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Horsham’s Barry Shea to run as independent candidate for Lowan

CANDIDATE: Former policeman Barry Shea is running as an independent candidate for Lowan in the state election. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

CANDIDATE: Former policeman Barry Shea is running as an independent candidate for Lowan in the state election. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

A belief that far western Victoria is caught in an unproductive perpetual political cycle is a primary reason why Barry Shea, of Horsham, has put his name down as an independent candidate for Lowan.
Mr Shea, 63, a former career police officer, said in confirming his candidacy for the November State Election, that party politics had failed dismally to deliver appropriate services to the region and it was time for change.
He said he saw glaring examples of where politics came before people and need, none more so than what he considered a lack of progress in the Wimmera getting adequate passenger rail services.
“I am not aligned or affiliated with any political party or organisation. In my view the electorate has gained little from government, simply because it is a very safe National party seat, with 70 percent of the vote,” he said.
“I also think people are more savvy and these days, unlike the past when they always voted Liberal or Labor or National ‘because their parents did’, are more inclined to make up their own minds to get the best deal.”
Mr Shea grew up in Ararat, where he completed an agricultural course before joining police cadets as a teenager. His career as a front-line operations police officer at metropolitan and regional stations spanned 36 years.
He transferred to Horsham from Melbourne as a sergeant in 1986 and has since lived in the Wimmera capital where he and his wife raised their family. He left Victoria Police in 2008.
Mr Shea said he had become frustrated with the extent of political pork barrelling occurring in swinging seats and a general disrespect that parliament seemed to have for the average person.
“They can put any spin they like on it, but have a look at our neighbours in the electorate of Ripon held by the Liberals’ Louise Staley. It is a very marginal seat with less than one percent swing needed to change,” he said.
“They have received a new rail line between Ararat and Maryborough and a promise by the Liberal-National party to extend passenger rail and upgrade stations from Maryborough through to Dunolly, St Arnaud and Donald at a cost of $32-million dollars.
“What transport promises does Lowan get? Funding for a business case to examine the extension of VLine train services to Horsham and Hamilton. Fair dinkum give me a break.
“What a joke and insult to say these towns are more important than Horsham and Hamilton.
“What has happened with the Grampians and Barwon South West Region Passenger Services Cost and Feasibility Study commissioned by eight councils across the region?
“This 114-page report tabled in March last year is comprehensive and found a need for passenger rail and recommended it be returned to Horsham and Hamilton.
“On the other side of the coin the Andrews Labor government, which said it would govern for all Victorians, has given us very little because everything revolves around metropolitan Melbourne – unless it is in a marginal seat.”
Best deal for Lowan
Mr Shea said as an independent he would work to get the best deal possible for Lowan, irrespective of what political party was in power.
“Voting along party lines is pointless in our electorate and voters do themselves a terrible disservice to simply vote as they always have – it gets us nowhere. At least with an independent in there, we get a choice and a potential to work with whoever forms government,” he said.
“The Nationals Emma Kealy tries her best but the simple fact is that she is bound by party direction and Coalition rules.
“She can fight for this and fight for that, but the danger is always that her pleas can fall on deaf ears in her own party room.
“And of course Labor knows historically that it can’t win this seat and has just given up trying to represent a large section of Victoria.”
Mr Shea added he was also ‘sick and tired of the circus that our parliament has become’.
“We hear day in, day out of the rorts, broken promises and waste of public money by politicians on all sides,” he said.
“And just what have we received for the electorate of Lowan since the last election in 2014, and for that matter before then?
“Not much, with unemployment up more than 50 percent in the north-west, declining population, country roads and bridges a disgrace, high energy bills, only one gas provider, higher crime rates, the Country Fire Authority debacle, education campuses not upgraded or completed, high fuel costs, no bypasses for heavy vehicles, a lack of doctors and medical services – and the list goes on.
“It sounds like we are living in Botswana – not western Victoria or the Wimmera.
“I might sound cynical or it might be just the copper coming out in me, but while the politicians are on the gravy train the rest of us are on the ‘train’ to nowhere.
“It’s time to give the major parties a serve and stop taking us for granted and treating us like dills.
“I can’t promise the world but what I can promise is that I will support farmers and town folk alike to get things done and not just talk about it with no result.
“We deserve better than what we have been getting.
“So my message to the voters of Lowan is think about it when you go to the polls.”
Mr Shea said people could get in touch with him by emailing
Candidate nominations for the state election open on October 29 and close on November 8.

The entire October 3, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Oct 3 2018

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