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Challenging apathy

Friday, 20th August, 2010

Independent candidate for Farrer, Louise Burge, yesterday denied that she had entered the election race with the express purpose of knocking the Labor candidate out.

Ms Burge said her aim was to make the electorate marginal. “Farrer has traditionally been a safe Liberal seat, but there is now a significant opportunity to make the seat marginal,” she said. “Policy decisions must be made in the interests of Farrer. “

"I decided to stand because many policy decisions are not made with regional and remote Australia in mind. They are made for political gain or for the benefit of urban electorates.” She pointed to recent job losses in the timber industry as an example such a decision, and said both Labor and Liberal were guilty of not looking after the interests of the constituents in Farrer. While it has been a safe Liberal seat, politicians from that side have disregarded constituents’ needs and Labor politicians might regard the seat as unwinnable and behave similarly, she said. “I want to challenge that apathetic approach.” And she has rejected Liberal Party criticism about the value of independent candidates.

Recently Liberal Party deputy leader Julie Bishop told the residents of Deniliquin, Ms Burge’s home town, that independents were the “preeminent political armchair critics” and lacked real clout. Ms Burge hit back, saying that the major parties were not listening to country people. “Are we getting effective representation now from the major parties? Clearly the answer is no,” she said. “There has been a failure of the Liberal Party to recognise that the Water Act is flawed because it doesn’t recognise a balance between social, economic and environment. “The fact both major parties announced their water policies in South Australia doesn’t signify there is a great value on food production in Farrer. “It really signifies where the whole political system has gone wrong.”

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