Delivered at a cracking pace that reflected either his first career as a radio sports journalist or the fact that he had 5100 words to get though, the campaign launch speech by Labor’s Andrew Woodward on Sunday was chock-full of ideas, facts, figures, arguments and plans connected to the theme of a “positive, prosperous and sustainable future” for the federal seat of Cowper.
Stepping up to the stage with Mr Woodward to affirm that he is “smart, energetic and strategic” and “friends, you are so lucky to have him” were Joel Fitzgibbon, Shadow Minister for Regional Australia; Kaila Murnain, General Secretary NSW Labor; and Greg White, President of the Coffs Harbour branch of Country Labor.
The audience in Bellingen’s Memorial Hall numbered about 75 people and included state Labor candidates Susan Jenvey (Oxley), Tony Judge (Coffs Harbour) and Peter Alley (Port Macquarie) as well as the person who has attempted to take Cowper for Labor five times, Paul Sefky.
The last time Labor held Cowper was 1961–1963, when Frank McGuren wrested it from Sir Earle Page with a 13 per cent swing.
Mr Woodward said he was determined to pull off a similar feat and described the three main platforms to his candidacy as employment, the environment and fairness.
He said nothing riled him more than the claim that looking after the environment was incompatible with jobs and growth, and he outlined plans to improve education and training, deliver more of the NBN as FTTC, combat climate change and focus on jobs of the future in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and nature-based tourism and conservation initiatives such as the Great Koala National Park.