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SSC Newspaper : September 2013
109. Tony Burke had 3000 followers, but 27,210 on Twitter. His Liberal rival had 204 followers on Facebook and 110 on Twitter. Quite how that translates to votes will only be apparent after Saturday. Perhaps the second surprise of the 2013 campaign was the eerie absence of third-choice parties. Despite a polarising pair of leaders in Tony Abbot and Kevin Rudd, the Greens have failed to dent the two-party machine. Apart from Palmer United’s high-spending TV advertising campaign, few candidates in the also-ran category would rate even a slight inflection of the worm in a televised debate. There are six minor party candidates in Reid and five in Watson. Few will remember them after polling day. So what do they stand for? Pauline Tyrrell, for The Greens in Reid, summed up her stance when she told a debate of candidates in Auburn it was about humanity and decency, particularly on the issue of refugees. Bishrul Hafi Ameer Izadeen, in Reid for the Katter Australian Pa r t y, wants jobs offered to Australians before immigrants, and cross-party support for initiatives on youth unemployment. Emily Dunn for the Democratic Labour Party in Reid, is keen on more power for school boards and local communities as a way of tackling the education funding crisis. David Fraser for the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) believes Christian migrants should be given priority in the refugee debate. Paul Kamlade of Rise Up Australia couldn’t answer our questions. According to the party, he had risen up and gone on a foreign break. Maybe he knows something the other minor parties don’t. In the end, none got a look in as the debate over boat people, education, the economy and employment, and same sex marriages blocked out single LIFE ELECTION SPECIAL By Peter Lynch I t was supposed to be a watershed election for social media, a Twitter-led bid for the hearts and minds of electors, with Facebook fanning the flames of debate and Instagram showing us the imagery. In the end, the 2013 campaign will perhaps be remembered – in Reid and Watson, at least as the return to the traditional hug, handshake and baby-kiss. This was the rebirth of doorstep campaign, with the major parties taking to the streets with young T-shirted volunteers. Coreflutes were everywhere (even where they shouldn’t be). Billboards and posters were thrown into the fray. Reid’s Liberal contender Craig Laundy was at one point claiming an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, with more than 50,000 handshakes. He wasn’t saying how many babies he had kissed. His Watson Liberal counterpart Ron Delezio was close behind, maintaining he had been working seven days a week since January, quitting his job to ensure he met as many voters as possible. Labor’s Reid veteran John Murphy, a pivotal figure in Labor’s leadership change as the first to turn on Julia Gillard in favour of Kevin Rudd, was also a running man, travelling from citizenship ceremonies to NBN Broadband launches in a bid to take advantage of every photo op and media meet. Tony Burke, Labor MP for Watson, didn’t need photo ops. He was on TV screens from morning to night, thanks to his job as Immigration Minister – one of three portfolios he carries covering arts to citizenship. In the end, face-to-face won out over Facebook . Mr Laundy, who made more use of two large campaign panel-vans with floor-to-ceiling pictures of his face than electronic media, had just 889 likes on Facebook in the final week of the campaign. Mr Murphy had just SEPTEMBER 2013 12 Strathfield Scene ••••••••• VOX POPS ••••••••• Twitter loses out to John Murphy with Reid residents Chris and Jerry Mae ELDERLY – JOAN WATTS I’ve decided who I will be voting for because I feel as a politician, he can be trusted. I think the candidate is friendly and he is seen on the ground a lot. He is very community-focused and this is where his interest lies. Though I don’t think he will have a big impact, I think he will do a good job in the Reid electorate. BUSINESS OWNER – GEORGE ARIDA I’m voting for the Liberal candidate, Craig Laundy because he is a big supporter of small business. We have been doing it tough. We’re struggling because of rising electricity costs and the carbon tax – something Craig has promised to address if he is elected. And plus, he’s supportive of the community, genuine and a positive politician. MOTHER – ALICIA MEHTA I haven’t decided yet because I’m not exactly sure about the policies of the two of the major candidates in my area. Besides from the odd street stall here and there, I haven’t seen them around. It’s a difficult election because there is no stand-out leader or party. YOUTH - AHMAD TRAD I haven’t decided who I’m voting for but I’m more inclined to vote for Labor because they are more community-oriented. But I don’t like the way the political campaigns are run – the politicians don’t speak about themselves and their policies, they just attack their opposition. ISSUES EDUCATION In Reid, there is an abundance of high-quality schools. Both government and non-government schools told the Scene that recommendations from the Gonski report will be an issue in terms of the funding models that will be imposed. WESTCONNEX The NSW Government’s WestConnex project is one of the hottest infrastructure issues, especially to residents in the Reid electorate. Both major parties pledged funding to the project. For Reid voters, the extension of the M4 East from Parramatta to the CBD will help ease the rat-runs through residential areas. Councils, businesses and residents are concerned about how the project will be funded. EMPLOYMENT The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations said the unemployment rate in Western Sydney is at 19 per cent – an alarming statistic. This figure also covers Reid where the median age is 34, meaning youth unemployment is a growing trend. Entrepreneurs have told the Scene they have had to make students redundant due to rising costs of running their businesses. The 18 to 25 age group has been struggling to find jobs. SPOTLIGHT REID MARGINAL LABOR 2.7 PER CENT SITTING MP JOHN MURPHY (ALP) SINCE 2010 The electorate of Reid was first contested at the 1922 election and is named after Australia’s fourth prime minister, George Reid. It covers the southern shore of the Parramatta River from Iron Cove in the east to Duck River in the west. It includes Canada Bay Council and the northern parts of Auburn and Strathfield Councils, Drummoyne, Five Dock, Abbotsford, Concord, Silverwater, Lidcombe, Homebush and parts of Burwood and Croydon. Reid is one of Sydney’s key migrant electorates, having the nation’s fourth-highest proportion of residents of Islamic faith (10.4 per cent), and the fifth- highest proportion of residents born overseas in a non-English speaking country (43.2 per cent).