Coleman eager to deliver on commitments

SUNDAY was a family day for new Banks MP David Coleman, the Liberal who wrested the seat from long-time Labor incumbent Daryl Melham.

It was his wife Dotte's birthday and the extended family gathered for a low-key lunch at the Coleman home in Cronulla.

"It's a good feeling obviously and we worked very hard for it," Mr Coleman said of his win.

Sweet victory: David Coleman celebrates his win with his wife Dotte, daughter Caroline and son Joseph. Picture: Jane Dyson

Sweet victory: David Coleman celebrates his win with his wife Dotte, daughter Caroline and son Joseph. Picture: Jane Dyson

Yesterday (Monday) was about resigning his executive job with Channel Nine and cleaning out the campaign office.

He won't be starting his new job until all the postal votes are counted and the victory formally declared — expected to take about two weeks.

Mr Coleman will be using the time to thank the 300 or so volunteers who worked hard on his campaign and to plan for his first tasks in office, which will be about delivering on election commitments.

That means the Pole Depot Community Centre may get its $500,000 to build a new hall; there may be funding for CCTV cameras to improve safety at Riverwood, Narwee, Penshurst and Mortdale; and the Green Army projects to improve parts of the Georges River.

"They are important commitments and key local issues but I am also now part of the Coalition team and voting for Tony Abbott's agenda," he said.

"Part of my job is to pass legislation and get the job done."

Mr Coleman, 39, grew up on the fringes of the Banks electorate — at Croydon Park where his mother still lives — so is familiar with the area.

He was involved in student politics while studying arts/law at the University of NSW, and while unaligned at the time he got a taste of what politics could do.

"It taught me that it was possible to make a difference if you work at it," he said.

Although some members of his extended family vote Labor, Mr Coleman was drawn to the Liberal cause in his 20s.

"I thought the Liberals offered the best solution for Australia," he said.

"The economy and society tended to be stronger under the Liberals."

Until now, all of Mr Coleman's working life has been in the private sector, mainly in the internet and media industries.

For the past eight years he was director of strategy and digital at Nine Entertainment.

Banks is his third attempt at a federal seat: he lost party preselection battles in Cook in 2007 and Bradfield in 2010.

"We all have our views and frustrations with government and how things should be, and I thought if I have an opinion I should do something practical about it."

He is now rolling up his sleeves for Banks.

"We ran a strong campaign and a lot of people who voted for me wouldn't have voted Liberal before," he said.

"My job is to be the best representative I can be and repay the faith they showed in me."

Mr Coleman acknowledged the contribution made by his predecessor Mr Melham.


Deposed Banks MP Daryl Melham thanked his staff and supporters, and congratulated Mr Coleman, wishing him well.

‘‘It was a robust campaign and both sides acquitted themselves well,’’ he said.

Mr Melham said he was lucky to get 23 years in the job and his next career move would be charity work, probably in Aboriginal communities.

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