15 December 2013
Following her preselection over the weekend as Labor candidate for the Griffith by-election, Terri Butler held her first campaign press conference at a noisy West End hub: Avid Reader bookshop.
After she batted-away any suggestion that this by-election would be about the Labor Government’s past performance, or a backlash against Kevin Rudd, Butler described the upcoming ballot as: “An opportunity for people in the local community to send a message to the Tony Abbott government about the shambolic first 100 days; the embarrassments overseas; the loss of manufacturing jobs; all the backflips on education”.
“When I’ve been talking with people in the local area, they have been very concerned about these issues,” she said.
“I have a serious chance to win this seat.”
A by-election date has not been set, but, like others, Butler is anticipating a February poll in Griffith.
“I am looking forward to campaigning to keep this seat a Labor seat,” she said.
On the question of her personal appeal, she said: “I am someone that people can relate to. I’m a young Mum, I’ve got a successful career, and, like a lot of people in this electorate, I juggle the responsibilities of looking after my family with full-time work”.
Butler spoke primarily about the National Broadband Network and aircraft noise as top-of-mind local issues.
She said people are concerned about the NBN: “My opponent Dr Glasson was actually an NBN champion, now we’re seeing people not getting the NBN and the Abbott Government offering an inferior alternative”.
“Dr Glasson has been unable to speak out about that.”
She described aircraft noise as an important issue for Griffith voters, with the new parallel runway being built at Brisbane airport in 2020.
According to Butler, the Brisbane Airport Corporation expects to see Hong Kong levels of aircraft traffic.
“We need to balance the economic benefits of the parallel runway with liveability for people in our suburbs,” she said, and proposed a trial curfew, such as those in Sydney.
Ms Butler revealed that Mr Rudd had telephoned to give his congratulations on her preselection win.
“He told me he was delighted I had been selected as the candidate,” she said, and added that she hoped he would provide plenty of support and advice during the campaign.
She fell short, however, of confirming or denying that Mr Rudd will join her on the campaign trail.
As to the rumoured tensions within Labor ranks during the preselection process, Butler said the party had a “fantastically democratic process”.
“It’s been really enthusiastic, people have been energised; people have been engaged. We had a wonderful process where two good candidates put their case.”
Butler said her opponent, Jeremy de Lore, had been a fair candidate, and she congratulated him on the way he conducted his campaign.