O'Connor set to be tight

02 Sep, 2013 02:00 AM
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THE Federal seat of O'Connor will be the tightest contested regional WA seat on September 7.

The seat is expected to fall to the Coalition, but the question is whether it will be via the WA Nationals or the Liberals.

The Liberals will start strong favourites on the back of Labor's decision to preference them above the Nationals.

At the last election Liberal stalwart Wilson Tuckey polled 38.4 per cent of the primary vote compared to Nationals WA's Tony Crook's 28.9pc.

But the preferences of Labor's 17.1pc went in Crook's favour and won him the seat.

The Liberals new candidate Rick Wilson has had one of the longest endorsements ever, virtually being selected as the party's candidate straight after the 2010 election.

The Nationals and its candidate 'Chub' Witham will be campaigning heavily on the back of their State success and hoping they can transfer that into back-to-back seat wins.

Other key candidates for the seat include Labor's Michael Salt, Greens' Diane Evers, Michael Lucas for the Palmer United Party and Hyden farmer Jane Mouritz running as a surprise independent.

RICK WILSON

Liberal Candidate for O'Connor

THE people of O'Connor have had enough of independents, of Green alliances, of independent Nationals, of back-room deals, of promises made but never delivered, and of budgets that deteriorate by $3 billion dollars a week.

It is time to return good government to Australia - a reliable, hard-working, responsible Liberal-led government.

O'Connor needs someone who can fight for our issues in the Liberal Party Room and in the Coalition Party Room, who can work with the Prime Minister and key ministers in the portfolios that matter to us.

O'Connor needs a representative who has established relationships with those key decision-makers, and who can work co-operatively with them to get the results we need.

And O'Connor needs someone who has lived and worked in the electorate his whole life.

In the last two years I have brought more than 25 key Liberal Shadow Ministers and secretaries to the electorate to meet with local people and discuss local issues across a range of my policy priority areas -health, ageing, agriculture, economics, transport and communications.

I want to go to Canberra to fight for better access to medical service in regional Australia. We need more doctors and other health professionals in the bush as a matter of priority.

I want a fair deal for the elderly, and I want them to have the option of living their later years in their own home towns.

I want to fight to get the red-tape off the back of farmers, miners and small business people.

I want to see a better deal for regional air travellers. It is time to seriously look at how we can get competition on to regional air routes so prices fall and options expand.

I want to fight for a better deal for our young people who are currently penalised if they want to go to Perth to further their education. The financial burden on rural students is crushing, and deters many from undertaking further study or cuts their study short.

O'Connor needs better infrastructure - particularly new and upgraded roads, expanded ports and better port access.

Infrastructure like this takes time and O'Connor needs a member who is going to hang around for a while to do the hard work behind the scenes to actually get these big projects delivered.

What I will never do is promise rivers of gold.

What I will promise is to put my heart and soul into delivering in these key policy areas - health, education, transport, infrastructure, reduced red-tape - for the people of O'Connor.

O'Connor is a truly diverse and remarkable electorate. The potential for farming, mining, food, wine, and tourism is enormous. We have reserves of untapped potential in all these areas.

Sending a strong Liberal voice to Canberra will make sure the needs of O'Connor are heard loud and clear where it matters - where the decisions are made.

MICHAEL SALT

Labor Candidate for O'Connor

AFTER growing up in Perth, I have spent a majority of my adult life in regional WA, including Coolgardie and Newman.

I am married to Michelle and father to two beautiful girls, one being my stepdaughter.

I joined the Australian Labor Party in 2010 because its values aligned with mine, particularly when it comes to giving people a fair go.

I am a firm believer that what can be made, produced or grown here, should be.

For the last three years, I have dedicated my life to ensuring workers have a strong voice, ensuring we support the manufacturing industry, protecting working conditions and ensuring OHS takes priority over profit.

I have always been open and honest and approachable with the people I represent. If elected, I plan to continue to deliver results for the people of the electorate of O'Connor.

I am particularly passionate about making sure everyone has access to education, training facilities and health services regardless of where they live.

I want to create opportunities for children, families and communities, within O'Connor.

As one of Australia's biggest electorates we need a strong voice in Canberra that can stand up for our interests and lobby on matters that are vital to the people of O'Connor.

The Rudd-led Labor Government has invested in health, education, infrastructure and regional Australia but we know this investment needs to continue.

New cancer services for regional WA, the Schoolkids Bonus and investments in road and rail are good news for people out here and I want to make sure we continue to access that support and investment.

I'm pleased the Labor Government continues to support Australian agriculture. There are opportunities for us, as demand for our grain and livestock continues to rise.

The Asian Century has enormous opportunity and the National Food Plan in the Asian Century White Paper will help us meet them.

I want to ensure that O'Connor is well placed to take advantage of the so called dining boom that is taking place in our region.

Labor and I stand for jobs and growth in regional Australia, which means stronger, fairer and smarter regional communities.

Regional communities deserve to be the best they can be, to seize the opportunities of the future.

Labor has invested billions of dollars in regional health, education, skills, roads, rail and community investment.

We understand that more needs to be done and this can only be done by ensuring the people of O'Connor have a strong, fighting and passionate member representing them on all levels of government.

Without world-class broadband, regional Australia will fall behind the rest of the country and world, and local economies will suffer.

In the 21st century, broadband is basic infrastructure - regional Australians need it to ensure we're not left behind.

That's why Labor is rolling out the National Broadband Network to every home and business in Australia.

CHUB WITHAM

The Nationals WA Candidate for O'Connor

STANDING up for local issues, protecting the live export trade, and establishing a $1 billion Fair Share Fund for regional Australia will be at the top of the agenda for The Nationals WA candidate for O'Connor, Chub Witham.

Born in Katanning and raised on the family farm in Broomehill, Chub understands the opportunities and the challenges of the agricultural sector.

Chub will work to ensure the agricultural sector is properly represented in Parliament, and will go in to bat for the future of the live export trade.

The Nationals were the first party to condemn the Labor Government's catastrophic live export ban, and the first to travel to Indonesia to work with the Indonesian Government to develop a solution.

The Nationals were also the only conservative political party to support the abolishment of the Wheat Export Authority.

While WA's Liberal representatives ignored the wishes of WA growers, The Nationals stood up for the best interests of our local agricultural sector.

The Nationals have a proven track record in State and Federal Parliament, delivering Royalties for Regions, and this year's State Budget includes a $300 million commitment towards agriculture in regional WA.

A broad and diverse electorate like O'Connor demands a candidate with a diverse background.

Away from the farm, Chub has worked in various roles across O'Connor, primarily as a geologist for the resources sector.

He has also worked in the fields of regional development and regional education, and was a former executive officer for the Esperance Community College.

Chub is passionate about his electorate, and has spent months on the campaign trail, visiting every region of O'Connor, from the Ngaanyatjarra Lands and the northern Goldfields through to Albany and the Great Southern and everywhere in between.

Chub will bring a level head and common sense to Canberra, and will work hard with a Coalition Government to deliver a better deal for O'Connor and regional WA.

At the top of Chub's list is the implementation of the $1 billion Fair Share Fund to deliver much needed regional investment.

"If I am elected, I'll work with my colleagues in the National Party to deliver a Fair Share Fund, worth $1 billion each year, so that we can address priority infrastructure projects in O'Connor like better road and rail links, regional health, education and aged care facilities, and port infrastructure," Chub said.

Chub will also work to reverse the GST Rip-Off which will cost our State $21.1 billion over the next five years.

"This is a massive economic issue for our State and it is really hindering growth and development, and putting our State's AAA credit rating at risk.

"The major parties have failed to make this issue a priority, and now WA is paying the price as our GST share plummets to prop up the budget bottom line in Victoria and New South Wales."

Chub said he will also ensure The Nationals continue to make local decision making a priority.

FarmWeekly
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READER COMMENTS

x
2/09/2013 7:13:16 AM, on Farm Weekly

Where were the WA Liberals in relation to past wheat issues- ??Not capable of representing WA interests directly!!!!
torobrook
2/09/2013 7:31:16 AM, on Farm Weekly

But go back to 2006 2007 when the WA Grylls led Nationals were bitter and vociferous opponents of the necessary removal of single desk wheat marketing even representing to Canberra to argue for retention of an insolvent AWB. A reform that has subsequently delivered $ benefits to WA wheatgrowers. If left to the Nationals it would never have happened. Last years support for the abolishment of the WEA was just a bit of cheap opportunism.
seethelight
2/09/2013 11:38:02 AM, on Farm Weekly

The race doesn't always go to the fastest,or the fight to the strongest but that's the way to bet .Or in his case vote.Prices this morning;Wilson( Lib.) $1.10, i.e.a 90% chance-Witham(Nat)$5, i.e. a 20% chance.For those who have observed Rick Wilson's dedication and work rate in the electorate over the last three years this is going to be a handsome payday indeed.

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