In most election campaigns there are candidates that end up becoming a bit of a laughing-stock, and it seems that the campaign currently underway in NSW is no different.

Much of the focus of the campaign in NSW will be in the Western Suburbs of Sydney as this is the real battleground. Western Sydney is considered Labor heartland however those who live there open themselves up and welcome the Liberals to the area every election campaign when they stray out of their comfort zones to visit.

The last NSW State Election saw the Labor Party slammed and deservedly so. Labor had some corruption revelations surrounding a few of its MP’s and as a result of the fallout saw a record swing against them at the election, in the end the Liberals picked up a couple of seats in Labor’s heartland, something they are hoping to expand upon this time around.

This time however things are different, it is the Liberal Party suffering before ICAC with 10 members forced out of the Party and the resignation of a sitting Premier.

In the seat of Riverstone the Liberal Party held off pre-selecting a candidate while awaiting the findings of ICAC to be released as they were hoping to have one of those on what has become known as the ICAC cross-bench Bart Bassett, announced as the candidate last week. Instead Kevin Connolly will run again, the Liberals second choice to someone covered in corruption questions.

With decisions like that it is no wonder Western Sydney is not looking so flash for them suddenly, particularly with other candidates on offer like Andrew Rohan.

Andrew Rohan left) gets some help proofreading

Andrew Rohan (left) gets some help proofreading

It is early in the campaign as yet but Andrew Rohan who is the current Liberal member for Smithfield has jumped in as an early favourite for the campaigns biggest fool award.

The electorate Rohan hopes to represent is the new electorate of Prospect which covers areas such as Smithfield, Wetherill Park, Greystanes, Toongabbie, Wentworthville, and Girraween amongst others. 

Considering his performance it is little wonder even his own party see him as a long shot.

Most of you won’t know of the name Andrew Rohan and that is understandable, most in his electorate don’t know it either. However to his credit, Rohan is out there trying to get in front of people this campaign so they will know who he is.

In his community newsletter which the taxpayer funded being sent out to thousands of homes in November including those in the new seat of Prospect, he was good enough to let people know where he was going to be campaigning by holding mobile offices so people had a chance to see what he could offer the community.

Rohan Mobile Offices

The Pendle Hill station mobile office showed exactly what Andrew Rohan was capable of. Utter failure

You will notice that the Pendle Hill and Toongabbie mobile offices were listed as being on different days but the same date. Whatever skills Mr Rohan may have, reading calendars is not amongst them.

Luckily those who chose to show up with issues were looked after at the mobile office of the Labor Candidate Hugh McDermott a few hundred metres up the road where it has been a regular feature. It is understood many local issues were discussed there along with constituents making comments regarding Mr Rohan’s competence.

Some may call this trivial, but bear this in mind this newsletter would have been proof read numerous times and I would say dates for public appearances are pretty important things to have correct.

However this is not the first time for newsletter gaffs. A booklet in multiple languages was also sent mailed out with taxpayer funds where Rohan invited people to “drop in and say hello” at his office. Alas, those hoping to do so would have been dismayed to find that there was no address or even suburb where that office may be. Upon realising this foolish oversight that was not picked up by him, his staff, or his printers Rohan did what any good Liberal would do and dipped once again into the public purse to have the document reprinted and resent to thousands of homes where it no doubt graces kitty litter trays to this day.

Residents claim that they have been bombarded by newsletters, booklets and Xmas cards from Rohan, which is OK except that these residents don’t live in his electorate.

Some of the taxpayer funded mailouts sent to residents not in Rohans electorate

Some of the taxpayer funded mailouts sent to residents not in Rohans electorate

With the new electorate boundaries there are areas in Prospect that are outside the seat of Smithfield where Rohan is the member.

Rohan is allowed to campaign in these areas, but he must do so using his own campaign funds.

Instead Rohan has sent numerous amounts of what can only be deemed campaign material to residents in the new Prospect electorate using taxpayer funds.

It has been alleged by many that could be a breach of parliamentary entitlements, in fact it could be multiple breaches. One would assume that a political party in as much hot water as the Liberal Party is over corruption revelations would be careful not to misuse parliamentary entitlements, however not Andrew Rohan who seems to think the public purse is there as his personal election campaign fund.

So how can we be sure that this was done using parliamentary entitlements? Because it is printed on the back of the mailouts and mailed out to residents outside his electorate bearing the parliamentary crest as the envelope pictured below shows.

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What is stated on the back of the Xmas card sent in the above envelope

What is stated on the back of the Xmas card sent in the above envelope

The NSW Department Of Parliamentary Service has this to say under the heading “Use of entitlements for electioneering or political campaigning purposes”

“The Determination of the Parliamentary Remuneration Tribunal states that Members’ entitlements may not be used in relation to activities of a direct electioneering or political campaigning nature.”

I would interpret any correspondence with people outside a Members electorate to be campaigning, particularly when it informs people of times and dates of campaign mobile offices, Xmas wishes, and letters of introduction.

It is important to also note that this would not be the first time Rohan has been found breaching the rules around Parliamentary entitlements.

In September 2012 Rohan was caught breaking parliament rules by using parliament funds on a mailout endorsing a controversial and at best questionable Fairfield Councillor candidate during the council election campaign.

Rohan also sent another campaign mailout to residents outside his Smithfield electorate using parliamentary entitlements last April as the letter bearing the parliamentary crest linked below clearly shows. The address on this letter is in the current Toongabbie electorate.

Andrew Rohan Letter To Those Outside His Electorate

In the letter Rohan claims

“I am excited to be representing you…”

Unfortunately for Rohan these people are already being represented by sitting members that were elected by the very residents that he was mailing.

Clearly given Rohan’s ongoing commitment to allegedly break parliament rules and misuse parliamentary entitlements you would think that Mike Baird would step in and sack him, however Baird has chosen to follow the Liberal tradition that has seen the downfall of so many of his colleagues in ICAC over the last two years, and turned the blind eye. 

So what does someone happy to spend willy nilly from the public purse for their own purpose campaign on? Two areas of focus for the campaign have been education and transport.

Pendle Hill Railway Station, the one where Rohan failed to show up to his own mobile office is in need of a revamp, and certainly a lift for the elderly and disabled. This is something that Rohan has chosen to focus on, and would have no doubt campaigned on had he shown up on the 14th December. Rohan is promising locals the lift at the station that they have been calling for and that is an admirable promise indeed. However admirable doesn’t cut it when one looks at the facts.

The inconvenient fact number one is that the upgrade Rohan is promising is not in the Coalitions budget, therefore the funding for it doesn’t exist.

The second inconvenient fact is that the only reason the station needs a lift is because of a broken promise by the Coalition Government. Election promises are not recyclable, they are not something you can promise then fail to deliver and promise again next time.

Last election Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian was campaigning with the Liberal candidate and promising that Pendle Hill station would be upgraded with a lift when they formed government.

Last time a lift was promised. Notice Gladys and  Kirsty talking over disabled man not to him?

Last time a lift was promised. Notice Gladys and Kirsty talking over disabled man not to him?

That was three years ago, and lo and behold, here they are promising it all over again.

Assuming your electorate are stupid and naïve is not an endearing trait.

However on the education front Rohan has brought in the big guns. Rohan attended a meeting at Girraween Public School to promise the school an additional $784,000 in funding.

This is quite an act of desperation coming from a government that slashed approximately $1.7 Billion from NSW education.

However Rohan showed the need for improved education when he posted about the desperate promise on Facebook, as the post edits below show.

IMG_2406

 

Three lines and three typos (5 lines on a phone screen), although I note these were corrected two days later.

What is most alarming is that Rohan couldn’t spell Girraween. This is a suburb he claims to represent the interests of and yet he can’t even spell it?

Even if it was a staffer who wrote the post, I would have assumed that they were able to spell the name of a suburb they were paid by taxpayers to serve.

As someone who writes a lot I’m not going to get too high and mighty about typos, but to not know how to spell a suburb you claim to represent, I’d say that’s a bit beyond the realm.

This campaign we can expect to hear a lot of talk from the Premier and other Coalition Ministers from Sydney’s North Shore about how important The West is to them.

We can see how important the West is by the quality of candidates on offer such as the one to eventually announced in Riverstone, and the at best questionable actions of the candidate for Prospect.

The people of Western Sydney deserve better.

Frankly, we all do.

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3 thoughts on “Running On Empty – Is this really the best the Liberal Party have to offer the West?

  1. Who would invest in our country?

    Building our own Submarines, means we also develop powerful research and development capabilities.
    The way to look at these sorts of industrial developments, is not jobs, jobs, jobs. But as building a bank of nation building skills and knowledge that become the Tap roots for our defence and economic strength.
    Universities that provide advanced research and development are the foundation on which we build our capabilities.
    Buying critical hardware or technologies from someone else, is false economy, we will be left with obsolete equipment and no lasting capability or corporate knowledge of our own.
    When we are threatened by a previously friendly nation, such as japan. Having our own capacities may be the only thing that saves our Maritime nation.

    For instance this is why we had the car industry thrust upon us by the CIA and the five eyes intelligence community in 1948, because President Roosevelt had clearly demonstrated that the USA industry, could be switched over to defence manufacture in just a week on the order of Executive arm of Government, thereby bringing all the science, intellectual power and treasure of the nation to bear on the defence task.

    Turn the pyramid upside down in your mind and you will see, that like a tree the jobs are created by advanced scientific, physics, electronics, mathematics and research capacities (the tree roots as the basis), up through our schools into trades skills, through long established and excellent TAFE skill development systems (the tree trunk and branches), into the leaves, flowers and fruit. So the jobs, the cultural and community needs will grow and be met as a knowledge based society matures.
    When investors are seeking out the prospects for success, and regaining the productive edge they look for the high skill high wage context as described in our tree of knowledge holistic approach. These usually are the investors who take the long term view. These are the investors looking for future industries and societies wanting creative futures rather than polluting or industries of the past. We must accept the national change to a high tech, high skill , high wage leading edge community led by education and embrace new ideas as opportunities to be grasped with both hands.
    Long term thinking beats short term thinking every time!
    When you envision the tree of knowledge, you will understand it is a living, interdependent thing, its vitality comes from the constant flow of the energy from our collective brains, (looking a little droopy of late). It is Not a machine or a structure, not an institution to be seen as capable of being split into separate components from the whole.
    I offer this example from my experience: When a Swedish Submarine design and construction company named, KOCKUMS, won the contract to build the new Collins Class submarines in Australia. They looked for the logical manufacturing base. The first priority was to research which cities were teaching advanced electronics (the vital component of submarine warfare), in the Universities and the Technical College systems in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne and Adelaide. Melbourne, the company decided was their best option.
    Kim Beasley as Minister for defence, found that strategic decision making; obliged the ALP Government, to select Adelaide to shore up its electoral fortunes; a near fatal political intervention. Benefitted the ALP, but handicapped the ship building industry.
    Eventually, we accumulated the corporate skills and knowledge required in our universities and industries. That advantage is now threatened by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and/or the H. R. Nicholls society pushing the “short term cheap option” to the Liberal National Party (LNP) Coalition Government, to buy ships and boats off the shelf, in doing so, we will trash the not inconsiderable, unique body of knowledge and ship building skills we have amassed, at great effort and cost.
    The real ’bottom line’ will be the cost in blood and treasure during war, when we must finally stand up, and defend ourselves, with no “great and powerful friend” to rely on.
    The lesson here is great. University education, is not so much an opportunity for individuals to establish high paying careers, or for socially disadvantaged serfs to gain scholarships to lift themselves out of a poverty trap.
    No! The value of university education is a nation building necessity, that advances the skills knowledge and talents of the best of our students to ensure the capability of our nation will grow and prosper by expanding our imaginings in every cultural, educational, scientific, environmental and industrial endeavour.

    Remember, Einstein told us “Imagination is everything”. We should improve on, our wealth creating imaginative and inventive capabilities, for example; WiFi and Ultrasound, Vaccines and Cochlea Hearing.
    The LNP has form in ’leadership behaviour’. In the 1950s the CSIRO was researching and building Computers, until Menzies ordered them to “seed clouds to make rain” instead. This LNP Government has the same disrespect for Science and Higher Education.

    Gough Whitlam is right. Free Education is the price we must pay to advance our National Interest, in every field.
    Government should fund individual Graduates and then reward Universities for the quality and numbers of students they graduate.
    Not the Number they sign up.
    We can do without discrimination on the basis of postcodes, instead the best and brightest should be invited to attend, on the basis of all the last two years of work improvement of high school and their intrinsic motivation.
    We don’t have the luxury of time to indulge the sophistry coming out of the treasury bench fops.
    If we buy submarines and ships off the shelf we could lose the coming war, or at least have our import and export capability at the mercy of our competitors.
    Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us”!

    John Ward.

  2. Some one commenting on if Abbott in IA said was Abbott just running a diversion said according to his calendar Kathy Jackson’s sick certificate has run out this on top a Prince accused of being a pedophile and a budget full of maggots no wonder. Kathy Jackson gosh I almost forgot her .. see it works

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