Getting real

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Liberal candidate for Lalor Nihal Samara feels a change is in the air in Lalor. He is confident people are going to see that Labor has continued to ignore them while he is on the streets everyday, listening to their issues

By Tanu Kallivayalil

Nihal Samara is a hard man to get hold of. He is a very busy man. He spends a lot of time getting to know the issues and people of his electorate.

Samara is keen to talk about the electorate and the issues they face and does not really want to be drawn into the larger debates such as the asylum seeker issue and carbon tax.

“At the moment, I’m focusing on local issues. In the electorate area of Lalor, we are campaigning for reduction of the cost of living that is affecting families, businesses. We are also looking at infrastructure such as transport, health and education. These are the three areas that are outlined in the Real Solutions, which is the policy of the Liberal Party,” he says.

He has been a member of the party for over 10 years. “My family have been members as well. Their policies, the diversity of the party — this is what continues to attract,” he adds.

“I have a master’s in Public Health and bachelor’s in Science. I have worked for community health services and GP services and in policy development. I can work with a broad range of people across cultures,” he says.

In one of Labor’s safest seats, Samara is a beacon of positivity for the Liberal Party.

“Labor is more concerned about looking after their own jobs and interest than the people they are meant to represent. Our feedback from meeting different businesses and people has been very promising and good. It is a real groundswell that we are seeing,” he says.

“From what we’ve gathered, people are really disenchanted. The person meant to be representing them has left the electorate and she is not even in the state. Julia has been listening to Kevin and Kevin has been listening to Julia,” he says.

He feels that the demographic change in the area might change things a bit in his favour. “This area has 167 different nationalities. It’s the fastest growing area in all of Australia. Last year it overtook Brisbane. It was quite a different period,” he says.

Samara’s views on carbon tax are in line with the party policy. “The Coalition government has released their own policy. (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott has outlined the position we will be taking,” he says.

Samara feels his background can work in his favour. “We all came from different backgrounds. My dad is Buddhist, best friend is Muslim, mum is Catholic and I went to an Anglican school. Having this mixed background is really an opportunity,” he says.

He is also a new father and this he feels has changed his attitude to life in many ways. Even as he takes his son along with him on the campaign trail, he is aware that what he is standing for is a better world for his son.

“Every parent says that. Until it happens, when they grab your hand for the first time and then when you feel truly helpless. From a political side, it leaves you well-grounded. He comes with me on the campaign trail. Here I am trying to teach him what life is meant to be and I find him teaching me instead,” he says.