Happy Kampers: Silver lining for ALP

Happy Kampers: Steve Kamper, holding his grandson Stavros, with wife Magda and the rest of the family (from left) Nick, Carl, Chris holding Stevie, Tina with Dean, Paul, Stephanie, Eleni with Ross, and Bill. Picture: John Veage
Happy Kampers: Steve Kamper, holding his grandson Stavros, with wife Magda and the rest of the family (from left) Nick, Carl, Chris holding Stevie, Tina with Dean, Paul, Stephanie, Eleni with Ross, and Bill. Picture: John Veage

LABOR regained its dominance in St George at state level in Saturday's state election — but the Liberal Party strengthened its hold on the seat of Oatley.

Accountant Steve Kamper, a father of five and grandfather, won back Rockdale for Labor, one of 14 seats which the party expects to pick up despite the Coalition's decisive victory.

Former assistant state ALP secretary Chris Minns, who is seen within the party as a possible future leader, retained Kogarah for Labor following the retirement of Cherie Burton, who had held the seat for 16 years.

Mr Minns said he was "thrilled" and "honoured" to win the seat.

"We had a great party [on Saturday night] and now the hard work begins," he said.

Labor had also hoped to win back the marginal seat of Oatley, but Liberal Mark Coure not only held it but got a swing of 3.2 per cent, possibly the biggest by anyone in his party.

Mr Coure said the Oatley result was "amazing" and "proves hard work always wins".

Mr Kamper, who gained a swing of 8.7 per cent, said when the Liberal Party won Rockdale in 2011 for the first time in 70 years the Labor Party had been "at its lowest".

"Over the past 12 months I have worked so hard to try and restore trust, and I am so grateful for the support of so many people."

‘‘I think much of the community was concerned about the sale of the electricity assets.

‘‘Whether that was enough to change their vote, I don’t know.

‘‘I think people also recognised the work done by all the Labor candidates in the area which led to the Liberals matching the commitment we made to rebuilding St George Hospital.

‘‘My major responsibility is to make sure the many things promised by the Liberals, including the hospital rebuild,  pedestrian tunnel at Arncliffe and upgrading of Arncliffe railway station are carried out.’’

Liberal candidate John Flowers was philosophical about losing Rockdale.

‘‘From schoolteacher to councillor, to mayor, to MP, I am ready to move on,’’ he said.

“We tried for a second term, but it wasn’t to be.

‘‘It has been an honour and a privilege to represent Rockdale and I think we have done a lot in the 

four years.’’

Mr Flowers said that he believed Steve Kamper would be ‘‘a good new member’’.

Mr Kamper said Arncliffe and Bardwell Park (where independent Michael Nagi gained a big vote at the last election) was an area where Labor’s vote had ‘‘bounced’’.

Labor had also done very well at the southern end of the electorate around Sans Souci, which traditionally supported the Liberal Party.

Mr Kamper said it had been a very clean campaign.

‘‘I have never seen a campaign where volunteer workers for all parties got along so well, and showed respect for each other,’’ he said.

‘‘We worked on prepoll for two weeks and there wasn’t a bad word said.

‘‘You would even see a worker for one party buying coffee or sandwiches for somebody from another party.’’

Are you happy with the election outcome in your electorate? 

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