Watt’s the answer

Advertising Feature 28 September 2012 246
watts

My name is Matt Watts and I am a Liberal Candidate for Ginninderra in the October 20 Assembly election.

Regular readers would know me as the first candidate to donate Lego and participate in the RiotACT’s Candidate Lego Challenge (link). You may also have seen me at a shopping centre or at your front door, spreading the word that I’d be an effective local MLA.

I asked the RiotACT team to leave the comments functionality switched on so that we can have an open dialogue. The RiotACT team advised me that they’ll have to moderate anything that’s off-topic, yet I’m happy to answer general questions about my beliefs, background, policies, etc.

If you want the official Canberra Liberals policies, head here. Now – about me:

I was born in Sydney. My mum’s a teacher and my dad was trained as an electrical engineer, starting his career at the Sydney County Council before a couple of moves to now work for Boral. One grandfather was a plumber, and the other grandfather was a manager at Sunbeam back when they made quality products in Australia. I mention this background to enforce that, whilst I am an established public servant, and proud of the service I have performed for the community through my work, I wasn’t spawned within the APS bio-dome.
I joined the Department of Immigration as an APS 1 in 1999, straight after completing my HSC, with a view to supporting my studies via the APS. I commenced a Bachelor of Arts at Sydney Uni in 2000, with which I was mightily unimpressed (and it me, probably), so I soon got over that distraction and stayed with Immigration. I moved to Canberra in 2003.

I was involved in Immigration’s response to the Palmer and Comrie reports and, with my interest in administrative matters piqued, I resumed study and obtained my Master’s in Public Policy (specialising in social policy) from the ANU.

Work has taken me on deployments to remote areas; most recently I spent six months as a director on Christmas Island. I haven’t travelled much, but I enjoy experiencing new environments. My first overseas trip took me to Canberra’s Friendship City, Dili, and I was amazed at certain correlations between our two cities!

I am a Hash House Harrier, both locally and whenever I travel. It keeps me relatively fit and I’ve met people of really diverse backgrounds. I also enjoy reading widely including history, magazines on current affairs and comics, supporting live local music, whisky tasting, walking (which is handy because I’ve never had a driver’s license), reading and TV shows like Doctor Who.

At various levels over the years I’ve been a member of the Belconnen Community Council, the Australian Privacy Foundation, Neighbourhood Watch, the Australian Institute of Administrative Law, the Institute of Public Administration Australia, ACT Light Rail, Music ACT, Friends of the (Australian War) Memorial and Electronic Frontiers Australia. I was even involved in the CPSU at one stage. I’m also a Justice of the Peace. Being involved in my community is important to me.

I’ve been a member of the Liberal Party since I was sixteen because I’ve never liked the nanny state. I ran as a candidate for Ginninderra in 2008 and as Senator Humphries’ running mate in 2010 (I am likely to have been a Senator if I didn’t save Gaz from the path of a speeding van as we were crossing Northbourne Ave!).

I am especially interested in improved local service delivery, planning and infrastructure, liquor licensing, higher quality community consultation and strengthening the quality of public administration within the ACT Government, particularly with regards to unintended consequences. For example, the feel-good plastic bag “ban” has led to more non-biodegradable bag use in landfill and increased litter in our streets; government intervention is rarely a panacea. Government should serve the Canberra community more than it tries to socially engineer it.

If you want to meet me in person, I will be at the October Hall Markets in the afternoon, and I am at the Jamison “Trash and Treasure” every Sunday morning until the election.

Over to you…!

[authorised by stephen doyle – liberal party canberra]


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Matt_Watts Matt_Watts 7:21 am 18 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

HenryBG, you are ignoring the question by putting your own twist on my logic.

There is still no proof that climate change is real, you have been reading too many apocalyptic scenarios and there is no use just trying to stop it with your own 2 hands so you can feel good about it.

Anyway, let’s get back to the questions I put to our guest, instead of making him have to trawl through pages and pages of arguing.

I would call on the Speaker to ask that the interjecting cease, and the questioner and the candidate for Ginninderra are given the call. He has been kind enough to take some time out of the election trail just days out from the election, to take some questions from the electorate.

Mr Matt Watts, Liberal candidate for Ginninderra, thankyou for taking the time to talk to us today. I would like to ask you a couple of questions:

1. What is your position on the shopping bag issue?

2. What is your position regarding the needle exchange idea for the prison?

3. What issues with regards to law and order do you feel need work on?

4. What strategies do you propose with regards to Canberra’s transport and roads?

1. Recently answered.

2. Against it.

3. The sentencing situation in the ACT is a bit of a joke. That’s my main focus (and, in support of that, we need a more efficient public prosecutions office).

4. I don’t drive (yes, that makes it difficult to campaign) so I’m an avid user of public transport yet I still support cars. That’s why I’ve been kicking up a fuss about car parking within the Belconnen Town Centre (ie the govt keeps selling off car parks).

At present, the govt is carrying on as if there’s a “carrot and stick” approach to transport, where ACTION is the carrot and parking is the stick. In reality, ACTION needs so much improvement that what the govt is really managing is a “stick and stick” approach. I’ve met with a few drivers and they realise the flaws in the system, and we need to work on the management culture within ACTION.

Active transport is a great idea, and the community will be relatively healthier as a result. Unfortunately, there’s a catch… It’s true that the average 70 year old might one day be as healthy as the average 50 year old a couple of generations ago, yet death is certain. Old age, no matter the literal age, will still exist (unless the ALP/Greens bring in some sort of Soylent Green solution), so you can’t realistically expect society to abandon their cars, especially with an ageing population. Then there’s the practicalities, even without old age, of someone carrying their new plasma TV home on the back of bicycle.

You will always need car parks at shops, although the main pressure points for transport are those associated with work. We need better integrated park and rides, and better bus routes (ie stop adding stops to the Red Rapid!). It might be the case we will soon be moving to a situation where more and more people work at home, which would be beneficial to the congestion problem, yet we still need to focus on town centre parking to make up for the combined increase in office space and shops and the reduction in car parks.

We’ve annouced the duplication of several roads. I think we need to revisit the project management approach currently implemented within the ACT. For example, if you know you will need to duplicate a road at some point, it’s more efficient to build the necessary second bridge at the same time you’re building the first bridge both from a traffic management and a project management perspective.

Finally, planning ahead is crucial, and the government should be open with the community about their plans.

bigfeet bigfeet 6:56 am 18 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

…..

1. What is your position on the shopping bag issue?…..

Shopping bags are only an issue for people who are too stupid to remember to take bags with them to the shops.

Whats so hard? I am going to the shops…I need to take some method of payment, I need some bags, I need to make sure I have pants on before leaving the house.

Do you often forget your wallet or pants? If you remember them you can remember to take bags.

Oh wait…we are talking to Mr G here. Whilst he sees bags as a right, pants are probably optional in his world.

Matt_Watts Matt_Watts 6:56 am 18 Oct 12

Deckard said :

So, what do you think about cyclists Matt? 😉

At risk of initiating some sorta RiotACT war, here’s my comment on cyclists:

I have nothing against cyclists. I have nothing against drivers of vehicles, either. Many people alternate between those two roles.

What I am against is idiots.

Idiot cyclists or idiot drivers, I don’t care. I’m against you. Idiot pedestrians, too.

In the vast majority of circumstances cyclists, pedestrians and drivers peacefully coexist, and that’s the way I like it.

I don’t cycle too often yet, when I do, I choose to use the bike paths. In fact, when I chose the route for the Hash House Harriers’ “Tour de Pisse” a few years ago, I deliberately chose a route that was mostly bike paths.

PS – I don’t support a registration system for cyclists because it was cost too much to administer.

Matt_Watts Matt_Watts 6:46 am 18 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

TS, the 40% target is a meaningless piece of symbolism, Canberra is not in a place to stop the world’s climate from changing. The electorate (especially for a jurisdiction this small in size) shouldn’t be judging a candidate on their views on allegedly man-made climate change.

For that reason I refuse to support 40% (or any emissions target), as there are better things in life to deal with, that actually have an impact on our lives, like the health system, roads, rates, taxes, etc.

Mr Watts, I know a lot of people think this issue is worth ignoring because it’s so small, but because it affects me directly each time I get the groceries, what is your stance on the plastic bag issue?

I think I’ve previously posted that I support the Liberals’ approach to plastic bags. That is, overturn the so-called “ban”. I’m informed the Productiity Commission is against the bag ban and in practice people just purchase bags they require which are now less likely to be biodegradable.

I personally try to carry a little tote bag around with me in case I need to do some unexpected shopping.

It’s not that we’re pro-unnecessary plastic bags; it’s just that the current policy is ineffective. In any event without the “ban” Canberra had been trending away from plastic bags for some time.

I don’t think the 40% movement is realistic for Canberra.

Matt_Watts Matt_Watts 6:41 am 18 Oct 12

T_S said :

Hi Matt,

Firstly, thank you for making the effort to respond to so many questions on this thread!

I thought I’d try and enliven it again because I have another one:

I was looking through the new edition of the normally-ignored City Chronicle (aka The Chronic) and saw a profile of you among other aspiring candidates (it’s online here for anyone who’s interested – p.14: http://canberra.realviewtechnologies.com/?index=ciindex.djvu)

One of the questions was, “Do you believe in man-made climate change?”

All other candidates (Labor, Green and Liberal): “Yes.”
Matt Watts: “This question doesn’t do justice to the topic”

What’s the story? Since you’ve got more space here, perhaps you’d be able to elaborate?

While you’re at it, perhaps you could account for the Liberals’ lack of support for our 40% emissions reduction target, and their lack of any policies to reduce emissions this election?

Thanks again!

Climate Change is certainly real. It has always existed as a result of all manner of influences.

I believe mankind has become an increased influence since the industrial revolution.

simsim simsim 6:24 am 18 Oct 12

Matt, the argument that Marriage should be removed from the realm of law seems like a compromise … except that in that case, the 66.9% of marriages performed by civil celebrants in this country would then become invalid. Is that really what you’re arguing in favour of?

Mr Gillespie Mr Gillespie 9:00 pm 17 Oct 12

HenryBG, you are ignoring the question by putting your own twist on my logic.

There is still no proof that climate change is real, you have been reading too many apocalyptic scenarios and there is no use just trying to stop it with your own 2 hands so you can feel good about it.

Anyway, let’s get back to the questions I put to our guest, instead of making him have to trawl through pages and pages of arguing.

I would call on the Speaker to ask that the interjecting cease, and the questioner and the candidate for Ginninderra are given the call. He has been kind enough to take some time out of the election trail just days out from the election, to take some questions from the electorate.

Mr Matt Watts, Liberal candidate for Ginninderra, thankyou for taking the time to talk to us today. I would like to ask you a couple of questions:

1. What is your position on the shopping bag issue?

2. What is your position regarding the needle exchange idea for the prison?

3. What issues with regards to law and order do you feel need work on?

4. What strategies do you propose with regards to Canberra’s transport and roads?

Deckard Deckard 8:56 pm 17 Oct 12

So, what do you think about cyclists Matt? 😉

NoImRight NoImRight 8:21 pm 17 Oct 12

Eight guys beating up one guy. One guy thinks ” I could stop hitting this guy but Im only one person and the others will just keep going anyway. How does me stopping help?” Or…..One guy stops, second guy thinks “well if he stopped maybe I can to”. Eventually they all stop.

Doesnt even require maths.

HenryBG HenryBG 8:18 pm 17 Oct 12

chewy14 said :

I fully believe in climate change but your garbage analogy doesn’t cut it.

It’s not meant as an analogy, it’s a reference to the well-known logical blunder Mr G has made.

In any case, it would apply as an analogy regardless of whether or not your neighbours are actually making the same logical mistake as you are making.

The whole, “oh, what difference can I make? Therefore I won’t bother” is precisely why these things need to be sorted out collectively when we assign our decision making to government.

I’m starting to have second thoughts about the Libs now, are these idiots so retarded they’re still trying to pander to the climate conspiracy cranks? Or are they actually cranks themselves?

Looks like the ALP missed an opportunity here….

Come Matt, crank or not crank, we’re very keen for an answer?

HenryBG HenryBG 8:09 pm 17 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

it would make next to no difference WHEN COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE …!!!

DO YOUR MATHS

WHAT IS 7 BILLION DIVIDED BY 400,000?

How many people live in your house, Mr G?

DO THE MATHS

WHAT IS 400,000 DIVIDED BY 1?

WHAT’S THE POINT OF COLLECTING YOUR piddling amount of GARBAGE, eh?

Luckily, the sane amongst us have decided they will continue to empty your bin every week, even though collecting it makes not one jot of difference to the total amount of garbage collected every week from the other 399,999 Canberrans, (to use your figures)

Jethro Jethro 7:43 pm 17 Oct 12

Personally, I believe that at a local level the money should be spent on adaptation strategies – putting systems and infrastructure in place to shield our city from the worst effects of climate change, such as investing in food and water security, improving our bushfire protection and response systems, and ensuring our housing stock is suitable for extreme heat conditions.

As much as Mr Gillespi is a stupid idiot, he has made sort of a point. Emissions reductions are something best dealt with at a federal level, because it is only at the national and international level that meaningful reductions will be made. At this stage in the game stopping climate change isn’t going to happen. That doesn’t mean we should give up on meeting reduction targets, undoubtedly we should, but we also need to be investing seriously in adaptive measures.

Federal spending and policy should focus primarily on achieving reductions, while local spending and policy should focus primarily on building our city’s resilience to the changes that will occur. Obviously there is room for both levels to do both things, but that is where I think the priorities should be.

chewy14 chewy14 6:49 pm 17 Oct 12

HenryBG said :

Mr Gillespie said :

TS, the 40% target is a meaningless piece of symbolism, Canberra is not in a place to stop the world’s climate from changing. The electorate (especially for a jurisdiction this small in size) shouldn’t be judging a candidate on their views on allegedly man-made climate change.

Ditto with garbage collection – collecting the garbage from Mr Gillespie’s street doesn’t make one iota of difference to the total amount of garbage collected in Canberra over the course of the year so we might as well cancel the garbage collection to that street.

Honestly, are there *still* people so stupid and careless with their reputations that they are willing to publicly own up to being a climate conspiracy theorist?

Get with the program, Mr G, you’ve been fed a bunch of propaganda by the energy companies who don’t want to lose the benefits of the externalised cost that is CO2 emission – *any* passing analysis of the supposed “arguments” against climate change instantly reveal those arguments to be a massive pile of total steaming bullshit.

The facts are incontravertable: CO2 in the atmosphere is going up, and isotopic analysis shows that CO2 is coming from the burning of fossil fuels.

The laws of physics are not about to be overturned – CO2 traps heat that would otherwise be escaping more quickly into space. Therefore the Earth will continue to heat up until escaping radiation reaches equilibrium with incoming radiation from the Sun – currently there is an imbalance, with more radiation coming in than going out. That radiation imbalance is what is heating up the planet.

This is all very basic science together with observable fact – the only reason anybody would consider any of it controversial would be if they were gullible enough to believe the easily-spotted lies of the energy lobby.

I fully believe in climate change but your garbage analogy doesn’t cut it.

It’s more like me thinking I can make a difference to total garbage by spending money to reduce my own usage whilst most of my neighbours, who produce the majority or garbage, refuse to do anything to reduce their garbage. Without my neighbours involvement, the results will be negligible.

We need to base anything we do on sensible targets that don’t unnecessarily hamper our city for no tangible gain.
If the desired outcome is simply to reduce our reliance on polluting fossil fuels, then they should say that and not hide behind climate change.

Mr Gillespie Mr Gillespie 6:31 pm 17 Oct 12

HenryBB (#165)

You missed the part about the ACT being a small jurisdiction, and instead read into what I said only as a mere denial of climate change.

It is irrelevant whether man has caused it. Even if the ACT completely stopped putting out CO? (including the entire population breathing out), it would make next to no difference WHEN COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE GLOBE!!!

DO YOUR MATHS

WHAT IS 7 BILLION DIVIDED BY 400,000?

Mr Gillespie Mr Gillespie 6:27 pm 17 Oct 12

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Colourful Sydney Racing Identity up to his old tricks again, deliberately misquoting what I say. Not much better than a troll

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 6:12 pm 17 Oct 12

Hate to be one to jump on a henrybg bandwagon, but god damn, son, you nailed those two last posts.

steele_blade steele_blade 4:54 pm 17 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

TS, the 40% target is a meaningless piece of symbolism, Canberra is not in a place to stop the world’s climate from changing. The electorate (especially for a jurisdiction this small in size) shouldn’t be judging a candidate on their views on allegedly man-made climate change.

For that reason I refuse to support 40% (or any emissions target), as there are better things in life to deal with, that actually have an impact on our lives, like the health system, roads, rates, taxes, etc.

Mr Watts, I know a lot of people think this issue is worth ignoring because it’s so small, but because it affects me directly each time I get the groceries, what is your stance on the plastic bag issue?

Your refusal to support any emissions target is noted and the electorate can take that into account when you run for office. In the meantime, perhaps the candidate could reply with something meaningful.

HenryBG HenryBG 4:46 pm 17 Oct 12

T_S said :

One of the questions was, “Do you believe in man-made climate change?”

All other candidates (Labor, Green and Liberal): “Yes.”
Matt Watts: “This question doesn’t do justice to the topic”

What’s the story? !

I’d like to echo that.

What’s the @$%^#en story? You’re not a denier are you, Matt? It’s a simple enough question, and the answer has been known to science for about 180 years, so what’s your story?

HenryBG HenryBG 4:40 pm 17 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

TS, the 40% target is a meaningless piece of symbolism, Canberra is not in a place to stop the world’s climate from changing. The electorate (especially for a jurisdiction this small in size) shouldn’t be judging a candidate on their views on allegedly man-made climate change.

Ditto with garbage collection – collecting the garbage from Mr Gillespie’s street doesn’t make one iota of difference to the total amount of garbage collected in Canberra over the course of the year so we might as well cancel the garbage collection to that street.

Honestly, are there *still* people so stupid and careless with their reputations that they are willing to publicly own up to being a climate conspiracy theorist?

Get with the program, Mr G, you’ve been fed a bunch of propaganda by the energy companies who don’t want to lose the benefits of the externalised cost that is CO2 emission – *any* passing analysis of the supposed “arguments” against climate change instantly reveal those arguments to be a massive pile of total steaming bullshit.

The facts are incontravertable: CO2 in the atmosphere is going up, and isotopic analysis shows that CO2 is coming from the burning of fossil fuels.

The laws of physics are not about to be overturned – CO2 traps heat that would otherwise be escaping more quickly into space. Therefore the Earth will continue to heat up until escaping radiation reaches equilibrium with incoming radiation from the Sun – currently there is an imbalance, with more radiation coming in than going out. That radiation imbalance is what is heating up the planet.

This is all very basic science together with observable fact – the only reason anybody would consider any of it controversial would be if they were gullible enough to believe the easily-spotted lies of the energy lobby.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 4:36 pm 17 Oct 12

Mr Gillespie said :

TS, the 40% target is a meaningless piece of symbolism, Canberra is not in a place to stop the world’s climate from changing. The electorate (especially for a jurisdiction this small in size) shouldn’t be judging a candidate on their views on allegedly man-made climate change.

For that reason I refuse to support 40% (or any emissions target), as there are better things in life to deal with, that actually have an impact on our lives, like the health system, roads, rates, taxes, etc.

Mr Watts, I know a lot of people think this issue is worth ignoring because it’s so small, but because it affects me directly each time I get the groceries, what is your stance on the plastic bag issue?

Haha

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