The electorate of Stirling is a mixed socio-demographic one that is also classified as a marginal seat. It’s diverse ethnic makeup reflects the banal suburban stereotype of middle Australia in many many ways.
Our Candidates from the main parties are Michael Keenen (Liberal) and Peter Tinley (Labor).
In the blue corner, the incumbant Michael Keenan is a pleasant fellow, of local origin, and well connected through his family real estate business. As an MP he has been fair, active, and diligent in representing the electorate. However he also hasn’t set the world on fire. As a first term junior he has unfortuantely sometimes given the impression that he is attached to puppet strings and in this respect he exercises great care in “towing the party line”. He is not a strong public speaker, which is something that counts against a sitting member in a high profile marginal seat. With this said, it must be noted that Michael Keenan has been consistent and hard working. My summary of this is that he has done nothing wrong in attending to his duties, but some more flair, spontenaity, and outspokeness to liven things up would be a welcome addition to his political character.
In the red corner is a worthy challenger. A local entrepreneur with a military background. The PR associated with Peter Tinley has made much of his service, which in turn is claimed as a mandate to campaign for a troop withdrawal on Iraq. It is this point that has ironically contributed towards losing Mr Tinley my vote. I fully support Australia’s presence in Iraq. I do not believe that the campaign was “based on a lie”, as Mr Tinley has suggested, and I support the Prime Minister when he says that we need to finish the job for the sake of western political stability. A withdrawal represents a win for terrorism, and a political aspirant’s support of a withdrawal, no matter how qualified, is to my mind an admission of defeat and a foreign policy danger. Aside from the “military hero” image, there are many other qualities that Mr Tinley has that I greatly respect. He would be far more endearing to my swinging vote if he focussed more on his commercial acheivements and his vision for the growth and development of the electorate.
The good thing about this election is that no matter who wins the seat of Stirling, we will be well represented by a good politician. That is a big step up on the last election when the Labor Party fielded the then incumbent Jan Farr, whose political outlook and style of representation when she held this seat was nothing short of an embarrassment to her constituency.
A final comment. This is a two horse race, and there are no third party candidates that have any relevance as serious challengers. However as the close polling indicates, it may ironically be the preference allocations of these “irrelevant” candidates that determine the outcome of the vote.