MP’s shameless popularity push

MP’s shameless popularity push

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While local families struggle with the cost-of-living crisis and finding suitable housing, Southern River MP Terry Healy has offered his constituents “free gnomes” if they like his Facebook page.

“I am a dad of two kids, just like (Bluey’s dad) Bandit,” he said.

“I know that not everyone is available to get to Bunnings at 7am to fight through the crowds. These $19 (gnomes) are now retailing for over $100, given the demand.

“I am aware that so many families are really struggling and can’t afford to bid online for these things.

“I want to make sure that my community knows that we’ll always make sure that there are fun, free family things from my office,” he said.

Southern River MP Terry Healy displaying one of the toys in parliament.

Mr Healy was taken to task by The Australian newspaper’s Associate Editor Jenna Clarke on Sky News on Friday.

“When you’re a backbencher, you need to do everything you can to get either your constituents to like you or the media,” she told Sky News host Danica De Giorgio.

“In 2021, the Western Australian election was a complete wipeout.

“We only now have two … Opposition MPs in the lower house in WA.

“So, Labor backbenchers have got a lot of time on their hands.

“So on the first day of parliament for WA this week, he decided to use his very precious minutes on his feet where he has the attention of the speaker and the entire house to not talk about what he can do for his constituents, considering there is a health crisis in WA, they want to talk about the cost of living, they want to talk about the fact the education system is pretty cooked, no, no, he decided to stand up and encourage people to like his Facebook account and if they did so they’d get some free merch, some Bluey and Bunnings merch.

“I mean it’s pretty shameless,” Ms Clarke said.

Responding to questions from The Examiner about what his government is doing to relieve cost of living pressures on households, Mr Healy cited previous credit incentives.

“I would also say we can do more than cost of living initiative such as:

“Delivered at least $1400 in Household Electricity Credits to every WA household since 2020, providing direct cost of living relief to WA families,” he said.

“The second $200 household energy credit for this financial year is being provided to households across December 2023 and January 2024;

“We have made travel in our suburbs cheaper through our two-zone fair cap on public transport, by making public transport free for school students and by making public transport free for everyone on Sundays,” he said.

“Introduced the WA Rent Relief Program to help financially vulnerable tenants at risk of eviction remain in their homes with rental assistance of up to $5000.

“We also stopped the Liberal’s plans to privatise our energy system and prevented the sky-rocketing increases in household power bills that have been seen in the Eastern States.”

During his speech Mr Healy compared the popularity of Bluey-themed gnomes to the scarcity of toilet paper at the start of COVID.

Bunnings has temporarily rebranded its Cannington store — along with others across Australia — as “Hammerbarn” after the hardware store that features in an episode of the ABC cartoon.

Soon after the rebrand, Bluey gnomes sold out — with some of the ornaments showing up on eBay where people were reselling them for more than $100.

Mr Healy showed parliament a Jeremy and Hecuba gnome his office was giving away to people who entered a contest on his Facebook page.

Mr Healy said his electorate office had made available a free program, with gnome hunters only required to share the post to enter.