Even as election posters from the weekend are still being taken down, Labor’s Andrew Charlton could be seen out in Western Sydney this morning thanking voters.
“I was at Granville station today, tomorrow I’ll be at Parramatta. It’s important to be out there even after the election,” the newly elected MP told Indian Link with a smile. “I figured this would be a closely run race and I’m humbled and happy to be given this opportunity.”
Millions of Australians may have been glued to their screens on election night but he admits he was far from the action. Instead, he went home for a quiet dinner with his wife, finding out the results only hours later. (“It was a nice quiet meal with no politics discussed,” he quipped.)
While Andrew Charlton was successful in securing the seat of Parramatta over Liberal candidate Maria Kovavic, fellow Labor politician Kristina Keneally wasn’t as lucky in the seat of Fowler. Over six weeks of campaigning, both politicians had faced similar criticism and scepticism on being parachuted from Sydney’s east.
He attributes his victory to a clear plan for Parramatta and strong leadership from Labor leader Anthony Albanese on a national level.
“I went to voters with a vision for Parramatta for the next decade instead of engaging in negativity or soundbites or photo ops,” he said. “I wanted to treat voters with respect by presenting them with a clear plan and it’s clear they responded to that.”
Thank you Parramatta! pic.twitter.com/ii0x3p4hVb
— Andrew Charlton (@Charlton_AB) May 21, 2022
Through daily interactions with voters, Charlton notes that he made a tangible commitment to the people of Parramatta by moving to a new home in the area.
“After that, voters could focus on the plan ahead and whether we had the skills required to execute it,” he added.
An important aspect of the campaign for Indian-Australian voters were Labor’s promises of a $3.5 million commitment to the Harris Park precinct and $6.5 million to Sri Om Care in Western Sydney for ethno-specific aged care services. When can voters expect to see action on it?
“I’d like to get to work straight away,” he confirmed. “Regarding Harris Park, I want to make sure it’s a consultative process where we talk to the local council, business groups, and the community before taking action. If we do it right, I believe the precinct will be a valuable asset and tourist destination.”
Earlier today, Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese left for the Quad summit in Tokyo and is expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly. Among the many items on their agenda will be closer economic and trade ties.
“India is a valuable partner for Australia and the relationship has to strengthen. When I went to India in 2009-10, we began work on a strategic partnership that set the broad framework for the AI-ECTA we see today, but it also included ways to improve our relationship in security, technology, and other crucial areas,” Charlton told Indian Link. “Through my role with the Indian community here in Parramatta, there’s certainly a lot of work that will be done in honouring the responsibility given to me and building strong ties.”
He’s got a simple message for voters who put their trust in him: thank you.
“I’m humbled by the result and it’s now that the real work starts. So I want to thank the community for putting their trust in me and look forward to delivering results,” he signed off.
With input from Rhea L Nath.