Crime key is­sue in tight seat

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

WA La­bor can­di­date for Bel­mont Cassie Rowe has been in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics from a young age.

By 10 she was writ­ing an­gry let­ters to Fed­eral gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and at 16 she be­came a mem­ber of the Aus­tralian La­bor Party.

“Sit­ting around the ta­ble my fam­ily used to talk about ideas, what a gov­ern­ment’s role is and the big is­sues,” Ms Rowe said.

It was John Howard who in­spired her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

“I saw the im­pact he and his poli­cies were hav­ing on ev­ery­day peo­ple and it drove me to get very in­volved and make sure that we (La­bor) got in, and then of course we had Tony Ab­bott and Work Choices, which had a huge im­pact on peo­ple's lives,” she said.

In her first run in an elec­tion in 2013, Ms Rowe lost the tra­di­tion­ally La­bor seat of Bel­mont by a hand­ful of votes.

“It's never easy, but I think you have to ac­cept the re­sult and move on with your life,” she said.

Ms Rowe started door­knock­ing in Au­gust to pre­pare for the upcoming March 11 elec­tion.

She said crime was the num­ber one con­cern of Bel­mont res­i­dents.

“We’ve spo­ken to thou­sands of peo­ple … and it’s an over­whelm­ing con­sis­tent theme,” Ms Rowe said.

She said many older women she’d spo­ken to loved liv­ing in the area but were too fright­ened to leave their home on their own.

“I love the area; I live in Kew­dale with my hus­band and two daugh­ters and we’ve got the parks, river, we're so close to the city,” she said.

“We’ve got peo­ple who’ve lived here their whole lives, but I think peo­ple want to see it do bet­ter than this.”

Ms Rowe said peo­ple had be­come tired of pol­i­tics and politi­cians be­cause they felt there was a large dis­con­nect be­tween their lives and pol­icy.

A fi­nan­cial plan­ner by trade, Ms Rowe said what made her dis­ap­pointed in the Bar­nett gov­ern­ment was the way it had squan­dered the boom.

“I do think eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity can make peo­ple feel iso­lated; peo­ple feel left be­hind,” she said.

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