Election 2022: Why Kristina Keneally lost Fowler’s ‘safe’ Labor seat

She was a ‘captain’s pick’ for a ‘safe’ Labor seat – so how did Kristina Keneally manage to fail so spectacularly in this election?

As the buzz of Labor’s historic election victory begins to fade, attention turns to the humiliating loss of Kristina Keneally in a “safe” ALP seat.

Ahead of the election, Keneally was controversially “parachuted” into Fowler’s constituency in south-west Sydney, a seat held by the Labor Party since 1984.

As the ‘captain of choice’ candidate, Keneally’s success was initially seen as a certainty, with many expecting her to sit in the cabinet post or the shadow bench after the election.

But Fowler residents upended those plans, with voters instead electing Dai Le Independent after turning their backs on Keneally en masse.

So where did it all go wrong for the Labor star?

The backlash begins

News of Keneally’s candidacy last September sparked an immediate backlash, with locals expressing fury that Keneally – who lives on the island of Scotland on Sydney’s northern beaches, more than an hour’s drive – was chosen instead of a local candidate.

In fact, Labor MP Chris Hayes, who had held the seat since 2010, had already named Tu Le – a local lawyer heavily involved with community groups – as his preferred successor.

At the same time, independent candidate Dai Le emerged – a well-known figure in the community, given her role as Deputy Mayor of Fairfield City Council.

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“She was imposed on us”

Talk to The Daily Telegraph On condition of anonymity, a Labor insider revealed that Keneally’s nomination caused problems from the start, with volunteers refusing to back his campaign and locals refusing Labor voting cards.

“It was a bad decision to parachute in someone with no connection to the local community,” the source told the publication, saying the move cost Labor the seat.

“She was imposed on us.

It was a sentiment shared by Dai Le herself, the independent winner telling the ABC in a recent interview that Labor’s arrogance had cost the party the seat.

“A lot of Labor voters were so angry that Labor was arrogant enough to think they could parachute someone from the northern beaches…to represent us,” Le said.

Work ‘learned the hard way’

Ousted candidate Tu Le also weighed in on the debacle, recounting The Guardian his party had “learned the hard way” after ignoring local opinions.

“There are obviously a lot of lessons to be learned here and I think all parties need to think twice about these decisions that they make,” she told the publication.

“Overall I think it’s a fantastic result for the ALP and it’s unfortunate what happened to Fowler. But if that’s what it takes for us to actually listen to the voices of the local community, I think sometimes that’s a lesson that has to be learned the hard way.

ALP’s massive “mistake”

Meanwhile, in an opinion piece published by Nine Newspapers, author and inclusive leadership strategist Cat-Thao Nguyen shared her thoughts on why the people of Fowler have so adamantly rejected Keneally.

First, Ms Nguyen outlined ALP and Keneally’s claims that her candidacy had the backing of the Vietnamese Community Organization Australia (VCA) – an influential community group in the region, which is heavily populated by migrants. Vietnamese – as a “mistake”, given the VCA “no longer represents all Vietnamese at Fowler”.

And second, Ms Nguyen took issue with Paul Keating’s description of Keneally as having “executive talent”.

“Another error, prolific in Australian companies, is their biased view of leadership qualities,” she explained.

“This notion evokes a certain archetype of Anglo-centric leadership, a type of leadership that keeps racial diversity at the bottom and white people at the top.”

The issue of race featured prominently in the article, with Ms Nguyen pointing to the disparity between how residents of Fowler and those in affluent beachside suburbs have been treated during the pandemic, as well as the vast toll of Dai Le campaigning for his community.

“It takes someone with lived experience, wisdom and empathy to necessarily honor the Vietnamese community’s refugee past and the deep heartache we still carry, while navigating its evolving future. in Australia and our region,” she wrote.

“The people of Fowler may just be voters for some. For Dai Le, Tu Le and me, these people are our family. That’s why Labor lost Fowler.

Read related topics:Labour Party

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