Fighting back 20/10/2007
Great, we’re getting some real electoral action in these parts. Gavan O’Connor has represented our federal seat with integrity and distinction and deserves to stay in that role for as long as he desires. An old-fashioned Labor man, O’Connor was a farmer and teacher before entering federal parliament 14 years ago and was the opposition spokesman on agriculture. Always ready to chinwag about footy or his thwarted career as a rock guitar legend, the Member for Corio also has a serious vision of Geelong as south-east Australia’s premier transport and export hub and his dream of full integration of Avalon airport, the Port of Geelong, the Princes Freeway and the national rail network is well on the way to fulfilment.
So what does the Labor Party do with this undoubted talent amid a wasteland of hacks and sycophants? Why, they let the branchstackers and sleazeballs backstab O’Connor and replace him with a son of privilege who has never held a meaningful job. The deselected member will now stand as an independent.
O’Connor was disappointed when he appealed to his leader to come to his aid as the barbarians circled: Mr Howard has told ABC NewsRadio it proves a union-dominated Labor frontbench is dangerous. “Mr Rudd’s comment to Gavan O’Connor is very revealing: ‘Gavan, I don’t have the power to stop them dumping you’,” he said.
A formidable obstacle to Geelong’s progress over the years has been the existence of blue ribbon federal seats either side of the Barwon. With a safe Labor seat on the north side and an equally secure Liberal constituency to the south, the major parties have not troubled themselves with making more than an obligatory impact in the region. This will now change. O’Connor’s popularity should ensure a keen contest with preferences likely to determine the winner. Corio constituents can only gain. Particularly if the incumbent hangs on as an independent.