Independent Fowler candidate Dai Le has slammed the Labor party for parachuting Kristina Keneally into the seat, adding the move has left voters feeling like the party “really took us for granted”.
An independent candidate running in the seat of Fowler has savaged the Labor party for its move to parachute Kristina Keneally into the seat ahead of the election.
Dai Le is running as an independent candidate in the Western Sydney seat of Fowler and said the Labor party’s move left voters feeling like “second class citizens”.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News Australia host Chris Kenny, Ms Le said residents believed Labor thought there was no one good enough in the community to represent the seat in parliament.
“I think what the Labor party did was just really took us for granted, treated us like second class citizens and really thinking (sic) that we are not good enough and we will not speak up,” she said.
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Ms Le said the residents did not understand Labor’s decision not to back a local member, adding residents wanted someone from the area to represent them in Canberra.
“Do they think that there’s nobody good enough in our communities to represent the Labor party in parliament,” she said.
“Really I think it’s time that we actually have a local person who understands our issues, to be our voice, to speak for us, to fight for our federal funding resources.
“So for decades now there has been no federal funding resources into this area because it’s been such a safe Labor seat.”
The independent candidate said the electorate was home to a very diverse and low socio-economic community that has been heavily locked down over the past two years yet the Labor party wanted to drop in a candidate from a “privileged area”.
“Suddenly the community got given a candidate from a very privileged part of Sydney to come to represent Fowler,” Ms Le said.
“So it really caused concerns within the community that how could the Labor party really not see this, we don’t understand the decision that they made.
“In addition there’s no connection to our community, Ms Keneally I’m sure is a very experienced politician but she comes from the privileged part of society and how could she be in our community fighting for us, understanding our issues and know where we come from.”
The seat of Fowler is a Labor stronghold, with a margin of 14 per cent and Ms Keneally was hand-picked to represent the party in the seat at the election after the current Labor MP for Fowler Chris Hayes announced his retirement.
Mr Hayes reportedly wanted a local woman to replace him and supported lawyer Tu Le but she was dismissed by the Labor party and replaced by Ms Keneally who was living on Scotland Island and is now renting in Liverpool.
The Labor party has also nominated another hand-picked representative in the seat of Parramatta, former advisor to Kevin Rudd, Andrew Charlton.
Ms Le is the Deputy Mayor of Fairfield and is being backed by Mayor Frank Carbone with the pair winning 90 per cent of the local government area vote last December.
The pair ran an independent team for the Fairfield City council election and won 10 of the 13 spots.
The seat of Fowler has been won by Labor in every election since it was established with the expansion of parliament in 1984 and Ms Le admitted it was “probably a crazy thing” to contest due to the stranglehold Labor has on the seat.
“I think people are now more aware and really are wanting to have a representative who actually understands the issues and who is from the community, who actually really represents the community and reflects their aspirations and the resilience of the community,” she said.
Ms Le was previously a member of the Liberal party but that did not mean she was aligned with the party’s policies.
“I work with a former Labor member, the Mayor in Frank Carbone so we’re both independents who’ve come together for our community so my allegiance is to the people of this Fowler seat,” she said.