We will come out tops regardless of who wins
The North West Central race lies on a knife-edge with counting — and probably recounting — certain to thrust forth a loser. But, no matter how the cards fall, the region will come out on top.
Incumbent Nationals member Vince Catania is a tough-as-nails politician. And he has been since he first won his seat on a Labor ticket 13 years ago at just 31 years old. He’s earned his badge as a government agitator and somebody who knows how to ruffle a few feathers.
Several members of the Legislative Assembly probably have a little green-shirted voodoo doll with manicured stubble under their beds. But, outside of government, others would rightly argue his spirit is more valuable than ever after last weekend’s brutal Labor bloodbath.
The region can count on fierce advocacy from Mr Catania, whose ear is always to the ground, bum always on the helicopter seat, and hands always in the red dirt.
In the other corner of the ring, first-time Labor candidate Cherie Sibosado has shaped up to be a fantastic underdog.
If the Nats lose, Mr Catania is likely to blame it on the cult of personality brewing around Mark McGowan, but that assessment would miss part of the North West Central picture.
Early results show Ms Sibosado elicited a 13.6 per cent first preference swing in her favour, which is the second biggest swings towards Labor in a seat previously held by the Nationals in the Lower House.
Ms Sibosado, of Nyikina and Bardi background, would also be the first woman and first Aboriginal person to hold the North West Central seat, meaning she offers a perspective often missing from the conversation.
But, beyond that, she’s built a charismatic, intelligent, and people-focused reputation through her career, campaign, and personal dealings.
Ms Sibosado has spent her life helping find solutions to challenging regional issues. Her work with the Carnarvon-based ABC Foundation, creating meaningful on-country jobs for Aboriginal people, is a testament to her on-the-ground talent.
I don’t think she’ll win the seat this election, but she’s planning to come back and give it another crack. For what it’s worth, I hope to see her back with firey red vengeance next election season.
I don’t think there is any better review of a politician than a member of their electorate calling them a good listener, something I’ve heard time and time again while reporting on the North West Central.
Whichever way the cookie crumbles, it will be full of chocolate chips and strong regional representation for WA’s geographically largest electorate.
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