Kiama MP Gareth Ward has backed failed Liberal lord mayoral candidate John Dorahy’s surprising call that voters should create swinging seats throughout the region.
After his losing tilt at the top job on the weekend, Cr Dorahy bemoaned the fact the region was “a Labor stronghold”.
“The people of Wollongong really need to get their head around making this area a swinging seat if they want to get funding from state and federal governments,” Cr Dorahy said.
It’s a call that sparked controversy, given the implication that state and federal Liberal governments were ignoring the region.
During her visit on Monday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was asked about Cr Dorahy’s comments.
“I think all local candidates at local government elections should feel free to express their views and I welcome those views,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Keira MP Ryan Park branded Cr Dorahy’s statement as “an astonishing public admission” but Mr Ward – who was effectively his party’s campaign manager during the council elections – backed the call.
“I think this area needs to swing so that it receives the benefit of both sides fighting for it,” Mr Ward said, “because Labor in government will take this area for granted just like it did the last time it was in government.”