Press Conference, Thursday 8th August, 2013
Location: Electorate Office 4/96 George Street, Beenleigh QLD
Bert: I’ve got a simple message for the people of Forde. I wasn’t parachuted in. I’ve grown up in this electorate, I went to school in this electorate, I got my first job here, I met my wife here, my kids have been raised here and gone to school here. As a local I understand the issues that are affecting the people of Forde and those are jobs and cost of living. Both things which the issues which are around that those are the responsibility of Mr Rudd when he was prime minister the first time around and they’re also the responsibility of Mr Beattie when he was in government here in QLD. So it’s only having a true local candidate that understands the issues on the ground in Forde that you are going to get proper representation and I commit to the people of Forde that I will be their local voice.
Journalist: Does this make it harder for you to get re-elected now that there is such a high profile Labor candidate?
Bert: The election was always going to be difficult. Elections are never easy, so we’ve never taken anything for granted and we’ll be working away as hard as we can and to our campaign plan. So nothing’s changed in that regard.
Journalist: So I guess it’s particularly concerning given that there’s just a 1.6 per cent margin.
Bert: Well, as I said, elections are always tight and you never take anything for granted. You’ve always got to work and earn the right from your community to be elected and represent them.
Journalist: Peter Beattie says he’s the underdog in this campaign, would you give him that?
Bert: Oh, I’m not going to give him anything. We’ve worked very hard over the past 3 years in this electorate, we have a positive plan for future of Australia under a potential Coalition government and that’s what we’ll continue to work towards and we’ll continue to explain that position to the constituents of Forde.
Journalist: You have to concede though, that your chances have really plummeted in the last 24 hours. I mean Peter Beattie is widely known and you could go across the street there and people wouldn’t know who you are.
Bert: Well we’ve had any number of emails and phone calls from a wide range of people, both within the electorate and outside.
Journalist: But your profile is an issue isn’t it?
Bert: well, um”¦ I don’t agree with that.
Journalist: it’s got to be said though that in the past 3 years you haven’t really popped up much on the national stage or in South-East Queensland, to be fair. Will you have to lift your game as far as raising your profile in the next four weeks?
Bert: I’ve had a responsibility in this electorate to represent the interests of the constituents of Forde and we’ve spent the last 3 years doing that, in our local media and our national parliament and we’ll continue to do that work.
Journalist: Peter Beattie says he will move into the electorate, he going to move into a house in Logan I believe. What do you make of that? Will you doorknock him, welcome him to the area, take him out for a beer?
Bert: Anybody’s always welcome in this electorate, and it just shows he’s had no contact with this electorate for the past 6 years, when he’s been in various roles overseas. He’s only moving into the electorate to create the perception that he has a tie to the community and he said today in his press conference that if he’s not elected he’ll be moving back out. So what long term tie and what long term vision does he actually have for this electorate?
Journalist: Kevin Rudd pulled out the big guns in Peter Beattie; will you be on the phone now with Mr Abbott asking him to spend time in the electorate in the next month?
Bert: I’ve already spoken to Mr Abbott today and I’m sure Mr Abbott will be visiting the electorate in due course, but Mr Abbott has already visited this electorate a number of times and we’ve also has a number of shadow ministers already earlier this year for a number of community events and other forums to represent the interests of the community.
Journalist: What would you say are the key issues for your electorate that Peter Beattie wouldn’t be aware of?
Bert: Well, the big ones as I said earlier, are jobs and cost of living, but we also have infrastructure issues in a number of areas that we’re working on and we’ve just got to keep ensuring that we provide a positive alternative for Australians and for the people of Forde because at the moment they’ve suffered 6 years of a dysfunctional Labor government that has done nothing for this community.
Journalist: are you going to be raising the spector of his legacy as QLD premier. I mean, it’s been raised by the LNP in state parliament today, are you campaigning on that as well?
Bert: Well, he’s got a record in state government and that record has led to issues that we see today for the constituents of Forde With high power prices, high water prices, lack of infrastructure and any number of other issues.
Journalist: The Prime Minister announced 3 million for construction of the Beenleigh town square, is that something the coalition will match?
Bert: That is something the coalition will be preceding with is elected into government, Ive been working with Logan City Council for over 2 years on that particular project and im very pleased to say that it’s something we fully support and will fund if we are elected to government.
Journalist: So you’re saying he’s pinched your ideas?
Bert: He’s a Jonny come lately, so we’ve been working on this for several years with council.
Journalist: does it anger you that a guy like Peter Beattie has come in and is trying to take away your seat? I mean, obviously there’s an election going on and there’s going to be people trying to win your seat, but does it anger you that it’s someone like Peter Beattie from outside the electorate?
Bert: Ive got no control over what the Labor party do and it’s interesting to see that Kevin Rudd talks about a new way. Well, all I can see is the old way being revisited and my condolences to Des Hardman and his family for being stabbed in the back by the backroom deals. It just shows that Labor has no respect for the people of Forde, no respect for the people of Australia and they’re just interested in doing deals between themselves.