FEDERAL Labor has opted for a fresh face in its battle to take control of Canberra with the national executive yesterday endorsing Shire of Mundaring councillor James Martin (42) to take on Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt in the marginal seat of Hasluck.
Cr Martin’s endorsement comes after Lauren Palmer, Labor’s candidate for WA’s most marginal Federal Government-held seat, quit just months out from the next Federal Election citing health reasons.
Nominations were also received from former MLC Bill Leadbetter, who served in WA’s upper house for six weeks after Morley MP Amber-Jade Sanderson resigned to run for a lower house seat, and City of Swan councillor Andrew Kiely.
Cr Martin said representing Labor at the next election was an honour and an incredible opportunity to make a difference in his community.
“I will stay on as a councillor at the Shire of Mundaring however if I am elected that will obviously change,” he said.
“The issues in Hasluck are not unique to many in WA in that there are many constituents who are facing cost of living pressures not equating to wage and pension increases.
“There are also environmental issues, problems with the NBN and concerns over the conflicting information available to residents wanting to comment on Perth Airport’s proposed flight corridors when the new runway comes online.”
Cr Martin, a WA Labor member since 2009, said the seat of Hasluck was ‘very winnable’ for Labor.
“I am confident the election will be fought on policies and Labor’s policies on GST, school funding and higher education are simply better,” he said.
It has been a whirlwind over the past week for the Boya resident who was elected to the Shire of Mundaring council in October 2015 on a platform of reining in local government expenditure and rate rises.
“Politics was never my career goal but when you become a parent your outlook on life changes and everything isn’t just about you so you develop different priorities,” he said.
“I’ve been an Army Reservist since 2001 and it was while I was spending weekends out in the bush that I realised I could serve my community in a different way.
“It was the night of my 40th birthday when I received the call that I was successful in becoming a councillor.
“Being a councillor has opened my eyes to the issues facing the community and the great work being undertaken by volunteers.
“I have been successful in making changes at Mundaring which makes the cynical part of you drop away when you realise you can make a positive difference.”