Kimberly Hone lives in the Tweed Shire and is running as a candidate for The Nationals in the federal seat of Richmond.
Kimberly Hone is also an SES volunteer and a qualified wildlife ranger, although says she no longer works in that field. She and her husband founded and own a business consultancy which, she says, is for anyone who wants coaching.
‘Some of our stuff is faith based,’ she says, adding some ‘may not like our style but [we] would happily coach anyone’.
Bay FM Community Newsroom host Mia Armitage interviewed Kimberly Hone live on-air on Friday 13 May in the third and final part of a series of interviews with Richmond candidates. To follow is a transcript of that interview, which you can hear here.
‘I stand by my faith,’ Hone says on religion in politics
MA: Kimberly Hone, I’ve seen you say that you yourself have never mentioned your religion in political campaigning, and that it’s only other people who do. But more recently, you’ve been seen and heard doing almost the opposite, in a way, mentioning politics in a religious context, and that event’s been highlighted during a federal election campaign. So, what role, if any, do you believe religion should play in Australian politics?
KH: There’s nothing wrong, essentially, with being a Christian and standing for parliament. Just because I’m someone of faith doesn’t exclude me from the democratic race. We are a democracy and we welcome all sorts of beliefs in our nation, and we support everyone’s right to believe what they wish. They, you know, we don’t have a sovereignty over someone’s thought life yet, hopefully never and, you know, I stand by my faith and I’ve asked that my faith be respected, just like I would respect anybody else in their faith and my faith has molded my positive campaign, I’ve decided to run a positive campaign and not throw mud, not play dirty politics and that’s very much in line with what I believe in, who I am, and what I’m about.
But at the end of the day, The Nationals, as a party, are made up of members that come from all walks of life, and different beliefs, but with a common goal and passion to be the voice for the regions and so that’s what I’m about. I’m here to be a positive voice for the regions.
MA: I just want to take you back to sort of the point of that question and that is, what role do you see religion playing in Australian politics? So, I understand that you respect the fact that everybody can have their own religious views and The Nationals also have a sort of culture that allows for that freedom of thought and expression. But when it comes to Australian politics, the process of lawmaking, what role do you see religion playing, if any?
KH: Well, I think I can only speak from my religion and how that is personal to me and my religion has taught me to be servant-hearted and that enables me to serve my community. That’s my passion. That’s what I’ve always done. I’ve always worked in the community sector. I love that space. I love meeting people and serving people. At the end of the day, someone who’s elected to parliament is a public servant and they should serve the people.
So, in that sense, it’s a big motivation for me and, you know, I think part of the role as a political leader is that you should be able to work with all sorts of people from all sorts of walks of life and if you can’t embrace people from all sorts of walks of life, I think that’s a dangerous type of leadership and it’s actually not leadership at all. I would like to see a leader in our community that has the ability to work with all sorts of people and not throw unnecessary dirt but instead have a culture of respect and integrity.
Nationals candidate says vote for her to change government… slip of the tongue?
MA: Tell us about your how-to-vote cards, what prompted you to preference the other nine candidates the way you have? ****
KH: My priority number one is myself. So, that’s where I would encourage everybody to put their number one. But at the end of the day, preferences are up to the voter, they can put their preferences wherever they like and I just strongly encourage that people put Greens and Labor last, if they want a change of government*, if they want someone like me in.
MA: What about the other Independents and the representatives for the minor parties wanting to win the seat of Richmond? How would you preference those?
KH: So, my how-to-vote card is just a suggestion and that’s based on what I need to get in and nobody has to follow that. In a federal election, you have to number every box. So, at the end of the day, it’s up to the voter, the voter gets to choose, the party doesn’t choose who they want to preference and I just encourage voters to preference how they like and I think people are pretty well aware of where they stand and where other parties stand.
Politics is pretty polarised these days, especially in this election, you can clearly see which parties are on the right and which ones are on the left and yeah, I just strongly encourage people to preference however you like just as long as you put Greens and Labor last so that that helps me get in.
SES volunteer defends Richmond on behalf of The Nats
MA: The Nationals Party is often described these days as a dying party at worst or a party in chaos at best but you’re young, you’re full of energy, you seemed to almost come from nowhere, you hit the ground running with your local campaign.
Of course, The Nationals have traditionally had strong support in this electorate, but the support hasn’t been strong enough to beat Labor and The Greens supporters for at least a generation, if not two. How do you see The Nationals and the party’s future?
KH: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So, prior to me, the last candidate who ran for the last three elections was also young, he’s younger than me, actually, and he won on primary votes against Justine. So, she’s never won on primary votes**, and The Greens preferences have got her over the line every time.
I don’t think The Nats are a dying breed. Their heart is for the regions and so is mine and I’ve lived in this area my whole life. I’m passionate about this region, I’m passionate about communities and so those that know me know that I’ve been here and they know who I am and my ability to hit the ground running was because I was pre-selected on Saturday, the floods hit Monday, and I’m an SES volunteer. I’m trained for disastrous events like this and I was able to position myself at an evacuation centre with my community experience behind me and just a few important phone numbers in my phone and I was able to work incredibly hard day and night, working for our community and helping them get through these difficult times.
So yes, I’m young, and I’m enthusiastic. But I’m also really passionate about our community and that’s a reflection of The Nationals and how they want to defend our region.
Nats candidate calls for better water management
MA: Well, you’ve mentioned the climate catastrophes that we’ve had in this region, how do you see climate change? What is your view?
KH: Yeah, yeah, it’s a really good question and it’s things that we need to keep discussing. So, what a lot of people don’t know about me is I’m actually a qualified wildlife ranger. So, I believe I’ve got a really good, balanced approach when it comes to protecting our planet and looking after our environment.
I think that the floods have shown us that we do we need to have a close look at climate change. But it’s not the only thing that we need to be looking at the moment. We need to be looking at mitigation, we need to be looking at, how do we do town planning? Are we considering water behavior as much as we should be? So, these are all the practical things that I’ve learned from the public.
So, I’ve been to two flood mitigations in the last couple of weeks down in Ocean Shores and they don’t necessarily want climate, I’m sure they want action on climate change, but what they want now is immediate action in the community on the ground, on ways that we manage our water and the ways that we manage our disasters and I think that that’s where our focus needs to be, as well as climate change.
Green energy will ‘cost an absolute fortune’ says Hone
KH: I’m really happy with the way that The Nats are handling climate change, you know, they’re working towards zero emissions by 2050. We’ve just covered the Byron Hospital in solar panels, which offsets for 940 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. So, that’s the first hospital solar panel system of its kind in our entire region, which is a massive step forward.
As a nation, we are the fastest nation in installing solar, residential panels on our homes. So, that’s also in the world, that is, by the way. So, that’s a massive achievement as well and I just think that we need to make sure that we, when it comes to climate change, we are not focusing on taxes, but we’re focusing on technology, we’re focusing on on advancements, so that people who are already suffering with cost of living because of the pandemic and the floods don’t have to then pay through the nose to turn the lights on at night.
So, it’s really important that we have a balanced approach. I don’t think we are there yet as a nation to turn off coal and then suddenly turn on all of our green energies. We’re not there. We don’t have the base supply and it’s going to cost an absolute fortune and I’m not willing to put that burden on families. So, I won’t be, I’m not willing to back that move so drastically. I’d like us to to keep developing our technology first.
We know with solar panels, for example, we need to get better at storing the solar that we are collecting. So, even in the beautiful Australia, we don’t actually have sun shining 24/7, as much as we would like to think it is, and we don’t have wind blowing all the time for wind farms. So, we do need to get better at storing the solar as we collect it and we do need to get better at collecting wind energy.
Hydro is a lovely space that we need to be looking into as well, I believe, so I think we need to keep focusing on technology, not taxes. So that’s something that I hugely support and I think we’re on the right path.
Hone ‘passionate’ about DV, calls for NSW coercive control bill
MA: This one here is for people who have been following your campaign, you’ve been accused of dismissing the gravity of domestic violence through a social media comment that’s since been deleted. How seriously do you take the matter of domestic violence?
KH: Yeah, I’m so glad you’ve asked that question. So that comment that I supposedly made, I didn’t make and that’s it. That’s a post that has been taken out of context and in fact, it’s not deleted, it’s still on social media. So, if you look it up, you’ll see it there and it’s really just dirt that’s been thrown by my opposition to try and undermine my character and to character assassinate me.
What my opposition doesn’t know is that my very first march that I ever attended on domestic violence was when I was twelve years old and that was for stopping violence against women and I did that march with my mother. Domestic violence is incredibly important to me. It’s something that I’m very passionate about and I’ve spent many years working alongside domestic violence victims, both children and women and men.
So, I believe that I would never ever in a million years be someone who victimises or blames the victim. That’s not who I am. That’s not my experience and that’s never ever been what I’m about. What I am about, though, is bringing awareness to this issue, domestic violence for both men and women and of course, children.
I’m really happy to see Queensland is moving forward with their coercive control bill, and that should be in Queensland Parliament by the end of 2023. This is an area that I watch very closely because I’m, like I said, I’m passionate about it. I would love to see New South Wales follow Queensland and introduce that bill as well. ***
Cost of living a top priority
MA: Give us a really quick overview of your first three priority priorities for the seat of Richmond, if you were to win that seat.
KH: Yeah, super easy. I just want to support small business in our region because that supports jobs. I want to support families with the cost of living and I also want to support the vulnerable and pensioners with the cost of living and help them live their best life, in the seat of Richmond.
* Kimberly Hone represents The Nationals, a party currently in the incumbent coalition government. A win for Kimberly Hone in the seat of Richmond would be a change to the party representing Richmond in parliament, which is Labor with Justine Elliot. But a win for Kimberly Hone would also be a vote in support of the coalition’s goal of retaining power in parliament, since they need to win the most seats across the country, and would therefore represent keeping the same government, as opposed to changing it, in contrast to Kimberly Hone’s comment.
** It is true that Justine Elliot has never won her seat owing to first preference votes alone. Labor’s continued wins in Richmond have come thanks to preferences from voters for The Greens. The Nationals have almost always achieved the highest number of first preferences in Richmond, except when Justine Elliot beat them in 2007. The Nationals have not managed to win enough first preferences to cross the winning line since Labor took over the seat of Richmond and have not managed to win enough votes from preferences to get them there either.
But the statement can be read another way, implying that Justine Elliot has never won the highest number of first preferences. This is incorrect, as Justine Elliot won the highest number of preference votes in Richmond in 2007.
**** The Nationals and the United Australia Party have made a deal to preference one another in lower house how-to-vote cards. Kimberly Hone has therefore put Rob Marks for UAP second on her HTV card.
Gary Biggs of the Liberal Democrats Party says his party also made a preference deal with The Nationals, although he said it was to get a LDP candidate second on The Nationals how-to-vote card for the senate. Kimberly Hone has put Gary Biggs of the Liberal Democrats third on her lower house how-to-vote preference card for Richmond.
She has then preferenced Independents before the One Nation Party and the Informed Medical Options Party.
As suggested to her voters, Kimberly Hone has put The Greens last on her how-to-vote and Labor second last.