IT may be one of the toughest political assignments in the nation, but newly endorsed Country Labor (CL) candidate Tim Kurylowicz is confident he’s up to the challenge.
The federal seat of Riverina is a Nationals stronghold with Michael McCormack safely entrenched holding an 18.17 per cent margin, making it the seventh safest Coalition seat in Australia.
But far from being daunted, Mr Kurylowicz is looking forward to the campaign.
“I’m incredibly positive about this campaign – we couldn’t have a more positive story to tell,” he said.
“I think many, many people in the Riverina are quite worried about what an Abbott-led Coalition would do to the Riverina.”
Country Labor revealed its candidate at the front of Kooringal High School yesterday morning, coinciding with the government’s day of action outside schools around the nation, highlighting the benefits of the National Plan for School Improvement.
Inspired to jump on the political merry-go-round by Julia Gillard and her predecessor Kevin Rudd, Mr Kurylowicz joined the ALP because he believed politicians based in Canberra could make a very real difference on the ground in places like the Riverina.
“Her (Gillard’s) work on education inspired me,” he said.
Mr Kurylowicz also defended the delay in announcing a candidate for the Riverina, given the date of the September 14 election was confirmed on January 30.
“The reality is, compared to the last election, we’re still about three months out,” Mr Kurylowicz said.
“That’s longer (campaigning time) than the last election.”
The endorsed candidate believes the single biggest issue facing the Riverina is the rollout of the government’s controversial National Broadband Network.
And while Wagga is yet to see the broadband system operational, Mr Kurylowicz believes the benefits will far outweigh the hefty price tag.
“It’s probably the most significant policy area that will make an important contribution to life in the Riverina,” he said.”
“It will mean people here can connect to the world, in farming and in health. It’s an absolute game changer.”
While CL candidates have come and gone in the lead-up to and following previous elections, Mr Kurylowicz hinted this may not be his last appearance on the campaign trail – even if unsuccessful.
“I’d really like to keep going,” Mr Kurylowicz said.
“I’m really passionate about this.”
Mr Kurylowicz and his wife Sophie moved to Wagga in 2011, buying their first house not far from the Murrumbidgee – a house that was subsequently flooded in the 2012 floods.
Mrs Kurylowicz grew up in Wagga and the couple met in Sydney while at university.
And for the record, Mr Kurylowicz owns just one blue tie – loaned to him by a friend.
Candidates that have so far nominated for Riverina
Michael McCormack (Nationals)
Tim Kurylowicz (Country Labor)
Ros Prangnell (Greens)
Paul Funnell (Democratic Labor Party)
Lorraine Sharp (Australia First)
Kim Heath (Rise Up Australia Party)
Lex Stewart (Palmer United Party)