Safely ensconced in the fifth safest Coalition seat in Victoria and requiring a swing of more than 20 per cent to unseat him, Mr Morris is all but certain of remaining the member for Mornington beyond the November election.
But recently appointed Labor representative for Mornington Rebecca Wright, pictured right, isn’t fazed by such obstacles.
The 38-year-old mother of three, who works as a speech pathologist at Peninsula Specialist College in Dromana, acknowledges she is facing a huge hurdle in facing off against the Liberal incumbent but said she was determined to make Mr Morris more accountable to Mornington voters.
Her mission is to “put Labor back on the map on the peninsula” and draw attention to the “major shortcomings” and “socially divisive policies” of the state and federal Coalition governments, she said.
“This seat, and the people who live and vote here, seem to have been taken for granted by the Coalition because it’s seen as being so safe, so I’m determined to put us back on the map and bring some attention to the issues affecting this area,” Ms Wright said.
“One of the first questions people have asked me after my appointment is ‘who are you up against’. That’s how silent Mr Morris has been.
“There’s a real feeling out there that the people of Mornington are being ignored and taken advantage of because this is such safe Liberal seat. They feel like they’re completely off the radar.”
Having being formally endorsed two months ago to represent the ALP in the Mornington electorate, Ms Wright said she had been busy trying to re-establish the Labor brand among voters.
“People feel betrayed by the Coalition, both at the federal and state levels, and it’s my job to show them that Labor is a viable alternative.
“A vote for me and the Labor Party is a vote for better health care, better education, more jobs, for better advocacy and services for families, women, the disabled.
“There is a lot of disquiet out there in the community against the Coaltion, which seems to be systemically dismantling the social supports and safety nets that have made this country the equitable society is once was.” Having worked for more than decade with disadvantaged young people in the education system, Ms Wright said she was passionate about Labor policies of providing a “fair go for all”, particularly in the areas of education and health care.
She is particularly concerned about government cuts to education and welfare, especially given the tough economic conditions young people are currently facing, and is a strong supporter of ALP calls for a Royal Commission into family violence.
“The various numbers I’ve seen indicate that over 2012-2013, police responded to on average over 10 incidents of family violence a week on the peninsula, so that is symptomatic of too many vulnerable women, children – and in some cases men – slipping through the cracks of the systems meant to be in place to support them.
“Labor’s commitment to establishing a Royal Commission is geared to getting to the bottom of systemic deficiencies.”