Candidate dishes out her agenda
By HELEN JACK
THERE was no time to rest for Janelle Saffin after the excitement of winning Labor's preselection for the Federal seat of Page on Saturday had waned.
Besieged with complimentary phone calls and emails from colleagues, family and friends, Ms Saffin's only time off on the weekend was to do the dishes.
"Life goes on as normal. Nobody comes in and magically does the housework," she said.
Already Ms Saffin is on the campaign trail.
"The first thing I did after the preselection was meet members of the community in Ballina," she said.
"And, apart from the usual things you do on a Sunday like take stuff to the tip and clean the house, I visited Alstonville Catholic Parish Hall to view a film with parishioners called An Inconvenient Truth."
A 31-year resident of the Northern Rivers, Ms Saffin said she sensed the community wanted change.
"I sense the Howard Government and the Federal National Party is out of touch with local families," she said.
"It's becoming harder to make ends meet and our area is ignored by government.
"There are many hardships and challenges facing our families.
"I will be spending the first few weeks out meeting people and listening to the concerns and taking them on board.
"I want them to have a say, and I will become their sounding board then I will take their concerns to the highest level and being their representative."
Ms Saffin said she believed local people were worried about health services on the Far North Coast, as well as access to education, climate change and the general state of the economy.
"How these issues impact on local families is my first concern," she said.
"Thirty-nine per cent of people in Page have dependent families and they are very concerned about income security and the workplace laws.
"John Howard's workplace laws make it harder, and it's hard enough."
Ms Saffin said she was excited with her win but humble at the same time.
"It a privilege to have the opportunity to represent people but I am humbled to have been endorsed," she said. "And I am absolutely ready to start meeting people and listening to their concerns."
Other candidates who stood for preselection were Ian Tiley, Isaac Smith and Peter Lanyon.
"They are good candidates and I pay tribute to them for running a good campaign, and I have invited them to work closely with me in the campaign because they bring so many strengths to the community," Ms Saffin said.
In accepting her nomination, Ms Saffin believes she has come full circle.
"I believe my life's work has prepared me for this defining moment," she said.
Ms Saffin was born in Ipswich in 1954 leaving home at 13 years of age to work in an abattoir. From there she worked in a variety of jobs, until at 24, she completed a teaching diploma and then, at age 29, she studied law.
"My world changed as I was given the greatest gift; education, and then I was compelled to use that gift to empower all of those who face challenges and need an advocate," she said.
Ms Saffin has also was a United%Nations advisor on East Timor.