By Pascal Grosvenor
I attended St Agnes high school at Rooty Hill from years 7 to 10. I went to Loyola College next to the RSL in years 11 and 12. My mother still lives in Rooty Hill, and my grandmother lived in the Catholic nursing home next to St Agnes for quite some years before she passed away.
I want to give a personal account of the last week at Rooty Hill and offer my reflections and opinions on what took place.
The PM’s week in Western Sydney was in essence a mini-campaign launched by her speech to Labor faithful on Sunday night. It was a tightly stage-managed week with little room for unscripted opportunities to meet the people on the street. It was billed as a listening tour but the reality was different.
If you’re interested you can check my twitter stream for real time tweets and photos I posted during the week at https://mobile.twitter.com/pascalg15.
Sunday night was similar to a campaign launch speech. It was at Parramatta rather than Rooty Hill and only Labor Party faithful and the media were present. This article is an excellent description of the speech and the night . Most shocking is the comment that Tony Abbott has weekly meetings with News Corp, no doubt to planning how to bury Labor.
Julia Gillard was also invited to attend the MBM church (www.mbm.org.au) at Rooty Hill, and she missed the opportunity to speak with residents of Rooty Hill. I’m a member of the church, and I know that people support vote Liberal, Labor and Greens. This would have been a chance for her to talk to real people in an environment where they are courteous and respectful to each other despite political differences.
The church has 300 to 400 people at its 10.30am service. There are about 40 different ethnic groups represented in the congregation – Maltese, Lebanese, Indian, Filipino and Sudanese to name a few. Its a great illustration of the how multicultural Western Sydney is.
The PM had a private dinner with bloggers and did not appear to mingle with locals at the club. I think this was a bad decision. It gave the appearance of her being too removed from the locals. It didn’t help that the bloggers are not residents of Western Sydney
She also missed a a great chance to sit in the regular bistro, have a chicken schnitzel and beer and chat to the locals there that night. I had dinner in the bistro and waited for some time, hoping to introduce myself. Not seeing any sign of the PM leaving the dinner. I went over to the live broadcast of Sky News with PM Live being recorded at the RSL.
I thought host Paul Murray’s opinion that Julia Gillard’s tour wasn’t authentic was true based on what I’d seen and heard. During the show there was quite a lot of anger and heckling by locals towards Mark Latham and Ed Husic, who were defending Labor’s economic record. I noticed that the vocal members of the audience all felt the NBN is a waste of money or not needed. To me this is a clear sign that they either believe what the LNP has been saying or the Daily Telegraph’ biased reporting. If the ALP wants to convince these people of the benefits of the NBN they need to do a better job.
David Oldfield (former One Nation pollie) got in some comments about climate change scepticism during the show which a lot of the audience seemed to agree with. David Oldfield and the Liberal state MP Stuart Ayres got the best reception from the audience.
Near the end of the show I got the chance to ask a question live on TV about Cityrail and what the federal government could do to help Read the rest of this entry »