Monday, February 25, 2013

Why vote for Bernie on March 9?

Most electors in Vasse will be well aware of the many misdemeanors, party tricks and more serious happenings that have dogged current Vasse MP Troy Buswell over the eight years he’s been in Parliament. There is a mountain of reasons why electors should vote against him but I readily admit there also needs to be good  reasons why electors should vote for me instead of the incumbent or for any of the other five candidates contesting the Vasse election.

There’s only one compelling reason why you should vote for me: so that I can work hard for you as your elected representative. The most important role of a Member of Parliament is to represent the people of his or her electorate: to raise their issues or concerns with government departments and to bring issues of broader community interest to public attention by raising them in Parliament. That’s what democracy is all about and that’s the job your MP should be committed to. Forget about personal ambition. If the opportunity to become a minister or sit on a parliamentary committee is offered, by all means, an MP should accept such challenges if they believe they have the ability and stamina to accept the new roles. But, first and foremost, MPs need to remember that they've been elected by their constituents to represent them - to look after their interests, not the MP's personal ambitions.

Can I do a good job of representing you if I am elected?
For eight years from 1996 to 2005, I was the member for Vasse. Throughout that period, I believe that I did a good job of representing my constituents to all levels of government. While I was the Vasse MP, the electorate received over $100 million in taxpayer-funded projects. I also helped many electors who had problems with Western Power, Telstra, Water Corporation, Housing and other large government agencies who sometimes forget the impact of their decisions on people. 

Representing an electorate is a delicate balancing act. While an MP has to act quickly and efficiently if someone's electricity or water has been turned off without justification, so the MP has to always remain aware of the bigger picture: is electricity or water supply infrastructure up to the required standards? And are the needs of a rapidly expanding electorate like Vasse capable of being met by government agencies such as the Water Corporation?

If your MP isn't balancing these many demands on his time correctly, something will be overlooked and problems will arrive sooner rather than later.

I’m an active member of the Busselton community:
When I was first elected in 1996 as the Liberal member for Vasse, Peppermint Grove Beach where Carolina and I live was within the electorate. The same situation applied when I was elected again in 2001, but, as Vasse grew, so the Electoral Commission was forced to move boundaries. By 2005, I found that our home was just outside the Vasse electorate. But does this mean that I'm not a member of the Busselton community? Absolutely not!

The change of electoral boundary has made no difference to my membership of and involvement in the Busselton community. For the last four years, I've been president of the Festival of Busselton. I've been president of  the Busselton Naturalists Club for most years since 1978. I'm chair of the Busselton Dieback Working Group; chair of the Tuart Forest National Park Management Plan Community Advisory Committee. Our two cars were bought locally and are serviced locally. I do most of my shopping in Busselton. I was a Busselton Shire Councillor in 2009. I’m a shareholder in the Busselton Dunsborough Bendigo Community Bank. For over 20 years, I umpired junior football in Busselton and I still play tennis at the Busselton Tennis Club as often as I can.

Because I’m an active member of the local community, I understand local needs and problems better than someone living in Perth (guess who I'm talking about here - someone who usually visits only on weekends?).

If you’re still not convinced that you should vote for me on March 9, I’ll try to persuade you with just one promise: if elected, I will work for all people within the electorate with dedication, honesty, self-respect, integrity and determination.

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