NEW DAWN: Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne, Richmond candidate Dawn Walker, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Ballina MP Tamara Smith, Byron Bay Upper House MP Jan Barham and Lismore candidate Adam Guise.
NEW DAWN: Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne, Richmond candidate Dawn Walker, Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Ballina MP Tamara Smith, Byron Bay Upper House MP Jan Barham and Lismore candidate Adam Guise. Alina Rylko

Greens election battle for Richmond seat

DAWN Walker has been confirmed as the federal Greens candidate for the Richmond electorate again at the next federal election.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale made the announcement in Murwillumbah on Thursday as part of a national tour.

About 35 party supporters attended the campaign launch at Murwillumbah Hospital, the site of recent protests by the Greens and the Friends of the Tweed Valley Birth Service to re-open the hospital's birth service. It will re-open on October 19.

 

Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne, Richmond candidate Dawn Walker and Senator Richard Di Natale.
Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne, Richmond candidate Dawn Walker and Senator Richard Di Natale. Alina Rylko

Mrs Walker told the Tweed Daily News no polling had been done in the Richmond and did not announce any campaign pledges.

She expressed disappointment at Labor's leadership in the Richmond. In the 2013 federal election Greens had 18% of the vote with MP Justine Elliot securing the seat on preferences.

"We are now seeing Labor siding with the government on very important progressive issues that I know that our community really cares about," Mrs Walker said.

Labor had sided with the coalition on reducing targets on the renewable energy scheme, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and to bomb Syria, Mrs Walker said.

"I don't believe that is what this community is all about," she said.

There has been speculation that an election would be held within months.

But Mr Di Natale was uncertain of when PM Malcolm Turnbull would call voters to the polls and conceded it would be a "tough election" for the Greens who were unlikely to pick up new senators.

" ... But, I've got a sneaking suspicion that here in Richmond, with a really good campaign, we could emulate (other) success and we could make the breakthrough that we really need here in NSW," he said.

"In a close election, having someone like Dawn in the parliament, we might be in a similar situation to 2010, where we have the opportunity to work with the government to put our climate laws back on the agenda," he said.

"The people of Richmond have a huge power in this election."

 

Dawn Walker with Tweed Shire mayor Katie Milne.
Dawn Walker with Tweed Shire mayor Katie Milne. Alina Rylko

Mrs Walker was joined for the announcement by Greens Ballina state MP Tamara Smith, Byron Bay MP Jan Barham, newly elected Tweed Shire mayor Katie Milne and Adam Guise, who narrowly missed out on the seat of Lismore in March at the state elections.

"The percentage of voters has dramatically increased for the Greens," Cr Milne told the Tweed Daily News.

"I think the community really supports the environment and it's a natural progression for them to actually vote for the environment and to protect it. That's what we're really about," she said.

Tweed councillor Warren Polglase had criticised former mayor Gary Bagnall in the lead up to the recent local government elections for not having enough contacts in state and federal politics to lobby for Tweed matters.

Asked if Mrs Walker's election would improve Cr Milne's opportunity to lobby for the Tweed Shire, Cr Milne said:

"I think Gary was an effective lobbyist ... and I hope to be able to do the same.

"The Greens are really good communicators, we talk to everybody."

"(This) will be one of the most exciting campaigns of this federal election," Mrs Walker said.

"It's going to be Greens in Richmond in 2016."



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