heart and were some­thing he would be seek­ing to im­prove if elected.

Elec­tion Day is this Satur­day. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.aec.gov.au.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.