Dean Harris has announced that he is running as the Labor candidate at the next Federal election and will be holding a campaign launch at 7 pm on Wednesday the 25th of July at the Balgowlah RSL Club. Former Premier and now Senator for NSW Kristina Keneally will attend the official launch of Mr Harris’s #LetsDoBetter campaign for Warringah.
Mr Harris, owner of a local market research and strategy consulting firm, decided it was time to get involved in politics after the local member became Prime Minister. “There were two reasons I joined politics. The first was that I was horrified at the broken promises of Mr Abbott shortly after he became Prime Minister, the second was that the Liberal Party has forgotten that we can only have a strong economy, when we have a strong society with prosperity and opportunity available to all. The Labor party is the only party that can form government which understands this.”
Although voters have become disillusioned with politics and accustomed to policy reversals and broken promises, Harris is pushing for a new style of leadership in the Warringah electorate, where strains on local infrastructure are amongst the worst in Sydney under Abbott leadership. ”I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman. I’m running to represent the people of Warringah because I believe we can do better and I believe we must do better on many issues of local and national importance,” claims Harris.
Before deciding to run as the Labor candidate, Mr Harris was approached by many people in the community who expressed concern that the current member was no longer representing their interests. One of the most prominent signals of this disconnect was the recent same-sex marriage survey where 75% of local respondents voted in favour of marriage equality. “It is unfortunate for the good people of Warringah that the current member seems more intent on representing his interests and those in a small faction of his party than those of this community.”
After a substantial swing away from Mr Abbott at the last election, and the very public disputes he is having with his own party over its attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Mr Harris believes the time is right for Warringah to have a new voice speaking for it on the floor of the Australian parliament.
On a national level, Mr Harris believes the people of Warringah want an end to climate wars and introduction of effective emissions and energy policy for future generations and to stop rising energy costs to consumers. He also believes that the people of Warringah are worried about at the slow, unreliable, second-rate NBN that Mr Abbott and Prime Minister Turnbull have forced upon Australian and very soon, most of Warringah. Mr Harris believes the NBN is an issue that will have dramatic consequences for people and businesses in Warringah. “In most industries, data and information technology are fundamental to success. The productivity of many local business which depend on internet in some way will be impaired by an NBN which is not fit for purpose today and certainly not in the future. The fibre to the node technology being rolled-out in Warringah is a scandalous waste of tax payer’s money.”
At a local level, Mr Harris believes that traffic congestion and a lack of usable public transport infrastructure is a big issue for the people of Warringah. “This is a concern for many people, both North and South of the Spit. After living in Mosman for the last 11 years, I understand the frustrations of the community. We do need a solution, in fact, we need many solutions to address this problem and we need them urgently.” Mr Harris states that the proposed Northern Beaches motorway may seem like a good idea in the absence of anything else being considered, but its cost will be significant to local motorists and the community of NSW. With parking already a problem on the beaches and the inner harbour, we need to be focussed on viable solutions that can be implemented quickly and which encourage people to use other forms of transport instead of driving. “Even if the tunnel does go ahead it is at least 8 to 10 years away and action needs to be taken sooner rather than later. More public transport is needed, particularly for the increasing number of residents who need to commute East to centres such as Chatswood, Epping and Ryde,” said Mr Harris.
Mr Harris is a father of two young adults and is worried about the situation facing many people of similar age in the community. “Young people in this country are expected to carry high levels of debt from tertiary education, before they even find a full-time job. As a young person, finding a good job is harder than ever before with youth unemployment and underemployment at historically high levels.”
According to ABS labour force statistics, over 12% of people aged 15 to 24 year olds can’t find work, a rate that is 50% higher than what it was 10 years ago. The underemployment rate is at a 40 year high of over 17%, meaning that nearly 30% of young Australians can get enough work.
Mr Harris makes the point that, at the same time, buying a house in Sydney is harder than ever with rates of home ownership among people aged 25 to 34 having nearly halved since 1980. Recent research by National Shelter shows that renting is not an option for many either. In rental terms, every suburb in Warringah is now classified as “unaffordable” to a household with an average income. “These are major issues for our children and grandchildren. It’s no wonder the rate of mental illness is rising amongst our youth.” Mr Harris quoted recent research by the Black-dog Institute found that with 1 in 4 Australians aged 16 to 24 have experienced a mental disorder in the last 12 months.
“All these things aren’t just big challenges, they’re today’s challenges for the voters of Warringah, and they simply can’t be overcome with more of the same. They require something better of us. At the coming election, there’s a very important choice to be made, Warringah can choose more of the same or to do better,” said Mr Harris.
Mr Harris invites all members of the electorate to the campaign launch on July 25. Please RSVP by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dean Harris:
Dean Harris is a Director of The Navigators Pty Ltd, a market research and strategy consultancy with offices in Sydney and Wellington NZ. He has owned and run market research businesses for over 20 years and has expertise in research, data analysis, marketing and business strategy.
Dean is a father of two and has lived in Cremorne and Mosman since 2007.
He joined the Labor party in 2014 but has always been a person that is passionate and involved in promoting strong, sustainable and healthy communities.
He is an enthusiastic kayaker and enjoys the beauty of being on the water in the inner harbour and the beaches. Despite turning 50 this year, Dean still plays cricket for the Warringah Cricket Club during the summer months.