ALP can­di­date spies a chance where none should ex­ist

The Australian - - THE NATION - ELIAS VISONTAY

Nor­mally a La­bor can­di­date wouldn’t hold any hope of win­ning one of the safest Lib­eral seats in the coun­try. But ac­cord­ing to ALP can­di­date Tim Mur­ray, there’s noth­ing nor­mal about the com­ing by-elec­tion for the Syd­ney seat of Went­worth, re­cently va­cated by Mal­colm Turn­bull.

Mr Mur­ray, 50, was out on the cam­paign trail yes­ter­day, hand­ing out fly­ers with cam­paign­ers at the Bondi Junc­tion shop­ping hub be­fore ap­pear­ing at a high school fete.

The Ta­ma­rama lo­cal and pres­i­dent of his surf life sav­ing club has had a brief po­lit­i­cal ca­reer, hav­ing run for a 2017 Waverly coun­cil elec­tion.

He be­came a party mem­ber only in 2013 af­ter re­turn­ing from 20 years study­ing and work­ing in China, an ex­pe­ri­ence that he said mo­ti­vated him to run for pre­s­e­lec­tion.

“It made you value democ­racy more,” he said.

“When I came back, the La­bor Party couldn’t have been in a worse po­si­tion … I thought, ‘This is the time to join’.”

At one point Mr Mur­ray, who is flu­ent in Man­darin, sold Fos­ter’s beer “by the train load” to Mon­go­lia , be­fore start­ing J Cap­i­tal — a fi­nance firm he still man­ages.

While he ad­mits La­bor’s eco­nomic poli­cies don’t go down well with some in the wealthy elec­torate, he is at­tempt­ing to woo vot­ers in the “very so­cially pro­gres­sive” seat on cli­mate change, en­ergy pol­icy and ed­u­ca­tion.

Mr Mur­ray, whose wife is a school­teacher, is trum­pet­ing the need for a new pub­lic high school in the area.

His calls went down well yes­ter­day af­ter­noon at a fair at Rose Bay Sec­ondary Col­lege, a pub­lic school he says is full.

Lib­eral can­di­date Dave Sharma has come un­der fire for his com­ments in a June op-ed in The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald in which he said teach­ers worked “closer to three-quar­ters of a reg­u­lar full-time job”.

Mr Mur­ray, who told The Aus­tralian he was not aligned to any La­bor fac­tion and called the Adani coalmine “a re­ally bad idea on so many lev­els”, said Ker­ryn Phelps’s can­di­dacy as an in­de­pen­dent would “take more” from the Lib­eral vote than from him.

HOL­LIE ADAMS

La­bor’s Tim Mur­ray with helpers in Went­worth yes­ter­day

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