Duo in bat­tle to run for the ALP

The Northern Star - - FRONT PAGE - ALI­SON PATER­SON ali­son.pater­son@northernstar.com.au

ONE can­di­date has worked in lo­cal gov­ern­ment for more than a decade and the other has a solid ca­reer in so­cial jus­tice, and they both want to win La­bor pre-se­lec­tion for Page.

Lis­more mayor Isaac Smith, 43, and so­cial worker Patrick Dee­gun, 44, have each an­nounced they will be stand­ing for pre-se­lec­tion for the ALP in or­der to con­test the seat at the next fed­eral elec­tion.

The two men, each of whom is mar­ried with chil­dren and has ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity con­nec­tions, are ready to fight for their elec­torate.

And if cam­paign­ing con­tin­ues in the man­ner it started, we are in for a doozey.

Cr Smith, who was elected to Lis­more City Coun­cil a decade ago, said he was con­cerned when peo­ple with no po­lit­i­cal ex­per­tise were elected for fed­eral roles.

“I think we worry when peo­ple step straight into Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment from unions or busi­ness with­out any lo­cal gov­ern­ment ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “Be­cause this is where you come across ev­ery is­sue in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

But Mr Dee­gun dis­agreed: “The leader of our party (Bill Shorten) came in from a union back­ground, so this is strange com­ment for Cr Smith to make.”

Mr Dee­gun said he felt he was a good can­di­date based on years of work­ing with dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple in the so­cial jus­tice area.

“Cur­rently I man­age a non­profit ser­vice and live in Casino and I be­lieve for this role we need some­one who un­der­stands every­one in the elec­torate who can fight for the com­mu­nity,” he said.

Mr Dee­gun said for him the light­bulb mo­ment came when he re­alised the tra­di­tional party for ru­ral fam­i­lies was in fact sell­ing them out.

“The Na­tional Party said it serves coun­try peo­ple, but I see them vot­ing with the Lib­er­als for big busi­ness tax cuts, cut­ting penalty rates and at­tack­ing Medi­care,” he said. “They are mak­ing cuts to pen­sions and tak­ing fund­ing out of schools, TAFEs and uni­ver­si­ties.”

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