A MILDURA Rural City Councillor has warned that his colleagues “continued sniping” at the efforts of the region’s Federal and State-elected Members of Parliament could prove damaging in the long-term.

According to Cr Max Thorburn, PICTURED, “constant attacks” by some Councillors against National Party Member for Mallee, Andrew Broad, “will not improve the chances of ratepayers securing the amount of money we want for important future projects.”

“Quite frankly, the anti-National banter against Mr Broad will not see him unseated at the next Federal Election,” he said.

Cr Thorburn said that over recent decades, the Mallee had “genuine representation” by former MPs Peter Fisher and John Forrest, who he said that while “honest”, were not “ministerial material.”

“Both gave great Parliamentary service and became party whips, but never got the chance to take the next step of being a Minister in a government in power,” he said. “For some time I have watched the public speaking efforts of Mr Broad, in particular one of his speeches at Robinvale delivered without a script and just jotted reminders.

“You only have to watch Federal Parliament question time on TV to work out that the orators – the people who can speak fluently and intelligently off the cuff on practically any topic – are those who become Ministers.

“I might say to the residents of Mildura that after several decades we finally have a guy in Parliament who has Ministerial potential. Becoming a Minister brings a realm of power that very few Mildura representatives in Parliament have experienced.

“They become a major part of the policy process, and have a significant say in where the money is spent.

“As a Mildura Councillor I believe that as it is not a case of the Mallee being a marginal seat, it is in our best interests to support Mr Broad in his climb to becoming a future Federal Minister.”

Cr Thorburn said that not since the 1990s, when then Member for Mildura Craig Bildstien was a chance to earn a State Ministerial portfolio, has the region had such a strong Ministerial candidate.

“But he (Mr Bildstien) didn’t get the job because we voted him out in favour of an independent candidate, Russell Savage,” he said. “Over the years most of the good City Councillors were also good orators – today I have to say it is very disappointing to find that most Councillors have to sit and read what they say from a script.

“Over the years I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of international conferences and events where speakers have included US Presidents and White House officials, and it gives you the opportunity to assess the standard required to be successful in the world market of influence and power.

“If Mr Broad was a champion runner, the whole region would be behind him to win gold at the next Olympics, so now when we finally have a guy in Parliament who is close to becoming a future Minister, why doesn’t the district embrace the same concept and take him to his maximum?”

Cr Thorburn said he was confident that Mr Broad would retain his seat at the next Federal Election, and that the region should be “cheering him all the way to a Ministerial post.”

“That’s where we can get some influence and power and get the funding we need for our major projects,” he said. “I am quite sure that if we push for Mr Broad to get as high as he can in the party system, the ultimate beneficiaries will be the residents of our municipality.

“Small-time thinking politics, which we are seeing continually in our current Council, has its place, but at the end of the day we are not successful because we haven’t got the right person at their best level.”