Friday, 21 September 2018

Political fatigue sets in as local issues dominate Darling Range vote

Political fatigue sets in as local issues dominate Darling Range vote
23 Jun

“Their only focus is how can you help to be a strong local voice and the local aspect has really resonated strongly,” Ms Lawrence said.

“Everyone knew about the Byford rail, everyone I’ve spoken to, so what they want to know is where’s the station going to be, and they’ve all got a view on that.

“But that to me is exciting, because they’re focused on the right things.”

Ms Hayden said there was hurt and a deep disappointment about Mr Urban in the community, which played out when she was speaking to voters on the doorstep throughout the campaign.

“There’s a new part of Byford and those people have just moved in, so they didn’t vote for Barry Urban, but I can tell you now the people who voted for Barry Urban, they are so disappointed,” she said.

“A lot of them have known him for a long time, they still regard him as a friend, so it actually really hurts.

“There’s been a lot of pain and a lot of disappointment.”

Although many in the electorate had been to the polls seven times in as many years, both candidates where confident their campaigns were resonating.

Ms Lawrence said local issues had dominated and, although concerns across the 1950 square kilometre electorate changed from one end to the other, people concentrated on “what’s going to really improve their life”.

“We had a tele-town hall where we had just shy of 5000 people on the phone at one time and they were able to put any question forward,” she said.

“In that environment we did see a broader range of issues raised.

“But on the whole they still focused very much on the electorate, very much on what’s important to them and what’s going to really improve their life.

“They’re certainly not interested in politics.”

Ms Lawrence said issues ranged from conservation and land management in the north of the seat to the infrastructure concerns of people in Byford.

“For me, the electorate being so large, the issues are quite distinct as you move along the escarpment,” she said.

People in Kelmscott and Roleystone were interested in fixing Denny Avenue, while voters in Byford wanted to know how infrastructure would “play catch-up” with the growing population.

Ms Hayden said the top issue for voters had been increases to the cost of living.

“The people on the ground are really over elections and they’re also annoyed about why they’re coming out to vote,” she said.

“But the $700 increase in fees and charges by the Labor government are hitting them hard and then on top if it they have rate increases.

“Their household budgets are now going through the roof.”

She said people were “worried about their own backyard, and their community”.

“They just want to make their roads safer, their community safer.

“They’ve not had a voice and they need someone to stand up for them.”

Polls close for the Darling Range byelection at 6pm, June 23.

Nathan Hondros

Nathan covers state politics for WAtoday. He is a former editor of the Mandurah Mail, where he also covered politics for Fairfax’s regional titles.

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