Virginia Judge lashes Labor

Upasana Chattopadhyay
Upasana Chattopadhyay

Virginia Judge has not lost any of her feistiness even after conceeding defeat at Saturday's state election, which handed victory to Liberal Charles Casuscelli.

Judge lashed out at colleagues following the defeat - "people know who they are" - for the loss, saying they did not act ethicallty and responsibly.

"There are certain individuals within the Labor Party who have not always had the community's best interests at heart, who haven't always acted ethically and responsibly, and I will not mention any names," she said. "But people know who they are, and I don't think the party belongs to a few select individuals, the party belongs to its members."

Judge says she will be looking for a job this week. No clues yet as to where she might end up.

Judge, the member since 2003, put up a hard fight despite figures showing an overwhelmingly negative response to the Labor government in recent months.

In the end,, the sentiment against Labor was just too strong for the woman who led Strathfield council four times as Mayor and went on to be Minister for Fair Trading and Arts.

Crime, transport and infrastructure were the main issues in the battle for Strathfield.

On crime, Judge received many complaints from residents when Strathfield police station was moved from The Boulevarde to a “shopfront” in Strathfield’s centre due to increased rent in 2009.

She countered that she was responsible for the construction of a $17.5m police station in Burwood, 12 new officers in Burwood and 27 new probationary constables in Flemington. She declared she wanted a “justice precinct” and launched a new police van, which, she claimed, would increase police presence.

However, residents remained angry about Strathfield’s unmanned police station as one anonymous resident wrote to the Scene,“It [the shopfront] is an expensive façade, signage with no service.”

Across the state, transportation issues were one of the main reasons for public backlash against the Labor Party.

Judge highlighted the benefits of Labor’s $150m Metro Project, her opening of two additional ticketing windows last month at Strathfield Station and introduction of a light rail extension to Dulwich Hill.

Despite these upgrades, many residents claim they are still experiencing congestion around Strathfield Square, particularly due to buses.

Infrastructure was another key issue, and the Strathfield Town Centre project being raised early in the campaign.  The Liberals promised to fast track the project for consideration.  Judge remained opaque as to her stand.

Judge has also helped deliver other projects including; $520,000 for a new fire engine for Burwood fire station, $24m for Croydon Community Health Centre and respite care services including the new Summer Hill Group Homes.

Earlier this month, Judge pledged $7,500 to the Tamil Resource Centre to employ a community to work with socially isolated women from the Tamil community living in south-western Sydney.

Judge said she decided to run for the seat of Strathfield again to finish what she had started: railway station upgrades, education upgrades and a justice precinct in Burwood.

Judge was first elected to Strathfield Council in 1995 and became mayor in 2000 where she served four terms. She won the seat of Strathfield, which has traditionally been held by the Liberal Party, with a 15 per cent majority in 2003, and was appointed Fair Trading and Arts Minister five years later.

Her long-standing political run has earned her well-earned respect amongst many residents, including Stuart, who wrote to the Scene,“No matter what you think of the current Government, Virginia has been a strong advocate for the area.”


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