By all rights, The Greens’ candidate for Marrickville in the forthcoming NSW state election should be a shoe-in. This is The Greens heartland, and Fiona Byrne is a local councillor and presumably knows her patch. Labor incumbent Carmel Tebbutt, the Princess of Marrickville (so-called because her husband Anthony Albanese, the Prince of Marrickville, is the Federal ALP member for the equivalent district, Grayndler) has to dissuade us from thoughts that the NSW ALP government is rotten to the core. And environmental issues are at the top of the agenda.
But it won’t happen. And here’s why…
Earlier tonight, my post-gym dinner-and-drinks led me to the Carlisle Castle Hotel. It was a quiet night, and my gym partner and I were almost alone in the front bar until Fiona Byrne and her entourage turned up after a candidates’ forum at the Newtown Community Centre.
I thought I recognised her. Despite The Greens being all for the environment, they’re always the first to visually pollute the neighbourhood with posters of their candidates’ photos . And I heard someone introduce “Derek” as “the campaign manager”. So I figured I was in the company of The Candidate and Her Team.
Here’s what I noticed, as they debauched themselves on two schooners of Cascade Light:
- Derek reckons they only need to convince 3000 more voters to mark The Greens as first preference, and Fiona’s in. I reckon that’s probably right, but does Antony Green agree?
- Despite me mentioning that I was once a media producer (and therefore election-savvy) and a local voter, Derek didn’t even bother introducing The Candidate. They all seemed more interested in talking to each other than the voter sitting in front of them.
- I read every single piece of paper that comes through my mailbox, and I hadn’t even heard of this candidates’ forum.
- They simply didn’t look hungry for victory. They didn’t have the body language and demeanour of winners.
When I was introduced, Dukakis looked me straight in the eye, grasped my hand, smiled — and for a moment he made me feel like the most important person in the universe. I knew I was in the presence of a professional, and I wanted to hear what he had to say.
Sure, a moment later the spell was broken, and we got on with recording the interview. But he was good, very good. And while I don’t expect the local candidate in an Australian state election to have the same charisma as a potential POTUS… Jesus, people, at least try!
And while you’re at it, look like you could actually run the state of New South Wales, instead of a being just another whingey lobby group on bicycles.
You’ve got six weeks. Focus, focus.