Strathfield's Mayor throws his hat in the ring to become Labor candidate for state parliament

Strathfield’s Mayor Daniel Bott, has announced he will make a bid to stand for the State seat of Strathfield as Labor candidate – immediately sparking speculation that two neighbouring mayors will battle it out for the same party ticket.

In an exclusive statement to the Strathfield Scene last night, Mr Bott finally confirmed his intention to run in any pre-selection for the seat of Strathfield.

“I write to advise of my intention to be the Labor Candidate for Strathfield in the 2015 State Election. Soon we will have the Strathfield Community -Selection, and I intend to run as a candidate in that race.

“Having served as Mayor of Strathfield, I would welcome the opportunity of being able to represent residents in the State Parliament.”

Mr Bott’s move comes after weeks of speculation about who will go up against State Liberal MP Charles Casuscelli, protecting a margin of around 6 per cent.

Many are expecting Burwood Mayor John Faker will also try for Labor Party endorsement when a community pre-selection is called early next month.

Pre-selections mean electors get the chance to choose their candidate, so contenders have to woo them for support.  Balmain recently saw a mini-election between two strong contenders, both of whom took to the streets to win over Labor voters.

Up to now, Mr Faker has refused to comment as to whether he will run.  But Mr Casuscelli recently accused him of starting his campaign when the Burwood mayor was seen talking to commuters about safety at Strathfield Station.

At 33, Mr Bott is one of the youngest mayor’s in New South Wales and is seen as someone with strong political potential by the Labor Party, which suffered a heavy defeat by the Liberals four years ago.

Mr Faker, on the other hand,  is a long-serving Inner West politician well-known in areas like Ashfield, Strathfield and Canada Bay. He is seen as a formidable opponent for both Mr Bott and Mr Casuscelli.

In his exclusive statement, Mr Bott maintained community pre-selections are a great opportunity for all residents to have a say.

And he launched his first salvo against Mr Casuscelli’s record as the sitting member.

“Residents in Ashfield, Burwood, Canada Bay, Canterbury and Strathfield Councils will need a State Member of Parliament who listens.The current State Member for Strathfield has failed to deliver and a change is necessary.”

Mr Bott signaled he will be playing up his strong local links to grass roots issues in the constituency as part of his campaign to win over voters.

“Unlike the current State Member, I live in Strathfield and see first-hand what the concerns of resident are,” he said.

He listed eight areas he maintained needed urgent action:

  • Croydon, North Strathfield, Flemington and Homebush rail stations "are in urgent need of easy access lifts"
  • Residents living near the Enfield Intermodal Logistics Site want "health monitors, a cap on further expansion, improvements to road quality and for Enfield Park to be opened"
  • Premier Mike Baird, who promised financial commitment to the Strathfield Town Centre redevelopment plan when Shadow Treasurer,  should "keep to this promise"
  • Help to ease the congestion at the Arthur Street and Centennial Drive intersection
  • Help for Strathfield's aging population with "adequate aged care facilities"
  • Commitment to improvements for the Cooks River and financial commitment to an action plan
  • Removal of TAFE fee increases
  • A firm commitment to rule out co-payments for hospital emergency visits

The long-awaited pre-selection date has yet to be fixed by the Labor Party, but Mr Bott's move is expected to put pressure on Mr Faker to make an announcement about his own position.

Mr Faker told the Scene last night: "My priority is to continue fighting on behalf of my community for the issues that are concerning them.  This remains to be my focus."

Asked whether this meant he would run, Mr Faker replied: "That's my comment at this stage."

Mr Casuscelli was more forthcoming.

He told the Scene he welcomed Cr Bott's decision. 

“Cr Botts first statement questioning where I sleep already sets the tone of his candidacy.  I sleep in Five Dock, I work in the Strathfield Electorate. When I am not in the electorate I am at Parliament House and more importantly in the offices of senior executives of the public service, a place that I have had much experience and where the real work for the community is done.  The rest of the time I attend community events.  Yes, I must confess, I spend 6 hours a night sleeping with my family in Five Dock”.  

“I would not be so presumptious as to assume that I know more than Clr Bott but I am happy to engage with him on every one of the issues he said needs urgent attention and that “I have failed to deliver and change is necessary”.

“I will challenge him to debate the eight issues in a public community forum should he win pre-selection or in the meantime happy to provide details of my record on these issues versus his observations in a column for the Strathfield Scene”

“I look forward to the 2015 election confident that my small contribution to the NSW Liberal Government and the substantial achievements for the Strathfield electorate will be recognised”.   


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