SWEET AND SOUR
By CRAIG McTEAR
HE'S back in for another four years, but unfortunately, Andrew Fraser is also back in Opposition.
Mr Fraser, who enters his fifth full term as the Nationals member for Coffs Harbour, admitted his thumping victory in Saturday's State election had been soured by the return of the Labor Government.
With 52 per cent of the primary vote safely his, Mr Fraser claimed victory two-and-half hours after voting had closed. "It is extremely humbling," he said.
A decisive factor in his win had been the 'very nasty, personal campaign' from his Independent rival, Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades.
"I think people are not that silly. The public are very well-informed," he said. "They've also recognised my record as a hard worker for the electorate, someone who has achieved while in government or opposition and who will continue to achieve.
"We could have had a better victory if it wasn't for WorkChoices and the fear that was put out by the Labor Party. Labor pushed that hard, particularly at public meetings."
With a 'fairly large swing' against Labor across the State, the ALP 'needs to realise they need the respect of the electorate'. "I think it's high time the Labor Party started governing for NSW."
He said people wanted the Pacific Highway fixed, and he would push Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal to examine a new route for the proposed Coffs Harbour bypass.
When asked what he wanted to achieve in this term, Mr Fraser listed a bypass and a 'decent water supply'. "I don't think (the) Shannon Creek (dam) is the answer," he said.
He also wanted improved health services, funding for an ante-natal unit at Coffs Harbour Health Campus, more hospital beds and more operating theatres.
"We need more attention from the State Government."
While Opposition leader Peter Debnam had 'worked himself to the bone' and would have made a good Premier, voters disliked factional disunity in the Liberal Party.
Mr Fraser said Nationals leader Andrew Stoner had worked exceptionally hard and the good results for the party reflected that.
He said Mr Stoner's position was safe.
"I had a run (at the leadership) last time and have been a loyal member of the National Party and Shadow Cabinet since then."
Mr Fraser, who holds the portfolios of Small Business and Forestry, said he would 'wait and see what I'm given' when asked if he would push for a more senior frontbench position.