The Battle for Gilmore: candidates’ Q & A

As this is the last edition most people will read before the Federal Election on 18 May, we continue our tradition of giving the major party candidates an opportunity to introduce themselves, starting with some trivial insights before moving on to the main game.

Warren Mundine Liberal

Warren Mundine (right) with Senator Arthur Sinodinos and former Prime Minister John Howard

Where were you born? And where do you call home now?
I was born in Grafton. My parents moved to Sydney when I was in primary school. I’ve lived over half my life in regional towns including in Armidale and Dubbo. I now live in Bomaderry.

Favourite subject at school?
History

Best holiday you’ve ever taken?
My honeymoon to Kangaroo Island with my wife. It is a beautiful place and was an inspiration for me as to how remote communities with small populations can build real economies.

Cat or dog?
Dog. (My dogs won’t forgive me if I say cat but I do like cats too.)

Favourite movie?
James Bond movies

Best concert you’ve ever been to?
ACDC. A few years ago I was in the mosh pit at a concert and it was fantastic.

Most admired Australian leader, past or present?
Neville Bonner – the first Aboriginal person in Federal Parliament.

What lured you into politics?
I’ve always been fascinated by politics, and it started with conversations around the dinner table during meals with my parents and my older siblings talking about things like the campaign for the 1967 Referendum.

List three personal qualities you have that will make you a good representative?
Straight talk; common sense; and hard work

What work/life experience do you have that will make you a good representative?
I’ve worked in factories, on gas pipelines and in offices. Worked three jobs to buy my first home. Advised CEOs and Prime Ministers. Started small businesses. Travelled to every corner of this country. I don’t live in a Canberra bubble.

I understand the concerns and aspirations of regular people.

Two most important issues for Gilmore?
Jobs and jobs. Gilmore’s unemployment rate is over twice the state average. Jobs are primarily created by business, especially small business. In everything I’m campaigning for in Gilmore – be it fixing Princes Hwy; or finding a solution for dairy farmers; or fighting Labor’s billions in extra taxes that will punish retirees and increase rents and its industry destroying energy policy that will increase electricity and car prices;  or fighting Labor’s plan to reintroduce the RSRT that will hurt owner-truck drivers – all of these come back to increasing job opportunities and creating the conditions for business to thrive in Gilmore.

Two most important issues for Australia? 

  1. Regional economic development. Australia’s population is concentrated in cities. Job creation is concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. This impacts our economy. Eg. Sydney housing is very expensive. But if young people move to regional Australia where houses are cheaper they mightn’t find work.
  2. Long term unemployment. Too many Australians have been on welfare for too long. We need to help them get into the workforce. We’ve developed great initiatives for Aboriginal people in this area. I’d like to see them expanded to all Australians. Best thing you can do for another human being is give them a job.

Of all your party’s policies, which one are you most excited about?
The cornerstone of the Morrison Government’s approach is to have a strong economy and a budget in surplus. With a strong economy governments can fund the things Australians care about like schools, hospitals and medicare. The Liberal Government is delivering record education and health funding in Gilmore and we want to keep doing that by keeping the economy strong.

You perform so well, you are offered your choice of ministries. Which would you choose?
I’m focussed only on the election on the 18 May. I haven’t thought beyond that.

Grant Schultz Independent

Where were you born? And where do you call home now?
Melbourne and Mollymook

Grant Schultz

Favourite subject at school?
Agriculture

Best holiday you’ve ever taken?
Vietnam with the family.

Cat or dog?
Definitely a dog.

Favourite movie?
Avatar

Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Mumford and Sons with my daughter Maggie.

Most admired Australian leader, past or present?
Turia Pitt

What lured you into politics?
The desire to serve, my strong sense of justice and my passion to fight for the underdog.

I have served the community for most of my adult working life, and I see the role of a member of parliament as just that – to serve the community.  I think politicians have forgotten that.

List three personal qualities you have that will make you a good representative?
Tenacity; integrity; and affability.

What work/life experience do you have that will make you a good representative?
28 years of policing across the globe. In policing you have to have a thick skin, which is also critical in politics. But it also teaches you humility, patience, tolerance and above all, resilience.

I can talk to anyone, and have exceptional negotiation skills.

Two most important issues for Gilmore?
Infrastructure investment and Health Care. My first priority is to secure a Federal commitment to duplicate the Highway to the border.

This will not only make our roads safer, it will provide long term job opportunities, through trade, retail and tourism growth.

We need to plan for our future – 55% of Gilmore’s population is over 60 – and our aged care facilities and health services are struggling. Electorates like Gilmore need modern infrastructure and properly funded services – safe roads, functioning hospitals and aged care services, and greater funding for schools and telecommunications – to stop movement to major cities.

Two most important issues for Australia?
Economic stability and responsible planning for our children’s future.

Australia is long overdue sensible, bipartisan political leadership on the issue of climate change. I will ensure responsible action on behalf of our vulnerable coastal community.

Australia is the lucky country, but we need to be the smart country. We need to make smart, informed decisions on social policy, on energy, on our environment, and on our place as
a citizens of the world.

The future is changing rapidly and we need to keep up – and that means improving our country’s position in educational rankings for our children’s sake.

Of all your party’s policies, which one are you most excited about?
The opportunity to keep the major parties honest, make them deliver on their promises and stop their self serving inaction on critical issues our country so desperately needs.

You perform so well, you are offered your choice of ministries. Which would you choose?
My father Alby was offered Ministries during his service, and he always declined.  He believed that they would take him away from his constituents.  He always said “you don’t ever forget who put you there”.  I am, on this point, my father’s son.  I’m not here for a career – I’m here for the people.

Katrina Hodgkinson The Nationals

Where were you born? And where do you call home now?
I was born at Yass, growing up on a wool and beef property.  I live near Nowra and have a small farm near Berrima.

Fiona Hodgkinson has the support of former Gilmore members Ann Sudmalis, Joanna Gash and John Sharp

Favourite subject at school?
Sport

Best holiday you’ve ever taken?
Taking my husband Jack and the kids to The Somme to find the precise location where Jack’s father was injured in 1917 during WWI.

After much research, the location was discovered in a field planted with sweet potatoes, outside Les Boeufs in Hauts-de-France.

Cat or dog?
Two dogs, and a mouser-cat.

Favourite movie?
O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Peter Byrne’s Forever Diamond Show at Star City last year was a charity night for the Parkinson’s. So much fun!

Most admired Australian leader, past or present?
This is a tough one because there are so many great Australians, both past and present.  This afternoon my choice is Professor Fiona Wood, a true leader in the medical field, who invented spray on skin.  In the aftermath of the Kuta Bombings she treated dozens of burns victims in Perth Hospital, saving most of their lives.

What lured you into politics?
Mum was a Hansard reporter for the Federal Parliament and Dad was involved with NSW Farmers, so I grew up surrounded by both federal and agricultural politics.

The National Party was a natural fit and local MP Peter Cochran asked me to join in the 1990s.

List three personal qualities you have that will make you a good representative?
Experience; community mindedness; and work ethic.

What work/life experience do you have that will make you a good representative?
Over 20 years of direct government experience as a regional Member of NSW Parliament, Minister for Small Business and Primary Industries, and Howard government adviser.

Retail owner operator with two stores, ‘The Sheep’s Back’ in Yass and Bowral, TAFE instructor, Master of Business Administration and former Secretary of the Year.

Two most important issues for Gilmore?
Gilmore boasts great beauty, mountains to coastline, featuring the best beaches, lakes and rivers anywhere.  Protecting these while ensuring that we can have growing employment to meet demand and supporting our important tourism, agriculture, aquaculture and small business sectors is a priority.

Delivering the right candidate into the seat of Gilmore so that all issues can be addressed, starting on Day 1, whether it’s better health and education opportunities and services, defence and veterans affairs issues, building infrastructure such as roads, bridges and boat ramps, aged care and seniors living or delivering for our young people, is vital.

Two most important issues for Australia?
Cost of living is a priority. Budgets are tight, and growing numbers of breadwinners are working multiple jobs to meet family commitments.  People want to be able to save for their future and pay the bills for their supermarket shopping, phone, electricity, mortgage, rates, and school extras.

Our standard of living must be maintained. There are many issues a Local MP has to consider: border protection, health, employment and tertiary education for example, however we cannot have the services we need to keep our nation strong without defence, effective border control and a strong economy.

Of all your party’s policies, which one are you most excited about?
Sometimes it’s the unsexy things that make the biggest impact on people’s lives.  For me, the listing of prescriptions for rare and debilitating diseases onto the PBS, and the announcement of drug trials for Parkinson’s patients was the most exciting part of this year’s budget.

You perform so well, you are offered your choice of ministries. Which would you choose?
My primary focus would always be on being the best local MP possible and acting in the interests of the people of Gilmore. Anything else would be a bonus.

Fiona Phillips Labor

Where were you born? And where do you call home now?
I was born in Nowra and  raised on a local dairy farm. I am raising my family locally at Callala Beach.

Stephen Jones’ selfie at Fiona Phillips’ campaign launch, with her (centre), Christine Kennelly and Tania Plibersek

Favourite subject at school?
Agriculture and music.

Best holiday you’ve ever taken?
Childhood family holidays every Christmas just down the road at Currarong. We holidayed there so my dad could get home early each morning to milk the cows.

Cat or dog?
Dog. I have a German Wirehaired Pointer that loves swimming in Jervis Bay.

Favourite movie?
The Dressmaker

Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Can’t go past Billy Bragg at the Fairgrounds Music Festival at Berry in 2018. Anthony Albanese interviewed him and I’ve never seen so many progressive people in one place!

Most admired Australian leader, past or present?
Dame Mary Gilmore, a real progressive, a fighter for workers, women’s rights and indigenous rights. It’s because of people like Mary Gilmore that we have many of the safeguards that we have today like the age pension.​

What lured you into politics?
Leading the successful campaign to Save Nowra’s Community Pool and have it rebuilt into the Nowra Aquatic Park; being an Outreach TAFE Teacher; as well as growing up on a local dairy farm. All taught me the importance of listening to our community and helping people. All politics is local. ​

List three personal qualities you have that will make you a good representative?
Local; real; and a fighter for our community.

What work/life experience do you have that will make you a good representative?
I’m a local mum of four teenagers and a TAFE teacher. I was born locally, raised on a dairy farm. I’m married to a Tradie and have experience running a small business and as a Business Operations Manager at HMAS Albatross.

I have a Bachelor Degree in Economics and an MBA.​

Two most important issues for Gilmore?
Invest $500 million to fix the Princes Highway and invest $2 million in fixing dangerous mobile black spots along the highway between Tuross Head and Nowra. Labor will bring forward this funding so that work can begin in the next term of Government.

Reversing the Liberals’ cuts to schools and invest an extra $21.6 million, to ensure our local schools get the funding they need.

Two most important issues for Australia?
Restoring Medicare funding and reversing the Liberals’ cuts to our local hospitals. Labor will also cut the costs for cancer patients with free diagnostic scans and invest $25 million in the Eurobodalla Hospital and invest $35 million in a new Mental Health Unit and expanded out patient care at Shoalhaven and deliver a Medicare MRI licence for Batemans Bay.

A fair go for all – making sure the big banks pay their fair share so that we can invest in our schools and hospitals.

Of all your party’s policies, which one are you most excited about?
Fair funding for our schools. Every public school in Gilmore will be better off under a Shorten Labor Government. As a mum and TAFE teacher I know the difference this will make in kids lives.

You perform so well, you are offered your choice of ministries. Which would you choose?
Minister for Gilmore – there’s a lot to achieve! I like the portfolio of ageing – there’s so much to do to help improve outcomes for pensioners and retirees.

Carmel McCallum   The Greens

Where were you born? And where do you call home now?
Born in St Margaret’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, and now reside in Cambewarra.

Carmel McCallum

Favourite subject at school?
Science

Best holiday you’ve ever taken?
Driving to Canada and around California with the children when they were little, and we were living in Coronado on a Naval posting, visiting Sequoia, Yosemite and Expo 86 in Vancouver.

Cat or dog?
Both. Our 16 year old blue heeler, Tommy, just passed away, but we still have two tabby cats, Flora and Kami.

Favourite movie?
Love, actually

Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Elton John at Randwick Race Course in the 70’s. It was incredible, he is a great performer.

Most admired Australian leader, past or present?
Bob Brown, for obvious reasons.

What lured you into politics?
The Howard Government decided, in Cabinet, to invade Iraq, a first for Australia, based on lies – Weapons of Mass Destruction – and no vote in the parliament, unlike the UK and US.

Andrew Wilkie decided to run against John Howard in Bennelong, I worked on his campaign and joined The Greens.

List three personal qualities you have that will make you a good representative? 
Integrity; honesty; and hard-working

What work/life experience do you have that will make you a good representative?
I grew up the eldest of eight children, not wealthy, a middle class family, in south western Sydney; mother of four children; married to a Naval officer; pharmacist for 43 years; vice president of my professional union; owned a pharmacy business for nine years; four times Federal candidate for the Greens.

Two most important issues for Gilmore?
Undoubtedly, Climate Change is the most important issue, as a majority of Australians are saying.

We must act, without fear, stop burning fossil fuels and create a healthier and cleaner environment. Action will provide new local jobs, protect our environment, and lower our cost of living. It can be an exciting new opportunity.

Gilmore, being regional, needs to have an injection of funds to improve all the services that communities deserve, including world-class hospitals, health and aged care, mental health services, free public education from preschool to TAFE and university, full NDIS provision, accessible transport and infrastructure that good governments are expected to provide.

Two most important issues for Australia?
Firstly, transition into twenty-first century technologies of renewable energy to 100% by 2030, encompassing more than 180,000 jobs; 100% electric cars and vehicles; net zero emissions by 2040, including manufacturing of zero carbon steel, and high-density carbon fibre; exporting liquid hydrogen to Asia; and creating a healthier place to work and live.

Secondly, but not less, that we become a more kind and compassionate country, looking after our most vulnerable, young and old, and once more, leading the way in how we treat people with the dignity and respect they deserve, no matter who, what beliefs they have, or from where they come.

Of all your party’s policies, which one are you most excited about?
The Greens strong plan to phase out fossil fuel powered energy by 2030, with a 10 year retraining plan to transition mining workers to clean new technology jobs.

You perform so well, you are offered your choice of ministries. Which would you choose?
It would have to be The Arts because it is so neglected, and it is so important to people’s health and wellbeing.

Editor’s note: The candidates had word limits for some questions, and are laid out in order of receipt.

 

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