Liberal candidate for Greenway Jaymes Diaz won’t talk to us. It took more than a dozen emails, phone calls and posts made on his website over a two-week period to receive a 134-word text message explaining he had been ‘‘flat out’’.
When we called the state Liberal campaign headquarters in an attempt to organise a five-minute interview with him we were also told he was ‘‘flat out campaigning’’.
We offered to meet him on the campaign trail, and talk to him as he handed out flyers at a station or mall, but a media adviser said they didn’t know where he was.
A media adviser also refused on Mr Diaz’s behalf an invitation to attend a forum we organised where school children questioned the candidates.
We can email our questions to Mr Diaz, we’re just not allowed to ask them directly.
In about a week Mr Diaz could be elected to represent us and he won’t have talked to journalists about where he stands on the issues that are important to our community.
He might speak to individuals who approach him as he campaigns, but he is avoiding one-on-ones with journalists who could share his views with many more people.
What is most worrying is that if Mr Diaz does win the seat, which he is tipped to, he might simply continue to ignore requests for interviews.
We’re used to having open access to our local MPs: we often call them directly on their mobiles (sometimes they call us a little too often) and have regular one-on-one meetings with them, at both our request and theirs.
We definitely don’t always get along with them, but we’re always able to ask them the questions our readers want to know the answers to. It’s an important relationship.
Perhaps the gaffe on Channel 10 news (that amassed thousands of views on YouTube and was featured on US comedy show The Daily Show) has made Mr Diaz hesitant about speaking to us.
We’re willing to forgive him if he can’t memorise Abbott’s six-point plan to stop asylum seeker boats, but surely he can have confidence in his knowledge of his own community.
If he’s following a reported Liberal Party directive that candidates should avoid one-on-one interviews, perhaps because it is safer for them to keep quiet than risk saying the wrong thing, it’s a real shame.
Western Sydney needs a strong voice, a representative who isn’t afraid to speak out of turn to fight for the resources our community needs.
We need a loud voice and Mr Diaz is remaining mute.
Mr Diaz was contacted and told we were writing a piece about how he would not speak to local journalists. After several more attempts to speak with him one-on-one for a few minutes he replied via text message:
''Sorry that we haven’t had a chance to speak yet but I’ve been flat out meeting and speaking with constituents right around the electorate.
''Wednesday, for example, I started the day at Schofield station, then spent the morning at the grand opening of the new extension to Stanhope Gardens.
''It was a great event and I had the chance to congratulate the shopkeepers who were incredibly proud of their new businesses.
''After that I was at Riverstone and Toongabbie where so many people were keen to tell me about how much they were looking forward to a change of government.
''This morning John Howard joined me at Blacktown Westpoint and I’ll send through something on that. Not sure if you’re on Facebook but I’ve posted some other great photos on there, too.
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