For­mer mem­ber gives Isaac Smith the thumbs up

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - TIM HOWARD AND ALI­SON PATER­SON tim.howard@dai­lyex­am­

FOR­MER Mem­ber for Page Janelle Saf­fin is con­fi­dent the lat­est ALP hope­ful for her old seat of Page has a tem­plate for suc­cess.

Lis­more Mayor Isaac Smith has con­firmed he will stand for the party’s fed­eral pre-se­lec­tion in the seat of Page.

But while he has a high pro­file in the north­ern part of the elec­torate, he is less well known in the Clarence Val­ley.

But Ms Saf­fin said this was no hin­drance to gain­ing the votes needed to win a seat.

“When I ran I ran on a plat­form of what­ever I did for peo­ple in Lis­more, in Casino, in Grafton or in Yamba I would do the same for you,” she said.

“What­ever the needs you had in your area I would do what­ever I could to make is sure it hap­pened.

“And as a La­bor can­di­date, I made sure it was done with fair­ness.”

Ms Saf­fin said she has watched Mr Smith’s per­for­mance in lo­cal gov­ern­ment with in­ter­est.

“He was won­der­ful with the lead­er­ship he showed dur­ing and af­ter the cat­a­strophic floods we had here last year,” she said.

“He’s got fam­ily all across the re­gion, in­clud­ing in the Clarence and he keeps across all the is­sues,” she said.

Ms Saf­fin has de­cided to have a tilt at the State Gov­ern­ment seat of Lis­more, nom­i­nat­ing for pre-se­lec­tion.

“The re­sult of the pre-se­lec­tion will be an­nounced on Sun­day,” she said.

There has been some con­tro­versy around this pre-se­lec­tion bat­tle with Mr Smith deny­ing ac­cu­sa­tions he was asked to step aside from a tilt at the

State seat for Ms Saf­fin.

Cr Smith said he be­lieved lo­cal gov­ern­ment gave the ideal grass-roots ground­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence to be ef­fec­tive at the na­tional strata of gov­ern­ment.

Cr Smith said af­ter more than a decade in lo­cal gov­ern­ment, the rea­sons why he first be­came in­volved are still as strong as ever.

“You don’t get in­volved in lo­cal coun­cil un­less you want to help peo­ple,” he said.

“What got me in­volved in pol­i­tics 12 years ago were the big is­sues such as em­ploy­ment and now I have come full cir­cle, my great pas­sion is to make sure my fam­ily and every­one’s fam­i­lies have a pros­per­ous fu­ture in this coun­try.”

It’s an am­bi­tious goal as the ALP last held the seat be­tween 2007 and 2013 when Na­tion­als mem­ber Kevin Hogan ousted La­bor’s Janelle Saf­fin.

In a po­lit­i­cal twist, Ms Saf­fin is now stand­ing for La­bor state par­lia­ment pre-se­lec­tion and Cr Smith was ac­cused of bow­ing to party pres­sure to stand down from this com­pe­ti­tion, an al­le­ga­tion he de­nies.

Cr Smith said his tilt at fed­eral pol­i­tics had a time limit as he wanted to get in, be ef­fec­tive and then get out.

Page now cov­ers the en­tire Clarence Val­ley within the elec­torate.

Photo: Dig­i­tal Mon­tage

FACE OFF: Mem­ber for Page Kevin Hogan and Lis­more Mayor Isaac Smith.

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