Willoughby Living

North Sydney Votes! Meet Your Federal Election Candidates

May 13, 2019

Australia goes to the polls on Saturday May 18 to elect our Federal representatives. In our Willoughby Living Facebook group we asked our 18,000+ members what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our local electorate of North Sydney received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond.

Here are their responses (in alphabetical order by candidate surname)…

Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans: Independent

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I went to Woolwich Public School before it was sold, and bought a house to live in Woolwich  in 1981.  I love the park at Clarke’s Point where my son learned sailing, and the bushwalk along the Lane Cove River.  I also love the cafes at the Garibaldi Centre, Willoughby Rd Crow’s Nest and Lane Cove Plaza.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I am standing as a candidate to bring power closer to the people. I want the people to have more say in the planning of our area, and our NBN to be upgraded.

I am concerned about corruption of process and poor allocation of resources. I want the Government to do more for the environment and to stop damaging it with land clearing, coal mines, fracking, abuse of groundwater and inappropriate irrigation.  I want Medicare fixed, not just ‘saved’. It has to have rebates high enough so that doctors will use it and waiting lists will not be hugely long for elective surgery.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

Leadership is vital.  Politicians should not merely follow public opinion- they have to lead it. They should find out what needs to be done and be convincing people of it- not waiting until they follow years behind as is happening with the transition to renewable energy and the implementation of the NBN.  I have been in the groups successfully fighting to Save the Sydney Harbour Foreshores (Woolwich Dock and Cockatoo Island), Hunters Hill High School, and the amalgamation of Councils.  (I fought the amalgamation of Councils when I was in Parliament as an Australian  Democrat, but lost as Fred Nile gave the casting vote that allowed the then Labor Government to amalgamate them).  I believe in the Swiss system of referenda at local, State and Federal level, where decisions are made at the lowest level possible, rather than the highest level as in Australia. Lower level decisions favour the people, higher levels favour moneyed lobby groups such as property developers.  I will try to further this concept in the interest of local control.

If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

I think personal availability is the key.  Social media is important, but I also believe in the practice of Ted Mack, who had coffee at the same cafe on Saturday afternoons for 40 years in Blues Point Rd and anyone could come and talk to him.  I talked to him almost right up to his death, and think that we need to get a statue of him between the Council building and the Stanton Library. His is the sort of leadership we need.  We need to survey issues of importance to residents and I would use the communication budget of Parliamentarians to do this, not just to send electoral material at taxpayers expense.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):

–          The environment and climate change 1

–          Housing affordability 4

–          Wage stagnation and tax cuts 5

–          The threat of terrorism 6

–          Health funding 2

–          Education funding 3

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

This is hard to address as an Independent, as I cannot make quotas for a party and I remain stubbornly male.  It is important that there be equal opportunities for women and this means to a large extent to provide good day care and childcare so that women can compete for jobs on an equal footing.  We have to identify causes of the inequalities and apply pressure to change these. I am open to suggestions.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?  

I am concerned that NDIS may just be a privatisation of the welfare system and will become top heavy with too many layers of evaluators, and corporate profits taking too much of the revenue, so that those who can work the system get packages and those who cannot miss out.  The privatisation of the education system resulted in a lot of shoddy courses and student rip-offs and people with disabilities are even more vulnerable.  I think the people who deliver the services must be paid a reasonable wage and have major input into resource allocation. There must be a strong regulatory framework, which is very often neglected in may areas such as banks, insurance, irrigators, industrial safety, nursing homes etc. If the government cannot manage a problem when it controls the people delivering the service, it is going to take a major culture change for them to manage someone else delivering the service, especially one that is profit-driven.  The public hospital system must have more funding, and more salaried staff.  Home support services must be improved, so that people can remain in their own homes as long as possible.  Carers should have a government register and be insured with accreditation of what they can do.  People needing services will then be able to get help directly from the people offering the services without middlemen taking a huge commission. Consumer protection would be by feedback to social media websites, and by a complaints register to a regulatory unit.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

No. Renewable technology can supply adequate energy more cheaply and safely. Australia should have a research reactor to retain scientists able to work in this area and to make radioisotopes for medical use, but not for energy supplies or weapons use.

What changes will you support in order to lift vaccination rates to safe community levels for common diseases such a measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc?

Strong education campaigns are needed to increase vaccination rates, but compulsion should be avoided if possible.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

I am very concerned that there is an invasion of West Papua with huge transmigration of Javanese and expropriation of Papuan land. Australia must pressure Indonesia to ope West Papua to journalists and to recognise Papuan land title.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

The whole concept of ‘underground freeways’ is an expensive and outdated concept. We needed an underground rail network which is far cheaper per Km and does not create traffic chaos, polluting stacks and parking problems. The price of freeways would build roughly 3 times as much in a rail network. If this existed there would not be a congestion problem, as railway stations would be close to both residential areas and workplaces.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the North Sydney electorate in the 
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

Planning and development are short-term problems in that major works are being approved that are not in our interest and must be changed. There must be a transport strategy which replaces cars with underground rail, and this should be trains that people can sit in rather than metros. All planning must relate to adequate public transport and have  a certain number of school places sports facilities and  parkland to the floor space ratio.

Housing and jobs must be available and this requires a look at both the economy as a whole and to local planning. We must set up better mechanisms for public input into long-term planning.

 

Greg Graham: Sustainable Australia

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I’ve lived in Artarmon for 38 years and love many places, but Tunks Park, Crows Nest restaurant precinct and Naremburn Park right up there at the top.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I’m standing to take the fight up to the big developers, big property interests and their government lackies chasing donations, to stop overdevelopment in the electorate that is destroying this beautiful area. I bring 38 years of living in the area and being an active participant in the local community as my credentials for being worthy of consideration for election.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

Leadership is listening to your community and combining their concerns with yours to aspire to a better deal for the community you represent, then bringing people with you through the power of persuasion based on your own personal charisma and by appealing to the needs and concerns of the community you represent to bring about the changes you and they all want, while at the same time being sensitive an caring about and towards the minorities so they also not only feel included but are included in and benefit from the process of improvement.

If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

Nothing would delight myself and the dedicated team at Sustainable Australia more than to connect with our local community like has never been seen before. My election would signal the green light to an avalanche of caring and sharing with the residents of the North Sydney Electorate the like of which has never been seen before. No stone will be left unturned when it comes to community concerns. I would be the selfless servant of my electorate with my door open 24/7 to all who need help and assistance, no matter what the concern. I will in Canberra become a pest, in the best possible definition of that word, in the parliament, to reflect and advocate for and on behalf of my constituents, and advocate for, and promote, at every opportunity, the core values of Sustainable Australia so my constituents, and Australians generally, can reap the rewards that come from influencing governments of all levels to adopt the sensible policies of Sustainable Australia.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):

1          The environment and climate change

2          Housing affordability

3          Wage stagnation and tax cuts

6          The threat of terrorism

4          Health funding

5          Education funding

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

It’s a challenge to reverse eons of subjugation of women in a male dominated world but we can however make change in parliament in a way that will take the community with us. I speak of culture, in particular, in the political system.  Many women are off put by the bullying and intimidation that occurs right at the beginning of the political ladder at the humble branch level. It only intensified once you’ve endured the brutal and misogynistic initiation ceremonies of this proving ground. The way to improve the atmospherics within political parties, at least those that claim to aspire to equal representation of both sexes in our parliaments, is to genuinely promote a change of culture at branch level, because change here will over time flow through to change at the top as more women achieve elected positions. This change creates a momentum that will in itself bring about change for the better.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?

I support all worthwhile and cost effective initiatives to improve the lives of the disabled and their carers. I also promote less costly health, more timely and higher quality care for the less well off in our community. As for aged care, I support the introduction of any schemes that reduce the cost of in-home, institutional and private care facilities. I find the existing permissible retirement village contracts in NSW as bordering on criminal, and am puzzled as to why successive governments do nothing to stop the exploitation of the elderly and vulnerable in our community.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

We aspire for a nuclear free Australia for a reason: there’s no need for this dangerous alternative if we keep a lid on the root cause of the need for more power and at the same time promoting the adoption of renewable power production if and when it is economically justifiable.

What changes will you support in order to lift vaccination rates to safe community levels for common diseases such a measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc?

My personal view is that for there should be no admittance of non-vaccinated children to public schools, kindergartens, day-care centers.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

I would advocate at the very least the creation of a separate country of West Papua but ideally the reintegration of West Papua with PNG. Along with my two siblings I was born in PNG to a father who, along with his father, as senior members of the PNG administration, dedicated their entire working lives to the creation and welfare of PNG. They left it in a pristine condition in 1975, one that, sadly, been lose through at the hands of maladministration. My mother also went above and beyond the call of duty to dedicate 15 years of her file to the nursing care of the PNG people. It’s so sad to see what state that country, and West Papua have fallen into with our premature exit.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

In principle our party prefers to expand public transport, in preference to building more roads. Whilst these projects are now almost certain to go ahead, I would suggest that we don’t create the need to make even more new roads and tunnels to cope with further stress on the roads. Having a sustainable population instead of rapid population growth should be part of this solution.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the North Sydney electorate in the 
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

a) short term – congestion of local roads, overcrowding, unacceptable competition for public spaces i.e. parklands, sporting ovals, community centers etc, public transport, medical facilities, schools, hospitals
b) medium term – livability
c) long term – quality of life, access to public services, congestion, pollution, degraded childcare and primary education facilities, access to community facilities, reduced travel times on roads and public transport generally, change of community culture.

 

Daniel Keogh: The Greens

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I have lived in the North Willoughby suburbs for the last 4 years but have worked in the North Sydney CBD for nearly a decade. My partner and I moved to the North Shore from the madness of inner city Sydney and are all the healthier and happier for the move. We love the lush groves and rocky outcrops of Flat Rock Gully, the charm and character of Humming Cafe in Middle Cove, and can be found working away most days in the Chatswood Library.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I am a scientist by training and a journalist and educator by trade. I never hoped to be a career politician, nor want to be. I think it’s vital that our representatives do exactly that: represent the diversity of the electorate and the country. It’s important that we elect more engineers, nurses, teachers or tradies and fewer economists, lawyers and life long politicians which are already over represented in parliament.

Being a scientist and a journalist I have read the research and spoken to the scientists about climate change. Being an educator I have seen the inequality across hundreds of schools in the state and the country. Being a young professional I have seen how difficult it is for even the most qualified, talented and capable individuals to gain a foothold in the most expensive housing market in the world.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

Leaders must first be good listeners. To think that I have all the answers is simply arrogant! The residents of North Sydney are some of the most highly educated, accomplished and resourceful people in the country. To not harness that would be an incredible waste. To be representative of the electorate I would aim to be highly consultative, listening to the concerns and common interests of all those I stand for while striving to create a sense of common purpose and community.

 If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

Given my background and experience in tech industries I believe that democracy desperately needs to be more digitised, flexible and accessible. In many months of campaigning using fairly traditional approaches I rarely see anyone under 45 attending meet the candidate forums or public events. There are whole generations that are simply missing from the conversation because they are used to much more flexibility and freedom since their lives are already stretched to the limit.

I believe there’s room for a ‘Your Say: North Sydney’ style-app that could unintrusively gather the feelings and opinions of these younger generations at a time that suits them. I’m big on the role of public education and would wish to create videos to inform people of the major debates in a balanced yet simplified way. The Greens are also keen to introduce neighbourhood level focus groups that would help directly inform decision making in parliament.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):

1          The environment and climate change

1         Education funding

2          Housing affordability

2          Wage stagnation and tax cuts

3          Health funding

9          The threat of terrorism

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

You will notice something disappointing about your ticket for North Sydney: all 7 candidates are white men.

This is disappointing because there is no shortage of capable, entrepreneurial, energetic women / people of colour / diverse genders / cultural backgrounds in our community, nor our country. So we need to work harder to ensure that these people are supported and encouraged to participate in the highest levels of democracy. I do believe in quotas for affirmative action in this regard and am proud to be representing Senator Mehreen Faruqi, who is not only the first Muslim woman in parliament, but also the only engineer. Maintaining this diversity of experience, expertise and worldview is so important.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?  

Medicare, the NDIS and healthcare funding are the cornerstones of our great, progressive society. In recent decades Liberal governments have slowly undermined these vital services, penny pinching from the disabled to create headlines about budget surpluses, reducing the number of support staff for aged care facilities and leaving Medicare to languish.

The Greens are committed to boosting the investment in the NDIS, aged care and funding of public hospitals and health services. Additionally we want to make dental an essential part of medicare and will also invest in more essential services to address the growing mental health crisis being faced by our young people.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

Unfortunately the time for nuclear fission reactors has come and gone. We do not have the infrastructure to build reactors or address the considerable waste created. We also do not have the time or money. Renewables are simply much cheaper, easier to build and are lower maintenance and risk than nuclear. And given our target for 100% renewables by 2030 the planet doesn’t have the time to wait for us to develop a nuclear industry within a decade when we already have a booming one in solar, wind and hydro.  Nuclear fission is simply not the answer we need right now.

What changes will you support in order to lift vaccination rates to safe community levels for common diseases such a measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc?

I would support the research, the experts and the many decades of evidence: Vaccines save lives, have the potential to eradicate diseases permanently and protect our most vulnerable citizens from untold suffering or death. The decision to leave a child unvaccinated endangers the child and threatens the lives of other children, all from diseases that we know – and can demonstrate – are entirely preventable.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

I’m admittedly uninformed about the situation and with international conflict being more complex that I could comprehend in the time I had to answer this it’s best I not broadcast uneducated opinions. In any situation like this though I would seek out the best advice and expertise I could, strive to understand the historical and cultural contexts of the situation, and (ideally) speak to those affected and hear the voice of the West Papua people.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

Myself and the Greens have been unequivocal in our opposition to these tunnels and toll roads. I ran in the NSW election in the Premiere’s seat of Willoughby on a platform that was distinctly anti-tunnels and pro train lines and public transport. The alternative must be a public transport solution, ideally a metro line that connects Chatswood to Dee Why via the new Frenches Forest hospital. The line itself has been well researched and proven to be cost effective and viable given the huge projected growth in population. In addition there needs to be greater improvements for the bus links through to the Northern Beaches in order to make public transport the most reliable, affordable and accessible option therefor encouraging people to reconsider hopping in their cars to cross Spit Bridge.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the North Sydney electorate in the 
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

In the short term there is the incredible rates of overdevelopment in areas around Lane Cove, Chatswood and North Willoughby and only more and more is being planned. The state system is selling our local areas out to big developers who make immense profits by building poorly designed monstrosities only to cut and run, never to reinvest in the community they have crammed in there. While the federal parliament has little extension to impact state planning laws, as a local representative I would help to push for greater transparency, the application of freedom of information requests and ideally a royal commission into the suspected corrupt collaboration between NSW politicians and these developers.

In the medium term there is the incredibly exciting opportunity for us to shift our economy and innovation towards renewable energy solutions and the circular economy. North Sydney is the perfect hub to take advantage of the booming world demand for green technologies, designs and service solutions. This incredible opportunity will create an enormous number of jobs, revitalise our research and development industries all while empowering our ability to reduce our carbon footprint.

Finally, in the long term I am especially concerned about biodiversity loss. Fuelled by the feedback loops of climate change the potential for million of species to go extinct and many vital ecosystem to collapse is incredibly worrying. Our response over the next few years towards lowering our consumption, stopping our rampant habitat destruction and land clearing, as well as our managment of threatened species will determine how much this will impact all Australian’s in the future.

 

Brett Stone: Labor

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

I moved to North Sydney as a young professional when I was still working in management consulting. As one of the many young professionals that has moved to North Sydney as a result of work, I’ve grown to love this beautiful part of the world.
Over my time here, I’ve had the pleasure of living within North Sydney and Waverton, both of which are fantastic places and communities.

In terms of three places I love in the electorate, here are just a few that come to mind:
– Bradfield Park in Milsons Point
– The Coal Loader in Waverton
– A variety of Restaurants in Chatswood

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I’m standing as the ALP candidate for North Sydney because I believe in our party’s vision
for this country. Our party is prioritising funding that will properly resource our schools and hospitals and will
make sure that we take serious action on the issue of climate change. As the owner and operator of a small business – Stone Digital – I also understand the issues that small businesses and many other people face in the electorate. I have experience working in the business world. I have been working for months to hear directly from members of the local community about
what is important to them and what they want from their elected representative. This is the approach I would bring to the community as your elected representative. People are craving a representative that actually speaks up on their behalf and is part of a stable united government. And that’s exactly what Labor can provide.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

I believe leadership has a lot to do with listening, and throughout this campaign I have been doing just that. I’ve been listening to the issues that residents raise and doing what I can to help explain how our policy platform relates to those issues, and how our party is standing up to create a fairer Australia. I’m a small business owner who cares a lot about getting results. This is a work ethic that exists within my campaign and will continue to be a strong component in my approach as a representative.

If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

I would provide a fresh and passionate voice for the people of North Sydney. I want to be accessible to the people that I represent. I will hold regular mobile office hours giving residents the opportunity to raise issues and policy questions with me directly on a regular basis.

Unlike the Liberal candidate, I won’t take North Sydney for granted. My number one job will be to speak directly to the people of North Sydney as regularly as possible and give them a voice in Canberra.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to
Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):
1. The environment and climate change
1. Housing affordability
1. Wage stagnation and tax cuts
1. The threat of terrorism
1. Health funding
1. Education funding
Everyone of these issues is a priority.

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

If elected, our party will make history through being the first Australian Parliament with around 50% female representation for the Party in Government. In 1994 the ALP passed its first affirmative action rules. We are the party taking real action on gender representation in our Parliament unlike the Coalition where representation of women is just 23 per cent and saw a string of
high profile female resignations in this recent Parliamentary term.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?  

Aged care: After five years, three Ministers and years of cuts this Government called a Royal Commission into Aged Care. The Royal Commission is under way and Bill Shorten has said there are several things we need to do to reform Aged Care and we don’t need to wait for the Royal Commission.  We need to provide better training and we need to find more staff. Staffing ratios are an issue and it’s a conversation we need to be having when it comes to Aged Care. Labor is the party of aged care reform and older Australians can be assured we will always do better for older Australians in residential aged care and those waiting for care at home.

Hospital funding: A Shorten Labor Government will invest more in every single hospital in the country with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund. Labor’s Better Hospitals Fund will reverse in full the government’s unfair cuts to public hospitals, and help reduce waiting times and improve services in every hospital around the country. Every Australian deserves quality health care when and where they need it.

NDIS funding: A Shorten Labor Government will establish a National Disability Insurance Scheme Future Fund – guaranteeing that every dollar budgeted for the NDIS, goes to the NDIS. The $1.6 billion that was cut from the NDIS by the Liberals will be put back into the NDIS Future Fund, along with any future underspends. It will be a ‘locked box’ to protect the NDIS from Liberal cuts. A Shorten Labor Government will also put people with disability at the centre of the NDIS once again. Labor will make the scheme more responsive, less complex and more people-focused. Our plan includes:
1. A new culture that puts people with disability first.
2. Establishing an NDIS Future Fund.
3. More, better-trained staff.
4. Better planning, more choice and easier reviews.
5. Ensuring equitable access to the NDIS.
6. Fixing the gaps between the NDIS and mainstream services.
7. Valuing a skilled disability workforce.
8. Keeping people with disability safe and boosting advocacy.
9. A strong disability services sector.
10. Improving research and evaluation.
Labor will make sure the NDIS is fully funded and increase the number of staff to
help people access the scheme and benefit from better quality plans.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

It is Labor’s strong view, based on expert advice, that nuclear power is not a viable option for Australia. We already know from evidence available that nuclear power is much more expensive than renewables backed by storage or other firming technologies.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

A Labor Government will:
 Continue to work together with the Indonesian Government and civil society
on the promotion of human rights in West Papua
 Pursue principled and effective human rights diplomacy that supports
international and regional security in Australia’s national interest

 Review arrangements to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness and human
rights impacts of all international programs involving training of military and or
police receiving Australian Government funding.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If
it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

Labor supports smart transport solutions including additional bus capacity on existing
routes to the northern beaches.

Peter Vagg: United Australia Party

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

1, Olympic swimming pool at Kirribilli.

2, Machons point cause of the view.

3, Where I live in Neutral Bay.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I feel the past two members have been lazy and taken the electorate for granted. I’ll deliver a fresh approach with vigor age shall weary me.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

Lead from the front with passion. I’ll ensure that I am always approachable.

If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

My email will be personally reviewed and replied by myself so that I have a finger on the pulse of the peoples concerns in real time. Of course the local office will be open to the take constant feedback of the electorate and the residents concerns.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):

–          The environment and climate change 2

–          Housing affordability 3

–          Wage stagnation and tax cuts 4

–          The threat of terrorism 6

–          Health funding 1

–          Education funding 5

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

I would encorage young women particularly those close to school leavers and or higher education to apply and get involved at the grass roots level and I would promote this through local school visits. I would encourage those that show interest to come to my Canberra office and participate as interns.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?  

All of these require immediate funding upgrades and future commitments by review secured as a law not made up as we go.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

Yes, because of zero emmissions.

What changes will you support in order to lift vaccination rates to safe community levels for common diseases such a measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc?

Education is key so that concerned parenst can make informed decisions.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

Australia should be actively involved like we were in East Timor the reson this neighbour is suffering at the hands of brutes is beacuse they can not offer us oil and gas so we ignore their plight and geneocide. I would put this issue at the front by introducing a private members bill to assist them in establishing indopendance.

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

We need trains and provide an alternative to the car. Unfortunately roads buy votes but public transport will keep the areas beauty.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the North Sydney electorate in the 
a) short term: traffic congestion and lack of parking
b) medium term: cost of living
c) long term: health care

David Vernon: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No answers received as yet.

Trent Zimmerman: Liberal

Tell us about your connection to the North Sydney electorate and name three places in the electorate that you love.

The lower north shore is an incredible part of Sydney and has been my home for almost two decades.

My election to Parliament just over three years ago followed my long involvement in our community which included service as a North Sydney Councillor for eight years and involvement in many local community organisations.  I have previously been a director of the Crows Nest Community Centre, the Kirribilli Ex-Services Club, Epilepsy Action Australia, a local Rotary branch president, and on the school council at the North Sydney Demonstration School.  I am currently patron of a number of local organisations, including Community Connect Transport (Lower North Shore Community Transport Inc), the North Sydney RSL Sub Branch, the Cammeray Golf Club, and the Lower North Shore Branch of the NSW Justices Association.

Three of my favourite places in the electorate are Wendy’s Secret Garden on Lavender Bay, Tunks Park and Blackman Park in Lane Cove West.

Why are you standing as a candidate in this election? What do you bring to our community?

I am seeking re-election as the Member for North Sydney to continue my work for our local community and in the federal parliament.  Giving back to your community is one of the most important thing a person can do which is why I stood for federal parliament just over three years ago.

As the Member for North Sydney I am proud of what has been achieved for our local community.  Being a good representative in parliament is about listening to the community, being accessible, working hard, and delivering outcomes.  I will continue this approach and my work as a strong and sensible voice for the progressive and practical liberal values I take to Canberra.

It is my strong belief that the Liberal government is best placed to build our economy, deliver tax relief, manage the budget and ensure we can fund those services like health and education that are so important.

Locally it has meant I have been able to secure funding for major projects like the new park at Sub Base Platypus, the Gore Hill Oval sporting precinct upgrade, Lane Cove Pool, new facilities at Thomson Park in Artarmon, support for local community groups and our commitment to help North Sydney Council with the rebuild of the North Sydney Olympic Pool.

What is your definition of leadership? How will you lead by example and create a positive productive culture to work and operate in, both in your time in North Sydney and in Canberra?

 A good leader is a person who consults, listens, is respectful of other views, has empathy with the community they represent but is also prepared to take decisive action when the need arises.

Respecting others, including those with different political views, is something that I have demonstrated in my work in Canberra and locally.  I am proud, for example, to have chaired the parliament’s health committee and handed down reports that have bipartisan support from among Liberal and Labor members.

If elected, how do you plan to canvass the opinions and concerns of North Sydney residents throughout your term, so as to truly represent us in Canberra?

 I do this through a range of mechanisms. Most importantly it’s about being accessible and I love to have a chat – either at a formal meeting or when I am out and about in the community.

I also undertake regular surveys of residents, organise community meetings and hold mobile offices in our larger shopping centres.

Please rank these issues, in terms of your opinion of their level of importance to Australians today (assign numbers, 1 being the most important):

          The environment and climate change

          Housing affordability

          Wage stagnation and tax cuts

          The threat of terrorism

          Health funding

          Education funding

These are all important issues and ranking them would be misleading about the priority I give to any single issue.  Importantly the Liberal Party has policies which address all these issue and other policy areas.

There have only been 116 female Australian MPs in the House of Representatives since Federation. How will you work to address this imbalance?

We have to do much more to attract women into politics.  Partly it’s about changing the culture and the work environment.  As a Liberal Party member I am also determined to help ensure we have a pipeline of women who are willing to nominate for parliament and I hope to act as a mentor for women who are interested in being involved.  I am pleased that four of our Senate tickets are led by women (NT, WA, SA and NSW).

The Coalition is running an exemplary field of candidates from a variety of backgrounds who have all been preselected for their talent and ability to represent their electorates.

Where do you stand on NDIS funding, hospital funding and aged care?  

The Morrison Liberal government, due to its strong economic management, has been able to ensure that there is growing funding for services that all Australians deserve and expect including for NDIS, health and aged care.

The NDIS is one of the largest and fastest social reforms in Australia’s history and it has already delivered an important and lasting improvement to the lives of almost 280,000 disabled people and those who care for them. Almost 1,000 people with disability and their families are benefiting from the NDIS  here in North Sydney.

The NDIS was passed with bipartisan support in 2013 and due to the Liberal government’s strong management of the economy this scheme is now fully funded. NDIS budget funding is increasing over the forward estimates – from $13.3 billion in 2018-19 to almost $18 billion in 2019-20 and more than $22 billion in 2020-21.

The Liberal government is also delivering record federal funding for public hospital services, increasing from $13.3 billion in 2012-2013 when Labor left office, to a record $21.2 billion this year and it will grow to $26.2 billion in 2022-2023. This has meant record federal funding for hospitals in our area, including the Royal North Shore Hospital.

We have also listed more than 2000 medicines on the PBS and we have boosted Medicare funding by $6 billion with bulk billing up nearly 4% from 82.2% to 86.1%.

One of the highest priorities of the government is addressing the challenges posed by an aging population and supporting older Australians. As a result we have made a significant investment in aged care. In March this year we announced more funding in aged care with annual funding growing from $18.1 billion to $23.6 billion a year by 2022-23.  Over the last 18 months we have also funded an additional 40,000 home care packages.This expansion included Australia’s largest ever allocation of residential aged care places.

Is nuclear power a consideration for you or your party?

Nuclear power is prohibited in Australian under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and any decision to remove the current prohibition on nuclear power would require widespread community support as well as the support of the parliament and the states and territories.

What changes will you support in order to lift vaccination rates to safe community levels for common diseases such a measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, etc?

Record levels of Australian children are now fully immunised, with more parents getting the message to protect their kids with life-saving vaccines. However more can always be done to increase people understanding of the importance of vaccination for the health of the individual and the community.

That is why we have introduced the No Jab No Pay program in 2016 where children of all ages up to, and including, 19 years of age are required to meet minimum immunisation requirements to receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A end of year supplement, the Child Care Benefit, Rebate and Subsidy. Free catch up vaccines are available for children who have missed scheduled vaccinations. To protect new-born babies, we have made the whooping cough vaccine available for pregnant women since 2018 through an investment of $39.5 million. From 1 April 2019 we have expanded access to the meningococcal vaccine providing protection against the ACWY strains for teenagers 14- 19 years of age through an investment of $52 million.

The Morrison Government will continue to list all vaccines on the National Immunisation Program that have been recommended by the medical experts on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). We are also investing $12 million over the next three years to extend the reach of the childhood immunisation education campaign to encourage vaccinations which save lives and protect children from serious diseases. In a highly significant public health accomplishment for Australia, in 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) verified that Australia has eliminated rubella through our national immunisation program.

What is your position on the West Papua conflict that affects our nearest neighbour?

Australia recognises Indonesia’s sovereignty over the two Papua provinces. This is underlined by the Lombok Treaty between Australia and Indonesia. Indonesian sovereignty is also widely recognised by the international community.

Australia continues to advocate for the promotion and protection of human rights across our region as a matter of high priority

What is your position on the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link? If it does not go ahead, what alternative solution to traffic congestion do you suggest?

This issue was widely canvassed during the recent state election and the NSW government was re-elected with an explicit promise to build Beaches Link.  With this mandate, I am sure that the state government will proceed with the project.

What do you see as the biggest issues facing the people of the North Sydney electorate in the
a) short term
b) medium term
c) long term?

Many of the issues facing our community overlap in time frames.

The biggest issues are how we maintain the character of our communities, the services and infrastructure to support local residents (including transport, schools and health care), and how we provide facilities like those for local sporting clubs and their growing number of participants.