O’Connor candidates Q&A

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany from Mt Melville.
Camera IconAlbany from Mt Melville. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The Federal election is being held on Saturday, and nine West Australians have entered the race for the seat of O’Connor. The seat stretches from Manjimup to Kalgoorlie and across to the South Australian border making the O’Connor division bigger than New South Wales. More than 100,000 residents will have to decide who to vote for and how to preference their selections. Here are the candidates.

Shelly Payne

Australian Labor Party candidate for O’Connor

Age: 47

Place of residence: Esperance

Profession: Engineer

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

A Shorten Labor government will invest $4 million to double the capacity at Albany Hospital Dental Clinic, $15.54 million in public schools across the Great Southern. Medicare Cancer plan covering the cost of scans for cancer patients, 3 million free specialists consultations for cancer patients and cheaper drugs. Reverse the cuts to penalty rates. Deliver 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. Restore TAFE to be the centre of our training system.

• What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Cost of living pressure and low wages growth.

• What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

No action from this Liberal-National government on climate change.

• What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

The chaos of the Liberal-National government that has delivered cuts to schools and hospitals while looking after the big end of town.

• Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Michelle Obama, Jacinda Ardern, Penny Wong, and Ita Buttrose

Rick Wilson

Liberal Party of Australia

Age: 53

Place of residence: Albany

Profession: Federal Member for O’Connor

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

I have a strong record of delivering for O’Connor, most recently in health and aged care (Albany Radiation machine, $4 million for a new Denmark aged care centre plus new Kojonup and Katanning medical centres) and major infrastructure projects such as $140 million for the Albany Ring Road, $4.8 Million for the Middleton Beach re-development, Centennial Stadium and $10 million for the Great Southern Housing Initiative).

I have lived in the electorate my entire life and have travelled extensively across O’Connor since I was elected so I understand what is important to people throughout the Great Southern.

What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Mobile coverage is very important in O’Connor and I have delivered more mobile phone towers than any other electorate. I am currently in the final stages of fighting to ensure the Salmon Holes mobile phone tower goes ahead.

What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

It’s never been more important for Australia to have a strong economy – and we have certainly delivered that, with the Budget now forecast to be in Surplus in 2019-20. This has led to the creation of more jobs and a lower unemployment rate, in fact O’Connor’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.8% (down from 5.1% when we came into Government in 2013) which is well below the WA average of 6.3%

What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

One of the biggest problems we have is that people are less engaged with politics and less concerned about coming up with creative policy ideas at a grass roots level. The more people that are involved at a local level because they care about this country the better off we will be as a nation.

Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Winston Churchill, John Howard, Albert Einstein and Franklin D Roosevelt

John Hassell

Nationals Party of Australia (WA) candidate for O’Connor

Age: 55

Place of residence: Pingelly

Profession: Farmer/Agvocate

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

With me you will get someone who will support the Liberals to establish government, (in order to protect you from taxes that will decimate your superannuation) and you will also get someone who will vote for those policies which are good for the electorate of O’Connor (and the Great Southern). If the proposed bills are not good for us I won’t support them.

What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Drugs is a very serious issue which I think should be addressed by the state government. From a federal perspective the fact that we do not have any Roads of National Significance when the huge quantity of exports and tourism travel through this part of the world is clear indication there is something wrong with the classification system designed to make sure other states are getting road funding which should be heading our way. I welcome the funding and will support the ring road but there are roads such as the Albany highway (which should be a dual carriageway)and the south Coast (Hassell) Highway (which needs widening and passing lanes) due to the huge amount of tourism, exports and passenger traffic.

What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

The most pressing issue for the nation is probably the wastage which goes on in the health system. The national average for doctors is 96/100000, WA is 81/100000 and regional WA is 61/100000. When a country person has a lifespan 3 years less than a city counterpart, when they see a doctor at ½ the rate, when they see a specialist at 1/3 the rate, a physiotherapist 1/12 the amount a city cousin does and when chronic health is 3 times higher THERE IS A Serious Problem. Current incentives for doctors see them getting payments for being rural when they practice in Rockingham and Mandurah but until recently places like Kalgoorlie were getting less incentive. The city country divide and the wastage is most obvious and serious in the health system and I intend to make it one of my highest priorities to get this fixed.

What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

The biggest problem with federal politics is the way in which policy is decided upon. The old way of setting policy was to do it in the cabinet room and debate it thoroughly until a good outcome was determined. It seems today that, due to the proliferation of social media, politicians are making policy on the run in response to the social media. We need to head back down the path of sound reasoned and robust debate rather than rapid fire responses.

Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Douglas Bader; who was a fighter pilot in the Second World War. Bader lost his legs in a flying accident and was fitted with prosthetics so he could continue to contribute.

Sir Winston Churchill; wartime prime minister. Made some very tough calls in the face of terrible times.

Marie Curie; the only person to be awarded Nobel Prizes for different fields.

Florence Nightingale: the founder of modern nursing.

And I would also want to squeeze in Abraham Lincoln who abolished slavery.

(and I just realised these were mostly people who flourished under huge adversity: all very driven and true heroes)

Nelson Blake Gilmour

Australian Greens candidate for O’Connor

Age: 29

Place of residence: Youngs Siding

Profession: Boston Brewing Co.

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

I do politics different. I’m not business-as-usual and right now that’s exactly what we need. We need a regional voice that defends our common ground and respects our people and land.

• What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now.

Water, land and food security. Youth exodus, health, mental health and aged services. As well as localised issues like moving beyond coal in Collie and the CDC in Kal.

• What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

Ecological collapse and climate breakdown confronts all of us. Also economic inequality.

• What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

Political parties being bought off by corporate donations that screw the rest of us.

• Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

John Curtin - for surrender to self and leadership.

Alexander McQueen - creativity, innovation and perspective.

Dame Tariana Turia - because water is tāonga.

My Mum - to keep egos grounded and to show everyone the meaning of hard work.

Anthony Fels

United Australia Party candidate for O’Connor

Age: 54

Place of residence: Kojonup

Profession: Farmer

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

We need a strong MP who can hold to account a Shorten labour government or bargain for a better deal for this region from the liberals.

• What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Recognising the importance of the regions to the nation, and a greater share of the wealth to be returned here, not just when there is an election. We can do this with a 20% Lower tax rate in all regions.

• What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

There are so many issues; - the nations growth is stalling and reliant on multinational ownership of our resources, and we rely too much on high immigration.

• What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

The constant plotting and undermining of the leaders & liberal party colleagues. Voters can do this at an election; - it is not the role of our member of Parliament. People want stability, not a system controlled by a handful of power brokers in the liberal party.

• Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

My mum, Nelson Mandela; Julie Bishop & John F Kennedy.

Ian t’Hart

Australian Christians Party candidate for O’Connor

Age: 45

Place of residence: Albany

Profession: School Teacher

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

I believeAustralia needs a Christian voice in parliament to keep society stable and the government accountable. I support stronger family structures, sensible economic policies, agricultural research and development, small businesses, and universities.

What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

We need to get tough on crime and illicit drug use and promote healthy lifestyles. We also need to support our youth so that they have job opportunities and a brighter future.

What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

Protect the Christian values and Australia's heritage so that we can all enjoy our country together in safety.

What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

Our government is under threat from the left who have no respect for human life or protecting freedoms of religion and expression. We need a government who protects the right to life of the unborn and elderly.

Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

My wife, J.S BACH, The Queen, my father.

House of Representatives Candidates for O'Connor One Nation Dean Smith.
Camera IconHouse of Representatives Candidates for O'Connor One Nation Dean Smith. Credit: Tori O'Connor

Dean Smith

Party: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

Age: 22

Place of residence: Marangaroo

Profession: Labourer

Why should the people of the Great Southern vote for you?

More than 50,000 people live in the Great Southern in Albany plus the ten Shires.

Through fishing, livestock raising, dairy farming, cropping and tourism, those 50,000 people punch far above their weight in terms of their contribution to the national economy. They deserve the right to vote for a candidate committed to reducing their tax burden, protecting their superannuation, boosting their pensions and ending the Canberra habit of ripping off Western Australia to buy votes in the eastern States.

What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Electrical power for the great Southern Region is provided through Western Power’s South West Interconnected System. The failure of the Carnegie wave power project underlines the reliance of the Great Southern upon reliable coal power from Collie.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is the Party which will guarantee reliable inexpensive energy for the Great Southern and the whole of Western Australia.

What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

Excessive immigration threatens our jobs, our opportunity to own our homes and our way of life. Instead of bringing in imported foreign workers, we should adopt the PHON WA policy of paying $20,000 to each voter, commencing with the most elderly, funded by work permits paid by each foreign worker. This would provide a level playing field for Australians who are missing out because of jobs going to foreigners.

What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

The biggest problem is that the rulers in Canberra make decisions for the benefit of the bureaucracy and not for the benefit of the people, with West Australians at the bottom of the list, because they expect us to pay the most.

An example of Canberra arrogance is that no party ever took to an election the promise of the massive bureaucratic apparatus introduced using the climate as an excuse.

Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Friedrich Nietzsche, Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar, and Thomas Jefferson.

Western Australia Party candidate Peter Swift
Camera IconWestern Australia Party candidate Peter Swift

Name: Peter Swift

Age: 60

Occupation: Farmer and contractor

Place of residence: Frankland river

· Why should the people of the Great southern vote for you?

To provide Leadership and listen to all areas of the electorate, debate and negotiate outcomes, campaign for financial resources to fund state programmes and infrastructure needs, reduce red tape and regulation for business. Better tax incentives and finance for manufacturing and industries in rural and country areas.

· What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Man-made climate change, Water/waste/sewerage, property rights, need a fair and just compensation act for Western Australia, protect professional fishermen rights and resources Farmers Your dams your water Retirement Power cost

· What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

Environment, man-made climate change, water waste and sewerage, aged care and health, property rights, drought back-up plans, water plan for farmers and pastoral properties, depletion of Australians resources, border protection, aged Returned service people need a priority on their returning home needs.

· What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

Leadership, respect, accountability and poor policy advice. Western Australia is the powerhouse of the nation, our interests differ from Canberra. We are a working man’s state predominantly, isolation in remote areas and distances are still challenging. Contacting your representative needs addressing. Current system is too restrictive and time-consuming for most people, very few ever get a response.

· Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

My great grand farther Henry Boddington, which the town was named after, C.Y. O’Connor, Ernie Bridge and Sugarbird lady Robin Miller

Great Australian Party candidate Nick Robinson.
Camera IconGreat Australian Party candidate Nick Robinson.

Name: Nicholas Robinson

Age: 49

Occupation: Engineer

Place of residence: Porongurup

Why should the people of the Great southern vote for you?

I will act to restore the Commonwealth of Australia using the Australian Constitution 1900 (UK). By re-establishing the Commonwealth, the people of the Great Southern will benefit from increased funding of infrastructure and services throughout the region as correct access to funds generated by the National Estate and Section 81 Constitution (Consolidated Revenue) will become available.

What is the most pressing issue for the Great Southern right now?

Ensuring the prosperity and survival of our country towns so as to ensure sufficient economic activity leading to the creation of meaning and purpose, a fundamental human right and the root ball for strong mental health, for the people of the Great Southern.

What is the most pressing issue for the nation right now?

Resolving the constitutional crisis that Australia now finds herself in. The Australian Constitution provides the rules that govern government on behalf of the people of Australia. In 1975 the then-Whitlam government created the legal fictions, without referendum of the people as required by Section 118 Constitution, known as “the queen of Australia” and the “parliament of Australia”. They do not exist in the Australian Constitution. When subsequently sworn to by successive parliaments and judiciary, government was no longer bound by the Australian Constitution as they now effectively swore allegiance to a foreign power. It would behove all Australians to take note of Section 44 (ii) Constitution in this regard.

What is the biggest problem with Federal politics right now?

For too long Federal politics has disregard the rights of all Australians to the wealth of the National Estate (the common-wealth of the people). By allowing overseas interests and corporations to dominate and benefit from that wealth, which rightfully belongs to all, we have been betrayed by the very people that we gave our vote of confidence to. Time to take it back.

Which four people, living or dead, would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Dr Samuel Sagan, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Lotay Tshering (Prime Minster of Bhutan) and Harlan Ellison.

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