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Living in a marginal seat can be hell

I live in the marginal seat of Robertson, misrepresented by the wholly inadequate Lucy Wicks.

Lucy was a Tony Abbott captain’s pick, parachuted into the area displacing the locally preselected candidate, much to the understandable chagrin of the party members.

Ever since, it has been a sandbagging effort to keep her there.

Aside from constant polling – I am one of the few people left with a landline because the mobile phone tower Lucy has been promising for three elections is still “coming soon”, just like the surplus – we have been porkbarrelled with rushed and ill-planned developments.

The Central Coast was one of the early areas for rollout of FttP NBN. And then the Coalition took over.

My 94 year old mother-in-law has FttP. My home and business became the guinea pigs for FttN which was an unmitigated disaster. No-one knew what they were doing. My business lost all telecommunications. Frantic calls got phone and internet back within a few days but EFTPOS, fax and security were out for two months causing a loss of an estimated $20,000 and many regular customers. I was eventually paid $5,000 in compensation by Telstra.

Then there was the much-vaunted decentralisation of the ATO with an office opening up in Gosford.

A primary school on prime waterfront land was closed. To appease the community, we were told the site would become a performing arts centre – part of a cultural, recreational and arts precinct.

Then along comes Lucy Wicks who decides that putting the ATO building there was a better idea – jobs for the area, flow on to local businesses – you know the drill.

Canberra-based developer Doma Group, a previous Liberal Party donor, was awarded the contract and allowed to purchase the site for $3.3 million. Before the building was even completed, they had sold it to the City of Brisbane Investment Co – CBIC was set up in 2008 by Campbell Newman when he was Brisbane Lord Mayor – for $43.5 million on the strength of a ten year lease commitment from the Federal government worth $70 million.

This was despite a rival bid by Gosford Council and a local developer, proposed for the CBD rather than the waterfront precinct, which was valued at around $38 million.

To summarise, the state government closed and sold a school to a Canberra developer, who then onsold an unbuilt building to a Queensland local government investment body for more than $40 million more than they paid for the site and the Federal government will lease it back for ten years for $70 million despite a local bid for about half that amount.

Surely it would have been better for the local council to acquire the site, pay local contractors to build the building, and then rent it to the Feds for whatever they were willing to pay.

Or for the state government to keep the site, build the building, and then collect the rent.

Lucy’s great idea meant that the people of Gosford lost a school and a performing arts centre and the financial benefit went to a private company in Canberra and a local government in Queensland.

Well done you, Lucy.

Ms Wicks also has a bad habit of claiming credit for what other people have done.

“Ms Wicks stood in Parliament on Wednesday to speak about 12 major projects and initiatives, but failed to mention that council has planned, driven and is delivering at least nine of these for residents on the peninsula,” Cr McKinna said in February 2016.

“(The) council developed the masterplan for Woy Woy Oval’s redevelopment, secured $5.5 million in federal and state funding for the project and we’re currently building it. Plus, we’ve invested almost $3 million towards the redevelopment, but no recognition from our local member.

“It’s a similar deal with upgrade works at McEvoy Oval in Umina.

“(The) council staff have put in a huge effort along with local sporting groups to develop a masterplan for the entire site, invest $220,000 towards­ the project and also make sure the NSW Government matched our funding contribution.”

But Lucy wants the accolades.

I am so looking forward to seeing the back of this useless member. She will not be missed.

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  1. New England Cocky

    New England and Northern Tablelands (NSW) were swinging sets and we replaced the NSW Nat$ MP with Independent Richard Torbay in 1999 then elevated Tony Windsor from Independent Member for Tamworth to Independent Member for New England in 2000. Then we got stuck with the Nat$ Adulterer-in-Chief Barnyard because Queensland did not want him as either Senator or Member for Maranoa, and Tony’s family “suggested” that Tony retire on health grounds. Many Australian voters cried.

    Perhaps the optimal solution to your Wicks problem is to encourage as many Australian voters as possible to become active in this 2019 election campaign. Do a couple of shifts on the pre-poll booths for your preferred candidate, link up with the party machine and distribute “How to Vote” material, work the phones discovering what the voters want from their political representatives.

    Remember, we get the politicians that win the election regardless of their abilities or allegiances to foreign owned multinational corporations.

  2. Jack Cade

    You get the representatives you deserve. New England chose Joyce over Windsor knowing full well what a mendacious test he is. And the Nats that lost their seats in the State election list them to shooters.
    I used to be a disability claims manager for the Shooters Party. I could spend a good half hour with anecdotes about what effwits they are. One example – and not the worst – is a man who sawed a branch off a tree that had fallen on the roof.
    He was sitting on the branch…

  3. Kaye Lee

    Lucy wanders the streets with an entourage of assistants and photographers, taking photos with willing business owners.

    As she wandered towards my business, a helper came in and asked if we would allow them to film/take photos inside with Lucy. My husband said no to the photos but he would like to speak to Lucy about the problems we were having with the FttN connection. The helper quickly left and Lucy crossed the road. She has banned me from her facebook page due to my irritating habit of fact-checking.

  4. whatever

    Look to the sportsfields in your local area to see where Federal grants to ‘Community Groups’ have been allocated.
    Must be quite a bonus to those running Turf&Landscaping businesses.

  5. Kaye Lee

    Just waiting for the inevitable announcement of more cctv cameras to keep us safe. Them and sporting ground upgrades are a given every election.

  6. Kronomex

    Most of the cameras will probably be aimed at your business and home.

  7. Jack Cade

    Among the many emails I receive, is a daily one from the Adelaide Advertiser.
    Today’s headline says ‘Poll Turnaround! Coalition Surges Ahead!’
    I assume I don’t need to post any personal comments…

  8. Jack Cade

    My local state member at the tone was a RW Faction Labor heavy. He opposed the idea of SSM and voluntary euthanasia. His resistance was on religious grounds. In general conversation in the community I found not one person who agreed with the local member on either issue. I then voiced my view, to the members office, that HE was not elected by his church and that I, and everybody I spoke to, resented his using his religious beliefs in voting for issues, that he was elected to represent the views of his electorate, not the church.
    Our local member is not our member any more. He is not in parliament.

  9. DrakeN

    Jake Cade,

    that is just one example of why I am convinced that no person of religious conviction should be a functionary of any public administration or legislature.

    They are simply not capable of being fully reasonable and logical.

  10. Frank Smith

    Oh to live in a marginal seat! I have had to live in a blue-ribbon Liberal seat most of my voting life and, being progressive, have felt disenfranchised all that time. Furthermore, it is no point dreaming of a few “goodies” since the Libs see no advantage in porkbarrelling in a safe electorate and the ALP mostly ignore us as “unwinnable”. Neighbors and acquaintances keep complaining that “nothing ever gets done” and I keep reminding them that “if you want to get something done, make this a marginal seat”. But alas, the blue blood runs thick and they vote as they have always done and take pride in doing so. It is unlikely to be any different on whatever Saturday in May Scummo finally dishes up.

  11. Phiil

    Very revealing article thank you Kaye Lee. I’m also a resident in Robertson. i believe Wicks was an Abbott pick – ’nuff said.

  12. Matters Not

    Methinks the whole notion of electorates based on geographical location needs a complete reconceptualization. Representation from communities of interest, broadly defined, based on where one lives may have relevance re roads, bridges, footpaths, sewerage, stop signs, burial plots and the like, but when it comes to higher order considerations such as curriculums, health policy, justice, pensions, humans right to live or die (as they see fit), and the like, geographical location seems somewhat comical.

    Surely with the technology we have, we can do much better that that. Or are we not really interested in what the majority of citizens think?

  13. Matters Not

    On the subject of physical presence (or not) – when Parliament is in session most speakers (the orator variety) appear to be addressing an empty chamber. Fact is, their fellow parliamentarians can still listen (and view) the points raised from afar – even if it’s while they are propped up at the bar. These days being within ‘earshot’ has been refined. That’s technology at work.

    If political parties ever decide to get serious about Branch membership (active participation and the like), then they would (at least) trial on-line versions. Who knows – party membership may increase – even blossom.

    But maybe that’s not what’s wanted?

  14. Jack Cade

    The only fair and equitable system would be proportional representation. If all electorates were equalised then one party would have a monopoly. The Greens get 10% + of the vote and get a couple of seats, the Nats get 4%
    and get a dozen or so. That’s not democracy.

  15. Matters Not

    Jack Cade, why do we need electorates based on geography? I don’t live within the MDB, but I am vitally interested in its health. Do I have to physically relocate to have my concerns recognised?

    Perhaps on some (many) issues we could have electorates of the whole?

  16. Jack Cade

    Matters Not.
    It’s the geographical representation that is the problem. It allows a handful of self-interested twats to manipulate the system so that the country is ruined by graziers and cotton/rice growers, and the rest of us are helpless to intervene. Changing to Labor won’t solve many of the problems we have caused .

  17. calyptorhynchus

    Just to mess with people’s minds I love telling Liberal-leaning members from the Canberra electorates that they are disenfranchised and effectively have no vote. It’s a joy to see their expressions as they wander off faintly troubled by a notion they wished they hadn’t come across.

  18. Wam

    It has been a good swinging seat since federation. This is her third try and a good few have taken a third sounds like she will have a hard time Joining them??
    She might be one of the rabbott’s exceptional women capable of functioning during god given downtime and who know god may rise to the need?
    Wow Matters Not,
    No doubt you are a thinker but on line is a giggle. The cosy little family committee is the backbone of the parties and yes usually a pretty narrow base but govern for all? Who do you think we are NZ?
    People who worry about the quality should join or take a bex and a good lie down.

    Sorry jack nobody but labor can win government unless workers change their vote.

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