Sydney Candidate Profiles – Federal Election 2019
The federal election is Saturday May 18. The second-term incumbent minority Coalition government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is attempting to win a third three-year term against the Labor opposition, led by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Minor parties and independents will also contest the election. The SSH invited all candidates for the seat of Sydney to respond to the following four questions and a candidate statement addressing portfolio initiatives or priorities of particular concern which may not be covered in the attached questions.
How will your party increase the quantity of social and affordable housing funded by the federal government and will your approach increase the quantity of social and affordable housing delivered under inner-city public housing estate redevelopments like Waterloo?
Overseas development assistance around the world is well below the goal of 0.7 per cent of GNI set to achieve the UN sustainable development goals. How do you see the connection between low foreign aid and the record numbers of people seeking a better life in countries like Australia?
What will you do in the next parliamentary term to address the challenge of climate change and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions? Does your party commit to a moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions?
How will the health policies of your party contribute to equity of health outcomes for the large numbers of people in the Sydney electorate who experience homelessness, housing stress and complex diagnoses that fall between various parts of the health system?
Aaron Hammond – Science Party
My number one priority, and the reason I am involved in politics is to achieve strong action against climate change.
Successive governments have failed to produce meaningful action, and we are at critical point where even scientists are expressing alarm, using words like ‘catastrophic‘ to describe the potential outcomes.
In addition to a target of 800% renewable energy (so Australia becomes a net exporter of renewable energy), I will strive to introduce a federal commission against corruption, to ensure that our leaders really are acting in our best interests.
When we elect leaders that we can trust, we can begin to solve the problems of today, and work toward building a better future for all.
We believe it is important to have social and affordable housing spread across the city to ensure that all people have access to the services and employment available in the city centre. We acknowledge that segregating public housing may isolate and entrench inequity among different parts of the community. We will seek to provide additional affordable housing of all types, by first increasing transport and services, and then increasing density in previously undeveloped areas such as industrial estates.
Many Australians vastly overestimate the amount of foreign aid that we provide to our neighbours, yet it is quite low and dropping, at around $4 billion. The Science Party doesn’t have a formal policy on foreign aid, but there is general consensus among senior members that we could increase the amount to 0.7 per cent of GNI as it is quite small in the context of the overall budget. We understand that foreign aid has many purposes, directly as a compassionate good, and strategically for defence and trade outcomes.
My number one priority entering politics is strong action on climate. We will address the problem of greenhouse gases directly, by capping all carbon emissions in the economy, and implementing a cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme. We will end subsidies for fossil fuel industries and increase research funding for alternative power generation technologies. We will build infrastructure for renewable energy zones, to ensure reliable and cost-effective energy is available across the country, and supply chains to export excess energy to the world. We will stop Adani and commit to a moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions.
We will focus our health policy on preventative care, to ensure small issues are treated early, to prevent them cascading into more serious issues. We believe that a mental health first aid course should be available for public sector employees, so that people who are most at risk of homelessness, complex diagnoses, etc. have more opportunities for care. We are committed to continuing the universal care structure that Medicare provides. Our health system provides good outcomes, and we support further investment in a system that provides affordable care for all who need it.
Adam Holt – United Australia Party
We will do a needs assessment of the social housing situation. I would support a greater mix of social housing than the current figures proposed for the Waterloo redevelopment. Current rental property prices will go up with Labor’s new taxes, and this will make housing even more unaffordable, putting even greater pressure on social housing.
We are focused on improving the lives of Australians first before looking abroad. The Labor and Liberal parties have done little to address the outrageous number of Australians who are currently living in poverty or homelessness.
We will do a state by state review of electricity infrastructure with a full assessment of renewable technology. Our focus will be on reducing electricity prices to help assist the Australian people with cost of living expenses as we transition to green technologies.
Ensure the health system is accessible by all Australians regardless of where they live or their health condition. Only by boosting our economy can we inject more funds into health.
Matthew Thompson – The Greens
I’m a community services worker, a TAFE graduate and a proud queer activist. I’m scared of what another four years of business as usual will mean for my generation’s future and that’s why I’m running for The Greens here in Sydney.
We’ll take strong and immediate action on climate change, tackle wealth and social inequality and work to take corrupting corporate money out of our democracy.
Now more than ever we need The Greens in the next parliament to hold the major parties to account and put forward a brave and bold vision for a progressive Australia.
The Greens are proposing a Federal Housing Trust to build 500,000+ affordable homes over the next 15 years. By issuing loans to states and territories as well as community housing providers, we can build new housing that is truly affordable. It’s been done successfully in many other countries, including Denmark and Sweden, and it can be done here as well. We’ll pay for this by winding back the unfair capital gains tax handout and phasing out negative gearing over five years. This plan will dramatically increase the quantity of social housing in inner-Sydney and across Australia.
Currently our government is not doing enough to make the world a better place. In fact, it’s making things worse. Our current foreign aid contribution is far too low and successive governments have worked towards making Australia a top 10 global arms exporter. When people flee from persecution in their home country, our government turns its back. The Greens will raise our contribution to 0.7 per cent of GNI as a minimum, immediately abolish the Defence Export Facility, end offshore detention of refugees and increase our humanitarian intake to 50,000.
Climate change must be the number one priority for the next parliament. The future of our planet depends on strong and immediate action. We’ll work to ensure that real action on climate change is front and centre over the next four years. The Greens are committed to a moratorium on new coal mines and coal mine expansions, including stopping Adani. Coal must be kept in the ground if we’re serious about stopping climate change. We have a bold and fully costed plan to transition Australia to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and ensure a just transition for all workers.
Every Australian, no matter their income, has the right to access affordable, high quality healthcare. The Greens’ fully costed plan will make dental and mental health treatment free, fund an NDIS of the future, make childcare free to families who need it and properly fund a world class public health system. We would implement a services guarantee so that whatever essential medical assistance you need would be available to you, either at a low cost or free. In a country as wealthy as Australia it is our duty to ensure that no one is left behind.
Rebecca Reddin – Christian Democrats
The Christian Democrats would respond by seeking to address demand with supply and adhering to building standards and residential needs. Sydney needs to seriously consider building satellite suburbs or small townships with the appropriate infrastructure in areas needing human industry. We and other electorates of this city are population congested.
I see the relationship between people seeking a better life here to do with persecution in other countries. Open Doors tells us that there are over 30 countries worldwide where Christians alone (excluding other religious groups) are persecuted. Surely those targeted by harsh and barbaric groups need safe places to run to. Also, Australia needs to strengthen its waterways by building pipelines from the wet north to the dry interior areas and river beds; through mobilising the snowy mountain hydro-electric scheme, having a double value of releasing waters into the dry river beds, viz. tributaries of the Murray; reactivating existing desalination plants and building new ones; building sewage and/or wastewater treatment plants and piping much of the treated water to help farmers in dry places; learning about natural sequence farming principles; and on a more domestic level building composting loos, saving billions of litres of water. How else can we sustain a growing population? How can we offer refuge to asylum seekers without a plan to sustain waterways and heal drought affected regions?
We need to learn to manage the land to maximise climate benefits. Peter Andrews’ natural sequence farming principles and similar agricultural management plans are ways of achieving this. The experience and expertise of people and groups endowed with land care insights can assist us to be careful with our land. The CDP is against fracking. I support finding other ways of sourcing natural gas.
People in need will be assisted at several levels, maintaining existing food drops, shelters and general assistance, especially helping with community resources, e.g. through Ask Izzy booklets and website, free calls and other benefits. Unidentified or persistent health issues can be identified and support given to enable people to take on living in a supported living situation, e.g. with rental assistance. Hospital care and equipment will be monitored as would the pharmaceutical industry to ensure that unwanted additives to certain drugs are removed. Education and early intervention can also cut through unexpected health issues. Various issues specific to those with a disability causing communication setbacks such as deafness create the biggest concern where such people may miss out on anti-smoking and substance abuse treatment information and support.
Tanya Plibersek – Labor
I’m asking for your vote on May 18, so I can continue to represent you in the federal parliament.
I’m proud to represent Sydney, and proud of the positive vision Labor has for a fairer Australia.
Labor will deliver a strong economy that works for everyone.
We’ll act on climate change and lower pollution through investment in renewables and support for new technologies.
And we’ll restore every dollar the government has cut from public schools and hospitals. We will deliver an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. And we’ll reverse cuts to penalty rates in the first 100 days of government.
The 2019 election is an opportunity for our community to elect a progressive government that we can truly be proud of.
Labor will help more Australian families with the cost of rent and increase new housing construction, with a 10-year national plan to build 250,000 new houses – Australia’s biggest ever investment in affordable housing. This means more stable long-term rental houses in good locations, close to public transport and employment opportunities. Rent will be 20 per cent below market rates for eligible people – and houses will be environmentally sustainable, helping to reduce power bills. Land in Waterloo should not be sold off for the development of private apartment blocks. Waterloo needs good quality public and social housing and services that meet the needs of residents.
Globally, over 65 million people are displaced and Australia’s international development program is of more importance than ever. Labor believes Australia can show humanity, decency and compassion – at home, and abroad though our aid program. Under the Liberals over $11 billion has been cut from Australia’s aid budget. Australian aid reduces poverty, funds vital education and healthcare services, and supports stronger communities and growing economies. It supports stability and reduces conflict. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s also in Australia’s national interest. A Shorten Labor government will begin rebuilding the aid program by increasing funding as a percentage of national income every year, starting from our first Budget.
A Shorten Labor government will take real action on climate change. The government has had 13 different energy policies, and pollution and power prices have continued to go up. We can’t continue down that path. Labor will reduce pollution by 45 per cent (on 2005 levels) by 2030 and deliver 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050. We will support technologies like battery storage and electric cars to shift the energy mix to renewables, while at the same time creating new jobs. While coal will be part of Australia’s energy mix for the foreseeable future, Labor will not invest a dollar of tax payer money in any new coal mines or coal fired power stations.
Australia has one of the best publicly funded health care systems in the world. Labor created Medicare and we will always protect and strengthen it. A Shorten Labor government will invest an extra $213 million in Medicare to end the Liberals’ six-year rebate freeze. That means 100 GP items – including family counselling, urgent after-hours care, mental health care and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island health checks – will become more affordable. Labor will stop the Liberals’ $2.8 billion cut and instead invest in more beds, doctors and nurses to deliver better care and reduce waiting lists. Labor will also fund the biggest cancer package in Australian history. A new $2.3 billion Medicare Cancer Plan will deliver cheaper cancer scans, consultations and medicines. Labor will cap private health insurance premiums for two years while these are reviewed – providing relief to household budgets which are under pressure from increasing health costs.