Arkwright’s determined to bring Throsby ‘competitive democracy’

Her odds of poll victory are hopelessly slim, but Liberal Throsby candidate Juliet Arkwright has resolved to restore democracy to Labor’s Illawarra heartland.As a lonely Liberal figure in a Labor-dominated landscape, the Wingecarribee councillor faces a daunting task to take on ALP candidate Stephen Jones in a seat which, held by a margin of 17 per cent, shows little sign of budging.”I am the underdog, but the aim is still to achieve victory here,” Ms Arkwright said.”There seems to be a sad acceptance, particularly among business people and young people, that the area is dominated by the Labor Party, and I hope I can bring a competitive democracy back.”Conceding the Coalition’s campaign war chest would likely be directed towards marginal seats, Ms Arkwright insisted she was not just a paper candidate.”I’ve been active in the party for more than 20 years and I’m not just here to be a name on the ballot paper,” she said.Meantime, Cunningham Labor incumbent Sharon Bird has deflected claims by Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells that Labor takes its safe seats for granted.Ms Fierravanti-Wells made the oft-repeated assertion yesterday at the announcement of Liberal Cunningham candidate Philip Clifford.”I don’t think anyone could look at the record of me and Jennie George and the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment we got into the area, and say the region didn’t get a good run,” Ms Bird said.”If anyone has taken the area for granted it’s them (by) announcing a candidate 72 hours after an election was announced.”Mr Jones, who is vying to replace retiring MP Jennie George, also disputed the claim that marginal seats were the sole object of Labor’s affections.”It doesn’t stand up to empirical scrutiny,” he said, citing economic stimulus measures, school building projects and investment in the University of Wollongong.He rejected claims by Ms Arkwright that Liberal-leaning Throsby voters did not have his ear.”I spend two days a week in what is called the Liberal heartland of the electorate,” he said. “They may or may not vote for me but … if successful, I want to represent their interests.”
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