*Please note, some questions do not include responses from all candidates, as not all candidates had announced their nomination when the series began. In some cases candidates have chosen not to respond
QUESTION: WHY SHOULD ELECTORS VOTE FOR YOU?
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party I have helped to secure $62.5 million in Commonwealth infrastructure funding. The Coalition has pledged sustained investment in the electorate, with more money for roads, infrastructure and volunteer organisations, including $242,953 in funding for 71 volunteer organisations; $300,000 for community groups; $536,500 in extra funding for Home and Community Care locally, helping older Australians, people with a disability and carers get support to stay in their own home; and $2.87 million for local drug and alcohol rehabilitation services to combat the insidious scourge of ice.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party I’ve lived locally with my family for nearly 20 years. I am passionate about our region. For too long we have battled with second rate infrastructure. We now face serious cuts to health and education. The upcoming election is your chance to choose stronger, more effective leadership. I’ll put people first, bring communities together, and fight for fairness. We have a bright future if we work together for shared goals – real jobs, affordable healthcare, strong education and infrastructure that works. Most importantly I will work hard to get the results our community needs.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens A vote for The Greens is a vote for a new way of approaching the management of this country, including a fairer taxation system, a new approach to government spending that means we have the infrastructure we need, properly funded schools, TAFEs and university and services there for people when they need it. We want dental in Medicare and we don’t want to waste money on a plebiscite. A Green in parliament is prepared to work with others to get the best solution for the country.
Jennifer McAdam | Animal Justice Party We have seen the horrific images across our screens. Let’s not look away: let’s change it. I know there are many pressing issues facing government. But as a mother, teacher, and foster care parent I, like many others, care about animals too. Vote 1 AJP on both papers this election. By preferencing AJP #1 and then your preferred party, the 96 per cent of Australians who said they are against animal cruelty can send a strong message that our politicians must seek change for animals.
Jim McDonald | Liberal Democrats This election is Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull arguing over who can do socialism better, and we are fast running out of other people’s money. Our national debt is approaching $42,000 per family. We must cut wasteful spending and pay down the government debt. The major parties do not have the guts for real reform, nor do they have the guts to stand against political correctness. In their desperation they are planning to raid our super. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Let’s choose differently.
Norman Baker | Rise Up Australia Party A vote for Rise Up Australia Party is a vote to keep Australia Australian, a multi-ethnic, not multi-cultural society opposing Shariah law. We support immigration of people who integrate into our way of life and oppose people smugglers and illegal boat arrivals. We will assist the retail industry, protect Australian jobs and support our farmers and producers. No GMO foods. A minimum of 51 per cent Australian ownership of land and infrastructure and keep Australia debt free. Protect freedom of speech and honour our indigenous people, advancing Australia together. Establish full employment and fair wages.
Kathleen Ipsen | Australian Christians I represent the basic values that have made Australia the great nation that it is. Australians share common core values such as honesty, integrity, hope, respect, moral law, freedom, justice and sacrifice. About 2.7 million church affiliated Australians, along with a significant number of people with no church affiliation, are very concerned for their kids who are facing issues such as same-sex marriage and the unsafe ‘Safe Schools’ program. I will represent Australian Christians’ well-researched, broad and solid policies, and stand strong in AC’s commitment to protect our kids.
QUESTION: WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Jennifer McAdam | Animal Justice Party We take a strong stand against all forms of violence and that most definitely includes domestic violence. Representing the AJP I work with relevant local and state authorities to ensure a fair proportion of the Victorian Government’s significant investment in tackling domestic violence.
Nathan Harding |Family First Party It’s a sad reality that domestic violence and child abuse continues to increase in our community. Family First would support programs that promote strong values like love and respect that are the foundations for family life. Firstly where violence and abuse is occurring, we need safe places for victims to allow them to escape the cycle of abuse. Then we need to deal with the perpetrators.
Norman Baker | Rise Up Australia Party I think domestic violence has been coming about by more than one thing. I taught school for 23 years and in that time they took out corporal punishment. Then I saw a lack of discipline, I saw bullying start to increase and things become more violent in the schoolyard. This spread to the home and people felt they were not allowed to discipline their children by smacking them and that’s where the teenagers grew up more violent and disrespectful to authority. In the Australian community there were less and less people living a moral life, they were moving out of the churches and I feel that’s a factor because the Christian religion does teach respect and discipline.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party Family violence is a massive challenge for our community. As a community leader I will work hard to help people recognise and deal with the root causes of family violence. Contributing factors include drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment, low self-esteem, but the biggest single influence is the way men and women treat each other. We need to encourage a culture of mutual respect and call out language and behaviour that is demeaning. Together we can address this issue and make our community safer. Labor will fund more than $70 million of measures over the next three years to support families affected by family violence.
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party I will keep doing what I’ve always done, raising the issue locally and in the Parliament. I am working alongside Darren Chester to bring cultural change.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens Work to take away the stigma for victims. Primary prevention involves challenging the deeply ingrained attitudes, social norms and gender inequalities that give rise to men’s violence against women. We put forward a bold plan to increase investment in front line services with a 10 year $5 billion commitment. We’d restore funding to overworked services who lost the funding under Abbott such as women’s legal support services, women’s shelters and support organisations. Fund Mental Health services and men’s behavioural programs to ensure people can get help if they need it. Develop a national Safety Social net to ensure people that have to start over on their own raising children are not left behind.
Jim McDonald | Liberal Democrats A problem as complicated as domestic violence cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all federal program. Domestic violence can only be tackled from a grass roots level with solutions that are targeted to suite that particular community or family. These are best funded from that level to ensure that caveats on federal funding do not conflict with the effectiveness of these programs. Promises of millions and billions from our already overstretched federal budget amount to little more than a cynical vote buying exercise.
QUESTION: WHAT WILL YOU DO TO IMPROVE HEALTH IN YOUR ELECTORATE?
Jim McDonald | Liberal Democrats Expenditure on healthcare has tripled in real terms in 25 years. This has placed state budgets under so much pressure they are calling for a 15 per cent GST which will dramatically increase the cost of living. The Liberal Democrats would push to remodel Australia’s health system along the same lines as Singapore (the most efficient health system in the world in 2014), using market mechanisms to keep healthcare affordable while expanding superannuation to include medical expenses to reduce ‘out of pocket’ expenditure. These accounts would also be transferable across extended family.
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party In addition to greater funding for Medicare, the Coalition Government is spending $2.8 million to help the community fight against ‘ice’. Working in collaboration with the successful ‘Dob in a Dealer’ initiative, which has been such a local success, we are investing essential resources in counselling and rehabilitation services.This financial year we will also spend around $71.4 billion on health, including giving the states and territories around $18 billion to help fund hospitals. Public hospital funding under the Government continues to increase every year and is now estimated to grow by $3.9 billion or 22.7 per cent over the four years to 2019-20.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party A Shorten Labor Government will reduce waiting times for elective surgery and emergency departments, invest in hospitals and protect Medicare. Labor will also increase investment in healthcare at the frontline – so fewer Australians end up in hospital in the first place. We need more investment in local sports and recreation infrastructure such as Moe Netball Club to encourage community participation and exercise. All Australians should have access to the best possible health care when they need it – determined by their Medicare card, not their credit card.
Nathan Harding |Family First Party We aim to prepare, promote and support legislation which will result in the health, wellbeing, welfare, safety and unity of families in Australia. Oppose legislation which would impact negatively upon families. Reduce the impact of family breakdown in AustraliaSupporting practical initiatives that enable people with disabilities to be included in recreation, work and community life to the full extent of their ability.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens The wait times for many is too long for services. The Greens will include dental in Medicare and maintain Child Dental Benefits, increase funding for mental health programs including Primary Health networks and Headspace, develop programs to help retain rural doctors and prevent cuts to Medicare. People should not have to have private health insurance to ensure speedier service. Fully fund hospitals to ensure they can deliver the services and invest in sports programs to help reduce obesity.
Jennifer McAdam | Animal Justice Party The AJP supports a universal publicly-funded healthcare system. We believe the biggest gains in health, longevity and economy are to be gained by improving people’s knowledge and access to healthy diet and exercise opportunities. Seeing McMillan’s potential for plant-based agriculture need to happen now. We know that eating large amounts of red and processed meats can have serious health impacts, particularly in relation to cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The United Nations long term statistically significant studies make this fact undeniable in 2016. Let’s act
Kathleen Ipsen | Australian Christians I would support funding for assisted accommodation for our mentally ill similar to the recently launched pilot concept in Traralgon. Since de-institutionalisation, those in our community suffering with mental illness have been at a disadvantage regarding homelessness. I believe the supported accommodation model is a sensible solution and is a worthwhile investment of taxpayers’ money due to approach in supporting the mentally ill and helping them ease out of treatment and into the broader community.
QUESTION: WHAT WILL YOU DO TO IMPROVE THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR, AND QUALITY OF, EDUCATION IN YOUR ELECTORATE?
Donna Lancaster | The Greens The Greens highly value the work of schools and all their staff, as a teacher I know about the increased pressures they are under due to budget constraints. We would ensure the full Gonski recommendations and funding are forthcoming to ensure everyone gets the support they deserve. We would also support a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, recognising the important work Early Childcare workers do. As a local who had to move away for study, I recognise the challenges our young people have, so I would support measures to help them make the adjustment, whether that be TAFE or University. We would ensure our education centres are reliably funded.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party It is absolutely vital that our schools, training providers and universities are properly funded so people can get a good education. Education makes a difference to people’s lives. For individuals, it opens the door to jobs and opportunity, and for our region, it builds prosperity and a secure economy. A Shorten Government will fully implement and fund the Gonski reforms on-time and in-full – meaning every school student in McMillan will benefit from increased needs-based funding. Our schools, our training providers and our universities will be significantly better off under Labor’s positive plans for education.
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party I remain committed to ensuring students from McMillan have access to a quality education. Across the state, Commonwealth funding will increase by $1 billion from 2015-16 to 2019-20, a 26 per cent increase. Over the next five years, through regional loading, the Government will invest over $350 million to support higher education delivery in regional areas. We are also supporting rural students through the More Generous Means Testing measure for Youth Allowance. Additionally, 1,200 families from regional and remote areas will be eligible for an increase in family payments.
Jim McDonald | Liberal Democrats Spending on education has increased 50 per cent in real terms over the last 10 years. We are now spending over $15, 000 per year for the average high school student. Despite this massive increase in spending we are slipping in the international rankings and only a fraction of this money is trickling down through the bureaucracy to our schools where it is needed. The Liberal Democrats would provide direct funding to schools through a voucher system. This, combined with deregulation would force schools to compete with each other for students and cause a rise in academic standards.
QUESTION: WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ADDRESS THE LOCAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE?
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party From 1 January 2017 a Youth Bonus wage subsidy of between $6,500 and $10,000 will be available to businesses who take on an eligible young person as an employee or apprentice. Employability skills training will begin on 1 April 2017 to help prepare young job seekers for the workplace, with up to 30,000 young job seekers each year eligible to undertake an internship placement of four to 12 weeks. The internships will be voluntary and provide incentives of $1,000 upfront to a business to host an intern and a $200 fortnightly payment to job seekers on top of their income support.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party What is not revealed in the unemployment figures is the stagnation in wage growth and excessive casualization of work. We have a community divided between the haves and have nots. We have to pressure the government to work with business and community through the impending transition. Most importantly we have to work together. The traditional parochial divisions and rivalries distract us from the real challenge – creating shared prosperity across the Latrobe Valley. I will provide positive leadership and fight for the Latrobe Valley in Canberra to secure real opportunities for sustainable growth.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens Ensure funding for TAFE so people can be skilled to apply for job opportunities. Fully funding Gonski and hospitals will ensure adequate staff can be hired. Continued investment in The Clean Energy Foundation and ARENA will allow for more small scale solar, with home and community projects that will require people to install and maintain services. The Renew Australia policy will create jobs through mine rehabilitation and transition. Reverse funding cuts to ABC to prevent job losses and local services can be maintained.
QUESTION: DO YOU SUPPORT SAME SEX MARRIAGE? DO YOU BELIEVE CHANGES TO THE MARRIAGE ACT SHOULD BE MADE THROUGH A VOTE IN PARLIAMENT BY OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, OR THROUGH A PLEBISCITE?
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party I have long maintained that I believe marriage should remain a union between a man and a woman. For many years, though, I have also supported a conscience vote by members. If the Parliament takes the issue to a plebiscite I will support whatever decision the people come to.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party Australia’s identity is built on diversity and the principle of a ‘fair go for all’. Marriage is such an important institution, let’s not be afraid of change if it will help make our society fairer and more inclusive. The campaign for marriage equality seeks to address discrimination. Many people of good faith understand the need to set things right. No one is asking the churches and mosques to compromise their traditional values. Marriage between two people who love each other should be celebrated in our community. We do not need a divisive plebiscite costing $160million, A Shorten Labor Government will legislate for marriage equality within the first 100 days of the next parliament.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens The Greens understand that love is love. If two people love each other and want to commit to marriage, there should be no barrier. We don’t need a $160 million plebiscite to tell us what we already know – that the majority of Australians support marriage equality. It’s a shame that this is still an issue we are debating. In years to come, our grandchildren will question why this is an issue, in the same way our generation question why mixed races couldn’t marry.
QUESTION: HOW DO YOU BELIEVE THE LATROBE VALLEY COULD MAINTAIN AND ATTRACT JOBS IN A TRANSITION AWAY FROM ECONOMIC RELIANCE ON THE COAL-FIRED POWER INDUSTRY AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO FACILITATE THIS?
Russell Broadbent | Liberal Party I believe we must continue to derive the greatest value out of our most precious natural resource – brown coal. We need to harness technologies that turn coal into gas, coal into fertiliser, coal into oil and coal into hydrogen. It’s a matter of real innovation and real jobs.
Chris Buckingham | Australian Labor Party We have to accept that transition is coming and be prepared to set a confident new agenda for the Latrobe Valley. It is really important that we do not waste time chasing a ‘silver bullet’ solution. They don’t exist. We need to diversify our economy so that a range of employment opportunities are available to people who want to live in our region. I will provide strong, positive leadership and make sure businesses, community and government work together for the long term growth of our region.
Donna Lancaster | The Greens The key is planning. Not waiting until a company pulls out and the Valley is left high and dry. The Greens’ Renew Australia Plan outlines how this can occur, (including) overseeing job creation through the mine rehabilitation and decommission of generator projects; a Statutory Transition Authority establishment –identifying new businesses to move into areas and provide grants for establishment; coordinate bids on behalf of local business and university to attract investment in renewable energy generation; identify government agencies to move into the area as local ‘service centres; and encourage retraining where needed.