Victorian election the Dandenong seat

first_imgDandenong’s Liberal candidate Joanna Palatsides is facing the mammoth task of turning around a 13 per cent swing, to claim a seat Labor has held for the past 45 years at the November 29 state election.Palatsides is married into a Greek family, to a gentleman whose roots stem from Asia Minor and Athens. Her father-in-law was born in Jerusalem to Greek refugees of the Asia Minor catastrophe and her mother-in-law is Athenian, and draws her origin to Athens. Speaking to Neos Kosmos she says that she finds herself in a fortunate position having married a Greek Australian, which gives her, and her party, insight into Dandenong’s local Greek community. “Having married the son of Greek immigrants, I have been lucky to have significant involvement in the Greek community. We celebrate Greek holidays both with the community and as a family, surrounding myself with various Greek customs in order to teach my son about his heritage.“The Liberal Party is incredibly diverse, celebrating all cultures, with a number of high profile Liberal Party members coming from Greek backgrounds.”With incumbent Dandenong Labor MP John Pandazopoulos not contesting the 2014 election, she believes she is the candidate most in touch with ethnic communities to lead Dandenong.“Naturally being part of a Greek family is an advantage in an electorate with such a strong Greek community. Being able to relate to all the ethnic communities in Dandenong is vital, but the insights that come from being part of a Greek family will position me well to be a strong advocate for Dandenong.”“Dandenong is the most multicultural electorate in Victoria, so my focus must be on making Dandenong a better place for everyone.”Palatsides’ career as a business operator has given her a platform to help “others find stable work and be safe and healthy”, something that she believes has given her “direct experience of the difficulties that limit what communities can do and achieve”, which led her into political life.Her policies are reflective of the platforms the Napthine government is taking into the November election. “The Napthine government is investing in roads, public transport, community groups, health and education with projects such as the East-West Link, Melbourne rail link, cheaper public transport and building and upgrading schools across the state.”She believes her platform is essential for bettering Dandenong, and change is needed to better the electoral seat. “Labor have held Dandenong since 1969 and have treated it like a safe Labor seat ever since.”“It’s time for a change. A time to focus on what the people of Dandenong need, the resurgence of public transport, improved education opportunities, better health care, a family focus and jobs.”But Palatsides acknowledges that turning the 13.9 per cent margin around is a difficult task at hand.“I’m realistic, that this has been a difficult seat for the Liberals to win in the past and it’s been hard to break the stronghold of John Pandazopoulos. The people have the opportunity to choose a local Liberal candidate with a wealth of experience who truly understands their needs and pressures facing families today and I am fighting to be a strong voice for the people of Dandenong.”She believes that the best way of turning the Liberal Party’s fortunes in the area is a grassroots campaign, based on building relationships with the community at large. “I listen to what the local residents have to say and I have been overwhelmed with the offers of support,” she concludes. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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