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An open letter to local National Party members and sundry internet trolls

The local National Party members and internet trolls think they have the scoop of the century with the “shock – horror” revelations that I haven’t lived here all of my life. Indeed a few of them seem quite obsessed with it.

Old mate Andrew Fraser likes to call me a “blow-in”. Well, Andrew Fraser’s career has been book-ended by the McDonalds restaurants at north Coffs and south Coffs. Nothing much has happened in between, materially or intellectually. And having people without a wide and deep life and professional experience, like Luke Hartsuyker and Andrew Fraser, in parliament hasn’t exactly served the area well. If you don’t believe this, have a look at a ’to-do’ list I have put together. Nearly a century of National Party representation can only be regarded as a failure with several generations of under achievement and lost opportunity. We are being left behind thanks to the National Party.

So, let me put the facts on the record and give you a few other perspectives.

Where do I live?

I live in Bellingen. I purchased a house here in mid-2016 and moved in not long after. I am here for life. I had thirty years in the corporate sector and have done the ’tree change’, bringing my small business to the Bellingen Shire, injecting money into the local community.

What would I know about the Mid-North Coast?

More than most. I first moved here in 1985 to work in radio. In the late 90’s I met a lady from Coffs and we subsequently married and had two children. I was a frequent visitor for a decade. One of the reasons for my tree change was to be closer to our children, as we are no longer married.

Bah! What would you know about regional areas?

Well, I have also lived in regional centres such as Taree, Albury-Wodonga, Newcastle and the Gold Coast. I have also lived in capital cities Sydney and Canberra. I regard this vast experience as invaluable to my candidacy. In my view, the more life and work experience you have in a variety of geographies the better.

OMG! You have been overseas!

Yes, shock horror! I lived and worked in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for three years, the hottest places on the planet to work. Over my career, I have also physically undertaken work projects in around 30 countries. I reaffirm my previous point, that being, the more life experience you have in a variety of geographies the better. I have seen a lot of things in my travel that I would hate to see here, like an American style health system where the annual premium for a family of four is $40,000 (Australian).

Bah! You are just a professional political campaigner!

I get not one cent for my time from the Labor Party or donors. I am a volunteer. I do this because I care about the future of this area, our country, and our planet. My income these days comes from running a small business specialising in consulting on management, marketing, communication and advocacy, with specialisation in climate change and sustainability. I have been a Labor Party member since the late 1980’s. I have only ever voted Labor when a Labor candidate was on the ballot paper. I have never been a member of another party and nor would I be.

Hey, loser! You lost to Tony Abbott!

Yes, I ran for Labor in Warringah at the 2016 election. I was very proud of my achievement. And, according to the Australian Financial Review, Liberal Party polling indicates I was on track to pull off a historic victory until the Liberals dumped enormous amounts of money into Warringah in the final weeks of the campaign and the then Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, personally intervened. I ran in Warringah as I believed Australia would be better off without Tony Abbott’s brand of toxic politics. So, I didn’t win, but I made a point and exceeded my own goals in the campaign.

You’re only running to spoil things!

I am running because I believe with some leadership, Cowper can have a positive, prosperous and sustainable future. The National Party offers up more of the same. I offer up a vision for the future, backed by energy, experience, and expertise. We can do better – in employment; in the environment, and in fairness. And I am running because we need change. You won’t get more of the same from me. Unlike the National Party, I will tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.

You just want to be another politician on the gravy train!

I am passionate about the need for action on climate change. My children are teenagers. I want them to live in a world that is safe and inhabitable with amazing nature that can be experienced. If we get it right for my children, then the world as a whole will do better.

My political here Paul Keating used to say “Son, in politics you can be a participant of a voyeur”. I have chosen to be a participant.

I believe in fairness, equality and social justice. I believe in protecting and enhancing our natural environment. Finally, I believe in honouring the traditions of the First Peoples of Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We can learn much from them. Quite simply, as I heard an Aboriginal elder say once ­ “If you look after country -­ country will look after you”. This is my ‘light on the hill’.

You can read my vision for a positive, prosperous and sustainable future on this website.

Let this election be about electing a person who represents a party of government with the best policies to deliver a positive, prosperous and sustainable future. I believe that party is Labor and I am honoured to be the party’s candidate.

Cowper will be better off with a Labor voice in a Labor Government.