Com­mit­ment vow as elec­tion dust set­tles

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Win­ning can­di­dates from the op­po­site side of Vic­to­rian pol­i­tics have vowed to strongly rep­re­sent the Wim­mera af­ter La­bor’s big win in Satur­day’s state elec­tion.

Na­tion­als Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy and La­bor West­ern Vic­to­ria up­per-house seat win­ner Jaala Pul­ford both de­clared a strong de­sire to work with and for the re­gion for the next four years.

Ms Kealy, who bucked a statewide vote against the Coali­tion, thanked the peo­ple of Lowan for putting their faith in her to ‘fight for a bet­ter deal for our lo­cal peo­ple’.

“We might live in com­mu­ni­ties fur­thest from Mel­bourne but we also have the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow and thrive,” she said.

“It is in­cred­i­bly hum­bling to have in­creased my first-pref­er­ence vote from 54 per­cent four years ago to 68 per­cent against a state-wide swing. But mar­gins don’t mat­ter and I will never take the trust and faith of the peo­ple of Lowan for granted.”

Ms Pul­ford, likely to find out whether she has re­tained re­gional de­vel­op­ment or agri­cul­ture min­istry port­fo­lios later this week, said she was look­ing for­ward to rep­re­sent­ing the Wim­mera com­mu­nity as part of her re­gion.

“Wim­mera and Lowan gen­er­ally have been within my area for 12 years. I have af­fec­tion for the peo­ple of the Wim­mera and have loved work­ing on many projects with them,” she said.

“It is an area I’m proud to know closely and proud to rep­re­sent.”

Vic­to­rian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion was still fi­nal­is­ing votes for the five West­ern Vic­to­ria up­per-house seats yes­ter­day, but it was clear early that Ms Pul­ford had re­tained her seat and the Na­tion­als’ Jo Arm­strong from Ararat dis­trict had missed out.

The swing­ing lower-house seat of Ripon, pri­mar­ily con­tested by sit­ting Lib­eral Louise Sta­ley and La­bor can­di­date Sarah De San­tis, was still up for grabs late yes­ter­day and was likely to go to the wire.

Both Ms Kealy and Ms Pul­ford said win­ning their re­spec­tive seats in par­lia­ment was hum­bling, with Ms Kealy de­fi­antly declar­ing she would ‘con­tinue to fight for a bet­ter deal for Lowan’.

“I will hold the An­drews La­bor gov­ern­ment to ac­count for the fund­ing pri­or­i­ties and projects that the peo­ple of Lowan em­phat­i­cally voted for,” she said.

“This in­cludes re­turn­ing pas­sen­ger rail to the re­gion, en­sur­ing our fair share of fund­ing to fix coun­try roads and save coun­try lives, fin­ish­ing the War­rackn­abeal Ed­u­ca­tion Precinct and many other fan­tas­tic projects that would en­sure our re­gion is not just sur­viv­ing, but thriv­ing.

“La­bor must not for­get coun­try Vic­to­ria ex­ists. It has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to gov­ern for the whole of the state and not just Mel­bourne.”

Ms Pul­ford said she and her La­bor col­leagues were ex­ited about hav­ing a chance to ‘con­tinue with a pos­i­tive agenda for the state’.

When asked about her po­si­tion on is­sues such as de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and re­gional pas­sen­ger-rail trans­port she said the gov­ern­ment had and would con­tinue to ex­plore var­i­ous op­tions.

“De­cen­tral­i­sa­tion means some­thing dif­fer­ent to ev­ery­one. It is an im­pos­si­ble thing to speak about in gen­eral terms. For ex­am­ple, while in­dus­try and gov­ern­ments might have a cer­tain view, a com­mu­nity’s view, the view that must be con­sid­ered, might be much dif­fer­ent,” she said.

Ms Pul­ford said she could not make any spe­cific prom­ises about pas­sen­ger rail ser­vices re­turn­ing to Hor­sham.

“But we have up­grades on all ex­ist­ing pas­sen­ger lines and we’re ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to build­ing and ex­pand­ing the net­work. At the same time we recog­nise the re­la­tion­ship between pas­sen­ger rail and re­gional de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

Vic­to­ri­ans em­phat­i­cally re­turned La­bor to gov­ern­ment with an in­creased ma­jor­ity in the lower house.

Vot­ing fig­ures yes­ter­day showed –

Lowan

First pref­er­ences: Emma Kealy, The Na­tion­als 23,415, 67.88 per­cent; Mau­rice Billi, Aus­tralian La­bor Party, 6748, 19.56; Barry Shea, in­de­pen­dent 2250, 6.52; Richard Lane, Aus­tralian Greens 1692, 4.91; Trevor Gren­fell, Vic­to­rian So­cial­ists, 389, 1.13. Two-can­di­date pre­ferred vote: Emma Kealy 25,593, 74.20 per­cent; Mau­rice Billi, 8899, 25.80.

Ripon

First pref­er­ences: Louise Sta­ley, Lib­eral 12,221, 39.28; Sarah De San­tis, Aus­tralian La­bor Party 12,141, 39.02; Peter Fava, Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers 2004, 6.44; San­dra Gibbs, Der­ryn Hinch’s Jus­tice Party 1437, 4.62; Serge Simic, Aus­tralian Greens 1172, 3.77; Peter Mulc­ahy, Labour DLP 923, 2.97; Anna Hills, An­i­mal Jus­tice Party 559, 1.8; Jeff Tr­us­cott, in­de­pen­dent 319, 1.03; Bron­wyn Jen­nings, Vic­to­rian So­cial­ists 168, 0.54; Maria Mayer, in­de­pen­dent 167, 0.54.

AGAINST THE FLOW: Na­tion­als leader Peter Walsh joined Emma Kealy on the elec­tion trail in Hor­sham. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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