Fanning fights for Longman

Longman, Qld


On the road with Longman Labor candidate Rebecca Fanning

Rebecca Fanning is a first-time candidate in Longman but her campaign has already been boosted by some big-name guests. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was with her in Morayfield and the former Treasurer Wayne Swan helped  during a listening post event in Caboolture last week.

Ms Fanning is taking a stand against the Liberal MP Terry Young and the list of high-profile visitors suggests Labor sees this seat as a possible win on May 21. “If I get elected as the member for Longman, I will make sure that our area gets what we deserve,” Ms Fanning said. She has pulled out all the stops this election, including strong campaigning, door knocking, attending local events and meeting with local businesses. She is building a large following within the Longman electorate.

“One of the things that our region has really been missing is someone who will represent us in Canberra and fight for us,” Ms Fanning said at the campaign listening post in Caboolture. “Right now, we have Scott Morrison and his Government completely neglecting our region and taking us for granted, and our community is suffering.”

Ms Fanning has promised to “fight for the people in our region, so they get a better future”, which she believes Liberal MP Mr Young has been unable to do.

Ms Fanning has a strong background in health care and economics. This is reflected in her work during Covid-19 as part of the health advisory department under the Annastacia Palaszczuk Government. She was also an advisor to Steven Miles, the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health & Ambulance Services, for the FNQROC program to establish a Kidney Transplant Unit in Cairns.

Ms Fanning’s campaigning is mainly focused around strengthening Medicare, improving aged care living and increasing wages to meet the rising costs of basic living. Ms Fanning has been door knocking with her volunteers to ensure they “are talking to as many people as [they] possibly can, to let them know about Labor’s plan to improve local health services”.

Ms Fanning has some well-known politicians in her corner, including Mr Swan. Mr Swan was Treasurer, Deputy Prime Minister and long-term MP for the nearby Brisbane electorate of Lilley. Mr Swan is also the National President of the Labor Party and a supporter of Ms Fanning, attending some of her community listening posts.

“This seat is the difference between winning and losing,” Mr Swan said. “We know we can win it because we have won it before.”

Ms Fanning also has the direct support of Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Opposition. “She’s standing to represent the people of Longman in our nation’s Parliament because she knows that Australians deserve better,” Mr Albanese said in a Twitter post last May after having coffee with the candidate.

In the middle of her extensive campaign, she was also joined by former prime minister Kevin Rudd. They walked around the Morayfield Shopping Centre talking to locals and created a short video at the Morayfield Urgent Care Clinic to promote Labor promises. “[You] need to vote Rebecca Fanning for Longman,” Mr Rudd said. “We are determined to make a difference to your community.”

Ms Fanning has pushed for the reopening of the Morayfield Urgent Care Clinic throughout her campaign. “That’s a big loss for our community,” Ms Fanning said. “They have to go to the Caboolture Emergency Department, or they have to wait a really long time for treatment.” She touched on her health background saying, “emergency departments aren’t often nice places to be waiting” and how the closure of the clinic “puts even more pressure on the hospital”.

Labor considers winning Longman a key part in taking Government and delivering their election promises. The seat has diverse urban and rural locations, including parts of the Moreton Bay, Somerset and Sunshine Coast regions. Some of the larger areas are Bribie Island, Caboolture and Woodford. However, the history of seat holders in Longman has changed between the Liberal National Party and Labor four times since 2007, with the result in 2019 showing rural voters swinging towards the LNP and urban voters towards Labor.

Mr Young holds the seat with a 3.3% margin. However, Ms Fanning is confident she will defeat him. “We are getting a really good response from people when we let them know about Labor’s plan to deliver a better future for them and their families,” Ms Fanning said. “I will fight for the people in our region, so they get a better future.”

Due to this being Ms Fanning’s first run as candidate her PR team, campaign manager and associates are quick to flank her during a media interview. Ms Fanning is well spoken, polite and approachable, even if her responses come across as scripted. The protectiveness of the Labor team over their newcomer is evident and her demeanour seems tense, and eye contact unbreakable when they are around. Discussions with her on an informal basis without the watchful eye of her associates show a gentle but unwavering passion to help the community.

The electorate history shows the last Labor candidate to win Longman was Susan Lamb in 2016, who defeated Wyatt Roy by a 7.7% margin, and was then re-elected at the 2018 by-election caused by her resigning due to having British citizenship. Mr Young defeated Ms Lamb in 2019 and is now Ms Fanning’s target on election day.