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Friday, 18 March 2011

My speech given at the Eden Fishermans Club 7pm 17 March

Hi there,

some of you may have noted an earlier blog yesterday where I stated that Andrew Constance threatened to "knock my block off". Here is the speech that set him off.

In particular, AC elected to interpet the part about the car accident as a personal attack, when in fact it was highlighting the fact that despite personally being involved in a serious car accident that injured himself and his wife, AC is still unable to promise any funding to this electorate to fix the roads and hospitals that the rest of us are forced to put up with. Luckily for AC he was able to take advantage of private health care. A luxury not available to most of us.

The forum was organised by the Eden Chamber of Commerce, and was held at the Eden Fishermans Club on Thursday 17 March. It kicked off about 7pm.
All candidates were given 5 minutes to talk, and our order for talking was drawn from a hat. Ursula Bennet was unfortunately unable to attend. Liberals first, then labour, then me, then greens.
No real topic was identified or specified to be addressed, except a vague "why should we vote for you". 
For a quick bit of background, I had learnt from my 2008 local council campaign that it is very difficult to rise above the noise of every other candidate saying very similar things. So as part of my campaign this time around I decided to focus not on big policy issues or even what needs doing in this electorate (we all know what they are) but what I would do differently if elected, compared to the major parties and their candidates.
And in particular, given the "popularity" enjoyed by AC/the liberals, I knew that for any real chance of winning I had to specifically target what I could do better than the liberals and Andrew Constance. And don't ask me why AC is so popular, it beats me - he hasn't really been able to achieve anything significant for this electorate and even now with the expected liberal government about to happen and he finally does have a chance to do something for us at last he still doesn't think it necessary to do anything at all !  
So my speech them became : Why voters should vote for an independent instead of incumbent member liberal candidate Andrew Constance.
Note that on the night I was able to add small bits to my pre-prepared speech, based on the comments made by the candidates that had presented ahead of me, and I have inlcuded these as well. Some disparity may exist to what was actually said and the gist of the speech, but in essence this is it.
The footnotes were not presented, but I had expected to be challenged on them and so came prepared with my facts - nobody did question or deny them though.
Hello there, and thanks for coming tonight, and thank you to the Eden Chamber of Commerce for organising.
And thanks also to you Andrew, your speech sounds almost word for word like you have been reading my responses in the newspapers lately – but disappointingly you have talked about all the important issues, but, and as usual, you have failed to promise to actually do anything about them?!
Look, I’ve only been given 5 minutes to talk, and I know before I even start that I can’t and shouldn’t compete with the power, money and just plain arrogance of the major parties. 
So I wont.
But then why be here at all?
Why would I even nominate as a candidate in this election if I’m not going to compete with the parties?
Well, I didn’t say I wouldn’t be trying to win!
The problem for me is the parties aren’t working.
The parties aren’t representing us anymore.
The parties are arrogant and have lost touch, just like Andrew and the liberals over here. The parties think that they can take our votes for granted.
Andrew has already stated in his speech that he is going to win along with the liberals.
But what the parties don’t want any of us thinking about on election day is that in this electorate we have a genuine choice for someone else than a party hack.
But this still doesn’t answer the question, which is probably on all of your minds - why would you vote for me? What can I do against these rich, powerful and arrogant parties?
How can I really make a difference?
Well, for starters, and most importantly, I will actually represent you.
I don’t have to toe the party line. 
If elected I wont vote for how the Party tells me to in Parliament, but then blatantly say another thing in public, pretending that I support you, like Andrew has [1]done.
As the only independent candidate in this election, I represent the only genuine choice you have.
A vote for me is a vote for yourself.
I will work for everyone in this electorate.
Every one in Eden.
Not just for those people who agree with the party philosophy. Not for a faceless party machine controlled by some invisible person living somewhere else. If elected, I will work for you.
I will listen to and work for the people of this community. I wont take your votes for granted like Andrew Constance and the liberal party have done.
I even actually live in this electorate, and I know from personal experience what services we need.
I can proudly say that I have been in involved in many community associations, all in my own time and for free, including being inaugural President of the Merimbula Mens Shed, a director of the Merimbula Area Chamber of Commerce and also on the Board of the Mumbulla Foundation, a well known charity that has donated funds to many community groups all over this shire for many years. Like many of you, I also work full time, have been in some very tight financial situations, have owned my own business and am a family man. I know how all of this feels and the stresses of just being an ordinary fella making ends meet.
But Andrew and the liberals can hardly be bothered to talk to us unless it’s voting time! Andrew has recently been involved in a serious car accident on our roads. And a photo in the paper shows that he needed/elected to use the services of a Private Sydney Children’s hospital rather than the hospitals down here. A choice many of us would not be able to make.  But instead of galvanising the liberals into doing something for us in this electorate, we still have no promises. In fact, what we have been told by Andrew is that other towns have been waiting longer for their hospitals and therefore have a higher priority. Fair enough, we can be down the queue a bit – just promise us we are getting one! But no, they haven't. No hospital.
I think this illustrates just how much Andrew has lost touch with us and our needs.
Make him listen and vote 1 Ivan McKay this election.
This sends a message that we are well and truly tired of being ignored,    over     and    over    again.
And if you are worried about wasting your vote, then simply put a 2 against your preferred party on the ballot paper, after putting a 1 against my name: how hard is that?
When your vote is counted, the message will be clear: the parties have to start listening or lose office. And if I don’t get in, then your vote wont be wasted! How can you lose?
But again, what can I really do? It’s a Good question.
Instead, let’s ask ourselves, what has Andrew and the liberals already done for us? Actually for this electorate? For Eden even? After all, we have supported Andrew for 8 long years haven’t we, and the liberals since at least 1988 when this electorate was formed?  
Can’t think of anything? Why not? Because there hasn’t been much. Andrew will tell you that he has in fact done a lot. And he has, heaps. But just not for this electorate. Just not for us.  For the liberal party.
Are you OK with this? Do you want another 4 years of nothing much representing you?
Don’t we deserve more?
Look, let’s be real – Andrew is a career politician and simply is not interested in his local community. He is more concerned about increasing his [2]$300,000 politicians’ income by becoming a Minister. The last thing he has on his mind is genuinely helping us. He is arrogant, has lost touch and just pays lip service to the burden of actually representing this community.
If elected I wont let this happen and I will represent you.
Now, the liberals are always the first to point out that their candidate couldn’t do much under a labour government. I can accept this, at least the liberals are admitting that he wasn’t very effective. But if the liberals do get in, with Andrew, shouldn’t we be expecting to fix all the things Andrew has learnt about over the last 8 years? And yet their promises for this electorate are very very quiet and empty. You can’t have your cake and eat it too Andrew.
Bottom line is the Liberals aren’t promising much for us. They will pretend they are. If parliament is hung we may never get a similar opportunity to get the things we need. Hospitals, better roads, genuine employment and well funded public education.
If the Liberals get in with Andrew then we wont get any of these things.
Is this OK with you?
Vote 1 Ivan McKay, and vote for yourself.
Thanks for your time.

[1] re Tathra 300 dwelling development where Andrew voted (successfully) in parliament for changes to local shire regulations (Part 3A planning powers) that disallows/denies local residents input into developers large DA applications for their local area, but publicly announced his support for the affected the residents and would do whatever he could to help (which was absolutely nothing).

Or publicly supporting local workers but forgetting to advise them that he voted in Parliament to weaken workers compensation laws.

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