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Smith a reluctant Labor starter for Lismore

STAND UP GUY: Lismore councillor Isaac Smith has been preselected as Labor candidate for Lismore at the 2015 NSW election.
STAND UP GUY: Lismore councillor Isaac Smith has been preselected as Labor candidate for Lismore at the 2015 NSW election. Marc Stapelberg

ISAAC Smith might be going to stand as the Labor candidate in Lismore at next year's NSW election, but that doesn't mean he's much of a fan of the party.

"The (political) system we are using is broken," Mr Smith says, referring to the ongoing ICAC inquiry that has dragged the Labor and Liberal parties through the mud and what he sees as a need for big changes to the way politics and politicians operate.

"It's one of the reasons I haven't run for state (politics) before, but it's time to put up or shut up."

To say winning the seat would be a challenge for Mr Smith would be an understatement. The Lismore councillor is facing off against a well established opponent with an enormous 24% margin in a seat where significant parts, such as Murwillumbah and Tenterfield, have never heard of him.

And if he manages to win the seat, Mr Smith will face a whole different set of challenges.

As a councillor and member of the Lismore Labor branch, Mr Smith has been freely critical of NSW Labor, particularly towards the end of the party's last term in government and over issues ranging from coal seam gas to the Casino-Murwillumbah rail line.

As an MP, Mr Smith said he intended to continue speaking his mind and would cross the floor on any vote that conflicted with the wishes of his electorate - such as CSG - even though under Labor rules that would mean likely expulsion from the party.

"That (the ability to speak out) is part of what should be reformed," he said. "The party has to be unified but you also have to be able to speak your mind. I would like to bring to State Parliament some of the ways we conduct ourselves in local government where we can speak out and where we can work together more than they do at the state and Federal levels."

Mr Smith said his approach would be to focus on small, achievable changes in line with the wishes of his electorate.

Topics:  isaac smith, state government



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