On 25 October, the residents of Newcastle are returning to the polling booths to elect a new State Member for Newcastle.
The city of Newcastle is embroiled in the present NSW ICAC corruption hearing associated with candidates illegally accepting political donations, including lying under oath at the Commission hearing.
The fallout to date has witnessed Liberal State parliamentarians within the Newcastle region, and the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, resign their positions.
Despite Newcastle's version of political Armageddon, and the likelihood of further political repercussions, the city must dust itself off, rebuild its tarnished reputation, and plan for a more prosperous Newcastle.
For Newcastle to move forward, to unleash its untapped potential and prosper, it needs the right type of elected representative to guide and lead it out of the political and economic wilderness.
Shortly after the Liberal Party's Tim Owen's historic and Keatingesque"sweetest victory of all" at the 2011 State election in the seat of Newcastle, I wrote in the local newspaper Newcastle Herald, the win will go down as when Newcastle came of age.
Novocastrians finally stood up and announced to political parties of all persuasions that no longer will they be taken for granted.
At the time, I stated political parties, as well as independents, must now understand Newcastle's needs, earn every vote, represent, and deliver on voters' needs.
For Newcastle's sake, the hope was for Owen to succeed. This was particularly the case following Labor's destructive factional infighting and lack of progress of Newcastle under State Labor stewardship over many years.
Otherwise, in 2015, as I prophetically expressed in the Herald in 2011, and I quote:"his sweetest victory will resonate in hollowness and leave a sour taste in the mouths of Novocastrians."
Unquestionably, Novocastrians have been metaphorically kicked in the guts. Newcastle's distrust and disdain of politicians across the political spectrum is again at a low point.
So how can the people of Newcastle find hope in the midst of its political despair? Who can lead Newcastle out of its political and economic wilderness?
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