This Saturday, the 8th of April 2017, 3 electorates in New South Wales will be heading to the polls for a series of by-elections. The people of Gosford, Manly, and North Shore, must send a message to the Liberal Party to ensure that their conservative voice is heard. With a very left leaning premier at the helm of the government, plus many independents vying for the seats, the answer is clear that the Christian Democratic Party is the only conservative choice in the upcoming by-elections.
In the seat of Gosford there are 6 parties vying to win the Central Coast seat. The Liberal Party has selected Jilly Pillon, a businesswoman that has received criticism for living in the adjoining electorate of Terrigal instead of Gosford. The Australian Greens has selected financial lawyer Abigail Boyd, and the Animal Justice Party has selected Skyla Wagstaff. The Shooters Fishers & Farmers Party has chosen Larry Freeman, a lifelong resident that has worked for Gosford City Council for 30 years. The Christian Democrats have a great candidate in Andrew Church. He is a businessman, and was the Gosford City Citizen of the Year in 2016. He will campaign strongly on getting Gosford’s performing arts centre off the ground, and on the CDP’s pro family platform that will be able to attract many families that are not satisfied with the Labor Party, but at the same time do not want to vote for the Liberal Party to represent them in the Central Coast region. Labor paralympian and local teacher, Liesl Tesch, has been elected to defend the seat for Labor that was vacated by cancer-suffering Labor MP Kathy Smith. The seat of Gosford is held by Labor by just 200 votes, but they are expected to win that seat quite comfortably. The seats that will definitely be watched by all commentators though, are the North Sydney seats of Manly and North Shore.
Both of the North Sydney electorates had been held by high-profile Liberal candidates on safe margins. The former Health Minister Jillian Skinner won North Shore in 1994, and the former Premier Mike Baird held Manly since 2007. Although it is unlikely the Liberals will lose either of these seats, in the past both electorates have had a history of Independent representation. Gladys Berejiklian knows that these contests are very important for her to win, as any loss can undermine her leadership and potentially destroy any chance of the party regrouping and being viable for the NSW State Election due in 2019. The Premier has already announced a $3 billion sweetener for voters in these electorates, with the construction of the Northern Beaches tunnel. University of Sydney political scientist Michael Hogan stressed the importance for Gladys to retain these seats on comfortable margins. He said that “she needs those by-elections like she needs a hole in the head,” and that it is “going to be difficult and council amalgamations will be an issue.” Both are safe Liberal seats, but by-elections, especially those that have the government in major turmoil, can produce high percentage swings that could prove a fatal blow.
In the seat of Manly there are 5 parties and 7 independents vying to win the North Sydney seat. The Labor Party has chosen not to run, as they are hoping for an upset win by an Independent candidate. The Animal Justice Party has chosen Ellie Robertson, and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party has picked Kerry Bromson. They, as well as environmental lawyer and Independent candidate Kathryn Ridge, and Australian Greens candidate Clara Williams-Roldan, are hoping for a swing to the left, in a very conservative electorate. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, Annie Wright from the Christian Democrats will be campaigning hard on the issues that concern people most. With the CDP being the only right-wing party in the field of many candidates, it gives the voters of Manly a conservative choice, and one where the people can send a clear message to the Liberals. She has campaigned on the issue of housing affordability, and unlike the premier wants to walk the walk on the important issue affecting people in her electorate. She wants to improve public transport, take a stand against sharia law and halal certification, and is the only one that will ensure our children are protected from the dangerous Safe Schools indoctrination program. James Griffin is the Liberal Party representative that aims to replace ex-premier Mike Baird, and currently holds the seat on a 24.5% margin. He has however been scrutinised due to past financial issues, and factional infighting which has plagued his candidacy.
James Griffin was a director of a company, that a liquidator found may have traded while insolvent before it was wound up, owing the Australian Tax Office $160,000. Mr Griffin played a major role in the “social media intelligence” start-up, SR7, which was bought in February 2014 by consultancy KPMG. According to the liquidator’s March 2015 report to creditors, the company had net trading losses totalling more than $113,000 for financial years 2010-11 to 2012-13. There also was “a shortfall of current assets to current liabilities” in each year during that period. The report also reveals the company failed to lodge income tax returns for the three financial years to 2013-14. Nor did it lodge monthly GST activity statements from October 2013 to March 2014, or employee payment summaries in 2011-12 and 2013-14 financial years. If that wasn’t bad enough, he has also come under fire from political opponents over his involvement in signing off on a bungled development plan for Manly Oval as the local council’s deputy mayor.
Despite raising a major question mark of his character regarding all of these matters, to top it off he has been involved in factional infighting during the pre-selection process. James Griffin, who is a moderate and who was Baird’s pick, was up against Tony Abbott’s preferred conservative candidate, Walter Villatora. Griffin beat Villatora 71-37, which caused tensions in the party, as the left faction continued to control the pre-selection process and further inflict their authority. It was a similar story in the North Shore, where moderate Felicity Wilson, a corporate affairs director at Broadspectrum, narrowly beat the conservative candidate, Tim James, a one-time chief of staff to the planning minister, Anthony Roberts. She defeated Tim James in the fifth ballot by 104 votes to 98.
In the seat of North Shore there are 5 parties and 3 independents vying to win the North Sydney seat. The Animal Justice Party has selected Ila Lessing, and the Voluntary Euthanasia Party has chosen Brian Beaumont Owles. The Australian Greens have selected Justin Alick, and there will be 3 Independent candidates hoping for a big swing against the government. Anti-amalgamation activists have vowed to target Liberal candidate Felicity Wilson on her history of support for council mergers as a senior executive at the Property Council of Australia. Ms Wilson was one of the leading advocates for council amalgamations as an executive director of the developers’ lobby group, arguing in a submission to the NSW government last year that having fewer, larger councils would be more efficient. She is now running for the usually safe Liberal seat, but nothing can be taken for granted, as we saw the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party snatch a rural seat from the Nationals last year. Due to the poor performance of the NSW government, a likewise result could possibly be on the cards.
Outgoing North Shore MP Jillian Skinner, a moderate, resigned after being dumped from cabinet in the January reshuffle. Ms Skinner has held the seat of North Shore since 1994 and weathered a series of scandals as the state’s health minister, including the chemotherapy under-dosing crisis and the accidental gassing of two newborn babies at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, which left one dead and the other with severe disabilities. Not only has the party been plagued with scandals, but factionalism has emerged as a major challenge for Berejiklian. Liberal power-broker Michael Photios has been very successful in wielding his power over the pre-selection process in the Liberal Party. He has ensured that Tony Abbott’s idea of the party membership voting for candidates never saw the light of day, and continues to drift the party further to the left. Not only did the left faction get their candidates over the line for contesting the 2 North Sydney by-elections, but last federal election they were successful in defeating rival conservative candidates. This has caused much concern to the conservative voters in the community that feel that the Liberals no longer represent them. Lucky for them, there are select individuals that aim to uphold these principles, and speak on the important issues that many choose not to discuss due to political correctness, and moral weakness.
Christian Democratic candidate for North Shore, Silvana Nile, is one of those individuals. Silvana is the wife of party leader Fred Nile, and exclusively told The Unshackled that she is running on a “pro-family, pro-marriage and pro-life” platform. She is the only candidate that will fight against the dangerous safe schools program, and will ensure that this state doesn’t go down the same path as Victoria with its ongoing flirtation with socialism. Parents right across the state want the government to take a stand against this madness that teaches young children gender fluidity, the promotion of LGBT lifestyles, and the agenda to strip away the freedom from parents to teach their own values. She will ensure that she protects the unborn, at a time that we are seeing people on the left push their extreme pro-abortion positions, by introducing bills into parliament and promoting an agenda out to the public. Silvana has campaigned on housing affordability, and unlike her counterpart will walk the walk on this issue effecting young families. She will be a strong voice against council amalgamations, and will be fiscally responsible on the many economic factors effecting our state. The CDP can potentially gain from any bad moves the government makes. Whether this be regarding the continual corruption on how the party operates, the ongoing shift to the left with the election of Gladys Berejiklian to the Premiership, and the loss of conservative values that the Liberal party once stood for.
Under the ex-Premiership of Mike Baird, we thought the party’s move to the left couldn’t get any worse, but we were wrong. Although the Greyhound Ban badly damaged the party, the election of Gladys Berejiklian to the Premiership was the icing on the cake. She is pro-choice, a feminist, and situated on the hard-left of the Liberal Party. The conservative voters in these 3 electorates need to send the Liberal Party a clear message, similar to the one they sent to the Nationals in the Orange by-election last year. We must ensure that the corruption ends, that principles and family values are once again reclaimed, and that our politicians start representing the silent majority rather than inner city elites. The conservative choice in these by-elections can not be any clearer, as the only right-wing party contesting these seats, the Christian Democratic Party is the logical choice. The Liberal Party must no longer take the conservative vote for granted. The time is now to stand up against the Marxist left, and promote the very values and principles that once built this great state of ours.
Editor @ The Unshackled