Locals line up for Labor in Lyons

AT least two Derwent Valley residents will be among the Australian Labor Party candidates vying for election in the expanded seat of Lyons in the next State Election, which some pundits predict may be as soon as early next year. Local residents Casey Farrell and Michelle Dracoulis have today been named among the six Labor candidates for Lyons and there is speculation that another New Norfolk person may fill the seventh slot on the party’s ticket.

Labor leader and State Opposition Leader Rebecca White today announced the party’s list of pre-selected candidates to run for Labor at the next state election, noting that several more names were still to come and there would be seven candidates in each electorate. The House of Assembly will be returned to its previous format of five electorates with seven members in each, having been reduced in 1998 to five members each.

The six Lyons candidates named today are the two sitting members, Rebecca White MHA and Jen Butler MHA, as well as Mr Farrell and Ms Dracoulis, joined by Glamorgan-Spring Bay Councillor Carole McQueeney and Meander Valley Councillor Ben Dudman. Cr McQueeney is a former nurse and Cr Dudman is an electorate officer for the Federal Member for Lyons, Brian Mitchell MHR.

Mr Farrell tonight told New Norfolk and Derwent Valley News that he had been lucky in his career to be able to support people from all over Tasmania to establish new, creative businesses with global outlook. “It has shown me that there’s really nothing you can’t do from here – nothing you have to leave home to achieve,” he said.  “I want to be able to advocate for all Tasmanians to have these amazing opportunities, and to have the basic support from government of a capable and reliable public health system, a world-class public education system, affordable housing and much lower cost-of-living stress so that we can use our energy do amazing things – as individuals and as a society.”

Mr Farrell said he loved the Derwent Valley, having grown up here and chosen to raise his family here. “I’ve volunteered in the community by running the Christmas Parade and establishing the Christmas Fair on Arthur Square, assisting with the re-established Autumn Festival, and as one of the initial members of the Rotary Club. I’m honoured to be pre-selected to be a part of Rebecca White’s Labor team for the next election. I think the people of the Derwent Valley know they’re better served by a Labor government, by its focus on health, education and cost-of-living, and I believe it’s time to change the government and start to repair the past 10 years of neglect.

In a post on social media Cr Dracoulis said she would take leave from her role as mayor of the Derwent Valley Council once the state election was called. In 2018 she was endorsed as the Labor candidate for the federal seat of Fairfax in Queensland but withdrew prior to the election.

Cr Dracoulis told the News late tonight that in her role as mayor she sees first-hand the impact of systemic failures in the lives of the people she serves. “A lack of access to health care and secure housing combined with the rise in cost-of-living has created a perfect storm in which good people are suffering,” she said. “After 10 years of a Liberal government many are struggling with bills and debt and too many are now finding it hard to put food on the table.

“It’s time for a change. The needs and voices of everyday Tasmanians must be at the heart of every decision made – at every level of government. I am excited to campaign strongly as part of Rebecca White’s team and support the changes needed to get Tasmania back on track,” Cr Dracoulis said.

Ms White told the News that the Derwent Valley and Central Highlands were proud communities with rich histories. “I’m delighted to have two exceptional candidates in Casey and Michelle on my team to advocate for the region and a Labor government at the next election,” Ms White said.

“I’m looking forward to working with Casey and Michelle, as well as Jen Butler MP and the rest of the Lyons team to help address the key issues of health, housing and cost-of-living which we know are the issues that matter to many people in the electorate,” Ms White said.

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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