Labor gears up for next state election

Members of NSW Country Labor supporters in Goulburn recently.
Members of NSW Country Labor supporters in Goulburn recently.

The next NSW state election is not scheduled until March 23, 2019, but with a Community Cabinet meeting here soon, it seems the election campaign in Goulburn is underway.

Goulburn Labor secretary Jason Shepherd said the preselection process for a candidate would be finished by the end of March and that they are in election mode.

Mr Shepherd said there was “great interest” among Labor circles in the preselection, with the field narrowing to a possible three candidates.

“We had initial interest from many Goulburn and Yass Labor Members,” he said.

“The field has tightened to three excellent candidates. All are strong candidates with huge community connections and fantastic local track records.”

Rank and file members from all local branches in the electorate will vote. 

He would not comment on whether one of those candidates was former state labor candidate and senator, Ursula Stephens.

Mr Shepherd said it was time sitting member Pru Goward had a run for her money.

“Goulburn understands that our 'local' NSW (Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong) Liberal Member has to go,” he said.

“It's time up. If she was going to do anything it would have happened by now.

“Pub talk around town says Goulburnian's are sick of all the fake news.”

Mr Shepherd said the Labor Party was gearing up for the election.

“We are in election mode. Goulburn is stressed out by worsening services, major government spends going elsewhere and uncertainty around possible job losses at our major government employers,” he said.

“At the very least, Goulburn Labor will make the seat extremely marginal, meaning better services and more money for Goulburn.

“Goulburn Labor achieved a lot this during the last state election by forcing an uncaring NSW Liberal State Government into funding for the hospital upgrade and the new Performing Art sCentre.

“We are busy talking with the community, marking dates and preparing for battle. If the Liberals want to keep Goulburn they had better have their cheque books out as we are going to push them hard.”

Meanwhile, Ursula Stephens said Labor is well prepared for the 2019 election.

“The NSW Annual Conference is at the end of June and most of the policy to take to the election will be finalised then,” Ms Stephens said.

“Local Labor activists met on the weekend and there was an air of optimism in the room about winning enough seats to win government.

“There has been so much wasteful spending in Sydney - it’s shameful. Barilaro’s millions haven’t touched the electorate.

“I haven’t made my mind about 2019, but the crankier I get about Pru Goward’s laziness the more inclined I am to nominate.

“At the end of the day, it will be up to our branch members across the electorate to choose their candidate in a rank and file ballot, once preselection is called.”