A NEAR-MISS electoral victory for Roy Reekie more than a decade ago has inspired the Warrnambool lawyer to re-enter the political fray.
Mr Reekie has been officially endorsed as the ALP candidate for South West Coast ahead of the November election, making it the fourth time he has contested one of the region’s constituencies.
The 50-year-old came within a few hundred votes of winning the electorate at the 2002 election against Liberal MP now Premier Denis Napthine.
Mr Reekie told The Standard yesterday he was committed to improving educational opportunities for the region’s teenagers and young adults was one of the driving factors behind the campaign.
“The impact of (state government) cuts to TAFE and the erosion of educational opportunities at a federal level was a real tipping point with me,” he said.
“We need to ensure our young people are not left behind and someone needs to take a stand.
“We’ve got some incredibly talented teachers and professionals but we need to do more to improve our year 12 retention rate.”
Mr Reekie stood as the ALP candidate at the 1999 state election against then Corangamite Shire mayor John Vogels, who was ultimately successful and became Warrnambool’s Liberal MP.
After an electorate redistribution, Mr Reekie stood against Dr Napthine for South West Coast at the 2002 state election which resulted in a landslide for former premier Steve Bracks.
Mr Reekie also contested the 2006 state election against Dr Napthine but again was unsuccessful.
Originally from Warrnambool, Mr Reekie lived in Glasgow, Scotland for three years from 2007.
He relocated back to Australia in 2009 after the birth of his first grandchild. He worked in the legal profession in Melbourne for three years and returned to the south-west last year.
“There’s been an incredible amount of change since I last lived in Warrnambool,” Mr Reekie said. “There’s a really vibrant arts scene right across the south-west now.
“I think that’s created a willingness to address social issues like the environment, the plight of refugees and there’s a stronger connection to Warrnambool’s place in the world.”