Coffs Harbour Advocate – 16 June 2017
LABOR has jumped back into the political ring of Cowper.
Academic Andrew Woodward this week stepped forward as the Labor spokesman for the electorate, as the Opposition party readies to put forward its federal and state candidates.
Mr Woodward moved to Bellingen from Sydney last year but has family ties within the electorate and is well familiar with its surrounds.
No stranger to the public life, he ran in last year’s federal election for the affluent Sydney seat of Warringah against former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Mr Abbott gained 51.6% of votes counted and retained the traditionally held Liberal seat whereas Mr Woodward received 14.8% of the vote.
Seemingly undeterred by the loss, Mr Woodward has taken aim at Cowper and said the National Party was missing the focus to some crucial battle points in Cowper which could decide the next election.
At least a year away from the next federal election, Mr Woodward has started to lay a platform for Labor with an increased social media presence.
“Luke’s been there six elections now. I personally think he’s reached his expiry date, his use by date, he’s run out of puff,” Mr Woodward.
“He’s basically become the assistant minister of fetes, funerals and flower shows.
“I’m sick of seeing selfies of himself at flower shows fetes, funerals and plaque unveilings.”
Mr Woodward made it clear climate change was at the forefront of his agenda. He trained under former American Vice President Al Gore who founded the Climate Reality Project – a group of cultural leaders and scientists hoping to turn climate change awareness into action.
Rather than just focusing on ecological issues, Mr Woodward saw climate change as having more of a widespread economic and sociological impact.
This tied in with another key focus of jobs. Mr Woodward said retirement, tourism and education had replaced agriculture as the electorate’s lead industries.
As the region develops, Mr Woodward said more was needed to future proof and grow job prosperity.