Con­test re­quired for democ­racy

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Any­one liv­ing in Vic­to­ria’s Lowan elec­torate with any sense of democ­racy has rea­son to have a grow­ing feel­ing of dis­ap­point­ment as we draw closer to a State Elec­tion.

With the cal­en­dar edg­ing to­wards the Novem­ber 24 poll and po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing in full flight, the sit­ting govern­ment has yet to an­nounce a can­di­date for the largest district in the state.

Yes, that’s right, Vic­to­rian La­bor was still ‘yet to de­ter­mine a can­di­date’ for the lower-house seat when The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser in­quired again yes­ter­day.

If the de­lay con­tin­ues for too long, La­bor might as well throw the door open to its po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and sit­ting mem­ber Emma Kealy with­out any real fight for the re­gion.

Re­gard­less of the po­lit­i­cal games­man­ship at play, it sug­gests a case of giv­ing up a fight be­fore the fight’s even started to con­cen­trate on ‘more im­por­tant’ bat­tles.

This might seem fine to the many look­ing for an easy way to nav­i­gate through an elec­tion, but for oth­ers it sim­ply doesn’t seem right.

We might live in an area of dwin­dling pop­u­la­tion that has a his­tory of vot­ing con­ser­va­tively.

But we are Vic­to­ri­ans like ev­ery­one else and de­serve to have a choice at the bal­lot when de­bat­ing pol­icy, phi­los­o­phy and di­rec­tion.

For­get all the hoo-ha about prom­ises for this and prom­ises for that – if a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal move­ment can’t be both­ered in try­ing to win gen­eral sup­port across the state, what sort of mes­sage does this send to ev­ery­one? We re­mind Vic­to­rian La­bor that de­spite the Na­tion­als hav­ing long had a stran­gle­hold in the elec­torate, that it main­tains ded­i­cated sup­port­ers and vot­ers, many of them de­vout, in this part of the world.

Loom­ing bat­tle

La­bor is mak­ing an ef­fort to win Ripon in what looms as a toe-to-toe bat­tle be­tween sit­ting Lib­eral mem­ber Louise Sta­ley and La­bor can­di­date Sarah De San­tis.

All we ask is for the Vic­to­rian La­bor party to take the con­test a bit fur­ther to the north-west.

While 2014 elec­tion re­sults showed a land­slide for the Na­tion­als’ Emma Kealy, more than 7200 vot­ers – or 18.5 per­cent of the vot­ing elec­torate – listed for­mer La­bor can­di­date Bob Skates as their first pref­er­ence.

It is not good enough to try to gov­ern far-flung parts of the state from the up­per house, which seems to be the case.

We need a con­test, es­pe­cially when we are con­sid­er­ing an area cov­er­ing 39,182 square kilo­me­tres of the state, ex­tend­ing from the Big Desert to 10 kilo­me­tres from the south coast.

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy needs com­pe­ti­tion and would surely wel­come a La­bor op­po­nent.

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