An underdog coming from a baby faced new party, Stephen Lynch, the candidate for the Nick Xenophon Team, is fighting for the fabled western Sydney battlers as he conducts some grassroots campaigning on a shoestring budget.
What made you want to run for Federal Parliament?
Well I’ve always been interested in politics, but my father always told me I was too honest to be a politician, so I sort of avoided it even though I always kept a close eye on it. Then Nick [Xenophon] started popping up and I thought, hey look here is an honest politician I might check him out. I checked out his website and, he was starting his own party, and I was silly enough to put my hand up to join the party, and then he was silly enough to give me a run as the candidate for Lindsay.
You’re running for the Nick Xenophon Team, some people don’t know what they stand for, so what can the Nick Xenophon Team do for Lindsay that other parties can’t?
The major issue I find around the electorate is the airport. Now the leaders of both the Liberal and Labor parties all represent seats that border Kingsford Smith Airport, so although both Emma [Husar] and Fiona [Scott] are no doubt strong advocates for the area, at the end of the day they’re just going to be minor voices in major parties. By running as the Nick Xenophon Team, I’m hoping to be a major voice in an admittedly, initially minor party, but it is a minor party that is set to have the balance of power in the Senate, and the way the election is going, people are talking about a hung parliament as well, so by not being bound by the leadership of the major parties and their electorates, I think I can stand up and give a stronger voice for the people of Lindsay.
You mentioned the two major parties, Liberal and Labor, do you guys seriously think you can hold up to the two majors in such a marginal seat?
Oh absolutely. There is no doubt that we are the underdogs in this but I wouldn’t be in it if I didn’t think I could win, and I find that people are growing very disillusioned with the major parties. The Labor Party has sort of let down the working class in their pursuit of Green votes and free trade agreements. Howard’s ‘battlers’ have been deceived by Liberal lies on education, health, that sort of thing, and people are just tired of their lies and their broken promises. Lindsay is one of the electorates that has been lied to the most, particularly in the last election. There is a history of the major parties coming out to Lindsay, paying it a lot of attention at election time, promising the world, and then after the election it is all forgotten about.
What are the three things you will do for Lindsay if you’re elected on July 2?
Three things? Ok, our major focus is the airport. Our concern is the owners of Kingsford Smith has first bite of the cherry for Western Sydney Airport. It was apart of their contract that said, if you open up another airport within the Sydney basin we get first right of refusal. So they’re going to become the monopoly owner of the Sydney airports. So the Nick Xenophon Team is saying, if that occurs then the same rules have to apply for both airports. Same hours of operations, same volume of traffic, same type of aircraft, otherwise Western Sydney Airport is going to get the planes that Sydney rejects. It is like a bad John West ad. They’ll give us the low cost carriers, they’ll give us the freight, and the regional stuff because everyone is going to want to go to Kingsford Smith. You need to pu
some legislative controls in there if there is going to be a monopoly owner. If it is a different owner then you’d imagine competition would take care of most of those. But if it is the same owner it will have to be the same rules. If they try to export the same business model out here it is going to be an out-roar.
We’re very passionate about the Gonski reforms. My life experience is that education is a great leveller. Regardless of your socio-economic background, if you get a good education you can do whatever you want. It has certainly been my experience. I’ve only got a High School Certificate, but my two eldest kids are doing uni, now one is looking at being a lawyer and one is looking at being a teacher, and their education allowed them those life choices. Education is a seen as a way to address the disparities.
And also the jobs issue. Over 50 percent of the people in Lindsay go outside the area for work. So that is one of the reasons why we are in favour of the airport because of the jobs it will bring. We just want to make sure we’re not left up Badgerys Creek without a paddle. The airport will be a great economic booster for all sorts of industry.
Who are you guys preferencing?
I honestly don’t know. If you look at my bio you’ll know where my background is, but as a team our position is we will be running an open ticket, and just make sure we are put number 1. But Nick is also on the record of saying he is keeping his cards close to his chest in some of the seats that he wants to see which party closely aligns with some of the core issues that he believes in. When he came out last weekend we spoke about some of those, so I imagine things will get more interesting as we go on closer to the election.