1 March 2022

Labor selects Mark Jeffreson as its candidate to challenge McCormack in Riverina

| Max O'Driscoll
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Mark Jeffreson

Mark Jeffreson has been announced as Labor’s challenger to Michael McCormack for Riverina. Photo: Supplied.

September 1980 was the last time the federal seat of Riverina was held by someone other than the Nationals.

After 18 years of Noel Hicks, 12 years of Kay Hull and nearly another 12 years of Michael McCormack, it would require an almighty shift to unseat the party at the upcoming federal election.

Mark Jeffreson challenged Mr McCormack as the Labor Party’s candidate at the 2019 election and he’s the man who will challenge him again at the 2022 election.

In 2019, Mr McCormack won by a staggering margin of 19.5 per cent and received nearly 60 per cent of first preference votes. At that time, Mr McCormack was the Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister, two positions he no longer holds.

Mr Jeffreson believes that the Federal Government’s ongoing response to the bushfires and COVID-19, the respective vaccine and rapid antigen test rollouts and the issues in aged care throughout the pandemic are all failings that should have the people of the Riverina wanting change.

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Specifically to the Riverina, Mr Jeffreson argues that the region has been “taken for granted” under Mr McCormack’s tenure at the helm.

“The infrastructure needs here is the main need. We don’t have any strategic plan in government at the moment, and infrastructure is very much dependant on what electorate they’re trying to keep in good humour and what electorate they might win,” he said.

“If we can get a much tighter election, then we might get a better service.”

When asked why he would prefer Anthony Albanese as Prime Minister, his reasoning followed his belief regarding the demand for local infrastructure.

“From a regional perspective, just the sheer interest and experience he (Albanese) has got in infrastructure. When he was Infrastructure Minister from 2007 to 2013, he put a structure into place that was not driven by postcode or electorate or anything like that. It was driven by need,” Mr Jeffreson said.

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He also believes that the people of Australia deserve more than what the Morrison Government have provided.

“The day-to-day running of government they can’t do – the parliament never sits, the operation of the country just sort of bundles along from day to day and then when something serious does happen, like a fire or a pandemic, they’re nowhere,” Mr Jeffreson said.

Mr Jeffreson currently runs a business consulting firm in Wagga and prides himself on having lived in regional Australia his entire life and understanding the demands of their communities.

“I was born in Holbrook, raised in Albury and I’ve been a Wagga resident since 1987,” Mr Jeffreson said.

“We are a Riverina story. We’ve raised children, we’ve cleared mortgages, we’ve worked for companies large and small and we’ve worked for ourselves.”

The National Party has confirmed Mr McCormack will recontest the Riverina seat and Michael Bayles will again represent the Greens having represented them in 2019.

The federal election is expected to be held in May and cannot be any later than 21 May.

Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on About Regional.

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