Ballina stays Green
BALLINA Green MP Tamara Smith is back at work already having seen off challenges from the Nationals' Ben Franklin and Labor's Asren Pugh in last Saturday's NSW State Election.
"Being back for a second term means I am not on a learning curve this time," Ms Smith said. "There is just so much at stake and so many issues to be addressed, there is no time to rest."
"For instance will the Berejiklian government stand by its decision to restrict holiday letting here in Byron Shire as was promised and I will keep up the pressure over West Byron, which has no social license to be built."
Ms Smith was full of praise for her campaign team and her team of around 100 volunteers.
"The Greens are a grass roots party and our model of door knocking and phone banking was first pioneered by Barrack Obama," she said. "Labor and the Nationals seemed to fly in all their campaign experts whereas for us it was all about our grass roots vollies.
We did around 10,000 door knocks and I personally rang nearly 500 people myself for one-on-one conversations.
In the end the Greens were carried over the line by Labor preferences that saw Ms Smith win 55.1% of the two party preferred vote over the Nationals on 44.9%.
"I make no apologies for winning with Labor preferences. It was clear 60% of the community wanted progressive representation and they were disciplined enough to make sure their preferences flowed that way.
"We also knew Ben was helicoptered in to the seat with more than $100 million of state money quarantined for him to announce.
"We now have the best of both worlds with me on the cross bench, in a marginal seat they are still desperate to win and with all their promises locked in for the seat of Ballina."
Ms Smith blames the Labor Party for the surprising success of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (SFF) party last Saturday- a group she says is dedicated to overturning current gun laws and destroying Marine Parks.
"I really lay the blame on the Labor party for the Shooters' success, they were so desperate to do preference deals with them they alienated many people from their own party."