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Michael’s a true believer

09 Jun 2016

Michael’s a true believer Image

By Sean Car

As he enters the race for the seat of Melbourne Ports for a sixth consecutive election, sitting Labor member Michael Danby said his passion for serving his community was as strong as ever.

“What does my friend Barney Frank from Massachusetts say? That he’s a sixth term congressman. I’m a sixth term congressman too but I’m still a true believer,” he said.

“I still think back to walking from my grandma’s house in Carnegie down Balaclava Rd on a hot, sultry night in 1972 and across to the St Kilda Town Hall, which is where I started in politics to hear Gough Whitlam speak at the famous ‘It’s Time’ rally.”

“I was 17 years old. You could just walk in. I was there!”

While catching up with Southbank Local News last month, Michael scurries about setting up his Chapel St electoral office in St Kilda placing giant campaign posters around what was merely an old shop front.

It was certainly no ordinary interview, but an enjoyable experience nonetheless as local personalities wandered in and out to have a chat with a politician who has become an endeared local figure and friend to many.  

His passion for politics and everyday personable qualities are perhaps attributes many Australian’s would feel are lacking in too many of today’s politicians, and none more so in Michael’s opinion than Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“The Turnbull Government is seeking re-election on the policies of the Abbott Government,” he said.

“People are certainly disappointed that Turnbull hasn’t turned out to be the big change that they hoped from Abbott. That’s in the forefront of people’s minds.”

“I have to say I’m concerned that some people will make the judgement that we have to give him a shot even if he think he hasn’t done a great job so far but that’s a judgement people will make.”

He said the biggest issues affecting his electorate ahead of the July 2 election were housing affordability, the NBN, marriage equality, public transport, education, animal welfare and the arts.

However, he said with Southbank’s population growing rapidly, his biggest sticking point with the Turnbull Government was that it was only providing 8 per cent of the national infrastructure budget to Victorians.

“It’s creating demand for apartments in Southbank. It’s creating demand for public transport. But if you’re going to help Victoria you’ve got to have some vision and build the infrastructure,” he said.

“It’s not good enough for Malcolm Turnbull to let 35 per cent of people into Victoria and not give us the proportionate amount of money to pay for the hospitals, the education and for public transport.”

As the son of refugee from Nazi Germany, Michael certainly possesses a great appreciation for Australian culture and has always been renowned for his passion in foreign policy and human rights.

While he is by no means a fan of the Greens Party and isn’t afraid to let it be known, his values are undoubtedly embedded in the more humanitarian end of the political scale.

And while he also believes in an “economically rational” society, he said that, if elected, he would continue to do everything in his power to strengthen Australia’s status as a fair and equal country.

“I’ll do everything I can in parliament to keep this sort of pluralist, economically rational and progressive island that we have to ourselves and to make sure that it’s kept free and fair,” he said.

“I think that’s the kind of society that Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong are looking to establish if Labor gets elected.”

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