Geralton teacher Sandra Carr confirmed elected
New politician Sandra Carr was told filling a “casual vacancy” was her only chance of entering Parliament when asked to stand for the “unwinnable” third position on Labor’s Agricultural Region ticket.
Former candidates for Upper House seats are sometimes asked to fill a casual vacancy months and even years after an election, when an elected member dies.
But Ms Carr is looking forward to taking up her new duties after being declared officially elected last week.
“I love a big job and I love connecting with people,” she said.
“Being a woman at this time in politics is particularly exciting.
“I think I’m considered around me as a fairly strong woman, so I really think I bring something to the table.”
The new MP, who was a high school English teacher, said she was reluctant to start out with “too much of an agenda”.
“I am adamant that the role of an MP is a representative role,” she said.
You have to get out in the communities and hear what their issues are as opposed to what I would like them to be.
“Right at the forefront of my job is to make sure I’m across the key issues for them.”
When pressed, she mentioned internet connectivity as a vital issue for communities outside of Geraldton.
“There’s people that have a whole range of skills out there, and they can’t deliver them to the standard that they’d like to because they don’t have consistent connectivity,” she said.
“And kids that are at boarding school, if they want to come home for the weekend they’ve still got to continue with school work.
Kids don’t want to come home because they can’t be in contact with friends and they can’t continue doing their school work.
Ms Carr said Telehealth had been put to the test by COVID-19, but if a rural patient had an unsuccessful first Telehealth consultation they were unlikely to use the service again.
She said internet connectivity was one of many services rural communities needed to stop the population drain.
“Connectivity and infrastructure needs to be there for them, and we need to be unafraid to invest in it, even if the population’s small,” Ms Carr said.
“They are not going to come without any key infrastructure and connected communities.”
Laurie Graham MLC has moved into Ian Blayney’s former office at Druid’s Hall in Sanford Street, where he will remain until he retires on May 21.
Ms Carr is due to be sworn in on May 24 and will work from the same office until the lease runs out at the end of the year.
She and her party would then decide whether to renew the lease, or for her to relocate to another centre such as Dongara.
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