August 16, 2013
On Wednesday morning I joined more than 40 constituents for a morning tea hosted by Dennis Jensen, the sitting Liberal member for Tangney.
Over cups of tea and coffee and scones and muffins, the group of mostly senior citizens and supporters listened to Dr Jensen speak and questioned him for more an hour. Afterwards there was mingling and one-on-one chats with the MP.
The coalition’s Stop the Boats campaign was their chief concern, with many expressing misgivings about the slowness of the processing of asylum seekers and the fact that very few who arrive actually get returned.
The group very much supported the policy, with one person even suggesting Australia should withdraw from the UN convention on refugees, saying it had been written in an earlier time and was not relevant now.
The next biggest discussion point was about Kevin Rudd and his appeal to younger voters who, the members of the audience felt, weren’t attracted to Tony Abbott because of his stilted, scripted appearance.
There were lots of murmurs about bringing back Malcolm Turnbull, a suggestion dismissed emphatically by Jensen.
Some in the audience believed Palmer United Party preferences would flow to Dr Jensen, while the Greens’ would go to Labor.
Dr Jensen, a well-known climate change sceptic, remarked, “I think they are pretty cross with me, I am the devil incarnate to the Greens.”
On the national broadband network, Dr Jensen and his constituents seemed confused about how it would affect them.
The group, mostly pensioners, mainly wanted to know how much it would cost them and if it would be compulsory for them to be connected . They didn’t see any use for the internet and were very concerned they would be paying for something they didn’t want. Dr Jensen couldn’t really answer .
Dr Jensen was asked how he would ensure he carried out the wishes of the electorate. As in my previous interview with him, he said he would take account of community sentiment but ultimately he would be guided by expert opinion as he did when crossing the floor for his last two conscience votes on therapeutic cloning and the RU486 abortion drug.
More Tangney reports here