Encounter Bay resident Russell Skinner enters the race for Finniss with not just a vision to improve the region, but also to effect change in his own party.
He will challenge Liberal candidate David Basham, SA-Best candidate Joe Hill, Greens candidate Marc Mullette and Australian Conservatives candidate Bruce Hicks when the district heads to the polls on March 17.
After three years as president of the Finniss sub-branch of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Skinner was a clear choice to represent the party in the state election.
When he joined, the sub-branch was on the brink of collapse and it was Mr Skinner who rejuvenated the group with his passion for progressive politics.
“I was a councillor in Burra and ran for mayor of Alexandrina four years ago, which was part of getting me on the road to politics,” he said.
“It’s not just about delivering labour policies, it's also about challenging the party and having my own influence on the party.”
Mr Skinner said jobs, education, particularly for young people, and the environment would be strong focuses for him if he became the Member for Finniss.
In an effort to increase jobs in the district, Mr Skinner said he would look to the Job Guarantee Program for answers.
“I interviewed two economists about the program, which means the government would provide a job with a living wage and benefits package to anyone willing and ready to work including part-time work,” he said,
“It can be implemented within a year.”
On education, Mr Skinner referred to the party’s plan to protect funding for TAFE into the future.
The plan refers to $600 million that was cut from TAFE, training and apprentices in this year’s federal budget.
As part of the Labor Environmental Action Network (LEAN), Mr Skinner said he hoped to take the party’s focus on climate change to the next level.
“I want us (the Labor party) to take an even stronger stance on climate change… it’s an issue of our age,” he said. “Nick Xenophon polled very well in South Australia, which means all the balls are up in the air… all I can do is run a straight honest campaign.”
I want us (the Labor party) to take an even stronger stance on climate changeRussell Skinner