Labor’s candidate for Lindsay in the federal election, Diane Beamer has made a comeback into politics and faces a big challenge against Liberal’s Melissa McIntosh; given the breakthrough Liberals made in the seat of Penrith (which falls within Lindsay) in the April New South Wales elections.
Beamer was a member for Badgerys Creek and Mulgoa between 1995 and 2001, before changes were made to the electoral boundaries. She took a break from politics in 2011. Her nine-years hiatus from politics has ended following Labor’s decision to disendorse Emma Husar as its candidate, following complaints about her (Emma’s) conduct which she has disputed. The case is before the courts.
Stuart Ayers is the NSW member for Penrith and is also Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, key portfolios that could see another swing towards the Liberals on May 18.
“Someone we can count on” is Beamer’s comeback mantra as she addresses Western Sydney residents’ daily issues and struggles as her own; having lived in the region for more than 20 years.
A mother of six with seven grandchildren, Beamer targets the rising living costs, more funding to schools, universities and TAFE and cuts to childcare costs as main issues on her agenda.
High living costs has been a constant concern of Western Sydney residents. Beamer says she can relate to the issues at the grassroots level. “I left politics at a time when my two daughters were just starting the HSC and my late mother came to live with me and she was very ill,” she tells Penrith’s Western Weekender newspaper.
Drawing from her own experiences as she dealt with her mother’s sickness, Beamer is looking to fund $2.3 billion towards families dealing with cancer patients, in order to reduce out of pocket expenses. NSW recorded 46,000 cancer patients in 2018. She looks to aid the community through improved Medicare measures, saying, “Cancer makes you sick, but it should not make you poor, and that is what the Australian Labor Party is going to change.”
Beamer originally became involved in politics in 1975 after joining the Emu Plains branch of the ALP. Shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, she began serving as an electorate officer for John Brown, then Minister for Sport and Tourism, until she was eventually elected in as a Councillor of Penrith in 1989.
During her role as Councillor, she unsuccessfully contested the seat of Badgerys Creek in 1991. Despite this, she quickly won over the City of Penrith, serving as Deputy Mayor between 1992-93, Mayor between 1993-94, and eventually redeeming herself in 1995 after being elected into the seat of Badgerys Creek.
Beamer’s motivation for change was evident throughout her early years as she began serving as Minister Assisting the Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, Minister for Juvenile Justice and Minister for Western Sydney, all in 2003. However, as she began to raise her own family she slowly steered away from the political scene. By 2007, Beamer began serving as a backbencher, eventually electing not to recontest the seat of Mulgoa in 2011.
During her time as Mayor, Beamer aided the community through the opening of public schools and securing investments for Penrith’s Nepean Hospital.
Labor leader Bill Shorten campaigned with Beamer in Lindsay on Monday, May 6. He also announced $125 million funding for the Nepean Hospital’s Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre for 2025 if Labor wins government.
Alongside Beamer’s intentions for improved Medicare and living costs, she is also looking for developments to the Jamison Park Multi-Purpose Indoor Sports Centre.
The seat of Lindsay is currently marginal with Labor holding out just by 1.1 per cent. “I really feel passionately that we’ve got to do something about changing the Federal Government and the marginal seat of Lindsay is one of those key seats to ensure that Labor is on track to do that,” she says.