16 April 2024

AFP officer Mick Calatzis fills Liberal vacancy in Kurrajong team as Nockles eyes Senate

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Liberal candidate for Kurrajong Mick Calatzis

Liberal candidate for Kurrajong Mick Calatzis: “I know Canberra 24/7, 365.” Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The Canberra Liberals have unveiled decorated police officer Mick Calatzis as a candidate to contest the central seat of Kurrajong at the 19 October ACT election after the withdrawal of Dr Jerry Nockles, who has nominated for the party’s Senate preselection race.

Mr Calatzis is a 40-year AFP veteran who lives in the electorate and has deep ties to Kurrajong through his police work and community involvement.

Some were surprised that such a quality candidate had missed out on preselection, but Dr Nockles’ pursuit of a Senate run has given Mr Calatzis another opportunity.

READ ALSO Union alarmed over Robodebt legal adviser’s appointment to high-level ACT directorate role

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee would not comment on Dr Nockles’ Senate ambitions, saying it was an internal party matter. However, the Kurrajong preselection had been hotly contested, and the party had been fortunate to have so many good community members wanting to run.

She said Mr Calatzis brought a wealth of experience to the role.

“He is Canberran through and through, a father, grandfather, and somebody who knows the Kurrajong electorate incredibly well and has spent his entire life serving the community,” she said.

“It’s incredibly wonderful to see so many people from all walks of life put their hand up and be part of the Canberra Liberals team. We know that Mick will work incredibly hard as part of the Kurrajong and broader Canberra Liberal team to ensure that we see a change of government in October 2024.”

Mr Calatzis said he would campaign to keep Canberrans safe and cut red tape for business, particularly as his family comes from a business background.

“Business is about life, businesses is about commerce, and business is about getting people jobs, and businesses about having confidence,” he said.

Mr Calatzis said Canberrans had a good quality of life, but lately, things had not been going well, especially with the cost of living.

“Canberrans are doing it tough,” he said.

“I’ve never seen so many homeless people as well. And fundamentally, everybody in Canberra has a right to shelter, has a right to live a good life and to live a safe life as well.”

Mick Caltazis and Canberra Liberals Leader Elizabeth Lee at Manuka: wealth of experience.

Unsurprisingly, Mr Calatzis said the ACT needed more police, as well as better emergency services and infrastructure to support them both.

He is also passionate about the mental health of these frontline workers, highlighted by the incidents at Bondi Junction and Wakely.

“Those frontline workers are going through a lot of pain,” Mr Calatzis said. “Canberra is not immune to that. It’s important that we support our front line to make sure that Canberrans are safe. It’s that simple.”

Mr Calatzis said his experience with the police meant that he knew the city intimately and could make a decisive difference in the development of policies.

“Well, it’s pretty simple. I don’t know Canberra, nine to five. I know Canberra 24/7, 365,” he said.

Ms Lee said Mr Calatzis’s expertise and professional background would be valuable in policy debates, “ensuring that we are representing every corner of the community in terms of what their local needs are”.

She said he was the type of candidate that reflected the diversity of the Canberra community.

“For too long, if you have a look at what’s been offered from Labor and the Greens, it just doesn’t cut the mustard,” Ms Lee said.

“But when you look at the lineup from the Canberra Liberals, we have a team that brings a wealth of life and professional experience.”

READ ALSO For democracy’s sake, we need a gatekeeper on the corridors of power

In the Senate preselection on 28 April, Dr Nockles will be up against former MLA Giulia Jones, former Legislative Assembly candidate Jacob Vadakkedathu, and Kacey Lam-Evans, who was Zed Seselja’s running mate in the disastrous 2022 campaign.

Dr Nockles was the unsuccessful Liberal candidate in the federal seat of Eden-Monaro in 2022.

He is deputy CEO of Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA).

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

A non-aligned Kurrajong constituent here. A better round 2 pick by the Canberra Liberals in my view. A former local policeman with strong ties to the electorate and the city. Given we in Kurrajong have had spikes in crime and a general feeling of slipping backwards on community safety and community presentation (this isn’t my opinion, this is fact evidenced by the myriad of posts in the local community groups speaking of robberies, assaults, graffiti etc), it would be great to have another rep who’ll campaign for more police and emergency services resources in addition to his stated commitment to support deserving small businesses and those they employ. Excited to see him stand, will watch his progress and will likely vote for him. Good luck to Mick I say!!

Where are the women? Another white, conservative man with a law enforcement background and a tough on law-and-order approach. Campaigning “to keep Canberrans safe” with the party trying to scare the community into thinking our city is in the middle of an out-of-control crime wave. Crime prevention petitions sponsored by the Canberra Liberals have been flying around thick and fast in the assembly over the past few months, in the lead up to the election.

A party that is moving further back to the future of Liberal traditions and values in appealing to party faithful but failing to attract socially progressive Canberra voters!

Don’t see people like you ever complaining about the lack of male teachers?

Jack D. there actually is a crime problem in the ACT and it’s been mismanaged by the government particularly in recent times. So, if petitions are being put to the Assembly, supported by the requisite number of Canberrans, then I dare say it’s actually you and those who hold your views who are trying to scare the community into thinking their concerns aren’t real and won’t be taken seriously. This is also known as “gaslighting” and is deplorable.
As for the candidate… although I don’t know him he’s obviously a great pick given his policing background and strong association with the Kurrajong and Canberra. As a non-aligned Kurrajong constituent I’m really pleased to see him running so he can help us tackle crime, community safety and presentation, and help us with our great small businesses and he’ll likely have my vote. Some people, present company included, are either too biased or too difficult to please.

So true Joy. Good point!

ACT Policing website tells me that Canberra is the safest capital city in Australia to live MECO. The website also reports that ACT Policing is committed to ensuring that the city stays that way with the force equipped, alert and ready to respond to any threats of violence in our capital. ACT Policing statistics published every quarter back this claim.

The latest ROGS report validates ACT Policing’s claims with statistics revealing that Canberrans have some of the highest perceptions of safety at home and in public places in Australia!

@Jack D.
Your concern for the paucity of women in the Libs preselection would be laudable if it were not so disingenuous.
Giulia Jones put her name up for preselection as a Lib candidate for the next Senate election. Unacceptable to you as she’s a conservative.
I guess the only candidates for Liberal preselection acceptable to you, will be those women who stood for Labor preselection but missed out.

GrumpyGrandpa7:17 pm 17 Apr 24

Fancy Jack D. finding fault with a Canberra Liberal candidate!

John-Paul Romano9:16 am 18 Apr 24

I think with a little research you will find that your racial assumption is incorrect. Additionally, you’ll find that there may not be another candidate with a law enforcement background running in this election.

Gregg Heldon11:38 am 18 Apr 24

Of course, the number 1 candidate in Kurrajong is Elizabeth Lee. A non white female. There is also another female Liberal Kurrajong candidate. But nice try at a useless, flawed argument.
In fact, I would suggest that, if you line up the 25 Liberal candidates versus the 25 Labor candidates, there is more ethnic and gender diversity in the Liberals with more real world life and work experience too.
But don’t let your prejudice get in the way of objectivity.

I will leave it for readers to determine whether the term “white conservative man” is racist or not. Maybe I should have used the term “pale, stale and male” to better suit my argument. My argument is based on the line-up of Liberals’ in our parliament and the party’s preselection processes. A party that likes to promote its conservative and tough on law-and- order credentials, often drawing its candidates from religious, law enforcement and military backgrounds.

I believe the Canberra Liberals and their federal colleagues should do a bit better in preselecting more women of calibre. The party keeps telling us they do not believe in quotas for women, and only ‘promote’ people on merit. I am confused as to what the Liberals’ version of merit is. Is it a term used to keep women in their place or is it the old white men of the party we see roaming the corridors of power making decisions for and telling women what to do?

The 2022 federal election saw the Liberal party record its lowest female representation in parliament since 1993. A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives. In the Liberal party women have just 9 of its 42 seats. Disgraceful!

In the ACT, 30 candidates put their hands up for Liberal preselection for this year’s territory election. 15 men and only 10 women were preselected. The majority of those elected derive from the most socially conservative cultural backgrounds the Canberra Liberals have ever put forward in an election year.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.