Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why the Diaz campaign was always going to be a disaster

Unless you've been living in a cave for the past few months you have had heard of Jaymes Diaz and *that* interview. It was a gaffe of the highest magnitude and the publicity surrounding it guaranteed his loss in the most marginal seat in NSW - Greenway. Greenway is a seat the Liberal party has been targeting and should have been one of the first seats in the country marked down as a Coalition gain but history will record a 2.32% swing TO Labor and Diaz will go down as a 2-time failed candidate in a seat he should have won.

Yes, Diaz has now lost Greenway twice, his campaign in 2010 was almost as invisible as his campaign this year, he didn't attend candidate forums, he was hardly at pre-poll meeting voters, he didn't go to community group events. His failure in 2010 was due to being invisible to voters, this is because he was not very confident at public speaking. In fact when I met him in 2010 and again this year both times he didn't make eye contact and one of his minders did the talking. This time, after that gaffe went viral Diaz went into hiding and wouldn't even return calls or respond to emails from the local NewsCorp paper - The Blacktown Advocate. In fact, his gaffe was so worrying to head office they banned almost all Sydney candidates from speaking to media and attending community forums. Without the scrutiny from the voters, how does the party expect an elected member to stand up to the scrutiny of Parliament and the Canberra Press Gallery? In the end the only Liberal candidate to pick up a seat was one of the only ones who actually attended a community forum and put themselves in front of the voters to be scrutinised - Fiona Scott in Lindsay. It's probably a good thing for the Liberal Party that they didn't pick up more seats in Western Sydney having not known how some of these candidates perform under pressure.

The signs were there for the Liberal Party about Diaz being a dud candidate but because his father, Liberal Councillor on Blacktown Council, Jess Diaz controls the numbers in the area he was preselected again. If the Liberal Party wanted to win Greenway they needed a different candidate. They were told this from a sources (including me privately to a few Liberal members) and while Tony Abbott didn't want Diaz as the candidate (he approached both Angry Anderson who ended up running for The Nationals in Throsby and increased their primary vote almost 5% and Matthew Adamson who ended up as the lead Palmer United Party Senate candidate), in the end Jess Diaz made sure his son got the nomination.

The Liberals in Blacktown have a history of preselecting dud candidates in the 2 Blacktown seats. Diaz in Greenway in 2013 and 2010, David Barker (son of Liberal councillor Jacqueline Donaldson) in 2010 who the party was forced to disendorse due to anti-Islamic posts on his Facebook page. , Jess Diaz himself in Chifley in 2007.

The Liberal Party took control of Blacktown Council for the first time ever after elections in 2012 and came close to winning the seat of Blacktown at the 2011 state election. They should have realised by now that there are a lot of affluent people in the area and most of the Labor voters are socially conservative. If they can get their act together and start preselecting decent candidates they might be able turn the once Labor stronghold of Blacktown and surrounding suburbs Liberal and if they can tap more into the social conservatism while not scaring people about their rights at work they might just even be able to turn Mt Druitt marginal. 
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