Former Hills MLC Alyssa Hayden out but not down

Former Hills MLC Alyssa Hayden out but not down

IN a surprise defeat, Liberal’s Alyssa Hayden has lost her East Metropolitan seat in the WA Parliament’s Upper House to One Nation’s Charles Smith after counting was finalised last week.

Ms Hayden said while the public perception of politicians was often negative, she would run again.

“Without a doubt I would run again,” she said.

“I have too much I still want to achieve for our region and a passion to grow the community’s confidence in our political system.”

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Ms Hayden said she initially stood for election after feeling disillusioned that the Hills community was not represented in state politics.

“I grew up in Mt Helena and went to Eastern Hills Senior High School and I felt the people representing our community didn’t reflect the people I grew up with or those with similar backgrounds to me,” she said.

“Many had university degrees, were doctors, lawyers, teachers or farmers and although I respect and appreciate they do represent a large number of the population, I felt that the community I grew up in, the students who didn’t go down the path of tertiary education, was not represented.”

Ms Hayden said after seeing members of Parliament in action she knew she was up for the job.

“I certainly wasn’t the top student in high school and I started my first business in Midland when I was 19,” she said.

“Everything I learnt was from the school of hard knocks.

“After seeing members of Parliament in action, I knew I could do the job and that I would put my heart and soul into delivering for the region I enjoyed growing up in and lived in.”

Ms Hayden said after running a business for most of her career, the Liberal Party was an “obvious fit”.

She said “the values to reward hard work, individual freedom and rights, with an overall drive to improve the lives of the community by creating opportunities for individuals to succeed and not to allow government to suffocate growth through layers of bureaucracy” appealed to her.

But Ms Hayden said political apathy in the community could be difficult for her.

“The one-liner typical stereotyped cliche remarks received on a daily basis saddened me,” she said.

“It’s not that it hurts me personally, it’s more the fact that the overall perception of politics is a poor one.

“As soon as someone became aware of my position, their attitude changed and the mud-slinging comments started.

“I was once spat and sworn at by an individual I had never met at a local rally before I had the chance to address the crowd.”

Ms Hayden said a lack of education about Australia’s political system led people to be disengaged and disinterested.

“Most people have not had any interaction with an MP and are happy to adopt the opinions of others, media and historic events,” she said.

“It is a great shame, as we are incredibly lucky to live in such an open democracy.”

Ms Hayden said she was proud of what she had achieved since she first entered Parliament in 2008, where she laid out a wish list for the region in her inaugural speech.

“I wanted to get the heads of the major decision makers to look east. For far too long, the region had been ignored,” she said.

“Both major parties had simply looked north and south to develop and invest in.

“I was shameless in promoting the region and sure I showed favouritism to the Hills, Midland and the Swan Valley, which is now recognised as a major tourism attraction and destination for Perth.

“I have helped achieve so much, from the hundreds of small local road upgrades to the Roe Highway interchange, Lloyd Street underpass, the Gateway Project to the world class Midland Hospital and Midland Curtin University Campus.

“We have invested heavily in schools in the region, including the new Governor Stirling Senior High School, major upgrades to Maida Vale Primary School and new primary and secondary schools in Ellenbrook.”