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MP responds to Gasmier’s salvo

Tuesday, 11th January, 2011

John Williams John Williams

By Gina Wilson

Local MP John Williams said he was happy to tell voters what he had achieved and dismissed as “baseless” a swipe by Labor’s candidate, Neville Gasmier.

Mr Gasmier announced this week that he will stand against Mr Williams for the seat of Murray-Darling in the March State election.

The city’s deputy mayor and president of the local Labor Party said Mr Williams, who has held the seat since the last election in 2007, had to tell people what he had achieved.

Mr Gasmier was elected unopposed as Labor’s candidate for an electorate that takes in a swathe of southern and western NSW and is held by a 10 per cent margin by The Nationals.

Despite not citing areas where Mr Williams was allegedly under-performing, Mr Gasmier’s remarks were answered by Mr Williams yesterday.

He said he stood by his achievements but was open to criticism.

“Obviously (Neville’s) got to see the campaign how he wants to run it - that’s his call,” Mr Williams said.

“I have provided good solid representation. I haven’t been shy about bringing forward the concerns of people of the Murray-Darling Electorate and I have seen that as my role.

“I think I can stand by my record. “I don’t think I’ve backed down on any situation affecting the local community. “I am happy for anyone to tell me what I’ve not done.”

Mr Williams said locally three key achievements came to mind. “Early in the piece, - while it didn’t raise a huge amount of attention, the State Government supported the upgrade of the Broken Hill pool,” he said.

“I spoke to the Minister (Graham West) and they contributed $100,000 and I think that - for an opposition - that’s a substantial amount of money.

“Most recently I’ve got some support for the (St Pat’s) racing club with the waiving of interest.

“The fact that I spent a lot of time with the Minister for Water ... on the major issue looking to reinstate the Menindee Lakes ... and certainly when the water came, we got heard.

“I don’t think you could measure how much (important) that was for the people out west.

“It was only by persistence - it didn’t happen overnight and where the opportunity arose to fill it - it was against the wishes of a lot of people that they were filled.

“It was not an easy argument to get that across.” He said he had also spoken more than 200 times in parliament in four years.

“That’s substantial contribution from a Member of Parliament,” he said. “I haven’t been backward in getting the word out there.”

Despite the large margin by which he holds the seat, Mr Williams said he viewed Mr Gasmier as a serious opponent and would be hitting the campaign trail hard.

“Any challenge to me I’ll be taking seriously. I wouldn’t be taking anything for granted,” he said.

“I’ve fought hard to win the seat and fought hard to do what I’ve done. I don’t take anything lightly.

“I’ll be as active in the campaign as the job allows me to be.” 

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