Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Yesterday was a day filled with deja vus and familiar faces, I even bumped into the State Member of Parliament for Cronulla, Malcolm Kerr, who has been married to the Cronulla peninsula for 20 years. Malcolm is a quiet achiever who is respected by the wets and dries in the Liberal Party. Without any doubt his electorate boasts the most beautiful views in Australia. I am surprised that the Liberal Party (John Brogden) does not tap into his gift more liberally as Malcolm is one of the most entertaining story tellers alive who knows how to tease the punch lines and how to display a warm human face ...
[Speaking of 20 years of service, well two decades is exactly the historical time period of my selfless service to the community under the turbulent conditions with the one who must be obeyed. I was forced to tie the knot in October on the very day the Opera House celebrates its birthday. (smile)]
It was also great to read thoughtful snapshots about the federal election campaign in the local rag. Newspapers mixed with sunrays, the sound of waves humming the tunes matching daughter’s voice as she belted snippets of songs ... according to the Australian Idol theme create a rare heaven on earth.
After exploring deeper the local opinions in the press and around the dinner table, I am rather amazed why election observers do not take more than passing interest in a seat in south part of Sydney. Hughes, like it or not, is the bastion of colourful electoral history; all the more so since the Liberal Party won the seat in a shock result less than eight years ago. The salt soaked battleground even has an international flavour to it this year in candidates surnames such as Greg Holland and family roots as in VanderJagt which originated in the Netherlands.
Sydney trio of Macarthur, Lindsay and Hughes are also near the bottom (146, 140 and 137 respectively), choc-full of young families Hughes [Danna Vale (Liberal); Greg Holland (Labor); Lorraine Dixon (Greens);Rob Bunt (Democrats); John VanderJagt (CDP); Bob Davis (VET)]

Eye on Dutch Courage and Hughes Battleground: Sandy Point and South Pacific Ocean Decide October 2004
John Mulcair of the local St George and Sutherland Shire Leader observed on 5 October 2004:
A prime point of interest for her challengers in the contest for Hughes is whether safely ensconced Liberal MP for Hughes Danna Vale will have her majority eroded by a low-key campaign and an apparently lower than usual profile in the electorate.
Mrs Vale has always prided herself on her high activity rate, but ministerial duties have necessarily often taken her from home base.
Among her challengers are the ALP’s Greg Holland, who has put in months-long, grassroots effort; Lorraine Dixon for the Greens who is building on years of local environmentally based activity; and Bob Davis, whose effort for the Ex-service and Veterans Party is aimed squarely at shortcomings its (sic) perceives in Mrs Vale’s portfolio.
The seat of Hughes is named after former Prime Minister Billy Hughes, the longest-serving Australian Federal parliamentarians. His 51 years and seven months in harness will not be challenged even by our apparently record-conscious Prime Minister John Howard.
Mrs Vale’s performance in the seat has been remarkable.
Hughes was created in 1955 and was held by the ALP until 1996, when she surprised everyone by taking it from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Robert Tickner. In 1998, it was only seat in NSW not to swing to Labor, while in 2001 Mrs Vale stretched her majority to 10.4 per cent, winning all 39 booths in the electorate.
Hughes is divided between the western part of Sutherland Shire and suburbs in Liverpool Council’s area.
In the shire, it encompasses Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, Bonnet Bay, Como, Engadine, Heathcote, Illawong, Jannali, Lucas Heights, Menai, Oyster Bay, Sandy Point, Sutherland, Waterfall, Woronora, Woronora Heights and Yarrawarrah. In 2001 election, 85741 voters were registered.
There does not appear to have been a dominating local issue in Hughes.
Construction of the new nuclear research reactor at Lucas Heights is almost complete and has received some attention, with the ALP and Greens promising a halt to consideration of its application for an operating licence.
But the major environmental issue seems to be the future of now surplus former Defence Department land along the Georges River near Sandy Point, with considerably different opninions (sic) about what has and should be done in protecting it as a valuable conservation resource.
(For some reason there is no profile of the Green candidate Lorraine Dixon)
Hughes profiled by Brent ; Prime waterfront land along the Georges River once owned by the Department of Defence will be offered to the State Government to add to its national parks estate, but only if it is willing to pay Sandy Point and Alfords Point [Google Hughes Electorate ]
Danna Vale, Liberal Party
[Danna Vale has been Member for Hughes since winning the seat in a shock result in 1996. She was prominent in the fight against a proposed international airport at Holsworthy and has strongly defended ANSTO’s reactor at Lucas Heights on the grounds of its national importance in the medical and industrial fields.
Her performance in turning Hughes into a safe Liberal seat was rewarded after the 2001 election with the Veterans Affairs portfolio. Mrs Vale has been working to have former defence department land on Georges River near Sandy Point returned to the public domain. The Government has agreed it will not be sold for housing.]
• Greg Holland: former adviser to Susan Ryan and ex Burson-Marstellar, now lobbyist-consultant for Enhance and the endorsed Labor candidate for the Sydney seat of Hughes held by Veterans Affairs Minister Danna Vale. Greg Holland, Australian Labour Party
[The Australian Labour Party’s candidate in Hughes, Greg Holland, has already invested more than six months of almost full-time effort to winning back the seat for his party.
Higher profile local issues he has been involved in are saving former defence department land for the public, so it is not sold to developers.
Mr Holland also supports a halt to consideration of a licence to operate the new reactor at Lucas Heights until an independent inquiry is held. He also wants Australia to sign Kyoto protocol on climate change and is against inappropriate coastal development.]
Lorraine Dixon, Greens
[Together with her husband, Lorraine has combined raising a family of four children with involvement in many local community groups. As parents, Lorraine and Roy use bushwalking as a family pastime to share their love of the environment with their children. Her passion for the natural environment includes working with the local Bushcare group, lobbying to protect urban bushland and the preparation of the K’iamia Way Walking Trail planning document. She is a keen sportswomen involved in participating and promoting lifesaving, swimming and netball.]
Rob Bunt, Australian Democrats
[The Australian Democrat’s candidate for Hughes, Rob Bunt, fears the voices of young Australians are vastly under-represented in politics levels. He believes political education and a political opinion are key to a democratic society.
Born and raised in the shire, he is familiar with local issues. He opposes the new nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights.
Mr Bunt says the crisis hospitals face is a Federal issue requiring a greater funding for the states.
Having worked for nine years in telecommunications and information technology, he believes school education on information and technology is as important as reading, English and mathematics for our children.]
• · · · · Bob Davis, Ex-Service, Service and Veterans Party
[Bob Davis has resigned his commission as a major in the Australian Army to directly challenge the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Danna Vale, who holds the seat of Hughes.
He claims the majority of veterans have absolutely no confidence in her, saying the needs of veterans, war widows and their children have been badly neglected.
For example, Mr Davis said, a war widow whose Special Air Services husband was killed in Afghanistan receives a pension of only $13,000 a year.
He said his party will also represent the issues of other groups who work for the community, such as police and emergency services.]
John VanderJagt, Christian Democratic party
[John VanderJagt, who contested the recent Sutherland Shire Council election, is also standing for the Christian Democratic Party in Hughes.
He says he is deeply concerned for Australia, especially the decline in moral standards and the rise of crime and anti social behaviour placing our way of life under serious threat.
He feels all would benefit from having Godly principles and values in our Federal Parliament.
Mr VanderJagt also feels compelled to assist the Rev Fred Nile in his bid to represent the party in the Senate. He says Rev Nile is needed to counter the rise of the Greens “ and their disturbing policies,” which may polarise the Senate hindering either major party from effectively running the country]