Tracey Roberts on her move to win the seat of Pearce

Tracey Roberts gives her first local interview since being preselected by Labor for the federal seat of Pearce. Picture: Anita McInnes

IN her first local interview since being preselected for Pearce, Tracey Roberts talks about when will she will take leave from the role of Wanneroo Mayor, whether going from local to federal politics will be a challenge and doing laps on a superbike at Barbagallo Raceway.

Mrs Roberts – who last week had bullying complaints against her dismissed but revocation motions will be presented at the next Wanneroo council meeting – said apart from Clive Palmer other issues Pearce residents raised with her included concerns about Covid and some of the judgmental responses to Premier Mark McGowan’s handling of the pandemic.

Mrs Roberts said some criticism from the Prime Minister Scott Morrison had led to a negative response from the local community who supported the Premier in endeavouring to keep WA safe, which was clearly working as the economy was doing very well.

While neither climate change nor the level of mortgage stress in the City of Wanneroo had been raised with her in a federal sense she was mindful that climate change was a priority for many in the local community.

When asked what people had told her in response to federal Opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s call for a cash incentive in the race to get everyone vaccinated, she said vaccination incentives and initiatives to improve the vaccination rate had been supported.

“Everybody who I have spoken to (in) the community are fully in support of any initiative that increases the vaccination levels, which will enable us to enjoy a lifestyle pre-Covid – in other words whatever it takes,’’ she said.

For her going from local government to federal government will be all about representing the community but just with a different tier of government.

“I’ve represented my community since 2003 and as deputy mayor since 2009 and mayor since 2011 so it will be for me continuing to listen to the community to continue to work hard on their behalf, which is what I’ve done since 2003 and it will be taking the voice of the seat of Pearce federally.

“I’m the member of many different community groups, local school boards, constantly out in the community, engaging, asking questions and listening to people’s concerns and working hard to try and address them.’’

Mrs Roberts has been reported as saying running for federal politics had always been on her radar once her sons were old enough but she said her comment had been that she would never consider (anything) federal when her children were young so it was not on her radar then.

Now that the boys were young adults she was willing to nominate.

“I spoke with my family before putting forward my expression of interest and got the full support of my family.’’

She said once the federal election writs were issued and there were formal nominations with the electoral commission she would take leave from her role as mayor.

“So basically when the election is called and my formal nomination is lodged with the electoral commission I’ll take leave from my position as mayor and the deputy mayor will become acting mayor.’’

When asked if after always saying she was not aligned with any party did she concede that once she appeared in a campaign poster with Premier Mark McGowan and Butler MLA John Quigley it looked clear to political watchers that she had thrown her hat into the ring of the Labor camp she said she understood but she was not a member of the party then.

“As mayor I’ve always endeavoured to be apolitical.’’

She had not been mayor long when she completed four or five exhilarating but nail-biting

circuits on the back of a super bike at Barbagallo Raceway.

“It was at the superbike championships on the back of Steve Martin’s bike.

“We hit 240km/h on the back of the bike – (before that) the last time I was on the back of a bike was when my sister-in-law got her first moped.’’

Martin told the crowd she was the only mayor who had ever done this.

On the campaign to win the seat of Pearce she said she would run her own race and focus on the community from her perspective while bearing in mind that one of the reasons she involved herself in the community was that it was the community who had supported her when she had breast cancer.

She has been happily married to Peter for 25 years and her sons are IVF babies.

Her first husband died at a young age after he had what was thought to be a cyst on his neck but it turned out to be stage four Hodgkin’s disease.

Mrs Roberts is taking part in a Cancer Council Relay For Life West Coast 2021 fundraiser on October 23-24 where speakers will tell their stories.

Yesterday her opponent in the battle for Pearce Christian Porter, who resigned from the Morrison Government ministry after revelations a “blind trust” was used to pay for part of his defamation action against the ABC, confirmed he had nominated for preselection for the seat.

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