“Mrs. Townshend, what is your opinion on the government planning to privatise the country’s gas supply to the highest bidder?” The news reporter from the Herald called out when Hariet Townshend pointed to him at the press conference.
The Opposition member for Sig and Vi’s local area had organised the press conference prior to the news of the gas privatisation being made public knowledge. According to the press release she had indented conference as a platform to tell her constituents that she was retiring from parliament but according to the first ten minutes of her speech the lack of foresight of the current government in all areas of governance meant she had to change her mind and fight them one more time. It was for the good of the people, for the good of the local area and for the good of the country.
During the conference there was lots of buzz words spoken, words like job creation, better economy, fiscal management and other such words that the media would eat up and print, or voice depending on their medium. Then for a full eight and a half minutes she was able to talk about the failing of Kelly Campbell at both a local and federal level. She was relentless in her attack and the script she was reading from was written entirely from that perspective, not once did she announce a new, or even opposing policy that would help get her elected.
With the Gas privatisation announcement happening only day before Hariet Townshend and her public relations team had known the topic would come up at the conference and they were prepared for it. What they weren’t prepared to do was get too involved in it until the official stance had been made by the Opposition leader.
“The Labourers Party,” Hariet spoke clearly into her mic, “don’t believe privatising any large government asset is for the long term benefit of the country.”
Hariet immediately began looking for another question so as to keep as far away from the gas issue as she could, but the media present at the conference had a different idea.
“So you are going to try and stop the privatisation from happening?” The voice came from the same reporter as the first question.
“We are against any policy that risks Australian jobs and puts workers at risk. The Liberates are happy to see our big assets taken over by foreign owners, they are happy to see local job losses and they are happy for the rich at the top to get richer while the workers pay the price. To them it’s about money.”
The crowd cheered at Hariet’s speech and it was clear to see that the audience was stacked with ‘rent-a-crowd’ people paid in advance for their appearance and told to cheer whenever Hariet said something the party deemed as worthy, or boo at the mention of the Liberates and their failed policies.
“But Mrs. Townshend that didn’t answer my question.”
It was clear that Hariet was trying to avoid answering the man from the Herald and was looking for another reporter.
“Mr. Pence,” Hariet said slightly annoyed. “As I said the opposition will defend the workers, we will stand up against the government and we will do everything in our power to stop this and many of their other policies from going through.” She then took a breath, turned away from the reporter and faced a different section of the crowd. “Now is there any other questions?”
“I’ve got one for you Mrs. Townshend.” The voice came from a male at the rear of the crowd, it was a voice Hariet recognised instantly.
As the crowd parted slightly Hariet saw Sig Destrayer, he was standing at the back as he always did, looking inconspicuous enough that no one else would remember him being there when the conference was over. Standing next to him was the girl who always seemed to be by his side, Hariet had no idea if she was his girlfriend or not but they seemed inseparable.
Hariet was slightly taken back, it was the first time she’d seen or heard Sig’s presence in several months and although he was not a supporter of hers, he always seemed more supportive of her and her party’s policies than he did of the Liberates are Kelly Campbell.
“Ah Mr. Destrayer, it’s been a while. I trust you’re not here to make a scene.”
No sooner had the words come out of Hariet’s mouth than her publicist was seen at the side of the stage shaking her head and willing Hariet not to engage with Sig in such a way.
“Not at all, I was just here to see you retire like so many others were,” there was a quiet laughter that moved through the crowd just as Sig had expected but he kept talking so as not to get his message cut off when the crowd got to rowdy. “But since you’ve decided you’re not retiring at the moment I do have a question for you.”
Hariet looked at her publicist and saw her nod, in truth she had no way of escaping Sig’s question without making the entire crowd know she was avoiding it but she was clutching at straws because she knew what Sig was capable of.
“Go ahead Mr. Destrayer.”
“You’ve said your party is against privatising the gas company.” Hariet nodded but Sig didn’t give her a chance to answer. “You’ve said that your party is about local jobs and local workers.” Hariet nodded again. “You’ve also stated that you are no longer retiring and plan to fight against the government to win the next election.”
Hariet nodded and said into the microphone. “Yes Mr Destrayer, I do. But is there a question coming or are you just summarising my speeches.”
It was clear to Sig that Hariet thought her response was a smart and witty comeback but she was the only one who thought that.
“My question is. While you are against the sale of the gas company because it will cost jobs and increase gas prices. How is that you were able to stand by and allow your own party to sell off the Paper Mills a few years ago, a move that not just saw jobs go but saw local jobs go?”