Don Page is a nice guy but his party is out of touch with ordinary country Australians, says Tamara Smith, who has been selected as the Greens candidate for the seat of Ballina.
Don Page has indicated he will not contest the next election and Life Saver Helicopter CEO Kris Beavis was selected as the new Nationals candidate ahead of long-term local Sharon Cadwallader in a hotly contested ballot.
Ms Smith said it was ‘a great honour’ to be endorsed as the Greens candidate for the 2015 NSW election.
The Greens came second in the Ballina electorate after the Nationals at the 2011 NSW election with 21.7 per cent of the primary vote, and Ms Smith believes she is in a winnable position.
The fourth-generation local is a teacher and a solicitor with a background in energy law, social justice and human rights.
She has been active in local campaigns to stop sewage outfall into Byron Bay and organised the recent rally to save Cape Byron Marine Sanctuary from being opened to fishing. She was also part of the legal team supporting efforts to stop gas mining at Bentley.
‘We have a wonderful, vibrant community and I’m looking forward to talking with residents about the issues that are important to them,’ she said.
‘It’s time to give the residents of Ballina a progressive voice in the NSW Parliament, and only the Greens can provide that voice.
Ms Smith said it was unrealistic to think that the new Nationals candidate Kris Beavis would go against the party line to support his constituents on any issue.
‘It’s interesting to see people talking as if they have the power to go against their party and they don’t,’ she told Echonetdaily.
‘Hearing Kris Beavis talking about the environment and CSG is a little ironic as it doesn’t represent the National Party view,’ she added.
‘Greens, on the other hand, have a set of strong core principles and policies, and I’m fortunate in that Greens policies align with my own values.’
But she said that National Party ‘have betrayed our community’, adding the major parties were equally culpable in ‘allowing invasive gasfields to threaten our very way of life; our waterways, food security and local tourism and agriculture industries.’
‘Both the National Party and Labor Party continue to take political donations from large gas and mining corporations,’ she said.
‘The Greens want to clean up politics in NSW. People are tired of the major parties looking after their mining mates and vested interests.
‘Only the Greens stand for clean water, clean energy and clean politics,’ Ms Smith said.