By-election candidates … in their own words!
Candidates for this Saturday’s North Sydney by-election announced their policies at a Meet The Candidates Forum in Lane Cove Plaza on Sunday afternoon exclusively promoted by The Weekly Times and Lane Cove Community Forum hosted by Don Murchison.
The candidates spoke on issues as diverse as science, the arts, cycling and euthanasia although a common theme was their support for The Weekly Times campaign to Save Local Democracy which could be lost due to the Baird Government’s threat to place our local councils in administration and amalgamate them in a mega council that would stretch from North Sydney to Parramatta.
With no Labor candidate standing in the by-election, Saturday’s contest is one which pits Liberal Party candidate Trent Zimmerman against frontrunners Dr Stephen Ruff (Ind) MaryAnn Beregi (Ind), Christian Democrat Silvana Nero, The Greens Dr Arthur Chesterfield Evans and a field of smaller party candidates.
Polling booths open at 8am and close at 6pm.
Voters must number all 13 boxes on the ballot paper and some candidates’ will issue How To Vote pamphlets with their preferred preferential numbering.
The by-election is due to the recent resignation of North Sydney MP Joe Hockey.
WILLIAM BOURKE (Sustainable Population Party)
Sustainable Population Party candidate William Bourke is a marketing consultant backed by iconic Australian Dick Smith and campaigns on the issues of affordable housing and over population.
“Affordable housing in North Sydney is a nightmare, a massive issue that I’ll target if elected,” Mr Bourke said.
“Even I can’t afford to rent here and I’m on a reasonable income.”
He also blasted the Federal Liberal Government for increasing immigration to 200,000 people a year without providing adequate infrastructure, including jobs, transport and homes.
KERRY BROMSON (Voluntary Euthanasia Party)
Kerry Bromson is a local resident who aims to give a voice to people who share her passionate belief in Euthanasia.
“The people of Australia need to have the right to die with dignity and I am running as a candidate because people don’t have this right,” Ms Bromson said.
“If elected, I will serve as an independent and I don’t have a major party policy or a major party agenda.
“I believe in keeping local government local and I believe the size of local government should be what the local people want, not what the State government wants.”
JAMES JANSSON (Future Party)
Future Party leader James Jansson is campaigning for more funding for science, which he said has been neglected by the Turnbull government.
“I’m running as a candidate because the Liberal government has done a horrible job, despite trying to fashion itself as supporting science,” he said.
“The Future Party policy is to double Federal funding for science to $18 million a year.
“We also aim to increase funding for education, infrastructure and the environment as well as end metadata laws and ensure good government.”
Dr ARTHUR CHESTERFIELD-EVANS
One of the stalwarts of The Green movement in New South Wales, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans brings a Robin Hood style sense of social equity to the North Sydney by-election.
“Big people who give things to this (Turnbull) government get given stuff back because this government knows how to look after the big end of town,” Dr Chestefield-Evans said.
“We have policies for social justice and fairness and we believe that if you really want to stimulate the economy of North Sydney, then give local people more money and they will spend it locally.”
He said The Greens are opposed to the Baird Government’s Fit For The Future regime of forced amalgamations and he said he was angry Premier Baird refuses to listen to the people on this issue.
Liberal Democrat candidate Sam Kennard and Bullet Train for Australia Party candidate Tim Bohm did not attend the Forum.
MARYANN BEREGI (Independent)
MaryAnn Beregi is a young mum who has challenged female political heavyweights State Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Jillian Skinner to cross the floor and vote against Premier Mike Baird’s Fit For The Future regime.
“Mike Baird and the State Liberals have put a gun to the heads of our councils and have done everything possible to demonise them,” Ms Beregi said.
“Gladys Berejiklian and Jillian Skinner should cross the floor and be accountable to the communities that elected them and not to the dictates of Mike Baird.
“On a Federal level, this by-election shouldn’t even be happening because it is a one million dollar dummy spit by the resigning MP at losing the treasurer’s job and quite frankly, I find it insulting.”
SILVANA NERO (Christian Democrats)
The wife of Christian Democrats founder the Reverend Fred Nile MLC, Silvana Nero told Sunday’s Forum she is the only conservative candidate local people can trust.
“All of our community’s problems stem from a lack of good values and common decency,” she said.
“The Christian Democrats are the only Party that has stood for traditional Australian values and delivered, and are the only party with a proven track record.”
Silvana Nero strongly opposes any forced amalgamation of our local councils and warned residents not to believe the Baird Government’s claim their local council is unfit for the future.
ROBERT MARKS (Palmer United Party)
(Raising the local standard of living for every voter is the keynote policy of Palmer United Party candidate Robert Marks.
“We will do this less taxes, smaller government and through keeping local government local and this is why we oppose the forced amalgamation of small councils into bigger councils,” Mr Marks said.
On a personal level, Robert Marks is an outspoken advocate for the victims of domestic violence.
“We need more refuges for women and my big YES is to at least double the number of local refuges.”
Trent Zimmerman (Liberal Party)
Widely tipped to win the by-election and keep blue ribbon North Sydney Liberal, Trent Zimmerman aims to be a strong advocate for schools, transport and infrastructure in the Malcolm Turnbull Government.
“I particularly want to see investment in public transport because this is going to be the transport of the future and I’ll also support more investment in education,” Mr Zimmerman said.
He stressed that although a Liberal candidate, his election will see him oppose the Baird Liberal Government’s Fit For The Future threat to abolish our local democracy.
“I am opposed to forced council amalgamations and if elected I will continue to put pressure on our State MPs and on the State Government,” he said.
Dr STEPHEN RUFF (Independent)
An orthopedic surgeon at Royal North Shore Hospital and a father of five, Independent candidate Dr Stephen Ruff believes the health system has been mismanaged by governments and it is time for change.
Dr Ruff has been active in campaigns for Royal North Shore Hospital and has vowed to fight to save hospital land from government sell offs.
He is also an advocate for TAFE, tax reform, energy supply and a well run economy.
“I believe that representing the community is a privilege and the behaviour of our elected representatives needs to respect this, especially in the way they conduct themselves in parliament and in public,” he said.
Dr Ruff has the support of former North Sydney Independent MP Ted Mack and Emeritus Professor Thomas Taylor.
“we are fortunate to have the opportunity to elect a representative such as Stephen Ruff, “ Ted Mack said.
“His motivation for standing is mainly his concern for mismanagement of public health policy, particularly the future of RNSH and a wide range of policies including climate, economy and energy”.
Emeritus Professor Taylor agreed.
“Health is the major single item in Federal and State budgets and Dr Stephen Ruff has an unusually clear grasp of these complex matters and will introduce policies to correct the blatant financial mismanagement of public funds,” he said.
“I cannot think of a stronger candidate, and we are most fortunate to have him on our side”.
LUKE FREEMAN (Australian Cyclists Party)
Local motorists are being ripped off by tollways and petrol companies, said Luke Freeman, who rides a bike to work and is campaigning of cyclist issues.
“Most people are spending too much time stuck in traffic jams,” Mr Freeman said.
“Even parents have become chauffeurs because children don’t walk or ride to school anymore.
“Providing better public transport and linking public transport to cycle ways will save people’s time, health and money.”
LOU POLLARD (Arts Party)
Unable to attend Sunday’s TWT Meet The Candidates Forum in Lane Cove Plaza, Arts Party candidate Lou Pollard was represented by Campaign Manager P.J.Collins.
Mr Collins said Lou Pollard’s policy is to fight for more funding for the arts, which the Arts Party regards as a $90 billion dollar a year industry which is not properly recognised or funded by the Federal Government.
“Without culture or the arts we’re not the lucky country,” Mr Collins said.
The Arts Party celebrates its first birthday on election day with the number one spot on the ballot paper.