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March 7, 2021

Saffin to run as Labor head office intervenes in Lismore, Ballina pre-selections

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By DARREN COYNE

Labor’s head office in Sydney has intervened in local branch pre-selections for the state seats of Lismore and Ballina to ensure it has a greater chance of winning the Federal seat of Page from Kevin Hogan.

Ballina’s Deputy Mayor is now hoping to be the next Labor candidate for Page. Photo supplied

In Ballina, deputy mayor Keith Williams has chosen not to nominate for the state election despite announcing his intention to do so last month.

And in Lismore former Federal MP Janelle Saffin has put herself forward, and will fight it out against local Lismore woman Jasmine Knight-Smith.

Lismore’s mayor Isaac Smith withdrew from the race after pressure from Labor’s head office in Sydney which wanted a female candidate.

Ballina’s Cr Williams’ decision not to run also followed an approach from  Labor’s assistant general secretary George Simon who told him that Labor had bigger plans for him as the potential candidate for the Federal seat of Page, despite local branches endorsing Patrick Deegan.

Byron Bay union organiser and environmentalist Asren Pugh has nominated for ALP preselection for the state seat of Ballina. Photo supplied

Asren Pugh for Ballina

That leaves Asren Pugh, an environmental activist and local union organiser as the only nominee, and therefore the preferred candidate for Ballina.
Mr Pugh announced his intentions to run a few days ago.
‘This bungling Liberal National Party state government is prioritising building new sports stadiums in Sydney, rather than local services in the bush,’ he said at the time.
He also said his focus would be on issues such as high-quality health and hospital services, and local public education from preschool to university.
It’s understood Labor head office believes Mr Pugh has a fighting chance to remove Greens MP Tamara Smith, especially as the Greens dominated Byron council is widely regarded as under-performing.
Head office also thinks Cr Williams has a greater chance of unseating the Nationals Kevin Hogan in the federal seat of Page.

Lismore

Meanwhile in Lismore, mayor Isaac Smith – who was widely tipped to be a state candidate – bowed out at the last minute.

With mayor Smith out of the race, the remaining nominees are Jasmine Knight-Smith, who describes herself as a domestic violence survivor with a passion for health, education and employment, and former Federal MP Janelle Saffin.

Jasmine Knight-Smith

Ms Knight-Smith told Echonetdaily that she believed she had the numbers to win the endorsement when candidates are chosen on 22 April.

Ms Saffin said she had passion to take the fight to Nationals candidate Austin Curtin. The Greens candidate is expected to be Sue Higginson, the former head of the NSW Environmental Defenders Office.

‘I want to represent the people of Lismore because there’s a lot to be done,’ Ms Saffin told Echonetdaily after lodging her nomination.

‘To get a fair share in regional NSW you need a local member who will fight for the people and get a fairer deal.’

She said that while pre-selections were ‘always a fight’ the ‘big fight is for the people of this electorate’.

Challenges to the nominations can be made up until 19 April, and local branches will vote for their preferred candidates on 22 April.

 


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Labor Head office had nothing to do with the candidates running, it’s all local Politics , George Simon would not know anyone here!

  2. Bruce you know better than that. The phone line between Sussex St and the Northern Rivers almost melted this week. Don’t believe me? Ask Janelle, Isaac, Keith, Patrick, Jasmine. They all spoke to Simons. I am told that even former Branch officials spoke to him (the last 2 Lismore branch secretaries). And other than Jasmine ALL of the above confirmed to Darren Coyne that they had spoken to Simons.

  3. Which candidate promised ‘dirty tricks’ in Lismore pre selection campaign? Desperate measures from someone we would expect more from.

  4. Nice to see a major party taking affirmative action to ensure more women are in our parliaments. I suppose the Nationals and Liberals will catch on eventually…

  5. This story is simply not true. George Simon has confirmed he was not interviewed for the story. I doubt that Labor members would vote for a Ballina councillor, who doesn’t even live in the electorate, to represent the Page electorate which has a very different socio economic demographic to a greenie coastal person like Keith Williams. Another Ballina councillor, Nathan Willis found out this reality and withdrew from the race. Keith Williams will learn the same lesson.

    • Therese you are making a grave mistake. First Lismore is NOT the centre of the Page Universe.

      Where page will be won for Labor is in the coastal south of the electorate. Doubt this. Then check out Hogan’s page. He is there every second day.

      The other way Labor will win is getting back the Labor voters who have gone Green. Doubt this? Check out the Batman by election results. Keith Williams has all the credentials to do this.

      Also as Chair of Rous Water Williams is known throughout the western Lismore Casino parts.

      Finally the Echo article is spot on. All of the people mentioned had multiple phone calls from Sussex St. Doubt this? Ring them up and ask “did you have a phone call from Simons” We can debate the extent to which this is intervening but don’t dismiss the facts.

      Sadly the only person who was not called is Patrick Deegan. Therese you would do well to read between the lines on that fact alone.

  6. Good.we have had nothing but a circus for 5 years.
    Abbott/ Turnbull infighting
    No infrastructure, jobs and growth or any future vision.
    Hell ,even our railway is to be reduced to a bike path!
    Come back Ms Saffin before the north coast NSW is reduced to tared road only into national parks!
    $10 million has been spent on that?

  7. Its not who stands for this election.
    It is the policies that will count. So far Lib/Nats, Greens and Labor have not made any offer to the aged pensioners regarding the draconian assets and income tests.
    How many Aged Pensioners are in this electorate?
    Betcha they don’t vote Labor, Lib/Nats or Greens.
    .Even Palmer looks better than them.
    The Greens candidate obviously doesn’t give a shit about the aged pensioners….it was the greens who voted with the Libs/Nats to raise the assets/income test penalty from $1.50 to $3.00 last budget.
    A 100% increase.
    They were concerned about getting the budget passed no matter who it hurt.
    Saffin has said she will address the Pensioner Council Rates Rebate which has not increased since 1989 but Council Rates have nearly doubled.
    Labor says nothing about the plight of the aged Pensioner.
    All the paties advocate keeping the aged at home rather than in costly aged care facilities but the aged are being forced out of their homes as they cannot afford the costs due to poverty payments by the government.

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