And now we come to our third ungrouped independent candidate for Eastern Victoria, and what a candidate he is. I’ve been keeping a vague eye on Jeff Bartram‘s website for a week now, and had concluded that it was just going to be that single photo, announcement of his candidature, and his slogan “Looking for Good in People and in the Region”.
But sometime in the last 24 hours, everything changed. The website sprang to life, and what a life it is. Because Jeff Bartram, my dear readers, is another member of that exclusive club – the club of political parties and independents who decide to sell themselves with a song.
Once again, I find myself speechless. My husband came in to find out what on earth I was listening to, and watched the video with delight for several minutes, before opining that it would make a first-class gay nightclub anthem. Which was at almost exactly the same moment that I, looking for the Youtube link to the video, found myself being educated by Google on just what tradesman’s entrance can be slang for.
So. If this song is anything to go by, one can probably surmise that Mr Bartram is not a big fan of tertiary education being brandished as the one true solution to everyone’s problems. And one might also conclude that Mr Bartram is a tradie. And one would be right.
But before we get into his policies, let’s take a quick look at what the other candidates think of our favourite tradesman.
Alas, he does not appear to be anyone’s favourite tradie on the ballot paper. The LDP gives him his best short at 22nd, the Sex Party, the Animal Justice Party and the Australian Christians put him at 23. PUP and the Cyclists put him at the bottom of the ticket, and the Liberals, Greens and Labour have him at 26, 27 and 37, respectively.
He’s going to get in on that song or not at all, I fear.
Mr Bartram is a La Trobe Valley lad, so lots of my relatives are going to get the chance to appreciate this song, and he has worked as a fitter and turner, a chef, a removalist, and also in retail. He wants to build employment in the La Trobe Valley through government initiatives to encourage industry to relocate there, he wants to ease the regulatory costs on small businesses (this is a very, very popular policy with independents), and, unsurprisingly, he wants more training and apprenticeship, and no cuts to TAFE.
In infrastructure, he wants to see the mains gas connection network extended across Eastern Victoria, and he would like to see V/Line services improved. Wouldn’t we all.
He also wants faster ambulance response times.
Finally, he “Would like to see the upper house used as a house of review not a house of obstruction.”
This has been another common theme with independents – I think a lot of people have become very fed up with the normalisation of obstructive politics, and fair enough too.
In all honesty, I’m not sure what to make of Mr Bartram. His policies aren’t that different to several of the other country parties and independents, so I’m a little bemused that he hasn’t managed to rank higher on group tickets. Perhaps, once again, it’s a case of people not knowing who he is.At least he now has a theme song to make him stand out from the pack…
Edited to add: Mr Bartram dropped by and pointed me in the direction of his new website, which can be found here. It contains several new policies which I don’t have time to review in depth, but talking points include a commitment to local jobs, cautious support for coal seam gas, and a pledge that if he is elected he will put 50% of monies received into a trust fund for the welfare and advancement of young people. Also, he’s really, really pro-TAFE. But we sort of knew that already…!