Scott Morrison’s captain’s pick for Reid up against Labor staffer and political operative

Posted April 10, 2019 12:45:17

If you’re the Prime Minister’s pick to try to save a marginal seat, there’s an expectation that comes with the spotlight.

Key points:

  • The Liberal Party holds the seat on a 3.3 per cent margin following a redistribution
  • Child psychologist Fiona Martin is the Liberal candidate, hand-picked by Scott Morrison
  • Labor candidate Sam Crosby has been campaigning for more than a year

So far that’s not the case for the Liberal recruit Fiona Martin, in the marginal federal Sydney seat of Reid.

Parachuted into the seat last week after it was vacated by Malcolm Turnbull confidant Craig Laundy, the child psychologist was formally endorsed by the party’s state executive over the weekend.

However she is yet face any media scrutiny, despite the election coming up sometime next month.

Ms Martin, a regular on TV screens in her role as a psychologist, declined several approaches from the ABC for an interview and has so far confined her campaign to a handful of social media posts.

The Liberal Party holds the seat on a 3.3 per cent margin.

“I am a mum, psychologist and small businesswoman,” Ms Martin said in her first Facebook post as the candidate.

“I have spent my life working to better the lives of people, supporting families and helping vulnerable children.

“I look forward to meeting you over the coming weeks, and hearing from you about the issues that matter most.”

Ms Martin’s selection ruffled feathers in some sections of the Liberal Party, expecting a more politically experienced candidate.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday described her as an “outstanding candidate”.

“And I think she’s going to do an outstanding job,” Mr Morrison said on Tuesday. “I’m very confident in her abilities.”

“With the retirement of Craig Laundy so close to the election, we are not going to waste any time.”

Fight for Reid a tight race

The electorate stretches from the inner-west, close to the border of Parramatta, taking in the suburbs of Drummoyne, Five Dock and Lidcombe.

Reid was traditionally a Labor seat, but after a boundary change Craig Laundy took it in 2013.

Labor candidate Sam Crosby, who has been campaigning for more than a year, thought he would be taking on Mr Laundy.

“Obviously it’s going to be a benefit,” Mr Crosby said of Mr Laundy’s retirement from politics.

“People have been telling me that they were traditional Labor voters but were happy to vote for Craig, now they’re happy to come back and vote for Labor.”

Mr Crobsy is former Labor staffer and most recently the head of the left-leaning think tank, the McKell Institute.

It also means an experienced political operative in Mr Crosby is pitted against a relative political novice, in Ms Martin.

“I start my day at 6am or 7am at a train station,” he said. “I finish it 8pm on a phone call.

“This is going to be a seat that rewards locals.

“It rewards local campaigners, it rewards local effort.”

Every vote counts in this tightly held seat, and only time will tell if Mr Crosby’s yearlong head start over his Liberal rival will make the critical difference.

Topics: government-and-politics, politics-and-government, federal-elections, federal-election, sydney-2000, nsw

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