Why did I stand for Parliament?
Firstly, to make a contribution to the democratic process. You can’t leave everything to other people all the time. I’m the only independent candidate for Werriwa, so I’m happy to give you some extra choice on the ballot paper.
I grew up in Werriwa, lived here for twenty five years, and have been a frequent visitor when living in other parts of Sydney. I voted in this electorate at nine federal elections. My wife and I moved two years ago to a regional area. My experience of living in different types of suburbs, and now a country town, gives me perspective on ways I could make Werriwa better, perspective I wouldn’t have gained if I had stayed in the one place all my life.
Part of the solution to the growing pains our cities face is for people to do what we have done and move outside the capitals. However, the fact is that most Australians live in the suburbs of cities, and that isn’t about to change. If you don’t care about these people in the suburbs, you may as well not care about Australia. Hopefully, you can tell that that I do care, given I am standing in what I consider to be my home electorate.
Many candidates make a big point of living in the electorate, but at a national election, just how significant is that? Half the people in Werriwa were born overseas, and many of you will move somewhere else in your lives, as I have done. You might reasonably expect a candidate to have a strong connection to the area – and I have that. Isn’t the election about which candidate has the best policies for Australia, rather than where each of us is living at this stage of our lives? If elected, I will be working in Werriwa as much as any other candidate would.
How did I develop my ideas?
My policies are influenced by my experiences. I spent thirty-three years commuting by public transport around Sydney. I know what it’s like to be managing a project, with your workers stuck in traffic. My gardening and landscaping experience has made me passionate about beautiful design, whether it’s a backyard, a school, a suburb or a city. My work keeps me very down-to-earth (no pun intended), as has designing and building my own house.
I also care about ideas and principles. I know all about cost of living pressures, and that it’s tempting to be lured by whichever party offers the biggest tax cut or the best subsidy. Those issues come up at every election. But a law which defines the very way we see ourselves? That’s looking at the bigger picture. The Australian public voted Yes to same sex marriage, but most politicians took that as a licence to remove gender from marriage. This wasn’t necessary to introduce SSM. It’s bizarre that in the very era when expressing one’s identity is seen as important, gender identity has been removed from marriage! We readily grasp the concept that we are all equal as individuals, but at the same time all different – but when we form couples, there is apparently no room for recognising difference. It doesn’t make sense.
I’m aware of the high No vote to SSM in Western Sydney, and feel the people of this region have been very poorly represented by their traditional party, the ALP, on this issue. Whether you voted Yes or No, I’m offering you a policy which is about restoring some reality and meaning to our marriage laws.
I wish all voters in Werriwa well as you discern the choices before you.