Kiss of death?

Premier Kristina Keneally embraces Prime Minister Julia Gillard at a campaign announcement last week. Picture: Alan PorrittIs the NSW Labor Party so on the nose it’s affecting the election chances of its federal counterparts in the Illawarra?This is the question being asked as the nation counts down the days to Saturday’s poll.Greens member and former Cunningham MP Michael Organ believed constant controversy dogging the party at local and state government levels in the region would have “a real impact”.”We’ve had a corruption scandal at Wollongong council, we’ve also had a lot of scandal with regards to the state Labor government,” he said. “I think people are, rather than just naturally voting Labor as they have done in the Illawarra, they’re thinking, ‘Hang on, what am I going to do here?’ ” Julia Gillard: ‘don’t blame me for their sins’VOTE: Will the NSW ALP’s performance be the kiss of death for the ALP in the federal election?But ALP stalwart and former Keira MP Colin Markham said while people were “browned off” with NSW Labor and that might commute to the federal arena, the damage in Illawarra would be minimal.”There will be a percentage of people who will vote against federal Labor because of what’s happening at a state level, that some people will say, ‘Bloody Labor, look what’s been going on in NSW’.”But I think Sharon Bird [Cunningham], Neil Reilly [Gilmore] and Stephen Jones [Throsby] won’t have any trouble whatsoever,” Mr Markham said.A weekend newspaper report suggested residents of western Sydney could bring down the Gillard government, in protest over state Labor’s performance.The ALP suffered a crippling swing of almost 26 per cent against it in the Penrith by-election in June, while a Newspoll found the party’s primary vote had fallen to a record low of 25 per cent in May-June.But Gilmore hopeful Mr Reilly said the scandals had not impacted on his campaign.”In the last week or so I must have doorknocked 800 homes … people do have a clear delineation as to what is a state matter, what is federal and what is local,” he said.State Member for Kiama Matt Brown agreed. “I couldn’t imagine why an Illawarra voter would punish a federal Labor candidate because state Labor is just continually committed to our area,” he said.The Liberal Party’s Gilmore incumbent Joanna Gash believed the scandals were damaging.She pointed particularly to “issues like transport” and “general mismanagement”.
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