Federal Election Email Interview – Troy Williams, Liberal Candidate for Fraser.

Jazz 8 November 2007 82

In our continuing series of Email Interviews with local candidates in the coming Federal Election we bring you Troy Williams – the Liberals Candidate for Fraser.

Troy Williams - Liberal for Fraser

Troy’s responses, in full and unedited, can be found below:

Q1 Provide a short (no greater than 200 word) employment application
style Resume (CV), including what work have you done apart from being
a politician or political staffer or party/union/lobby employee and
what experience or qualifications you have with regards to economic
management?

As CEO of a national trade association, I’ve had the chance to make a substantial contribution to the building profession by providing workplace training opportunities for older workers and graduates from universities. I’ve been able to tackle the challenge of climate change by successfully lobbying for building codes and standards that make our buildings more energy efficient.

Prior to accepting this appointment, I was CEO at the peak professional institute for those with an ownership or management interest in some 165,000 properties (valued at AUD$57billion) falling within a community titles / strata titled scheme in Queensland. During my time as CEO the organisation doubled in size, returned to financial stability and became influential in body corporate law reform.

In other roles I worked with industry and consumers to phase-out the use of chemicals that destroyed the ozone layer and travelled extensively overseas to promote Australia’s success in this area. This was really rewarding work that made a difference.

As a director of several peak industry groups, I’ve had the experience of working with government to ensure that our economy is properly structured to meet future and current challenges. We have spent a lot of time retraining workers to help them take advantage of new employment opportunities.

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?

Well, I’m fairly certain it won’t be “my” government as it would be pretty unusual to become PM straight from obscurity. However, as a new member I’ll be pushing for programs to further increase the rate of Medicare Bulk Billing in the Fraser electorate. Nationally it’s on the increase and non-referred GP attendances have increased by 10% from 68.2% in 2003/04 to 78.2% in the Jun 2007 quarter. Within Fraser it’s not yet up to the national average and I’ll be working at a local level to build upon the work that’s already been done to date.

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?

Like many in the Coalition, I believe it is time to end discrimination of same-sex couples. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) report identified several important steps that should be taken in areas such as superannuation, welfare entitlements, and veterans benefits. The existing arrangements in these areas are not satisfactory.

Q4: Are you in favour of fixed election terms? Why or why not and if so
what length of term are you in favour of and why?

I’m comfortable with the current arrangements and for a long time I’ve held a view that the supremacy of the House of Representatives in deciding the tenure of the Prime Minister, and by implication the Government, must be paramount and on this basis fixed-terms run counter to this philosophy. However, in recent times my thoughts are changing and a three-year fixed term (that maintains the six year term of senators) could be an option so long as there was a mechanism to facilitate an early election if the Government failed to secure a majority in the House or the Senate was obstructionist and a double-dissolution was required. Four year terms for the House are problematic as I believe in the stability that a longer (and split) senate provides, but eight-year Senate terms is too long.

Q5: Do you think that it is important for the Prime Minister and their
family to live in Canberra? Why or why not?

If I’m elected as the MP for Fraser I’ll certainly be encouraging the Prime Minister to spend the majority of his time here in Canberra. However, like every other member of parliament the PM has a local community to represent so it’s not unreasonable that he remain accessible to the neighbourhood he represents and, most importantly, his family.

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?

Sure, where there are fairly obvious flaws in the composition of the alternative Government. Around 70% of Labor’s front bench are union officials but only 15% of the private-sector workforce belong in a union. It seems that the only way to get ahead in Labor is to have a union background. For example, Labor had a farmer in the party, but he got booted out to make way for a senior union guy.

It’s no different in the seat of Fraser. The current member was a union official in Western Australia, then a party official there and later nationally before heading to the Senate, then off to the Seat of Canberra finally coming to rest in the Seat of Fraser. I don’t think he’s actually ever held a normal job in his life.

Q7 What are your thoughts on the permanent trading of water entitlements,
as per The National Water Initiative, and do you believe that
giving water a tradable, economic value is really the best method to
ensure that this scare Australian resource will be utilised sensibly
in the future?

The days where people used to use water to clean paved areas (rather than sweeping with a broom) and leave the running when washing the car are long gone. We need a balance of regulated and economic measures to encourage people to use less water.

It all makes sense and I’m all in favor of providing an economic incentive to save water so long as domestic residences (i.e. the water we use in our homes) are quarantined from commercial trading arrangements. It’s great news that a re-elected Coalition Government will help secure the future reliability of ACT and Queanbeyan water supplies by transferring ownership of Googong Dam to the ACT Government with the condition that Queanbeyan will receive a dedicated entitlement from the Dam.

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?

Insofar as Commonwealth funding of schools is concerned the question is based upon a false premise because funding has increased. At a local level, I’ll be an effective advocate for our primary and secondary schools and I understand the harm that ACT Labor’s school closures have caused – in my final year of college my own school was closed by a state Labor government. The Coalition Government has used the dividend of a strong economy to:

* Increase federal funding for State schools by 70% in real terms since 1996, while enrolments have increased by 1.2% over that time.
* Provide funding for specific purposes, such as the $1.2 billion Investing in Our Schools Programme and the $1.8 billion Literacy, Numeracy and Special Learning Needs Programme.

An important fact that is often overlooked is that 67% of students are in State Government schools and receive 75% of total taxpayer funding.

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?

When it comes to research and development funding, the “Backing Australia’s Ability” initiative provides $5.3billion over seven years to support local research. The Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) provide a opportunities for universities and the private sector to collaborate on research and translate it for use by our community.

Small business undertaking research benefits through the “Commercial Ready” program that aims to stimulate greater innovation and productivity growth in the private sector by providing around $200 million per year in competitive grants to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). A wide range of project activities can be supported, extending from initial research and development (R&D), through proof of concept, to early-stage commercialisation activities.

University finding now stands at around $8.5billion which is much better than the $5billion Labor was funding when it left office. The recent allocation of $6 billion into the “Higher Education Endowment Fund” provides additional ongoing funding for capitals works and, importantly, this initiative allows individuals and companies to contribute to the fund too, providing opportunities for further growth.

What measures will you take to ensure the best possible education is
available to all Australians?

I like choice in our education system in which a properly funded and resourced public education system is augmented by the private school sector. We need to provide a system of incentives to reward the really good teachers that takes into account external parameters such as the past performance of the students and schools.

Q9 What’s 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?

Security of our water supplies is arguably the most important issue and I’ve already referred to the transfer of the Googong Dam.

Unlike other capital cities we can’t just whack up a desalination plant so we need to increase the roll-out of water efficient toilets, shower roses and taps in our existing homes and offices and further enhance measures to further reduce water consumption. In my current role I’ve been involved in some fairly exciting projects that work towards these objectives and I’d welcome the opportunity to use my expertise in this area to facilitate legislative change.

Q10 Suppose that 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.

Well first I’d press the alarm button or call the maintenance company – a fairly practical step.

Normally I just start singing Herman’s Hermits “Henry VIII” over and over again which normally makes people give in – my singing has that effect, for better or worse. However, I’ll accept that this tactic is probably not going to win me the seat, unless we get some very large speakers and rig them up everywhere.

Seriously though, politicians often talk way too much and a five minute speech from me wouldn’t be all that exciting, my dog can attest to that having listened to me practice several. Being a parliamentary representative means helping our community, so the first thing is to develop an understanding of what’s important to the poor sod I’m stuck in an elevator with. I’d explain that over more than a decade I’ve been working with employees and employers to develop workplace training opportunities, foster sustainable development and help business to meet the challenges of global warming. This is practical experience that is relevant to people’s every day lives and has really allowed me to understand issues that many locals face. We would discuss opportunities to address affordable housing, delivering more effective health care.


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82 Responses to Federal Election Email Interview – Troy Williams, Liberal Candidate for Fraser.
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jemmy jemmy 1:59 pm 25 Nov 07

Troy went up several notches in my opinion when he congratulated McMullan and said (paraphrase) the electorate will be ok, McMullan is a decent man.

thetruth thetruth 10:34 pm 13 Nov 07

That should have read ” That is just it, there…..”

thetruth thetruth 10:21 pm 13 Nov 07

That just there is nothing wrong with having union representation in the labor party – BUT its a mono-culture, you MUST be a union member to join Australia’s predominant social democratic party.

How can a party profess freedom of association and then not act on it with their own organisation.

How can it critise closed shops and yet not have one non-union member?

I would love to know which unions each of the front benchers are members of.

tom-tom tom-tom 10:04 pm 13 Nov 07

nemo- unions are not only interested in their own survival; in the past week i have seen the union i’m covered by stand up for a worker who was wrongly told they were unable to obtain compensation for an workplace injury and stand up a very young staff member who was counsled over a matter the agreement specifically prohibited. thats just one week in one workplace.
what exactly is the issue with having union representation in the labor party? all being a union offical shows is that you are willing to sacrifice potentially higher incomes in order to protect vulnerable workers. I’d much rather see a government composed of people willing to protect the ideals of a fair go, fair pay and conditions and safe workplaces than the current mob who think it’s okay to tell blatant lies to the australian people. the liberal party and it’s leadership are ethically bankrupt.

Nemo Nemo 8:16 pm 13 Nov 07

Unions are only interested in their own survival.

My partner was a member of the CPSU for 14 years (god knows why), last year he sought their help with an issue. His first three or four attempts to get assistance resulted in no reply at all. In frustration he wrote asking what he was paying union fees for and whether he would be better leaving the union. The only response he got was instructions on how to quit – they didn’t even mention the issue at all.

Dont think they will rush to your assistance if you need them. They are all about self preservation.

thetruth thetruth 7:48 pm 13 Nov 07

The fact is that the word encouraged is made redundant by the state constitutions that make it a requirement.

IE You cannot join the labor party without being the member of a union. That is the Labor party itself is a closed shop. Despite saying “Labor does not and will not have a policy of closed shops. Labor supports the rights of working Australians to join or not join a union”

So those that believe in social democracy, but also freedom of association (non-association) can only join loopy extreme parties or the Liberal parties.

The main point of the Libs is the level of influence the unions have over the Labor Party – the fact is that 100% of members are unionists.

BTW – which union is Kevin07 a member of? In that case Garrett, Swan, Gillard, Lundy, Ellison, Stanhope, McMullin anyone know?

In balance I would be interested to see what restrictions the Libs, Nationals, greens and Dems put on membership.

tom-tom tom-tom 6:17 pm 13 Nov 07

what exactly does the fact that you have to be a member of a union (if there is an appropriate union) to be a member of the labor party have to do with anything? Mr williams lies in his statement. Mr howrad lied during his campaign launch. In doing so they showed themselves and the party they represent to be ethically bankrupt. Simple as that.

caf caf 6:11 pm 13 Nov 07

Err, strike the first “do not” from the last sentence.

caf caf 6:09 pm 13 Nov 07

You are missing the entire *point* of organised labour – which is that unions only have the power to protect their members that are in a weak position through collective action of their fellow workers, including those that are currently in a strong position.

It’s the fact that even those people who were doing OK were prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their colleagues who weren’t that made the whole idea of organised labour work. The “I’m-all-right-Jack” mentality is anathema to unionism because it leaves workers susceptible to divide-and-conquer tactics. After all, if a union only represents those workers who are currently in trouble, then it’s not going to have much bargaining power to help them, is it?

Now that we have hopefully established why it is that universalism is a key historical underpinning of organised labour, it should be obvious why “Members of the Party are encouraged to be members of a union or to employ union labour”.

The policy statements on IR reflect the way that the ALP says it would govern the country, as opposed to governing the Party. It does not seem, to me, to be inconsistent to be saying in effect “The ALP believes it is a moral essential to join a union / employ union labour, but does not believe it should be made illegal not to.” This is analagous something like “I do not believe it is immoral to gamble, but I do not believe it should be made illegal.”.

thetruth thetruth 4:26 pm 13 Nov 07

I went to the constitution of the ALP and found the membership rules. Note to the best of my research (and I am prepared to be corrected) – All State and Territory constitutions required union membership – REMEMBER ONLY 15% of the Australian population is a union member.

“Membership

Membership of the ALP is open to all residents of Australia who are prepared to accept its objectives and who have associations with no other political party or proscribed organisation. This right to join shall not be impaired other than in circumstances in which it can be demonstrated clearly that an individual cannot meet the requirement outlined above.
Members of the Party are encouraged to be members of a union or to employ union labour. State and Territory Branch rules should require members of the Party to be members of a union or to employ union labour to the maximum extent permitted by law.
To further encourage union members to join the Party, State and Territory Branches should offer discounts in membership subscriptions for members of affiliated unions.”

Then compare this requirement with the policy statements:

Gillard National Press Club: “It (IR Policy) gives people a totally free choice about whether or not to join a union. If you join that’s fine. If you don’t that’s fine.”

Independent Contractors Assoc Q&A (2/10/07):

“Question: Will the ALP outlaw clauses in industrial instruments that prohibit, restrict or control the use of
independent contractors?
ALP reply: Labor does not and will not have a policy of closed shops. Labor supports the rights of working Australians to join or not join a union.”

Thetruth is they talk the talk, but don’t really believe in it

thetruth thetruth 3:00 pm 13 Nov 07

I kinda agree – but then I heard Rudd and Swan claiming that the 11 years of uninterupted economic sunshine was the result of Hawke / Keating.

If the labor party is the party of organised labor then it should have about 15% of the vote. This attitude of ownership is what is wrong with it.

I can have solidarity of purpose without joining a union – it is the 21st century you know.

Mælinar Mælinar 2:33 pm 13 Nov 07

I find any comparison with the current Labour team presenting for Government against the performance of the Hawke/Keating and earlier governments simply a parting shot from a defeated opposition.

There are many reasons, but most notably it has been over a decade since that time. Dwelling on the past…

If this is the way that the Coalition want to present themselves, then they really haven’t moved on at all and are unworthy of representing the people who are trying to live in this decade.

caf caf 1:34 pm 13 Nov 07

You don’t need a “union background” to join the ALP, but you do need to be a member of the appropriate union for your line of work, if there is one. This is because the entire underpinning of organised labour is solidarity, and if you don’t believe in solidarity it makes little sense for you to be joining the party of organised labour.

thetruth thetruth 12:53 pm 13 Nov 07

tom tom – try and join the ALP without a union background. hell there was a time there that your father had to be a former minister in the Whitlam Government before you could lead it!

I would love to join the ALP, but it has not moved with the times. It is going in the right direction, but I fear that the old ways are just under the surface and have not been removed.

thetruth thetruth 12:50 pm 13 Nov 07

Health – Feds do not have to answer for poor performance states do because they run them. Who in the NSW government has got up and said sorry? We must make them accountable or they will all blame shift. I note that you instantly absolved the state government, by blaming the Feds. This is why they are crap – because we do not hold those responsable accountable. THE STATES RUN HOSPITALS – AND THEY DO IT BADLY!!

DoCS failed failed failed – THEY ARE CHARGED WITH PROTECTION THEY WERE AWARE AND THEY FAILED!!!!!

DR Death WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON!!!!!!!! READ THE ACCOUNTS OF THE NURSES. THE STATE GOVERNEMT FAILED!!!!!!!

Immigration – THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO FAILED!!!

In 1966 Herbert Opperman abolished immigration on the basis of race – anything else

Might I suggest that we would be much better served if we stopped looking at politics as barracking for football teams and started looking at the complexity of the issues and hold people who are responsible accountable

tom-tom tom-tom 10:55 am 13 Nov 07

nemo- you’re the defender of the 70% of ALP frontbenchers being trade unionists lie (I deliberately use the term ‘trade unionists’ as thats how our beloved leader described them in his campaign launch, a description which is demonstrably false, a fact which i dare say mr Howard is well aware of) and yet your accusing me of lacking facts; does the word hypocrite mean much to you? the liberals did pick on the sudanese refugees the liberals did push through unfair workplace laws. the liberals did lie to us over children overboard, ethanol and keeping interest rates low. The liberals did let education funding drop below OECD standards. That enough facts?
What i’m saying is emotive. It’s also true.

S4anta S4anta 10:14 am 13 Nov 07

What did the liberal/national governments do in regards to removing these policies? nothing Mr Truth. As for who is accountable, granted the Pm may be at the head of the pile, but as I am sure that you know, policyt decisions usually more than one hand in the air in a democracy.

As for your call about state govt mismanagement of a few issues, lets looks at these (Govt economic records nothwithstanding – crap at maths therefore steer clear of that gear):

mismanagement of hospitals in states: state and federal govts are overly burdonesome and bureacratic in regards to health service delivery, and as it currently written, the feds have more to answer in regards to how they allocate funding i.e. into marginal seats, and not according to demographics in most cases.

DoCS / Dean Shillingworth: IMHO – skirting the small fact of responsible parenting. Govts cant teach, or be held accountable for bad parenting. This is a community, grassroots, societal issue.

Dr Death: Again, the licensing and compentency of Overseas Trained Doctors is handled by the Federal Govt and whichever speicalist college they apply to in order to be able to practice in Australia.

Granted it is an election period, but at least try to appear bipartisan when attempting to deliver a coherent logical argument.

thetruth thetruth 9:23 am 13 Nov 07

It is worth noting in the historic sense that the white Australia policy was most vigorously defended by the Labor party. The Curtin Government sent a communique to the US requesting that no Afro-American soldiers be sent to Australia. Arthur Calwell deported non-British refugees from Australia after the war (while Harold Holt allowed 800 to enter the country, including Japanese war brides). It was only really Whitlam Government that signified that Labor was now on the anti-White Australia Policy – most of the breakthrough reforms were the Libs and predecessors.

The citizen test is neither here nor there – most countries have one. The big ticket items here are still Tampa, Children Overboard, deporting and imprisioning Australian citizens, stopping immigration on the basis of integration instead of focusing on helping people to integrate. The immigration story is very poor on the part of this Government.

I think we should hold the appropriate peole to account on issues – Howard needs to be made accountable for this.

Labor needs to be held accountable for its history of economic mismanagement, mismanagement of hospitals in the states, failure to protect children like the young child that starved to death, Dean Shillingworth, peole having miscarriages in tiolets, Dr Death and vicotian police/ union corruption.

S4anta S4anta 8:12 am 13 Nov 07

Agreed Sepi. its amazing how easy the first fleet is forgotten when it is convienient. Granted it was 200 odd years ago, but it still should be fresh in our minds, particularly those peanuts on the former bench in light of the who-ha over the ‘citizenship test’. White Australia policy folks? or another shot at showing the red neck to stop their queen Pauline Hanson taking a bite out of the Farmers vote in QLD?

sepi sepi 7:46 am 13 Nov 07

Here’s a fact. Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews has stopped the Sudanese migration program, claiming the Sudanese do not fit in to Australian – because one Sudanese boy was murdered by white Australian boys.

Minister Andrews was brought in to toughen up imigration, after Amanda Vanstone did her best to make it a fairer place.

So now it is impossible for Sudanese refugees to reach Australia, except as illegal migrants. (They can’t be queue-jumpers, as there is no queue for them to join.)

I find this government an ambarrasment.

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