Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Victorian Election: Sandringham Sandbelt Seat Not So Safe Anymore

The people of Sandringham have been enjoying an unusual election season with a highly visible and focused Labor campaign and a strong independent candidate. ALP candidate Christina Zigouras’ energetic and responsive approach has been in stark contrast to Murray Thompson. After 22 years, our Liberal member did not even turn up to local candidate forums. Locals who looked forward to vigorous debate found that he has added no-show to his customary go-slow.

Independent Clarke Martin has been a tireless advocate for a return to a standalone 7-12 high school in Beaumaris, a passion shared by former student Christina.

No doubt Murray Thompson "is a nice bloke" who does a creditable job helping constituents with their problems. However, the role of a State parliamentarian must be much broader. Our member should articulate a strong vision and concrete policies for the electorate and the State and show leadership on both local and statewide issues. He/she should be actively engaged with the community not just a pipeline to the bureaucracy.

Our issues have much in common with other sand-belt electorates: public transport and traffic congestion; funding of education and training; lack of consultation and inequitable outcomes of residential rezoning processes; protection of bayside coastal areas. There has been lots of media analysis of the Frankston train line. However, few journalists have even noticed that two of the worst level crossings earmarked for removal by Labor are in our electorate, namely Cheltenham and Mentone.

We should not be taken for granted just because we live in a so-called safe blue ribbon seat. Our democracy deserves much better. We need a vigorous voice in Sandringham!

Click for more on the 2014 Victorian State election

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