And for anyone whom has been following the responses I have made in the various newspaper candidate forums leading up to the election on Saturday 26 March, you may have a good idea of where I stand.
However, for the sake of transparency, convenience and putting everything in one place, here is a reminder 'snap shot' of these responses.
I challenge any of the other candidates to do the same - a list of their position on these issues, a list of their promises for this elecotrate (not a list of what is needed, we all know that) but actual, fair dinkum promises, in writing, to fix things.
And finally, just in case you might be scared off or bored out of your brain with the prospect of reading my 'election manifesto', please note that I have attempted to reduce them all to around 50-100 words.
This snapshot obviously does not allow the devil in the detail to come out, but it does give you a concise view of my consistent point of difference to the major parties, as follows:
-I will listen to you first, not a party bureacracy;
-I will represent you only. Not party policy first; then party bureaucracy, promotions and mates second; and then finally, the people living in the Bega electorate a very distant third;
-I will always vote in the best interests of the residents of this electorate, not the lobby groups.
-I wont be distracted by chasing party promotions and trying to become a minister - I will remain focussed on being here, living here, knowing our needs and representing you;
-I mean what I say and say what I mean - no spin, no secrets, no back room deals.
I fully support 100% public health cover. I am disgusted that our healthcare is slowly being eroded and replaced by private health companies. I have been told many times by many people that they want their taxes spent on health, education and infrastructure. If elected I will support this outcome.
I believe that aged care will be one of the biggest social problems that Australians’ will face in the future. It will be a huge issue in the Bega electorate, given our own aged care demographic. As a government it is our responsibility to manage this impending crisis, not outsource it.
We need to balance immediate problems versus long term planning. We need to plan for prevention and improve community resilience. Listening to local community workers facing this crisis is where to start, not a generic one size fits all cookie cutter solution imposed on us by another faceless party machine.
Don’t settle for the small things in life. We need to think big . There are many ways to encourage investment, like the new regional hospital, aged care facilities, tourism, fixing our major roads, investment in new businesses like call centres, education and renewable energy.
What good will a carbon tax do for anyone if it isn’t priced right or the wrong industries are exempted? I think most people agree we should be paying for what we use. Which includes paying for the costs of waste and pollution management for that product. This is what a carbon tax is. The GST was the big devil that would kill small business, but we adapted and it didn’t really change much after all. A carbon tax will advise the consumer just what the real costs are in manufacturing that product, allowing us to make more informed purchasing decisions. In the long run, do we think behaving irrationally and selfishly, like the liberals seem to think is OK, and opposing a carbon tax, is an acceptable alternative to securing our environment and our future? I support a carbon tax, but I also support the provision of short term help for those less fortunate in our communities to help them adapt.
COST OF LIVING
I live in this electorate, and have done it tough. I can’t speak for the other candidates, but I know what it is like to get a helping hand when in need, and for the short term this is something that I would work hard for the people of this electorate to be able to access as well. Of course any short term solution should be means tested. But in the long run, we need sustainable answers for our future, not handouts. But we can’t wait for someone else to do this for us – we need to think big and do it ourselves. why can’t we produce our own energy and sell the surplus?
This highway is the lifeblood of the south coast of NSW. Residents, tourists and commercial traffic are on it every day, in increasing numbers. It needs fixing, and it needs to be future proof, not a band aid solution. There are many black spots that need attention and I would work with all levels of government to prioritise them and use the funding as effectively as possible.
I do not believe the public should be funding private education. I believe we need better public schools and clearer education pathways for our children no matter when they leave the education system. We need access to higher forms of education in this electorate, from TAFES, VET RTOS and uni outreach centres.
We aren’t going to resolve this by arguing on the side of the road. We need rational, reasonable debate. We need to consider the big picture, world economic and resource management responsibility, not just these forests right now. We need to think of our own consumption which drives demand for forest products, and raise our own levels of awareness of these issues. We need to balance the immediate needs of families working in these industries right now with achievable, long term and sustainable practices.