Snapshot of 2013 Candidates

22 / 08 / 2013

We are in the midst of a federal election campaign, and to highlight what’s been happening on the hustings, we emailed questions to a number of candidates from different seats and from across the political spectrum. We asked them to nominate issues specific to their seat and why the 2013 election matters.  For good measure, we asked them to nominate an issue they thought concerned women voters in their seat, and why they were best placed to address it. We also asked whether they thought we need to restore respect* to Australian politics, and how to possibly do so.

Please note, we did seek responses from three Liberal Party candidates who unfortunately did not reply.  The seats we highlight are both city (Melbourne and Batman), and country (Indi). Supposedly elections favour the incumbent, but we did not receive responses from current members Sophie Mirabella from the Liberal Party, nor the Greens’ Adam Bandt in Melbourne.

So it’s over to some of the other candidates to let us know where they stand on various issues – and we’ve published their responses in full. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.


CATHY McGOWAN AO – INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR INDI (North-East Victoria)

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

I have grown up in my electorate of Indi, and was raised on my family’s farm in the Indigo Valley, which is where I now own and manage my own farm. Agriculture and food production are central to both the heritage of, and the future of, Indi. We produce some of the best food and wine in the world, providing exports and boosting our tourism sector. Indi also captures nearly half of the water that flows into the Murray-Darling Basin, supporting agriculture and food production elsewhere in Australia.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

Connectivity, via broadband and mobile phone, and public transport are major issues for the voters of Indi. Local residents are worried that the NBN roll-out across the region will be slow, inconsistent and leave us trailing behind urban areas when it comes to being able to move business and services online. As for mobile phone coverage, blackspots persist in large parts of Indi, which has significant risks for health and safety as a result of failed emergency and service calls. 

Indi residents also feel disconnected from each other, and from metropolitan areas, due to poor public transport links. Years of stalled work on the Wodonga-Melbourne railway line has disadvantaged locals who need reliable, fast transport between the towns of our electorate and the city. If elected, I will call on the ARTC to finish work on this line by the end of the year. I also want to see the high speed rail returned to the agenda in Canberra.

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

The issues I most strongly identify with is that of representation itself – the questions of who represents us, how we are represented, processes of engagement and the relationship between individuals, communities and their representatives is fundamental to effective democracy. I am particularly keen to ensure that young people, and in particular, young rural women, are engaged in this process of representation. I am very proud that there are many young people in my campaign team, and they are teaching me about their preferred ways of engagement and consequently how they would like to be represented and I have a very strong commitment to ensure they stay part of the process following the election.

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Yes.

5. Are you Pro-Choice?

Yes.

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

I fully support equal rights for same-sex couples to marry, and believe marriage inequality is a form of discrimination, which has no place in Australian law or society. The legal and institutional framework that governs Australia should treat all people equally. As a society we’ve made huge progress, but there are still many legal and institutional barriers that some groups in our society face.

7. Nominate one of the following issues (Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy)and why it’s personally important to you:

As a member of the Rural Australians for Refugees group, I have a great interest in asylum seeker issues. I feel that refugee issues are far too important to be treated as a political football by the major parties, because the nuances and human costs of the issues are lost. In dealing with asylum seekers and refugees, we need a system that respects international law, is fair and ensures people’s health, safety and dignity is maintained. A bipartisan approach to this issue is absolutely vital. This requires respectful, coolheaded discussion between both parties and all segments of Australian society.

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

I feel very strongly that we need to restore respect to Australian politics, and that a democracy is strengthened by representatives who can respectfully and maturely convey the needs of their constituents. In fact, this was a message that was repeated time and again by the 440 people who took part in the “Kitchen Table Conversations” that took place around the electorate prior to the election campaign. One way I have tried to restore respect to the political process is to create a set of values and principles that guides my actions and the actions of my team of campaign volunteers in consulting with the public. These values encourage listening, honesty, integrity, politeness and inclusiveness.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

The 2013 federal election is of importance to the people of my electorate because there are many who feel as though their voices haven’t been heard, their votes have been taken for granted, and the electorate has been disadvantaged as a result of being considered a “safe seat” for so long. I think people are tired of the negativity of the major parties, and this is the year for individuals and communities, particularly rural communities, to show that they can, and do, make a difference. 

For more information, go to Cathy McGowan’s website.


JENNY O’CONNOR – GREENS FOR INDI

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

I live in Beechworth and the stunning environment ranging from High country to river flats with  the vibrant communities around the area make this a truly fantastic place to live and work.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

Access to the full range of health services needed including dental, GP ‘s and mental health , and lack of transport for rural communities. (And removing Sophie Mirabella!).

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

The women I am meeting are concerned about the current attack on income security for single parents, many of whom are in that situation . Also the cruel treatment of asylum seekers is concerning many women I speak with.

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Absolutely. – I have been involved in working women’s services since the early 1980 ‘s.

5. Are you Pro-Choice

Yes

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

Yes

7. Nominate one of the following issues (Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy) and why it’s personally important to you:

They are all important. But I will nominate climate change as my family has been personally affected by the Black Saturday bushfires and live with the ongoing effects resulting from that terrible day. I fear for the future of our communities as these events increase with climate change and want governments to take action to do whatever we can to minimise global warming.

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

We need to change the old parties ways by getting progressive politicians into the parliament who focus on implementing a vision for a future rather than the current short sighted approach of slanging it out to get the upper hand for the next election.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

There is a loathesome lurch to the right currently in Australian politics which can only be stopped when voters stand up and say they have had enough . This election is the time to do that and send a clear message that we want a different political discourse in Australia. I believe women voters are most likely to demand this.


JENNIFER PODESTA – INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR INDI

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

Yes, I have lived in Albury-Wodonga most of my life, and my husband and I have a business here.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

Youth unemployment and mobile phone coverage

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

The biggest issue for women is the ‘penalty of care’ that impacts them across their lives. It needs to be addressed through (i) paid parental leave, (ii) flexible employment arrangements that don’t leave them without entitlements and disadvantaged in later life, (iii) more affordable and better early childhood care and education, and (iv) before and after school care options.  We also need to ensure that the caring work of women as adequately valued and rewarded and that they are not penalised or punished for being carers and mothers.  My own experience as a mother, later as single-mother and now as an academic who studies the impacts of social structures on families and women gives me great insight in these areas.

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Yes

5. Are you Pro-Choice?

Yes

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

Yes

7. Nominate one of the following issues (Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy) and why it’s personally important to you:

Whilst all of these are important, I am particularly concerned about Indigenous Australians as I think many Australian’s have become almost comfortable or at the very least oblivious to the plight of many of our first people.  The gap that remains between them and the rest of the nation across a range of areas is cause for national shame and we continue to respond inadequately to their needs. This is particularly a concern for women and children.  I think this is indicative of a mentality of privilege and entitlement that dominates mainstream Australia and is evident in our responses to the other issues as well.

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

Yes, like many people I speak to, I am very disappointed with the negative way in which politics in this country is being conducted.  It has become so adversarial between the three main parties that there seems no room for the consultation, consensus or co-operation that is essential  for good governance.  I think we need more diverse voices in parliament: more independents and more minor parties to break the current understanding that the two major parties have that they are the only ones who have anything to say or role in leadership in this country.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

The election is particularly important as I think it is going to decide the type of country we want to be over the next decade and whether as a nation we want to be one where we work together to support each other, even the weak, and put long-term sustainability and investment in our human capital first or whether we want to be about the individual to the detriment of our collective future.

For more information, see Jennifer’s website.


CATH BOWTELL – AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY CANDIDATE FOR THE SEAT OF MELBOURNE

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

I’ve lived in Melbourne for 30 years.  As a student I lived in Carlton, North Fitzroy, Richmond and the CBD.  I settled in North Melbourne 25 years ago, and have raised my family in a great neighbourhood.  

Melbourne is the incubator of progressive ideas. The seat is home to our educational and research institutions and plays host to many arts, cultural and sporting institutions.  When need to, Melbournians know how to turn out for a demonstration. 

It is a diverse community, with half our community born overseas, and we celebrate our multicultural and multi-faith community.

Melbourne was the birthplace of community activism – the first community legal centres, health centres and childcare centres opened in the inner city, and they continue to support our community, particularly pensioners, and recently arrived migrants.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

(i) Education: Melbourne is an electorate where education matters. Labor has a strong track record.  We have invested in early childhood education, done the hard yards in terms of pushing for major school funding reforms, expanded access to higher education, and reversed the Howard years cuts to higher education and we are investing in TAFE.

Labor’s new school funding reforms mean more support for schools across the board and targeted additional funding on top that goes to those kids who need it.  Tony Abbott and the Liberals cannot be trusted to deliver on this once in a lifetime reform.    

(ii) Managing growth and investing in infrastructure: Melbourne is feeling the pressures that come from increasing population, and in particular increased density.  The strains on our public infrastructure are felt in many areas, but most keenly in traffic congestion.

Labor set up Infrastructure Australia to allow transparent and independent planning for major infrastructure.   Its Major Cities Unit benchmarks our city for productivity, liveability, sustainability and equity.

Time in the car is time spent away from other things that we want to do.   We need to invest in public transport.  This Labor government has invested more in public transport in 6 years than all the federal government since Federation. Importantly, we have committed to build the Melbourne Metro Rail project.  This is a huge investment in public transport for the city that will add an extra 19 services and carry an extra 20, 000 passengers each hour. 

In contrast, Tony Abbott and the Liberals want to build a new freeway, the East-West road and tunnel.  To date, they have refused to release their figures on this to public scrutiny.  And I don’t believe it’s a solution to the congestion issue – all that will happen is that more traffic will find it’s way into Melbourne, creating new bottlenecks.

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

We need to address the gender pay gap.  As part of the team that negotiated the Fair Work Act for the ACTU, we wanted to make it easier to run cases aimed at narrowing this gap.  The big increases awarded to workers in the Social and Community Services sector – the great majority of whom are women – was a vindication of that work.  Labor has also invested extra funding specifically to increase the wages for aged care and child care workers – both also sectors dominated by women.  And we have pushed the private sector to be more transparent in terms of gender pay equity issues.  However, there is a lot more to do – things like insecure work arrangements and lack of flexibility all need to be addressed as they impact on women’s capacity to achieve better wage outcomes. 

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Yes.

5. Are you Pro-Choice?

Yes.

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

Yes, although I prefer the term ‘marriage equality’.  This is for two reasons – firstly because in my mind this is a simple matter of giving everyone equality and secondly because the term ‘same-sex’ marriage does not recognize that gender is not always binary – intersex people who wish to marry remain excluded from that definition. 

7. Nominate one of the following issues (Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy) and why it’s personally important to you:

– Managing the economy: Without a strong economy, it is almost impossible to address inequality. Sustainable economic growth provides the wealth that governments can harness to narrow inequality.  To ensure that growth is environmentally sustainable we need to invest in productivity- skilling our people and investing infrastructure.  That way we can pursue smart growth, that doesn’t come at the expense of scarce resources. Labor fought against the odds to introduce a price on carbon to do just that.

The best social justice initiative is a safe, secure and satisfying jobs for everyone who wants to work. Decent work sustains individuals, creates the wealth required to address inequality, and provides the political space within which progressive social policy can be pursued.

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

Politics has always been a rough and tumble game – I’m not sure it’s ever been very respectful!  The tone over the last few years has, however, been particularly toxic.  I think that’s the result of a number of factors – a minority government was used by  Tony Abbott and others to undermine  confidence in government, and in our democratic institutions.

This campaign of “illegitimacy” and negativity against a female PM was targeted in a way that no man in that position would have been.  Julia Gillard broke through and now it’s incumbent on the rest of us to continue the push for more women to be elected.  Labor has an affirmative action target which aims to ensure that women can and will be elected.  We have not reached our target yet but I’m confident that we will.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

DisabilityCare, better education funding, the NBN, a price on carbon – these are all major Labor reforms that are at risk under Tony Abbott and a Coalition Government.  I think that they are worth fighting for and that’s why I have put my hand up to run for Melbourne.

For more information, check out Cath Bowtell’s website.


ALEX BHATHAL – GREENS CANDIDATE FOR THE SEAT OF BATMAN

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

Yes, I have lived in this electorate since 1992.  The people set it apart – the best people in Australia as far as I’m concerned.  We are the most progressive electorate in Australia, with consistently the lowest conservative vote in the country (and the third or fourth highest Greens vote over the past decade, including at this election).  Batman has Australia’s greatest concentration of musicians, writers and artists, the fourth largest number of gay and lesbian couples of federal electorates and the largest number of Indigenous Australians of any urban Victorian electorate.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

There are actually three high profile issues in terms of voter engagement here, at least for people considering voting Green: Equal marriage, climate change and treatment of asylum seekers are the things I am contacted most about, with asylum seekers currently a stand out in terms of ALP voters contacting me to say they are upset by Rudd’s PNG decision.

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

After the awful violence against women in Melbourne last year, I believe that violence against women and girls, and against boys and men as well, is a major concern for women voters.

The Australian Greens believe that the negative effects of violence against women—physical, emotional and economic—must be addressed through adequately funded, appropriate health and education programs. We will continue to strongly defend the ongoing funding and security of domestic violence services and programs.

The Greens are campaigning to introduce domestic and family violence as a separate form of discrimination, making discrimination related to such violence unlawful in the workplace. We have lobbied for federal government funding to provide women across the nation access to Victoria’s award-winning ‘Bsafe program’, which provides personal safety alarms to women and children at risk of domestic violence, linking them to emergency services and allowing them to remain in their homes.

We all need to do more to help women and girls to live lives free from violence. The Australian Greens specific policies priorities are to:

– Re-establish the Office for the Status of Women within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Australian Greens will re-establish the Office for the Status of Women within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, raising the profile of women’s issues within government and prioritising legislation to support and protect women.

– Extend protection against discrimination at work to domestic violence victims

The Greens are campaigning to make domestic and family violence as a separate form of discrimination, making discrimination on the basis of such violence unlawful in the workplace. My colleague, Adam Bandt recently moved amendments to the Fair Work Amendment Act to try to implement this. The old parties opposed it.

Part of this campaign is support for states’ anti-discrimination measures. We support the actions of states like New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory who are working to introduce anti-discrimination measures to protect women who experience domestic violence.

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Yes, I have been a feminist since I was 18 years old. I have worked in women’s services and been active in the women’s movement for about thirty years.

5. Are you Pro-Choice?

Yes, of course.

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

Yes, I see this as a question of basic human rights, ie, ending discrimination against GLBTI people.

7. Nominate one of the following issues(Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy) and why it’s personally important to you:

All these issues mean a lot to me, in particular, (1) Asylum Seeker Intake

I am a ‘Tampa Green’, having joined the Greens, as did so many others, in the wake of the events of August 2001.  I believe that Australia must live up to its obligations as a signatory to the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Conventions on Refugees and the Rights of the Child.  These conventions make the world a safer place for everyone.  Having visited people in immigration detention around Australia over the past decade, I have seem some truly awful situations and I have to say that I still find it hard to believe that the way we treat asylum seekers is the product of a democratic political system.

and (2) Managing the economy

People often believe the Greens have limited policies regarding the economy and economic development.  This is untrue and I encourage people to check out our Economics policies. http://greens.org.au/initiatives-and-policies

We have vastly different priorities to the two older parties when it comes to managing the economy, with a commitment to challenge the current highly distorted status quo, where the interests of big business trump those of ordinary Australians at every turn.  We are committed to the following measures at this federal election, which would raise $42.7 billion to fund our initiatives to improve public health, housing, education, transport and the environment and provide a 2% tax cut to small business:

– Introducing a new 0.2 per cent levy on the four major banks’ assets over $100 billion

– Increasing the marginal tax rate to 50% on personal incomes above $1 million per annum

– Abolish funding for so-called clean coal technology

– Ending tax breaks for big miners and removing their fossil fuel subsidies.

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

I believe the overarching negativity and nasty, confrontational style currently dominating Australian politics is a problem for our whole country.  Quite a few mothers have come up to me over the past few months as I’ve travelled around the electorate doing stalls and many of them have said to me that they are discouraging their daughters from involvement in politics after what happened to Julia Gillard.  I think that is a terrible shame, and if women are dissuaded from entering politics, it will be a terrible outcome for Australia.

I believe that the Greens, some independents in the last government, and Julia Gillard herself, have shown the way to be respectful of others whose opinions and decisions you may not always agree with.  Respectful dialogue and playing the ball rather than the player are requirements of a functioning parliamentary democracy. I believe the Greens, with our commitment to consensus style decision-making processes also hold the key to giving voice to individuals while also prioritising cooperation and mutuality in governance.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

This is a watershed election for Australia – we will end up in a difficult situation if Abbott is elected.  Things will be very tough for many, especially in electorates like Batman, with high proportions of low income earners.  There is also the risk that a right-wing minor party may end up in the balance of power, as opposed to a party like the Greens, the third party of Australia, which was supported by 1.6 million primary votes at the 2010 election.  I also believe it will be the election at which the Greens do move into a different phase in our existence as a party, where we move to a larger primary vote and into the political territory of starting to win lower house seats in our own right.  In years to come, we will look back and thank Tony Abbott for that.

For more information, see Alex Bhathal’s website.


FRANCO GUARDIANI – PALMER UNITED PARTY FOR BATMAN

1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

– Yes I have lived in Batman most of my life. 

– Went to Sacred Heart Primary in Preston, living in Preston.

– Then Immaculate Heart College in Preston, Living in Reservoir.

– Married and lived in West Preston

– Now living Back in Reservoir.

2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

Like most people around the country and not just my electorate of Batman, the most concerning subject is the (1). COST OF LIVING. That’s why it is important to have a strong economy to help keep cost of living manageable, especially for the needy and pensioners. (2). Ageing –  lack of money – pension payments – That’s why Palmer United party is committed to increasing the pension by 20 % when elected. Approx $150 per couple per fortnight and $100 per individual per fortnight. This will also help with cost of living.

 3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it.

[Has not responded to]

4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Question 6 covers my response.

5. Are you Pro-Choice?

This is of a similar nature to Question 6. But again they should address or consider the responsibilities and obligations if any that are aligned to their choice. But the choice is of the individual – it is their choice, and they should do what they feel is right for them.

6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

I believe that every Australian Citizen should be treated equally and as equals and all enjoy the same considerations, rights and privileges. For this they equally have responsibilities and obligations that are aligned to those considerations, rights, privileges and treatment.

7. Nominate one of the following issues (Asylum Seeker Intake, the environment, issues concerning Indigenous Australians, Managing the economy) and why it’s personally important to you:

All the issues are of great importance but foremost has to be the economy because only with a healthy, strong and robust economy can we afford to address the other issues such as indigenous Australians and the high infant mortality rate that exists within their community. Protect the environment, our plants and animals. Our ability to take-up, house and care for refugees. Palmer United Party can and will ensure good economic management in which the benefits of such a strong economy can keep flowing through to communities. 

8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

Respect in politics and more so in government is of the utmost importance in that the behaviour and values of politicians sets an example to everyone in the community (young and old) on what is acceptable. This in turn affects the confidence in the government by the people and business which flows through to the economy. A perfect example is the famous “there will be no Carbon tax in the party I lead”. By breaking this contract between the Australian people and Government it sent the wrong message to especially our young that it is ok to lie or break your word to get what you want or if it is for a better cause or good.

Also the treatment of others should be respectful, a quality rarely shown by any of our current politicians towards each other. The treatment of Julia Gillard a perfect example – again, not a good example for our teenagers/young adults.

9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

This election will give the Australian people a real choice other than (ALP/GREEN) & (Liberal/National = Coalition). The people now have the power to hold the parties to account by breaking the duopoly. They can and will do so by putting their faith in Palmer United Party at the September 7 election by giving them the honour of governing.

For more information, check out Franco’s page on the Palmer United website.


LIANNA SLIWCZYNSKI – AUSTRALIAN SEX PARTY CANDIDATE FOR BATMAN

 1. Do you live in your electorate and what sets it apart from other seats?

Yes, I live in Thornbury.  I love Batman for its proud multiculturalism, its fashion, foods, history and music. It is a place where small business is supported by the community. People in Batman prefer to shop locally and think globally.

Some of my favourite local events include the Darebin music festival, Lunar festival, various arts festivals and the Projections festival.

I enjoy local art, participating cultural connection programs, community garden projects and strolling through the local parks and sporting grounds. I enjoy the energy and buzz of Preston market, drinking chai tea at a local café or just hanging out with friends at local pubs.

 2. Nominate two ‘burning issues’ for voters in your seat:

  • – Small business creativity needs to be met with government incentives. For example, in Batman I see an increase in the use of renewable energy and community gardens. Government needs to cut red tape to ensure that these small business are sustainable, because they are an asset to our community.  The Australian Sex Party will cut red tape and is committed to taxing the Church their fair share to allow communities to grow.
  • – Drug reform (legalising marijuana) is important to a number of Batman voters: Through following the Portugal model for drug reform and decriminalising marijuana the government can save billions of dollars on policing the use of marijuana. By applying a small tax on decriminalised drugs this can create revenue similar to that of alcohol. A prominent neuro-surgeon Sanjay Gupta recently voiced his support for using cannabis for medicinal purposes.  Health care, support and education go hand in hand with drug law reform.

3. Nominate at least one issue you identify as being important to women voters, and why you are best placed to address it:

I believe the most important issue for women is equality.  Women should get equal pay for equal work and equal opportunity in employment.  There should be equal numbers of women in Parliament. The Australian Sex Party aims to amend Federal Discrimination laws to have jurisdiction extending to political parties to promote and increase the number of  women in Parliament and in politics.

Equally important for women is safety. We do not want to be harassed, at school, at work or on the street. That is why the Australian Sex Party has a policy regarding age appropriate sex education. We believe that topics such as consent; body anatomy; acceptance of diversity of sexuality, relationships and families should be focussed on in schools and that this would significantly address the issues of violence against women, homophobia and sexism.

 4. Do you identify as a feminist (or agree with feminist principles)?

Yes, generally, because I stand up for equality and human rights, including the rights of all women regardless of their race, age, sexual identity or occupation.

 5. Are you Pro-Choice?

Of course, your body, your choice. Your life, your choice. The Sex Party Has consistently defended the rights of women at Clinic Defence demonstrations for many years. One of its platform policies has, and remains to be, the national decriminalisation of abortion and easier access abortion services.

 6. Do you support same-sex marriage rights?

Absolutely.  Personally I would like to be married to my female  partner of 7 years. I have been to many rallies, marches and demonstrations that not only support same-sex marriage, but support monogamous marriage between consenting adults whether they are intersex, transgendered, same or opposite sex. My partner and I have participated in Pride Marches in St Kilda, London and Amsterdam. I have also participated in Tokyo Pride. We will continue to work with the rainbow community to ensure marriage equality.

Further, I consider that marriage equality is something the Batman community in particular is waiting to see. The Australian Sex party is committed to law reform in this respect.

7. Nominate one of the following issues and why it’s personally important to you:

They’re all important issues and important to Batman residents. By facing up to the facts and taking action using evidence based research, the Australian Sex Party will tackle these issues.

For example, in legalising and taxing marijuana use, and by ensuring the churches pay their fair share of taxes, I believe we can create jobs, manage the economy and create a more sustainable future for the generations to come.

Indigenous law reform is another area important to the community. The Australia Sex Party aims to eradicate inequality in Indigenous communities.

 8. Do you think we need to “restore respect” to Australian politics? And if so, what’s one way of doing so?

Yes, I do and I think the majority of Australian’s do too. We’ve seen too much negativity and misogyny in the media and the news from our “leaders”. Again, that is why the Australian Sex Party would like to see age appropriate sex education in schools – this is an initiative that will have a long term change for a future where people are more respectful to each other.

I think one way to restore respect is to nurture and promote culture and diversity, not to attack it. We see too often the woman in Parliament, or the gay, or the Indigenous Australian being treated differently. It’s time we embraced equality.

 9. Why is the 2013 federal election of particular importance?

This year is a time for change. People are waking up to what is really important in their lives.

The Australian Sex Party addresses universal social  issues (such as education, health, personal freedom, privacy and human rights) largely ignored by major parties. People are sick of politicians who tend to dismiss what is socially important to many Australians, such as drug law reform and voluntary euthanasia. It think this can be seen by the number of new, small, special interest parties running in the Senate.

For more information, check out Lianna’s Facebook page.


— THANKS TO ALL THE CANDIDATES WHO RESPONDED TO OUR QUESTIONS, WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME —

*One of the questions we asked candidates was about restoring respect to Australian politics. Readers interested in this topic should check out the Victorian Women’s Trust publication ‘A Switch in Time‘. Even though this was published last year, and events have since changed the political dynamic, there remain many issues in the document that are still relevant. The initial print run of 13,000 copies has been exhausted, but it can still be downloaded via the VWT’s website, here.



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