Features editor Makayla Muscat meets candidate for the seat of Lindsay, Trevor Ross, who aims to secure the seat for the ALP. If he does, the ramifications could be felt across Australia.
Ever since the Division of Lindsay was created in 1984, the electorate has been a ‘bellwether seat’ – meaning that at federal elections, it generally elects a member of the government of the day. Whichever party holds power in Lindsay is likely to hold power over the nation.
As millions of Australians head to the polls on Saturday, Labor candidate Trevor Ross hopes to wrest the seat away from the incumbent, the Liberal Party’s Melissa McIntosh. If he does, it’s highly likely to be glad tidings for Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
Lindsay is an economically and culturally diverse area covering a swathe of Western Sydney, including the suburbs of Badgerys Creek, Cranebrook, Emu Plains, Glenmore Park, Kingswood, Leonay, Luddenham, Mulgoa, Penrith and St Marys.
As a firefighter for nearly 40 years, Ross describes himself as a working class man but says he is up for the challenge of becoming an MP.
“Over the last 40 years, I’ve got to know people on the worst day of their life and I’ve got to know what people need,” he says.
“I think politics has enough academics, so I think we need someone like me from a working class point of view to take that through to Canberra,” he tells The Sentinel.
In 2019, McIntosh won the electoral division of Lindsay by a margin of five per cent.
A swing of five per cent is no mean feat but with Labor leading the Coalition in the polls on a two-party preferred basis, Ross believes he can do it – despite a poll in News Corp papers this week suggesting the seat was “too close to call”.
According to Ross, he never planned on becoming a politician but says it felt like a natural next step to follow in the footsteps of his mother and grandfather, who were well-known for their background in politics and work as activists in the community.
“My grandfather ended up getting a community centre named after him for his work in the community and my mother got an Order of Australia (OAM) medal for her work,” he says.
“I’ve also been heavily involved in the Firefighters Union and that’s a lower level of politics.
“I was Senior Vice President of the union for three years looking after our firies. Then I was approached about running for politics, so I agreed to do it.”
The first-time candidate launched his campaign in March, which, since then, has been run almost entirely on volunteers.
With a significantly smaller budget than his Liberal counterpart, Ross has formed a hard-working team of ALP members who have willingly donated their time to support his plan for a better future.
Kate Zarb is one of the volunteers for the Labor candidate. She has been a member of the ALP for a couple of years but says this is her first time helping out in a federal election.
“I’m very concerned about some of the policies that the Morrison Government has been implementing and wants to implement,” Zarb says.
“When I started working on Trevor’s campaign, I didn’t know him. I got involved in his campaign because I wanted to help change the government, but getting to know Trevor, I really believe he deserves to win,” she says.
“He is exactly what he says he is. He’s a firefighter, an honest bloke and a good person. He’s the sort of person that, if you need a shirt, he’ll give you the shirt off his back.”
If elected, Ross plans to promote the seat of Lindsay and address the smaller issues being faced by people living in the electorate.
He will also support the “big issues” that the ALP plans to tackle.
In particular, Ross hopes to support some of the most vulnerable Australians by putting quality back into aged care and strengthening Medicare, so it is easier to see a doctor.
“One of the big ones for me is aged care. I really want to bring some dignified care back into the aged care population,” he says.
“Also, Medicare which leads on to our hospitals. Our hospitals have been run down for too long. I have a partner who’s a nurse and I know first-hand how bad our hospitals are.”
According to Ross, it’s time to get more people involved in the decision making of politics.
“I’ve worked my whole life, I’ve raised four children on a single wage and I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people,” he says.
“I think that we can make a good team.
“We can have our academics, but I think we need working class people in there as well.”
Makayla Muscat is the features editor of the Sydney Sentinel.
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