Heartland no more

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The Labor Party is already cutting their losses in the lead-up to the next Federal Election with Treasurer, Wayne Swan, admitting that Lindsay is no longer Labor heartland.

“I think David [Bradbury] wouldn’t describe this seat as Labor heartland. I think he would describe it as a swinging vote, it always has been and will be for a long time,” Mr Swan said.

Mr Swan met with MP for Lindsay, David Bradbury, and members of the St Marys community on Wednesday to discuss the party’s current policies.

The introduction of the carbon tax dominated the forum, with one man even claiming that he had received no compensation for the carbon tax despite being on the aged pension and an elderly woman said that she just couldn’t grasp the concept of the tax.

However, incredibly, Mr Swan denied that the carbon tax still weighs heavily on people’s minds.

“I didn’t think actually it was a big issue, at the end of the day I think most people [at the forum] were supportive of it,” he said.

“It is complex, the issue is complex, and it takes a lot of discussion. But people have now had the lived experience – that the sky didn’t fall down – so as we go through people will come to understand it more clearly.”

Other residents questioned the Treasurer on the Government’s foreign aid policy, immigration issues and weren’t scared of asking the hard questions.

A 60-year-old man from Queensland who claimed he had voted Labor his whole life asked Mr Swan why he should vote Labor in the next election “given the in-fighting” and then fired back with: “do you have aspirations for the leadership?” to which Mr Swan replied with an emphatic “no”.

The ongoing media coverage of leadership issues in the Labor Party is certainly taking its toll though, with Mr Swan claiming that the majority of coverage is “fiction not fact”, words that may come back to haunt him if Julia Gillard eventually does lose power.

Mr Bradbury took it one step further by giving anecdotal evidence of the media’s focus on the leadership, saying at one point during a media event he felt like saying: “stupid people ask stupid questions”.

One resident asked what the Government could do to improve its popularity: “Most of us here would be Labor voters yet I doubt anyone would be able to name five pieces of legislation that have been passed, despite the numerous good changes that have been made,” he said.

Both Mr Bradbury and Mr Swan conceded that much is still to be done prior to the next Federal election in order to give the party its best chance.

“I reckon we have reasonably good odds to win,” Mr Swan said.

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