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SSC Newspaper : September 2013
Strathfield Scene 13 www.ourstrathfield.com.au LIFE ••••••••• VOX POPS ••••••••• SPOTLIGHT WATSON LABOR 9.1 PER CENT MP: TONY BURKE (ALP) SINCE 2004. A compact electorate of 42 sq km in Sydney’s inner south-west suburbs, including the suburbs of Campsie, Belmore, Lakemba, Roselands, Wiley Park, Mount Lewis, Greenacre, Croydon Park, Enfield and Strathfield South. This electorate is named after John Christian (Chris) Watson, Australia’s third prime minister. The population of Watson rates second-highest for the proportion born in a non-English speaking country (46.1 per cent), speaking a language other than English at home (66.7 per cent) and being of Islamic faith (20.2 per cent). It has the third-highest proportion born overseas (48.8 per cent) and has the nation’s fourth-lowest female workforce participation rate (42.9 per cent). hugs and handshakes ELECTION SPECIAL ISSUES IMMIGRATION Watson rates second-highest among Australian electorates for the proportion born in a non-English speaking country, and about 67 per cent of Watson residents speak a language other than English at home. Some residents have told the Scene they are concerned that if more immigrants are allowed into Australia taxes will increase to support them. Others are strongly opposed to the deportation of boat people. AGED CARE Australia has an aging population and there is a demand for increased funding and better facilities for the elderly. Because of Watson’s strong ethnic communities, there is concern that there are not enough aged- care facilities which provide proper amenities, such as food and nurses who speak a second language, for elderly residents from non-English backgrounds. SMALL BUSINESS Entrepreneurs and small business owners have told the Scene they are struggling with the rising costs of electricity and the carbon tax. When the Scene spoke to small and medium enterprises, they said they want the Federal Government to help subsidise electricity costs and scrap the carbon tax. issues, allowing the traditional political parties to hold centre stage throughout the four weeks of campaigning. The opinion polls underscored the singular nature of the electorate’s mindset. In the dying days, surveys put Immigration Minister Tony Burke in the spotlight. A poll in The Weekend Australian suggested massive swings to the Liberals across the Inner West and Western Sydney. Many had predicted 12-year veteran Mr Murphy, fighting strong and popular local Liberal Mr Laundy with just a 2.7 per cent majority, was in serious trouble. Indeed, Mr Murphy himself told The Weekend Australian: “If the swings are right, I’m gone.” But most felt that the popular Mr Burke, who had a majority of 9.1 per cent, would survive a Liberal landslide. All that changed after the weekend Newspoll. Even The Sydney Morning Herald decided Mr Burke was in trouble. The paper maintained Mr Rudd’s slide in the polls and the Independent Commission Against Corruption findings were hammering Labor in a former heartland. Mr Delezio told the Scene he believed Mr Burke was the “absentee member for Watson”, adding his status as immigration minister was a poison chalice. And he could well be right. Both Reid and Watson have large immigrant communities who have followed the system to arrive in Australia and worked hard to create homes for their families and opportunities for their children. Stopping the boats was an alluring battle cry that resonated in both Reid and Watson. Mr Delezio said Mr Burke’s ministerial burden made it hard for him to represent Watson’s ordinary constituents – a charge Mr Burke strongly denies. “I’ve been to businesses that have been there 18 years and never had a visit from a politician,” maintained Mr Delezio. Despite the surveys predicting decimation for Labor – and online betting agencies saying the same – parties were maintaining the time-honoured tradition of claiming the only poll that matters is on election day. Mr Laundy maintained he was not counting his chickens. A spokesperson, asked about the frequent rumours he is destined for almost immediate office in an Abbott government should he win, said: “He will be the Minister for Reid.” But he has booked the Novotel at Olympic Park for an election night party. Whether it is a celebration or a wake remains to be seen. Craig Laundy, left, with local store owner Charlie Yacoub ELDERLY – GARY TAMKINS I know who I’m voting for and it’s Liberal. Every time Labor gets in, we end up in a recession. They spend all the money and then Liberal gets back in and fixes it and then Labor is elected and they spend it all. It’s time for them to step back. At the end of the day it’s not who is the Prime Minister, it’s which party will get Australia on its feet again. BUSINESS OWNER – ADRIANA MURPHY Some of Labor’s policies I just don’t agree with. For example, maternity leave; if someone wants to have a child then it’s your responsibility to look after it. They have also spent too much on asylum seekers. It’s not right to dump them in PNG. They need to come here and work. Give them a chance to earn their keep. YOUTH – SOFIE SALVATICO This year I’m voting for someone with ethical and moral policies. I’m voting for a party which thinks the well-being of the people is important. I’ll also be voting for a party that isn’t slandering their opponent. The two major parties are just talking about how the other person is no good because of this and that – that’s not leadership. MOTHER – OLGA SOUMPASSAKIS I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet but I’ve been looking at candidates and their stance on education and family assistance. I’m a single mother and their decisions will impact me. I’m current studying as well and I’m looking for a party that will support mothers looking to better themselves for their family.