In what is likely to be the last in our continuing series of Email Interviews with local candidates in the coming Federal Election we bring you the second of Canberra’s current Senators – ALP Senator Kate Lundy.
Kate Lundy’s responses, in full and unedited, can be found below:
Q1. Provide a short (no greater and 200 word) employment application style Resume (CV), including what work you have done apart from being a politician or political staffer or party/union/lobby employee and what experience or qualifications do you have with regard to economic management?
I started out my career as a labourer removing asbestos. Working in this area taught me about the paramount importance of occupational health and safety, and I remain passionate about this.
I was then elected as a workplace delegate before working as an organiser for the Building Workers Industrial Union. I held elected positions in both this union (later the CFMEU) and the ACT Trades and Labour Council.
The building and construction industry remains a strong indicator of the pace of growth and represents Canberra’s largest private industry sector. In addition to OH&S, I was involved in vocational training, skills development and productivity improvement strategies.
During this time I was also appointed to Canberra Development Board and later to the Canberra and South East Regional Development Council. The role of these bodies was to promote regional economic development. This experience was informative regarding the opportunities and challenges facing Canberra and our broader region.
This experience also highlighted the central role that investment in education, research, development and commercialisation of new ideas played in expanding economic opportunities. For example, I.T. was and still is an obvious strength for this region. Hence investing in education, in people, is a philosophy I will always bring to my role representing the ACT.
Q2. What would you like to see as the first piece of legislative change brought about by your Government? What are your personal goals for your first year representing the ACT?
Getting rid of the Howard Government’s extreme Work Choices legislation and restoring balance and fairness in Australian workplaces is certainly a priority for the Federal Labor Party.
At the ALP Campaign Launch Kevin Rudd reaffirmed Labor’s position, saying that “if elected, Labor will abolish Work Choices.”
The first thing Kevin Rudd will do is ratify the Kyoto protocol. Canberrans have been living with drought and are acutely aware of the challenge climate change represents. I believe Canberra has the potential to lead in sustainable, liveable communities, but we need a far better working relationship between the territory and federal planning bodies.
Q3. What private opinions do you hold which are different to those of your party? On which issues do you disagree with your Party’s stated position?
I support Labor’s policies. Labor has put forward some terrific policies, such as the Education Revolution, our plans for tackling climate change and national fibre to the node broadband network.
The best way to represent my constituency is for me to vote in the Senate according to Labor Party policy, and I will always fight to ensure that Labor policy is in the best interests of the ACT!. I urge people wanting to vote for Labor to Vote 1 for Labor above the line on the Senate ticket.
Q4. Are you in favour of fixed election terms? Why or why not and if so what length of terms are you in favour of and why?
Yes, I would support a move to fixed election terms, preferably 4 years.
Q5. Do you think that it is important for the Prime Minister and their family to live in Canberra? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I have called on John Howard time and time again to accept the privilege and responsibility of his position and live in the Lodge, the official residence of Australia’s Prime Minister. Unlike John Howard, Labor leader Kevin Rudd has already said that if he becomes the next Prime Minister, he will be moving into the Lodge.
Q6. Do you consider that making observations about the structure and makeup of the other major political party as beneficial to your own party’s role in the election?
Q7. What are your thoughts on the permanent trading of water entitlements, as per the National Water Initiative
(http://www.dpmc.gov.au/water_reform/nwi.cfm), and do you believe that giving water a tradable, economic value is really the best method to ensure that this scarce Australian resource will be utilised sensibly in the future?
Water is one of our most precious resources. Water pricing at reasonable levels and as part of a broader strategy, is a viable way to advance smart and efficient water use.
Q8. Canberra has a large student population and Govt funding per capita for public education facilities seems to be on the slide with there being an apparent shift towards encouraging more people to enter the private education sector. What are your thoughts on this?
What initiatives would you pursue in regard to HECS fees, full fee paying uni courses, increasing/decreasing Austudy payments, funding for education/R&D/communications infrastructure and assistance or encouragement to private sector research and technology companies?
What measures will you take to ensure the best possible education is
available to all Australians?
Prior to and during this campaign, Kevin Rudd and I have made it clear that we believe there needs to be a greater level of Commonwealth investment in schools and schooling. We need to adequately fund Government schools and Federal Labor is committed to do this. That is why a Rudd Labor Government will fund schools on the basis of need and fairness. This does include, of course, funding in the ACT.
We intend to increase the investment in schools and schooling, both Government and Non-Government and no funding will be cut to any school. Labor believes there needs to be a greater investment in our schools. We are not interested in taking money away from schools.
I do understand the financial pressure being placed on students, especially in the face of high rents and growing food and grocery prices and we are looking at ways we can alleviate these pressures.
I have always been convinced there should be equitable access to education. A future Labor Government will double the number of undergraduate students receiving a Commonwealth Learning Scholarship from 44,000 to 88,000 and double the number of postgraduate students receiving an Australian Postgraduate Award for their PhD or Masters by Research from 4,800 to 9,600.
In addition, we will reduce HECS and TAFE fees in areas where we are suffering skills shortages, like science, maths and early childhood education.
With regard to the last query, to fully outline Labor’s plans if elected would take many pages. I recommend you visit our web-site at www.alp.org.au and check them out there.
Q9. What is the single most pressing issue in your electorate (local electorate issue – not a broader issue that has an impact on your electorate) and how do you plan on addressing it?
I recently conducted a Canberra Community Survey asking all residents to tell me what issues concern them the most. The top three issues that residents told me concerned them most were:
• Climate Change, where, unlike the present Government, Labor adopting a comprehensive approach to help Australia combat this major challenge to the environment we live in;
• Industrial Relations, where we will replace Howard’s Work Choices system, with its unfair AWA’s, with a fairer more flexible system; and
• Dental Care, where a Rudd Labor Government would establish a Commonwealth Dental Health Program, to work towards treating the 655,000 people the Howard Government has caused to be on public dental waiting lists.
Another issue that Canberran’s have told me concern them is their inability to access broadband in the nations capital! A Federal Labor Government would deliver a national, high-speed, fibre-to-the-node broadband network that will make broadband available to all ACT residents.
Q10. Suppose you and I are stuck in an elevator for 5 minutes. You know nothing about me other than I’m enrolled to vote in your electorate. What do you say to convince me to vote for you?
I believe in a society that gives everyone a fair go. Everyone should be able to access affordable quality health care, education and housing.
I know that working families in the ACT are under pressure like never before, working longer just to make ends meet. On top of high petrol prices, mortgage repayments and the cost of groceries, the cost of child care has spiralled, putting working families under enormous financial strain.
One of the best things a government can do to help working families is to address the real costs of child care. That’s why Labor has a $1.5 billion plan to make child care more affordable.
I am also determined to see action on the greatest threat facing us both locally and globally; climate change.
Labor will take decisive action to address climate change by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2050.