City News

Greens Gatecrash Grayndler

BY JORDAN FERMANIS

Greens Gatecrash Grayndler

He’s been called a Trotskyist, ‘far more socialist than a tree hugger,’ and his opponent Anthony Albanese has suggested he would be a better fit in the International Socialist Organisation rather than Federal Parliament.

But the Greens candidate for Grayndler Jim Casey has not been fazed by the political mudslinging of recent weeks and shows no signs of backing down.

“Some of the scrutiny is absolutely appropriate. I’m the contender, I’m not the incumbent, I’m the new kid on the block so it speak, so people want to know what I’m about.”

“I welcome that scrutiny and I welcome that opportunity to talk to people about what I believe is the future for our community and our city and our country,” Mr Casey said.

Labor’s stronghold on Grayndler is now under threat following a perfect storm of redistribution, gentrification, local issues and the movement of the Greens into the political mainstream. Federal redistribution finalised this year meant Grayndler gained the suburbs of Balmain, Rozelle and Marrickville. Grayndler now includes majority of the two state seats that are held by the Greens. Along with the Sydney electorate of Sydney, Grayndler has been targeted by the Greens as a winnable seat.

But what may seem like a contest of politics, is also a contest of personality. Albanese has proved a strong local member in addition to a strong minister and shadow minister in years past.

Albanese has held Grayndler since 1996 and the seat has always elected a labor representative since it’s inception in 1949. But with a fight on his hands, Albanese has resorted to naming and shaming Casey.

Last week Albanese suggested Mr Casey was a socialist extremist. Speaking to City Hub, Mr Casey said he hoped that the electorate could move on and hear a debate about policy.

“I think it is regrettable that so much of the coverage has been harping on some McCarthyite attempt to smear me as something I’m not instead of actually talking about the political questions I’m taking to the election.

“I’m hoping that as time goes on we are going to see a more genuine policy debate in Grayndler so people can make an informed choice about who represents them in the federal parliament,” Mr Casey said.

Last week, in an unusual sign of support for a progressive Labor MP, The Daily Telegraph released a front page spread titled ‘Save Our Albo,’

Since then, Albo has embarked on a nation-wide tour fulfilling his portfolio as the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Tourism. Whilst off on duty he has used twitter to play politics.

“So week 2 begins with repeat of week 1 with Greens Party leaders in Grayndler – I’m campaigning to win seats off Tories in Perth today.”- Anthony Albanese

WestConnex is the big issue for Grayndler. The $16 billion motorway is the largest transport project in Australia and is right at the doorstep of residents in Grayndler.

Jim Casey rejects the WestConnex project entirely.

“It’s a $16 billion act of theft. They’re using public money to construct a private toll road so the public will be hit twice. Basically to seek capital and then again to use it.

But most shockingly of all, it’s not going to work. Ultimately WestConnex is just going to dump thousands of more cars into the city. At the end of the day this road is a road to nowhere,” he said.

As the election campaign continues the issue of WestConnex is one that is sure to be hammered home by the Greens as Albanese will be asked to make a firm position. Jim Casey is looking forward to more policy debate.

“We’re hearing a lot of commentary about old tweets of mine, a lot of commentary about lines taken out of context in ten minute speeches that I’ve given,” Mr Casey said.

“But we are yet to hear an explanation for Anthony’s position on refugees, we are yet to hear his position on WestConnex.”

Anthony Albanese’s office was contacted several times for comment but failed to respond.