As we sat down at the table the secretary very carefully gave us all a glass of water. Tim Owen tall and lanky of stature shook all of our hands and then sat down.
He wore a red checkered collared shirt very clean and crisp with the sleeves blue checkered, the shirt was odd looking, it had a country road feel, a ‘I like walking along the beach with a jumper tied around my neck’ Look.
He splayed out on his chair and did something that gave me a start, he stretched his lanky long legs right out underneath the small table so that his feet where sitting literally below our legs, as he did this he put his hands on the desk and tapped them a little as if to say ‘man I am so relaxed here, I am almost asleep’
His wrinkled face looked cautious and had an almost Clint Eastwood squint as he surveyed each of us, in our reflective uniforms. We all stared back with hard intent like this was some kind of political poker game.
Our goal was to explain to Tim Owen (Newcastle’s state Liberal member) about two large factories in the Newcastle area that are about to shut their doors due to lack of government contracts.
He seemed somewhat disinterested as the AMWU workers went into detail about possible plans for future work, he knew nothing of the potential closure of these factories and was somewhat despondent while all the time giving an air that he deeply concerned for our plight.
He frowned sometimes and said ‘Now that we are in power you have to work with us’ in a way that seemed rehearsed or that he had overheard it somewhere else repeating it without much confidence.
He gave a slight impression that he was enjoying that we had to come to him to seriously ask for help, it made him feel important or that he actually could ‘do’ something.
During the meeting I broke in and said that I was frustrated that the government was unable to supply any consistent work, and he could potentially loose some votes if people loose their jobs.
He looked at us all in a kind of uncomfortable manner and said that we would all vote Labor anyways and laughed, quick stares darted around the room this was now getting a little odd.
He told us he would help and seemed almost disappointed that the meeting was over, I was last to leave and he shook my hand, he gripped it very tight as if to say ‘I’m tough’.
Afterwards we all talked for a while about the meeting, I felt a little depressed, the politics of Tim Owen seemed so fragile, so disconnected.