Young favourite stands up for seniors

Phillip Danh at Parkfield Reserve, Noble Park North. 388124_01 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

It’s on for ‘young’ and ‘old’ for Yarraman by-election favourite Phillip Danh.

The ALP member and Monash law student has flagged opposition to outsourcing Greater Dandenong Council’s home and aged care services as well as prioritizing youth issues as his main issues.

“I’m a big proponent against privatization of home care and aged care services. That will be something I strongly oppose.

“We need to get these bread and butter decisions right.

“There’s a lot of cost of living pressures so even the whiff of something like this happening is a cause of great concern.

“People want to know for sure that these important services aren’t going anywhere.”

Many Victorian councils, including Casey, have outsourced home aged care services and cut staff as a result of a new Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Greater Dandenong is publicly yet to decide whether to continue in-house support for residents over 65 or with disabilities.

No changes will occur before June, and not without a council resolution.

Danh also wants to ensure young people are engaged to ensure community safety. This includes prosperity and local jobs for the next generation.

He’s gained inspiration from knocking on hundreds of doors, talking with local voters about “bread and butter” issues. He wants a council “re-focus” on rubbish, roads, street lighting and graffiti removal, as well as grants for sport clubs and volunteer groups.

His political pedigree includes serving as an electorate officer for federal MPs Julian Hill and the late Peta Murphy who died of breast cancer last year.

As the Dunkley MP, Murphy was a “wonderful advocate”. “Even on days she was really sick, she worked her arse off even on weekends.”

In Hill’s office until 2022, Danh worked mainly in “refugee advocacy” and helping in complex immigration matters for the “largest Afghan population in the country”.

“That was really rewarding to help people. Despite language barriers, I was learning how to listen and to understand their situation.”

While Hill was “neutral” in the Yarraman campaign, he’d given general advice to “work hard”, “put your face out there” and “talk to as many voters as possible”.

“I’ve had a working relationship with him. But that’s the extent of it, I’m running it independently.”

Last year, Danh also assisted at pre-poll centres and doorknocking during the successful Mulgrave by-election campaign for Labor MP Eden Foster.

Foster’s election led to her resigning from the Yarraman Ward council seat, and as a result this by-election.

In the 2020 council elections, he came within 90 votes of winning Keysborough Ward.

“I think I’m someone who can bring a new energy on the council.

“The current (councillor) demographic is quite old.

“Young people need a seat at the table.”