Labor Senate Candidate Chris Sant has gotten back to us about your questions.
Candidates, the readers of RiotACT are your voters and they have questions for you! If you’d like to answer those questions and prove you care what your voters think then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I support voluntary euthanasia in principle so that people in severe pain from terminal illness are able to make their own end of life decisions, but safeguards must be in place to ensure that decisions are truly voluntary. As a society we also have a responsibility to ensure that all members of society, no matter how old, or how sick, understand that they are valued and appreciated
2. Do you support a High Speed Rail Link between Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne?
Yes, this should be Australia’s next big transport infrastructure project. Fast rail has the potential to transform transport between these 3 cities, reducing pressure on the air routes and providing a faster, cleaner, more comfortable journey.
3. Are you comfortable with the distribution of wealth in modern day Australia?
No. For most of us, Australia may be the lucky country but there are too many Australians with virtually nothing. I believe that one of the first responsibilities of Government is to support the vulnerable and to provide opportunities for those who are struggling.
Labor has worked across many areas to reduce the burden of wealth inequality.
Raising the aged and disability pensions, tripling the tax-free threshold, introducing the schoolkids bonus all provide support to those who are struggling.
The Better Schools program will help to ensure that all children are able to access the education they need to avoid poverty in adulthood.
Restoring the balance in workplace relations makes it easier for workers to receive fair wages and conditions.
Labor has also kept the economy strong and added nearly a million extra jobs, protecting the incomes of many families.
4. Recent polling (Auspoll) shows housing affordability to be a critical issue for a majority of Australians, with 84% of respondents saying it was important to them or their families, putting housing affordability ahead of issues such as education, border security, the NBN and NDIS.
The same poll also revealed that 84% of respondents also believe that Australia is not performing well on housing affordability.
Australian Governments are failing badly on this issue of critical importance to Australians.
What would you do to improve housing affordability?
For those of us who are paying off a mortgage, the biggest threats to housing affordability are rising interest rates and unemployment. By keeping Australia’s economy strong, Labor has ensured that our unemployment rate still has a 5 in front of it, while most other western countries unemployment has gone much higher. At the same time interest rates have remained low.
However, there are too many who struggle even to get the resources to rent a home. That’s why Labor has also invested directly in programs to reduce homelessness and increase affordability, such as through our $6 billion investment in social housing and our $4.5 billion national rental affordability scheme.
5. To me the NBN seems like a great idea, can you tell me why you think it’s ace/a dumb idea.
The growth in demand for telecommunications services over the last few years has been amazing, and will only continue into the future. Schools, businesses, professionals and individuals need to be able to connect quickly, reliably and affordably to take advantage of the opportunities the internet can provide.
For example, with the NBN, schools around the country can receive lessons or demonstrations in real time from locations in another city or across the world.
The only technology that will meet the community’s needs into the future is fibre to the premises. Anything that relies on a copper wire connection is simply not going to cope.
6. Do you think cyclists should be registered?!
No, and nor should their bicycles. Registration would be a big disincentive for the casual cyclist in particular and is unlikely to achieve any benefit.
7. What is your position on gay marriage?
So long as it is not compulsory, I support it. I acknowledge there are some who have a different position, and I am happy that Labor has a conscience vote on the issue, but my view is that marriage is a great institution that many couples want to enter into as a public demonstration of their love for, and commitment to, one another. My wife and I were able to make this public commitment 10 years ago and it is time that same sex couples were able to do the same.
8. Would you be willing to cross the floor on matters of strong personal conscience or of significant concern for your electorate?
Those who cross the floor provide just 1 vote for a cause. When a matter of significant concern to the ACT electorate arises, I believe the better approach is to work within the Labor caucus to convince my colleagues to support the issue as a block.
Labor allows conscience votes on matters such as abortion, euthanasia and same sex marriage and I would vote in accordance with my conscience on those issues.
9. What are your views on the NSA collecting private information of Australian citizens and corporations, of the Australian government’s participation in similar programmes, and of the apparent silence of Australian politicians on the matter?
I would be very concerned if any Australian government agency acted in a way that was contrary to law. I am confident that Australia’s intelligence agencies do not do so. Foreign agencies are of course subject to the law of their own countries, and enforcement is a matter for the authorities of those countries. While I would be concerned if Australians were being singled out by foreign agencies, Australians are not immune from the exercise of powers by those agencies.
10. We hear so much negativity about the opposition when election time rolls around– what three things do you consider to be positive about any of your opponents and why?
I think the negativity has been going on a lot longer than the campaign period. Some of the language directed at former Prime Minister Gillard by senior members of the Coalition and their supporters in the media was particularly vile.
Here in Canberra, I think the campaign has actually been conducted quite civilly. I would say that anyone who runs for public office is making a big commitment and I respect that and their willingness to stand up for their beliefs. I also particularly respect the sacrifice made by candidates’ families.