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Show us vision

Monday, 11th July, 2016

Kate Stewart (right) hands out how-to-vote cards in Broken Hill during election day. Kate Stewart (right) hands out how-to-vote cards in Broken Hill during election day.

By Michael Murphy

Labor needs to articulate its vision for the Parkes electorate if it wants to win it, according to a candidate for the seat in the last election.

On a two-party preferred basis, the Nationals’ Mark Coulton secured 65 percent of the vote to soundly beat Labor’s Kate Stewart in Parkes, an expected result in a safe seat for the sitting member.

But Ms Stewart, who has announced she intends to vie for pre-selection for the next poll, says all is not lost for Australia’s oldest political party in Parkes.

“We need to better prosecute our message that we are a party of government,” said Ms Stewart, analysing the result post-poll.

“The National Party is not a party of government, they are basically the groans but from the other end of the spectrum,” she said.

“The Labor Party is a party of government ... the reality is that we put all of our costings into the parliamentary budget office, and that’s what we determine what we can actually promise the community.”

She said education, health care and infrastructure were three big issues that Labor tackled at a national level, and they mattered in Parkes because “the National Party has run them down so badly”.

“We need to put a little bit more effort into looking at the seat by seat breakdown (of funding) ... we need to break that down a lot more, at least for Parkes in terms of a dollar figure,” the former Treasury public servant said.

Ms Stewart, who also worked for a stint in Wilcannia, said she intended to participate in the next Labor Party conference and talk about creating a vision.

“We need to talk a little bit more about our vision for electorates like Parkes,” she said.

“We have to have a full vision for rural and regional Australia ... 

“I think we have not been particularly good at articulating that, so I would like to see us improve.”

Ms Stewart is now taking time out for further study at University - Ancient Greece and Visual Arts - something she said would be “quite helpful” in the political process.

She said developing and providing solutions was not always the domain of economists, and while money was often an integral part of the process, creativity and leadership paved the way.

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