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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Page candidate Q&A

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Candidates for Page in 2019 federal election.

Responses from five of the seven candidates for the May 18 election are as follows.
There was no reply from Peter Walker (Christian Democratic Party – Fred Nile Group), or Kevin Hogan (The Nationals).
Echonetdaily tried repeatedly to contact these candidates and only received a reply from Mr Hogan’s staff that they would send it through soon.

Economics
Biodiversity loss and extinction
Transition away from coal
Climate change
Water
Energy
Unemployment and low wages
Affordable housing
Health
10 Education
11 Other comments

1 Economics

Sir David Attenborough said: ‘We have a finite environment – the planet. Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth in a finite environment is either a madman or an economist’. What’s your opinion on the current economic model of endless growth? Is it sustainable and if so, how?  

Fiona Leviny, Independent.

Fiona Leviny, Independent

We must strengthen the pursuit of sustainable growth, ensuring that what is taken out of the natural resources of the earth can be replenished, and stopping those activities that have no balance in return.

The enhanced sourcing of energy from Renewables is a prime example of such sustainability. Albert Einstein framed human activity in another way: ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results’.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

It is abundantly clear that an economic system which promotes unbridled growth is unsustainable for our planet and its inhabitants.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party.

John Mudge, United Australia Party

This obsession with endless economic growth demonstrates that societies still do not understand that humanity has exceeded ecological limits, and that this is the root cause of the current environmental crisis.

NASA states that there are 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way, 11 billion of which may be orbiting Sun-like stars. But will we make the same environmental mistakes with these new earths?

Daniel Reid, The Greens.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

I agree wholeheartedly with Sir Attenborough in his assessment of the infinite growth model. Infinite growth is unsustainable and our economy needs to transition to a renewable future.

National Party Page MP Kevin Hogan.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

ALP candidate for the federal seat of Page, Patrick Deegan. Photo supplied

Patrick Deegan, Labor

When we look back on this election, we will see that it was a turning point for our environment. Did Australia become part of the solution? Or did we continue with the division and chaos on climate and energy from the Liberals and Nationals? They have held back our tackling of climate change. They have also cut us off from the sustainable economic growth of the future – which lies in us embracing renewable energy and the clean green jobs of a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

2 Biodiversity loss and extinction

Are you concerned with the recent UN scientific report (IPBES), which documents the “unprecedented” decline in global biodiversity? The authors claim there are alarming implications for human health, prosperity and long-term survival. If concerned with the report, how will you work towards improving biodiversity and reversing mass extinctions?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

I am alarmed and very concerned, who couldn’t be? Biodiversity is critical to our future sustainable food supply and agriculture is a key source. The awareness raising around the decline of bees for example, is a key trigger in a chain of potentially disastrous impact not only for all humanity but also animals and all other beings on this planet. We must elevate the recognition and respect for our scientists, the experts in this field. Who of us know that we have eight Australians, Nobel Prize winners in Physiology and Medicine? I will ensure the significant raising of funding and focus in this area.

As the IPBES Report states, ‘…While more food, energy and materials than ever before are now being supplied to people in most places, this is increasingly at the expense of nature’s ability to provide such contributions in the future and frequently undermines nature’s many other contributions, which range from water quality regulation to sense of place. The biosphere, upon which humanity as a whole depends, is being altered to an unparalleled degree across all spatial scales. Biodiversity – the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems – is declining faster than at any time in human history.’

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

It deeply concerns and dismays me that one million species on earth are at threat of extinction. It is inconceivable. It has been predicted that koalas could become extinct in the wild in NSW by 2050.

The Animal Justice Party wants an immediate halt to logging in native forests, the protection of existing forests and marine habitats, and the reforestation and re-wilding of land wherever possible. Globally, the animal agriculture industry is the leading cause of species loss. It is a major cause of habitat loss and land clearing.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

Although there are no ‘silver bullets’ or ‘one-size-fits all’ answers, the best options would seem to be in better governance, integrating biodiversity concerns into sectoral policies and practices (eg agriculture and energy), the application of scientific knowledge and technology, increased awareness and behavioural changes.

Also indigenous and local knowledge can be an invaluable asset, and biodiversity issues need to receive much higher priority in policy making and development planning at every level. Cross-border collaboration is also essential, given that biodiversity challenges recognise no national boundaries.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

Habitat loss and climate change are the two greatest threats to the biodiversity of the planet. If elected The Greens are committed to seeing the end of native flora clearing and a dramatic increase in the money spent on re-vegetating the country.

Mass extinctions can only be avoided if we immediately set the target for renewable to 100 per cent by 2030 to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

It is a disgrace that Australia is the extinction capital of the world. Labor has committed to a comprehensive set of policies to fight extinction and undo years of neglect from the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government. We will reform environmental laws, establish an Environment Protection Agency, establish an $100 million Extinction Fund and we will increase the role and authority of Indigenous rangers in land management.

We will take up the fight at an international level as well – a space that the Liberals and Nationals have vacated. We will work with other like-minded countries to protect biodiversity and our oceans, fight threats such as marine pollution, plastics and sea bed mining, and we will ratify international heritage conventions.

3 Transition away from coal

What transition plan are you supporting to move coal miners, workers and towns away from coal to other forms of employment?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

Long term planning is required for transition of large single industry dependant workers, families and associated industries. The introduction of regional tax zones, at personal income and business tax level, drawing business and government to regional and rural areas, requiring enhanced employment, will be one way to approach the opportunities for employment as coal production declines in traditional coal mining areas. Effective transition is critical.

We need a clear transition policy to renewable energy. To recognise our current fossil fuel dependency is impacting climate change. WE MUST stop the current debate and get on with recognising science to achieve policy.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

It is imperative that workers in the coal industry be provided with financial support, education and training in order transition into sustainable and climate-friendly industries. This is the responsibility of governments across the country.  We have an obligation to support these workers into genuine employment.

Peter Walker Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

It needs to be a ‘just transition’, viz: people at the centre of the process; A long-term strategy and a democratic process; Respect for mining heritage; Embracing a truly social dimension; Supporting a healthier environment; Creating more sustainable business opportunities.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

The Greens fully support a transition program for communities and people who rely on coal excavation and burning. Training programs for effected workers and renewable projects in manufacturing for effected towns is part of our commitment to keep people in work throughout the transition to a renewable economy.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

Despite years of climate denial and delay from the Coalition, Labor is clear-eyed about the need to transition to a low-carbon economy. We know we need to plan for the new opportunities that our renewable energy future will bring.

Unlike the Liberals and Nationals – who have a track record of abandoning communities when a coal-fired power station closes, Labor will ensure that people are not left behind by this inevitable transition.​

As many of our ageing coal-fired power stations reach the end of their technical life and renewables get cheaper every day, Labor will implement a long-term plan to ensure workers are supported and are first in line for new job opportunities.

This includes a $10 million Clean Energy Training Fund to train workers in fields like solar panel and battery installation and energy management. Part of our TAFE package is to make sure workers have access to critical training and re-training in a range of skill-shortage areas where workers are desperately needed.

Labor will also invest in a Just Transition Authority to oversee economic diversification plans in impacted regions and manage pooled redundancy schemes that power stations and coal mines will be required to participate in. All large generators will also be required to provide at least three year notice of closure – ensuring the best planning can be put in place for the workers and their families.

4 Climate change

Do you believe and support the IPCC statements that we have 12 (now 11.5) years to decarbonise and stabilise the world’s atmosphere? If yes, how are you going to create change if you are elected?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

I am no scientist, but there is overwhelming evidence from experts in this field, such as those with the IPCC and many other institutions. I have made it clear in public statements, and at meet the candidates forums, that there is a ‘climate emergency’. We must act now!

The effective transition to renewable sources for energy, the transition out of fossil fuel based power, moving from dirtier forms of fossil fuel energy such as coal to cleaner forms with renewables the outcome and economic technology enhanced, supported and developed alongside. Research groups such as the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, and Emeritus Professor Maria Skyllas-Kazacos’s work on vanadium batteries, at UNSW are leading the global field of R&D in this area – we need to support development at all levels.

We need our government to recognise the human impact on climate change and move to forming policies. Population growth, our needs for survival, communication, transport and security is affecting the climate.

This debate around the existence of climate change needs to come to an end from our leaders. Most global businesses, including fossil fuel companies, accept and recognise the impact their activities have had on the environment. Our governing bodies need to do the same.

We must demand that our government accept the human impact on climate change to make responsible policies for future generations to come.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

I am concerned that we have less than 12 years. We are facing a climate emergency. Every system of our society will be impacted by unpredictable and extreme weather. Taking urgent action on climate change is a priority of the Animal Justice Party.

We acknowledge that animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change. We would support farmers to transition to sustainable, climate-friendly and plant-based farming by providing incentives, including training and financial support. The AJP is opposed to any expansion of the fossil fuel industry and supports investment in renewables. We would protect natural habitats and set renewable energy targets.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

The IPCC statements mentions that even if we cut most of our carbon emissions down to zero, emissions from agriculture and air travel would be difficult to eliminate altogether. And since carbon dioxide that’s already in the atmosphere can affect climate for hundreds to thousands of years, the IPCC maintains that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies will be critical to get rid of 100 to 1000 gigatonnes of CO2 this century. There are various methods to remove carbon from the atmosphere and each have its pros and cons, viz: Afforestation and reforestation; Soil carbon sequestration; Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) (a great future industry for PAGE); Carbon mineralization; Direct air capture; Enhanced weathering; Ocean fertilization; (and) Coastal blue carbon etc

Each CDR technology is feasible at some level, but has uncertainties about cost, technology, the speed of possible implementation, or environmental impacts. It’s clear that no single one provides the ultimate solution to climate change.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

Yes. The planet is at a crisis point of the climate change era. If elected I would move immediately to remove subsidies for the unprofitable fossil fuel mining and processing corporations and give that money to renewable industry and training grants for workers who are negatively effected.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

It is crazy that this question still has to be asked. Whatever Kevin Hogan says – the Liberals and Nationals that he shares a 100 per cent identical voting record with have paralysed Australia with their inability to admit that climate change is real, or provide any leadership on climate and energy.

Labor knows the clock is ticking and we will deliver the leadership – to cut carbon pollution, to protect our environment, grow jobs and or economy, and deal with more extreme weather like droughts and floods, with natural disasters already costing the economy $18 billion a year.

Labor is committed to reducing Australia’s pollution by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.

We are also committed to 50 per cent renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030.

5 Water is a significant issue and precious resource in Australia.

What are your key points to address the issue of water stability and management in the country? Will you ensure that the health of all rivers will take primary need over corporate irrigation and big business?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

Water storage and infrastructure planning needs to happen, not just be talked about. We must be courageous and look to examples of our history such as the Snowy Hydro Scheme. This project alone brought economic, water and power security, and social cultural benefits to our Nation.

We need federal policies that are transparent and fair to ensure our economic and environmental well-being today and for future generations. The current drought has and will continue to shape the economic and emotional stability of our nation. We need a permanent fund for disasters that can be tapped into instantly as required rather than waiting for legislation.

The health of our rivers is critical to all of our well being and we must act federally and across artificially created lines on our natural environment by state boundaries. Water should not be treated as some financially tradeable commodity, used by financial institutions to make profits. Water should only be for the productive and environmentally sound use in agriculture and in balancing water stream and environmental flows.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

It is imperative that our precious life-giving water is protected for humans and animals, and that the interests and profits of corporate irrigators and big business are not prioritised over the health and longevity of water systems.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

There is an important and urgent need to abolish the Murray-Darling Basin Plan to return the once iconic river system to a healthy, sustainable and functional condition. All water resources need to be protected from corporate misuse and natural disaster.

Actions can be taken to prevent water scarcity and instability from becoming a vicious cycle, by focusing on sustainable, efficient and equitable water resources management and service delivery. Addressing water and fragility challenges requires a move from a focus primarily on immediate, reactive responses to a balanced long-term approach. This approach would build growth-oriented resilience to shocks and protracted crises focused on sustainable, efficient and equitable water resources management and service delivery.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

Water is life and in Australia we need to get real about how we manage our water. Clean water should be seen as a human right and if we manage it well then communities could be guaranteed clean and safe drinking water.

The rivers of our country have been destroyed by mining and agribusiness irrigators, water should be quarantined for environmental flows and human use before serving the profits of a few wealthy business owners.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

No response

6 Energy

What are your plans to provide stability for investment into renewable energy and the closing of polluting sources of energy?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

Per above – The effective transition to renewable sources for energy, the transition out of fossil fuel based power, moving from dirtier forms of fossil fuel energy such as coal to cleaner forms with renewables the outcome and economic technology enhanced, supported and developed alongside.

Most global businesses, including fossil fuel companies, accept and recognise the impact their activities have had on the environment. Our governing bodies need to do the same.

We must demand that our government accept the human impact on climate change to make responsible policies for future generations to come.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

The AJP recommends that there should be no new expansion of natural gas use, whether from coal seam or other sources. We support a rapid phase out in favour of clean energy technologies.

The AJP supports a climate tax on the fossil fuel industries, using the principle that the polluter pays. The AJP supports investment in known clean technologies and a rapid transition to carbon-free energy infrastructure.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

The renewable energy market is about to enter its most crucial moment yet. The industry has had everything it needs to flourish so far, with government subsidies providing projects with a safety net and record-low interest rates providing the cheap debt that is integral to funding renewable energy projects (which demand very high upfront capital costs).

If renewable energy is to continue its rapid advancement, then it needs a long-term framework it can rely on. We need new funding sources for shortening the start-up cycle and broadening technology innovation. Besides enabling new manufacturing techniques to create products with higher electricity generation capabilities, funding can rapidly advance the rate of innovation in areas as diverse as biofuels, robotics and micro and smart grids.

At a minimum our goals need to: 1. Attract renewable energy investment and projects; 2. Built community support; (and) 3. Attracted and grow renewable energy expertise.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

Currently there are billions of dollars in subsidies going to the wealthiest mine owners in Australia. That money should be invested into renewable energy project to speed up the process of reaching 100 per cent renewables by 2030. Any existing coal power plant should be put on a decommission schedule that includes replacement plans including batteries.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

When the Liberals and Nationals tossed out Malcolm Turnbull as their leader they confirmed that they have no plan to drive investment in reliable, cheaper renewable energy.

The irony is that businesses in Australia are they ones crying out for this leadership, along with the rest of the country.

Labor believes that renewable energy will power our future. Modelling released by the Australia Institute estimates that Labor’s plan for more renewable energy and cheaper power will generate up to 70,000 jobs by 2030.

Labor will continue to pursue a bipartisan market mechanism, such as a National Energy Guarantee, that will help us deliver our commitment of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Labor is prepared to work with the Liberals, but we will not wait for them.

We created the hugely successful Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and will will provide an additional $10 billion to its capital. This will support large-scale generation and storage projects, including solar and wind farms; support Labor’s Household Battery Program by providing concessional loans for the purchase of solar and battery systems; and investment in energy efficiency projects, commercial and community renewable energy projects, and industrial transformation.

Labor will also create an independent Energy Security and Modernisation Fund, to provide $5 billion in capital to future-proof our energy network – building and upgrading Australia’s energy transmission and distribution systems. This Fund will help manage the transition to more renewables in our energy system – ensuring households and businesses have the energy supply they need when they need it, at affordable prices.

7 Unemployment and low wages

The seat of Richmond has high unemployment and low wages. What are you planning do to address this issue?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

We need certainty not policy promises or changes at election time. Small businesses must be assured certainty with no double taxing. Incentives for growth in regional Australia need to be addressed via a tax system of regional tax rebates. A regional tax zone rebate is needed for individuals and industry that will incentivise and motivate people to move to regional Australia. This needs to be significant enough to bring immediate economic growth, infrastructure and jobs to our communities in regional Australia.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

The climate emergency requires immediate action. It is essential that the government harnesses this imperative to act by providing our communities with new employment opportunities in proven and emerging industries in the sectors of renewable energy and plant-based agriculture.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

Both economic growth, real wages and skilled workers are influential in determining the rate of unemployment. There is a compounding set of problems that push young people towards disengagement from the labour force and from education: if the number of full-time jobs for youth is falling, and if young people are not taking up full-time education and training places to improve their employment prospects, then the duration of young people’s unemployment rises. Then, after stints of joblessness, young people cease looking for work. And when the benefits of education and training aren’t obvious, or when access to training places is poor – because of geography or cost – then young people leave the labour force and education.

There is a strong positive relationship between qualifications and access to full-time employment. Policy that addresses young people’s poor labour market outcomes must promote engagement in education and training.  However, that education and training must not be in occupations which are vulnerable to unemployment (dying careers).

While education and training is obviously the policy portfolio area that will do the most to solve the youth unemployment and disengagement problem, labour market policy is also of major importance. At a time when it is increasingly difficult to nominate the economic sectors most likely to generate rewarding careers, there is surely a need to fashion labour markets in ways that improve young.

The foregoing need complementing by actions to improve public transport access, housing affordability, income support, child care, mental health measures and so on. The United Australia Party supports a fast rail network to transform Australia, (eg fast train to Brisbane) as well as linking regional centres to each other and Sydney, significantly slashing travel times across the state. Making regional travel faster, safer and easier will bring huge economic potential to Page.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

People in Page should be offered the same opportunities for employment as people who live in the major cities. Government investment into land rejuvenation should be increased so that there are reliable and sustainable jobs for every person that wants one. Other community services which have also been defunded and forced to lay off staff should be refunded to open up services and employment for our area.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

Under the Liberals and Nationals everything has been going up except wages. This community has been especially hard hit.

Meanwhile, the division and chaos of this government is holding back our economic progress and job creation – including investing in education and training of our young people and embracing the clean renewable energy-based economy of the future which will create millions of new jobs.

Labor has a plan to get wages moving again and move more people into higher-paying jobs via our investment in TAFE, universities, and pre-school for all.

We will reverse the cruel cuts to penalty rates which have hit the pay packets of retail, hospitality, pharmacy and fast food workers in our community.

Kevin Hogan thinks these penalty rate cuts are ‘great for for our youth’. Who is he kidding? These cuts will pull more than $18 million from our economy in the next three years. And while this reckless policy has inflected real harm on hardworking people, it has not created any jobs – don’t take out word for it – that is according to the Business Council of Australia.

Labor will ensure that the minimum wage is a living wage – fixing the law so that the Fair Work Commission has the tools to deliver a living wage for Australia’s lower-paid workers. That will also boost the economy.

A fair go for Australia means a fair wage for working people. Labor’s living wage policy will directly benefit around 1.2 million Australians, or one in 10 workers. 

8 Affordable housing

There is an affordable housing crisis. What direct action would you support to ensure that the issue of affordable housing is addressed in this country? 

Fiona Leviny, Independent

Just in the Clarence Valley there are over 230 homeless people and families needing basic bedding and shelter. The largest jail in Australia is currently under construction in the Page electorate with no plans for accommodation for families of many of the inmates who will be moving to the area to be close to their incarcerated family member. There are 300 places for female inmates.

Close collaboration between federal, state and local government is required, funding for affordable housing in fast growing regional centres needed. Tax and other subsidies required to ensure transitions do not have major gaps with broader community impact.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

I support the expansion of social and affordable housing. As a society, we must also address the issues that contribute to housing instability and homelessness, such as intimate-partner violence, family violence, youth unemployment, and lack of community-based mental health services. I support the expansion of rental and housing subsidies for people on low incomes and for people who are escaping violence.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

The following (UAP) policies will address the issue: Zonal Taxation – 20% Tax Discount (Individuals) (Living + Working > 200 kms from State Capital): Ease congestion in cities; Decentralise Australia; Grow the regions (jobs, affordable housing, infrastructure, wealth creation, lifestyle enrichment); Revitalise the Great Australia Dream (drive Affordable Housing & Home Ownership); Increased disposable income via tax refund to: Pay off home loan quicker; Stimulate the economy, drive growth, and feed consumption which will: insulate us against future recessions and GFC, (and) use increased GST collected to support (jobs, schools, hospitals, infrastructure, higher standard of living).

Home Loan Interest – Tax Deductible (Individuals): builds on the benefits of Zonal Taxation (see above).

Also, the (UAP) Brains Trust is also aware that the affordable housing sector is being denied access to the scale of equity capital necessary to address housing shortages. Sure, banks will lend them debt finance for a price, but that has to be repaid on commercial terms.

The missing link in this policy chain is the provision of an efficient and effective mechanism to deliver equity capital to affordable housing providers. That is, affordable housing tax credits are the missing link. Such a policy would provide the means to allow institutional investors effectively to write-down or write-off every dollar they ever invest in a sector with no adverse impact on their rate-of-return benchmarks.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

The Greens have a plan to build 500,000 low income, public and emergency houses to get homeless and vulnerable Australians into a safe home from which they can participate in society.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

There is a real choice on housing in this election. Do we maintain the billions in expensive and unsustainable capital gains and negative gearing tax loopholes for property investors? Or do we level the playing field so that more young people and families can buy their own home, and so there is more affordable housing built in Australia?

The reality in Australia is that there are record numbers of families experiencing homelessness and mortgage stress. The current tax concessions on property need reform, and Labor is the only party that can deliver this reform.

It is important to understand that people who already negatively gear an investment can keep that concession and will be unaffected. People who currently get a capital gains tax discount on their investment can keep that. And we will keep negative gearing for anyone who wants to invest in new-build properties – because that will help increase our housing stock and the stick of homes for rent.

Labor’s plan will restrict negative gearing to new homes from 1 January 2020, and we

halve the capital gains tax discount for all assets purchased after 1 January 2020.

Labor has also committed to having a National Housing Strategy in government. This includes increasing the stock of affordable rental properties by 250,000 – the largest federal investment in housing since the Second World War.

We will encourage more institutional investors into the housing by revamping the Build to Rent scheme – giving institutional investors better tax concessions to encourage more construction.

Labor will also provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing Fund to provide more transitional housing for women and children escaping domestic and family violence, young people exiting out-of-home care and older women on low incomes who are at risk of homelessness. 

9 Health

Do you believe in free health care for all Australians?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

All Australians should have the right to equal and quality medical care no matter where you live. We must have a government that is confident to ensure policies are set for generations to come and off limits to future campaigning.

A discounted Medicare Levy for rural and regional people is required. We cannot just walk or drive around the corner for high quality medical care like communities in the cities.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

The Animal Justice Party supports a universal, publicly funded health care system. The AJP believes that health policy should focus on improving health and preventing illness, not just treating it. Much of the stain on our health care systems is caused by preventable illnesses and diseases –  so-called, lifestyle diseases.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

The (UAP) Brains Trust is currently looking at ways to: Improve Indigenous health; Improve access to healthcare for remote, rural & regional areas (i.e. commit the resources necessary to ensure that people in rural areas have the same level of access to healthcare as those living elsewhere); Expand research into the health needs of rural Australia (i.e. Health care and health promotion services in rural Australia face distinctive geographic and cultural challenges that can be overcome with dedicated research); Create a new National Rural Health Strategy (i.e. Australia’s current rural health strategy is based on a framework developed in 2011 and needs to be evaluated against this framework’s original objectives and updated to reflect changing workforce demands, connectivity and service delivery for all Australians living in regional areas).

Daniel Reid, The Greens

I believe in free healthcare, including dental, for all Australians. Guaranteeing nurse to patient ratios in our public hospitals and aged care providers will mean we have more nurses and better care for the sick. Giving money back to our mental health organisations so that everyone who needs help can access help.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

Labor is the only party that can be trusted with health – we created Medicare and only Labor will strengthen Medicare. We believe that your Medicare card – not your creditcard – should be what determines your health care.

We will put $8 billion into our health system – $8 billion more than the Liberals and Nationals. This includes our Medicare Cancer Plan – the most significant investment in Medicare since it was created – a $2.3 billion investment in addressing out of pocket costs of cancer – cheaper specialist appointments, cheaper scans, cheaper Medicines. One in two of us will face a cancer diagnosis by the time we are 85. In a prosperous country like Australia, people should not have to go into debt when they are in the fight of their life.

We will also invest $2.4 billion in giving pensioners access to critical dental care.

We will reverse Morrison’s cuts to hospitals – including the $2.8 billion cut he is locking in to public hospitals up to 2025. This means an additional $313m for NSW Regional Hospitals and $2.4 million for Lismore Base Hospital. We see that regional emergency departments particularly are at breaking point and elective surgery waiting times are the longest on record under the Liberals and Nationals, so our public hospital system desperately needs Labor’s investment.

10 Education

Do you believe in free education for all Australians?

Fiona Leviny, Independent

We need education to be stabilised with long term secure funding and infrastructure that cannot be used for political campaigning. Children deserve the right to equal and quality education under the guidance of teachers who can focus solely on their education rather than being taken out of class rooms, worrying constantly about the next round of funding and paperwork.

We must have a government that is confident to ensure policies are set for generations to come and off limits to future campaigning. The Scandinavian education model is a leading example we should aspire to.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

I support free education for all Australians. Access to a quality education should not be hindered by an inability to pay or one’s location in a rural area.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

The (UAP) Brains Trust is currently looking at ways to Develop a National Framework for Rural and Remote Education to: provide a framework for the development of nationally agreed policies and support services; promote consistency in the delivery of high-quality education services to rural and remote students and their families; provide reference points and guidance for non-government providers of services and support for education in rural and remote areas; facilitate partnership building between government and non-government providers of services and support related to the provision of education in regional, rural and remote locations; marry/handshake education with industrial experience with secure employment.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

I believe that public education should be the gold standard when it comes to education. We need to meet the minimum funding arrangements asked for by the ‘Fair Funding Now’ campaign to give all of our public students the best chance of receiving a meaningful education.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

Investing in people and investing in education is what Labor is all about. If we win on May 18, we will begin rolling out a sweeping program to revitalise our education system. This includes free preschool for every 3 and 4 year-old in Australia, $14 billion extra funding for our public schools, 200,000 additional university places, more apprenticeships and the rebuilding of public TAFE in Australia which has been gutted by the Liberals and Nationals.

For regional areas this means more teachers, more access to specialist support for kids when they need it, and more resources that city schools take for granted. It also means more TAFE courses and places for training our young people and re-training workers in skill-shortage areas and for the jobs of the future.

In Tanya Plibersek, the Shadow Education Minister, we will have an outstanding advocate for public schools and for promoting standards in the teaching profession.

11. Preferences

Could you indicate how you will preference on your hot to vote recommendation to voters.

Fiona Leviny, Independent

I am not preferencing, I have not made any preference deals. It is up to the voter to determine who they wish to preference, as a true Independent – BUT NUMBER EVERY BOX!

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

Peter Walker Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

Please refer media commentary on this in the public domain.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

The Greens in Page recommend vote 1 for us and 2 for Labor. The nature of preference flows means that the vote is unlikely to go past both of our parties but after that we recommend Fiona Leviny, AJP, CDP, Nationals and UAP in that order.

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

1.    Labor – Patrick Deegan

2.    Greens

3.    Animal Justice Party

4.    Independent – Fiona Leviny

5.    United Australia Party

6.    Christian Democratic Party

7.    National Party

12. Any other comments

Fiona Leviny, Independent

First Nations reconciliation

We need to once and for all recognise the peoples of our First Nations, in order to have an equal and fair Nations for all, that respects all. We need to empower the people of our First Nations by enabling them to economically mandate, through their own culture and administration, key action outcomes. We must ensure our First Nations leaders can work with government to form policies and outcomes that are culturally agreed upon.

Justice

We need a Justice Portfolio that stands alone as a ministry and department as it did prior to 1987, to have a dedicated focus and support in government.  Justice currently sits under the Attorney General’s portfolio along with a huge number of other departments, i.e. Security, Legal, Crime, Rights and National Archives.  Our court system is overwhelmed with cases. Our police are understaffed and cannot maintain paperwork required to bring cases to court. Our First Nation population has an unacceptable rate of incarceration. First Nation people represent 3 per cent of the general population yet 28 per cent of the prison population.

We must appoint a stand alone Justice department, appointing a Justice Minister to focus on these issues. This would also relieve the huge burden on the Attorney-General’s department.

Political donations

We need to stop all corporate donations and union dues being used for political gain and election campaigning. It isn’t transparent or equitable. The current system leads to unconscious biased policies. WE MUST have legislation to stop this before another federal election.

Vision for Page

WE MUST join our beautiful diverse valleys, rivers, beaches, landscapes, communities and businesses together in creating our own destiny within the guidelines of good governance and policies that are mandated by Government. Plastic bag free. Plastic bottled water free. Coal Seam Gas free. Jobs growth. Infrastructure. Aged care of highest standard. Youth engagement. Designated parks and forests regardless of future infrastructure and growth, as is in many cities around the world.

We need to think about what is important to all of us as a community to support and respect all of us and our land.

I’m deeply passionate about disadvantaged rural and regional people. I’m fighting to have Policies in place for future generations. The distant Big Parties have no plans for the following: Youth unemployment – no plan to secure long term economic building for the electorate, e.g. large-scale manufacturing that would ensure long term job security; The largest Jail in Australia – no plan to provide sufficient housing for the 600 workers. There is no plan for their families, or for the families of long term inmates, to access sufficient jobs or educational options; Homelessness – no plan to remedy the high rates of unemployment and homelessness

Our electorate is at risk of becoming one of the highest social welfare dependant regions in Australia – we must do more for our future generations.

Fiona commits to the fundamental protection of the natural beauty of our Valley:  No damming of the Clarence River; Keeping our Northern Rivers region CSG Free

Fiona understands small business and runs a cattle breeding enterprise and small guesthouse. She is a founder of the Country University Centre in the Clarence Valley and has been involved in many regional institutions, from Agriculture, Sporting, Arts, Justice, Education, Environmental, and Business Awards.

Fiona believes that whilst she has the face and the voice, it is the people of Page collectively that are Independent in Government, not the big parties, with respect for all.

Alison Waters, Animal Justice Party

As a social worker, I advocate for vulnerable people on a daily basis. I believe that we should protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Animals are some of the most vulnerable beings in our communities – the sheep who is forced onto a live export ship, the koala who is enduring habitat loss and the challenges of climate change, the piglet who has his teeth and tail removed without anaesthetic. As a mother, social worker and animal advocate, I will work towards a world that espouses compassion for all of us – humans and animals.

Peter Walker, Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

No response

John Mudge, United Australia Party

My Environmental Law lecturer at Southern Cross University (Lismore) was Sue Higginson (ex-CEO of Environmental Defenders Office (EDO)). I was a volunteer with the (EDO).

I enjoyed planting on my farm, 8,000 rainforest seedlings to restore the environment and support sustainability. I germinated these seedlings myself over 15 years (Mother Nature’s Son).  I also did some tree art with planting giant Californian Redwood (sequoia Sempervirens (Ever-Living)) seeds sourced from Essex County, Salem, Massachusetts, (the Hanging Days, Lest We Forget)).

My favourite book on greening the environment, and demonstrating the resilient beauty of nature, by (French) author Jean Giono, is The Man Who Planted Trees. This timeless classic is a touching story of Elzéard Bouffier, who devoted his entire life to reforesting a desolate portion of Provence, in southern France.

Bouffier single-handedly planted 100 oak acorns each day before, during, and after two world wars, and transformed a sorrowful place into one full of life and joy. Jean Giono’s words offer a tribute to how much good one person can accomplish in a lifetime and on how to live life with deep meaning and fulfillment.  (I also germinated Red Oak acorns sourced from Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT), which are planted down my drive).  I love the blood-red leaves in Autumn.

Daniel Reid, The Greens

No response

Kevin Hogan, The Nationals

No response

Patrick Deegan, Labor

No response


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting responses from the candidates who bothered to reply.
    What can one make of the ‘no show’ from the Claytons Cross bencher, Kevin Hogan?
    Does he think he does not have to answer legit questions from the local press?
    Is he too lazy to answer the questions?

    A bit of both, I suggest.

    Another reason to put the Nationals last on your ballot paper.

  2. Just shows – you can do nothing and ignore the press and still get elected.
    Or you can spend $80 Million and get nowhere.

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