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River, faith lost in election: Ayoub

Tuesday, 21st May, 2019

Labor’s young candidate for Parkes, Jack Ayoub, on the Darling River during his campaign. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Labor’s young candidate for Parkes, Jack Ayoub, on the Darling River during his campaign. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

By Craig Brealey

Labor’s losing the election was a tragedy for the Darling River and the future of serious political debate in this country, said its candidate for the local seat of Parkes, Jack Ayoub.

Mr Ayoub won in Broken Hill, Menindee and Wilcannia but was defeated by the incumbent, the Nationals’ Mark Coulton who drew strong support in the rest of the electorate which covers half of NSW.

“I spoke with a few people today who said the percentage of votes was the highest for Labor in the country. I hope Mark takes notice of that,” said Mr Ayoub who was back at work yesterday in Coonabarabran where he is a teachers’ aide.

He said Labor’s showing in the West Darling was due in great part to the hard work and professionalism of the local volunteers.

“I wasn’t in Broken Hill a lot so I had to rely on the people on the ground. They were extraordinary. I’m just bloody humbled,” said Mr Ayoub who, at just 24 years old, was probably the youngest candidate in the election.

Labor was expected to win government but its policies were no match for the scare campaign mounted by the Coalition and others, he said.

“Fear won out over hope, suspicion over ideas and doubt over faith.

“This is a problem on a broader scale because this could be the last time we will ever see a political party present a broad, comprehensive policy for the country.”

In contrast, he said, the Liberal-National Coalition just ran with a slogan, “The promise of Australia”.

“What that does mean? It’s so upsetting.

“The only consolation is that people have been ringing me up saying they now want to join the Labor Party. The election result also offers the opportunity to reflect on truly who we are as a party. The Labor Party has lost the average man in the street.”

This loss of faith was also very bad news for the Darling River, Mr Ayoub said.

“You have the Liberal-Nationals running NSW and federally so they will just trundle along the same way and we know their way doesn’t work. There is plenty of evidence of that.

“They will feel enabled and that’s terribly sad.

“All the people who voted for us in Broken Hill, Menindee and Wilcannia are hurting and feel very let down, and rightly so.”

Mr Ayoub said he was disappointed that his party did not send a senior figure to bolster his campaign which was run on the “standard package” of $3000.

“We ran the campaign across half the State and I think we did a bloody good job.

“I can’t stand camping out but it was necessary to make sure I gave it a good go,” said Mr Ayoub.

He said the candidates for Parkes conducted a civil campaign and made no personal attacks on each other, but that was becoming rare at the senior level of polical debate.

“The people I admire, John Anderson, Bob Hawke, Kym Beasley, they conducted politics well above personalities.

“We have to get back to that because when most senior figures attack each other, that sets the standard.

“It filters to the public, to social media, and people become nasty. That’s not the Australian way; we can disagree and still have a beer.

“Politics without debate is dictatorship.

“I think people in Australia don’t understand just how good they’ve got it and sometimes that can make them cold and judgmental of others. Some people do it tough and we should support them.”

Mr Ayoub said he had yet to decide whether to stand as a candidate again but that he would be voting for Anthony Albanese to lead Labor.

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