Candidates Respond!

We have received responses to our Pre-election Report. The candidates who have responded are Matt Sharpham (IND), Laura Hughes (ALP) and Carol Sparks (Greens).

We have not received a response from Barnaby Joyce (NAT), Cindy Anne Duncan (UAP), Natasha Ledger (IND), Richard Thomas (ON) and Pavlo Samios (LibDem). 

Matt Sharpham:

I really mesh with thoughts about being able to approach our local representatives. Particularly the last few years, I’ve seen a shift from them being a civil servant to the people to being something far more different. People need to feel they’ve been listened to and it’s not happening. I have some really good ideas around community engagement as this is a big electorate, but everyone is important.

Laura Hughes:

What a great initiative!
Labor has Policies that address all of the concerns of the voters who contributed to the KTCs. Our plan for a better future for all Australians | Policies | Australian Labor (alp.org.au)​ Hopefully this will demonstrate that Labor has answers to those concerns.

Carol Sparks:

Thank you for this report which reflects many hours of informed research, a genuine commitment to reflect the concerns of New England residents and to present these in a clear and attractive way. The images of New England are beautiful.

The overlap with The Greens concerns is evident from the comparison of the table from The Report (p2) and the outline of my campaign (‘Here’s what I am fighting for’)

Julie Collins:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to address the issues that most concern our Region and Australians.

All my policies can be found on my website www.juliecollinsnsw.com  under the policy tab located in the address bar across the top of my site.

Carol Sparks Continued:

The most frequently mentioned issues were identified as Climate Change; Federal ICAC; First Nations; Education and Media. I will also briefly consider Housing and Health, two pressing issues in our electorate. Each paragraphs group is a brief summary of The Greens Policies which can all be found at Greens Election Policy Platform.

Climate change: The Greens’ policy includes detailed plans to: Phase out coal, oil and gas; remove coal and gas money from politics; help homes and businesses transition from gas; assist workers and their communities transition to a renewable future; prepare for climate impacts; rebuild local manufacturing with low cost green energy; to establish a publicly-owned power provider; develop an electric vehicle industry and invest in public transport infrastructure (for details see https://greens.org.au/platform/climate).

Federal ICAC: The Greens bill for a Federal Integrity Commission (with retrospective powers) passed the Senate in 2019 but was unable to secure a reading in the House of Representatives. In balance of power The Greens are committed to having this bill, which will shine a light on corruption and unethical behaviour, and hold corrupt politicians accountable, introduced within the first two weeks of Parliament.

Other ways The Greens intend to clean up politics include banning all donations from coal and gas corporations, and capping all other donations to $1,000 per year; lifting parliamentary standards with an enforceable Code of Conduct; introducing truth in political advertising laws, and ensuring public money is not being used to promote political party interests; funding the Australian National Audit Office to audit all government programs and stop the rorting of public funds and to end the ‘revolving door’ which currently exists as Ministers take cushy industry jobs in industries they previously ‘regulated’ within 5 years of leaving parliament

First Nations: The Greens will establish a Truth and Justice Commission- an independent body with the powers of a Royal Commission. The Commission will investigate and reveal historic and ongoing human rights abuses, wrongdoing, and provide recommendations on how to heal from them. The Truth and Justice Commission will lay the foundations to engage and involve the community in discussing, raising awareness and developing the Treaty or Treaties.

Health Services will be improved with $371m being provided to self-determined, community-led First Nations health services to increase their capacity to care for their own communities. The Greens will also ensure people have early access to preventative programs and provide funding of $1.07b to build First Nations owned healing places; expand Gold Card access to First Nations Elders aged 60 and above so they can access the healthcare, treatment and services they deserve and grow the First Nations health and wellbeing workforce to provide culturally appropriate care to their communities Compensation for Stolen Generations survivors will be provided. Descendants of the Stolen Generations are 1.5 times as likely to be in poorer health compared to other First Nations people. The Greens plan includes: the establishment of a compensation scheme, providing each survivor with a $200,000 payment to support them and their families as they age and continue to heal; $7,000 payment for
funeral expenses; providing a range of services to support the emotional and mental health needs of survivors and their families. The Greens will assist First Nations people to care for Country with a plan that includes: strong laws to protect First Nations cultural heritage, knowledge and intellectual property; $767m over the forward estimates to expand the First Nations ranger programs and Indigenous Protected Areas to heal Country by returning land to First Nations management and providing long-term sustainable jobs.

Fixing the broken justice system is another Greens’ goal: by raising the age of legal responsibility to at least 14 years and supporting children through culturally safe and supportive programs; doubling the funding for legal assistance services and providing an extra $310 million per year so all people have access to legal help when they need it; setting up independent police and prison oversight mechanisms and establishing a national police ombudsman system to investigate all police complaints; implementing the recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commissions’ Pathway to Justice report, and implementing the recommendations from the Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children in the Northern Territory.

In Tamworth on Tuesday 10 May I will be with The Greens lead Senate candidate David Shoebridge when he announces the Greens plan to establish a First Nations legal defence fund so communities can access independent legal advice to protect their heritage, including sites of significance from inappropriate development or destruction. Also on that day we will be meeting with local First Nations people among the 15 000
defrauded in recent funeral insurance fund collapses.

Education: Free early childhood education and care. The Greens plan includes investing $19bn over the next four years to ensure early childhood education and care is free and accessible for everyone; extending universal access to early childhood education for all 3 and 4 year olds to 24 hours a week; ensuring early childhood educators have well
paid, secure jobs; strengthening early learning for First Nations children through support for First Nations community-controlled services; boosting women’s capacity to engage in paid work, and relieve financial pressure on parents, guardians and caregivers and phasing out for-profit early learning and ensure every child has access to a high-quality government-provided or not-for-profit service Public schools that meet everyone’s needs through the largest investment in public education of any party: $49 billion to fully fund public schools, making school genuinely free for all students with the resources every student needs to learn; by ensuring there’s no expenses for parents for out-ofschool-hours activities such as sport and music, which should be considered essential parts of the public curriculum and by increasing building and infrastructure funding to $400 m a year and ensure
that the majority of funds go to public schools. Free TAFE and University- and raise youth allowances, Abstudy and Austudy to $88 a day. For those working in Higher Ed, the Greens plan includes: reversing the Liberals’ cuts and boosting university funding by 10% to enable quality teaching, learning and research; increasing job security and slashing casualisation at TAFE and uni; investing in world class research by boosting block grant funding for universities by $5.5 billion; establishing a Secure Work for Researchers fund, to help universities and research institutes transition their workers to secure employment and democratise our universities by giving power back to staff and students on campuses

Media: The Greens media plan will strengthen media diversity in Australia; protect the independence of the ABC and SBS by restoring Coalition funding cuts, recovering jobs at the ABC, and ending advertising on the SBS; take on the Murdoch media monopoly, by establishing a Royal Commission in the Murdoch media empire to look into its market dominance and its impact on democracy in Australia; Stop the spread of misinformation and hate by strengthening the powers of The Australian Communications and Media Authority, ensuring a high standard of truthfulness and journalist ethics and protect press freedom by protecting the rights of journalists. On World Press Day, Tuesday 3 May 2022, I made a video clip which can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/newengland.greens/videos/943333689638604

Housing: The Greens will push to establish a Federal Housing Trust, which will build 750,000 new public and community houses to slash public housing waiting lists and end homelessness; build 125,000 new public universal-access rental homes to provide affordable housing for more people who want to live in communities close to where they work, especially essential and frontline workers and create135,000 new jobs in construction and services to support Australia’s economic recovery.

Health: I was propelled into local government in response to the dire situation of our local health services and this concern continues to drive me. The Greens have a comprehensive health policy (see https://greens.org.au/policies/health). As a registered nurse for over 50 years I am committed to increasing funding to public hospitals, bringing dental and mental health into Medicare and to improving aged care by improving staff ratio.

Today, together with The Greens second Senate candidate Amanda Cohn, I co-hosted a ‘Health Q & A’ in Armidale where we investigated the New England’s crisis in health care- one I am determined to remedy.

The Greens policies are fully costed and fully funded. Details are at https://greens.org.au/platform/fair-share

Julie Collins Continued:

The Senate is more about legislative change, and pass and amending, and blocking bills and laws that protect or remove our rights.  However, I have outlined where I sit with regard to the following questions our electorate is concerned about.

Climate Change: I support, environmental protection in a sustainable way.  We are called to be custodians of the land, there are things we could be doing that would bring back balance to our land.  The environment is something that starts with individuals.  Individuals recognising that if we don’t do something to protect our land, and make changes in how we live that we will destroy this earth.  Plastics take thousands of years to break down and we produce a billion tonnes of plastic a year.  A lot of that goes into land fill and into our oceans, we then eat plastic particles when eat fish.  In Victoria, supermarkets, coles, are now encouraging shoppers to bring in their plastic containers to refill with their washing detergents and soaps to reduce plastics, and an Australian couple have just invented a wrap made from potatos to replace plastic wrap. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that if you cut down all the trees our oxygen levels will change. Did you know that whales reduce emissions.  Yet if we continue to place oil rigs in our pristine oceans, we impact the whales habitat and again disrupt the balance of nature. I would like to see sustainable solutions introduced.  Wind farms are not sustainable, and bi products of those the blades, the concrete do not assist.  We need to look at working with nature rather than against it.  I am aware that Rob Taber and the UNNSW have been looking at using waterfalls and water to generate power so that we can have more affordable energy without the nasty byproducts.

I support CSIRO and other scientific and innovative groups in Australia coming up with sustainable solutions and alternatives.  I do not support our rivers being utilised by minining companies while our farmers and towns go without.

Education: I believe that we need to lift the vaccine mandates from schools.  We lost some really great teachers who are critical thinkers by mandating the vaccinations.  We need a lower child to teacher ratio.  Teacher’s wages need to be increased.  Why should a Government clerk, earn more money than our teachers who are filling such a vital role in the development of our future generation.   We need legislation that clearly identifies and defines the role of the school and the role of the parent.  To protect families and ensure that the freedom for families to raise their children in a culturally appropriate way for them is safeguarded.
Although predominantly the role of the senate is to pass and block legislation, I would lobby the lower house to see the implementation of curriculum that focuses on and creates dialogues around how to navigate conflict and difference of opinions respectfully.  Programmes that  encourages children to make decisions, then reflect on and recognise the outcomes of those decisions.  These programmes would include life skills and problem solving.   

We need to offer higher wages in early childhood to encourage men into the early childhood sector, so that children get to see healthy dynamics between all genders. Private schools should be able to employ people who align with the schools foundational morals.  Steiner schools for example employ teachers that have completed their education training as well as Steiner training.  Muslim schools have their own values, and Christian schools have their own values.  These schools are more than just an academic facility, they believe in treating the child whollistically and ensuring that core cultural and moral values are imparted into that child’s life.  People should have the right to know that if they have enrolled their child in a particular school because of the values and beliefs that those will be reflected and upheld by the school, and the school should have the right to chose the staff that they consider appropriate for their school.

First Nation’s: Although I have concerns and ideas, being first Nation’s I would not presume to speak on behalf of my Local Aboriginal Community without consulting the elders and community.  My people would be able to come to me and ask me to represent their voices.

Federal ICAC: We need a complete corruption investigation into our Government Including the Attorney General’s Department.
Media –  The press have a vital role in keeping our Government and Law Enforcement accountable.  The media are meant to be independent and report accurately.  We need an investigation into the media and their interaction with the Government with regards to Covid, Dr Pridgeon and other similar type situations.
When it comes to legislation we need to ensure the freedom of the press continues, and that the press cannot be directed on how to report.    We need legislation that currently blocks the press from reporting, to be amended, such as S121 of the Family Law Act, to allow transparency and ensure that the public can have faith that Justice and fairness are done.   

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