NSW goes to the polls on Saturday March 25 to elect our State representatives. We asked our Ku-ring-gai Living followers what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our local electorate of Wahroonga received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond.

Below are their responses (in alphabetical order by candidate surname). Any candidate who has not yet responded may do so at any time and we will add to this list – just contact info@thelivingcollective.com.au.

But first, a bit about voting in the NSW State Election…

Do I have to vote? Yes, enrolling and voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over.

Who am I voting for? Voters will elect one person to represent their district in the Legislative Assembly. Voters will also elect 21 of the 42 members of the Legislative Council.

Where can I vote? You can vote at any polling place in your electorate on election day. Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm. To find your nearest polling place, enter your address here for more information: https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/where-do-i-vote

How can I vote early in person? If you would like to vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on election day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/early-voting-and-pre-polling-in-person

How can I vote early by post? If your circumstances make it difficult for you to go to a voting centre on election day, you may be eligible to apply for a postal vote. For more information visit https://elections.nsw.gov.au/voters/voting-options/postal-voting

 

Parsia Abedini, Labor Party

Tell us about your connection to the Wahroonga area.

I was born in St. Leonards and after two years, moved to Waitara and shuffled around Wahroonga until settling in North Turramurra a few years ago. I’ve lived my life essentially in the Upper North Shore and the Wahroonga & Ku-ring-gai area. I’ve attended Warawee Public School, Turramurra North Public School and graduated from Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga. Our area has a unique flavour to it that is unmatched in all other parts of New South Wales in I will continue living in Ku-ring-gai & Wahroonga for the rest of my life.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

I am standing here today as the Labor candidate for Wahroonga. You might think I look young, and yes, that is true! I am 18 years old and fresh out of high school, studying law at University of Technology Sydney. Not a single representative of our Legislative assembly is under the age of 30 – that’s 40% of our population not represented in a representative democracy! If you ask people around my age, no one cares about politics, they all feel disillusioned and lost their faith in the system, that is to say, the system we have today does not properly address the needs of our community and the needs of the future. For many of us, we’ve had a Liberal government for more than half of our lives in New South Wales and this stagnation of services and environment feels normal for us. The Federal Election saw us elect a Federal Labor government, a government that has started to govern and replaced the disgusting likes of Morrison with a competent and reasonable government. The Liberals in NSW are the same flavour of the Federal Liberals, climate denialists and profiteers, focusing on selling out our interests & environment for a quick buck. Never more apparent is this when the Liberals reappealed the Labor-introduced The Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995) in 2016 which permitted logging and now has made our Koalas on the verge of extinction by 2050.

The Liberals have shown Wahroonga they don’t really care, the LEPs they accuse Labor of doing have all been approved under them and will continue to be approved by them if they’re re-elected. I stand to restore trust in our system and provide a common sense and pragmatic solution for Wahroonga and New South Wales.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

I work at the Woolworths at St. Ives and I am aware of the rising costs as I’ve witnessed over time how expensive essential goods have become for our people and have heard complaints about it everyday. That’s why I’m proud to stand with NSW Labor’s policies in order to address the increasing cost of living compared to the NSW Liberals. The Liberals have flagged that they will continue their stagnating ways, they’re the ones who were in power for 12 years, they are the ones who are responsible for the mess they’ve created. Labor will back jobs and small businesses, we’ll remove red-tape such as streamlining payroll tax. We’ll encourage home buyers by removing stamp duty for houses up to $800 000 and increase concessions up to $1 mil. We’ll increase the wages of nurses, teachers and those in the public sector by removing the public sector wage cap. We’ll bring back jobs by revitalising our domestic manufacturing, those who continually travel with tolls will only have to pay $60 a week. And most importantly, we’ll prevent your water bills going up by banning the privatisation of Sydney Water. The Liberals have continually shown that they will privatise Sydney Water which will increase you water bull by $275. We have a lot more in store for our community in order to address the rising costs of households.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Wahroonga electorate?

We’ve seen how much public transport has suffered in the last week alone with the number of cancellations and delays. I will work with a Minns Labor Government to ensure our train stations get upgraded to become more accessible, safe and secure with an additional $300 million investment. This will ensure that our upgraded stations have the ability to keep the trains running and for us to not be interrupted. This will be further reflected in our plan to increase more express ways. As it stands, it takes forever to get from Hornsby to Central station, the Liberals have actually cut out express trains and over all reduced the train timetable. I will personally advocate for planning that results in less congestion of cars and more encouragement of cycling and use of public transport.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

I wish to represent all voices of Wahroonga inclusive of those who voted for me or not. I will listen to every call and listen to every piece of advice. Albanese’s government has shown willingness to listen to the Independents in the crossbench in both the Lower & Upper House compared to Morrison’s all-the-way policy. We will replicate the same in NSW and make sure all ideas are spread and heard out through the parliament as we govern for the State of New South Wales.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

The key issue in this election is that it has proven that the Liberals will continue with the current way of the old. If they’re re-elected, our hospitals will remain decrepit, our teachers and schools will remain underfunded, our public transport will continue to face severe delays and poor maintenance, and our precious koalas will face extinction if the Liberals continue their environmental policy. New South Wales is stuck in a rut, we’re told everything is alright, that the Government is doing things, but we never feel them. Nothing’s really changed. The Liberals claim they’re experienced but their ministry is filled with inexperience after scandals and resignations. They claim we’re moving forward, but we’re not even moving anymore at this point. New South Wales needs a fresh start under Labor. I will advocate hard for better investment into our communities which I will be proud to accomplish with a Minns’ government this 25th!

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

I want to be easily accessible as possible. I want to hear everyone’s opinions; I will answer every single email sent to me. I want to be held accountable by each and all of you properly, regardless if you voted for me or not. So please, don’t feel so shy to contact me.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

Follow me on instagram and facebook at parsia4wahroonga
https://www.instagram.com/parsia4wahroonga/
https://www.facebook.com/parsia4wahroonga/
Or email me at parsia.abedini@nswlabor.org.au

Tim Dashwood, The Greens

Tell us about your connection to the Wahroonga area.

My wife grew up in Wahroonga and her parents have lived here almost all their lives. We are now raising our young family in the beautiful, leafy upper north shore which has a lot of similarities to where I grew up in Queensland – tree lined streets, lots of bushland and close communities. I work in the arts and regularly engage with the Marian Street Theatre for Young People in Killara as well as some of the schools in the Wahroonga area. I am excited for my children to grow up here and support this area.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

I am running as the Greens candidate because I have become overwhelmingly frustrated with climate inaction, the binary nature of politics in this country and the corrupting influence of big business on both the major parties. The silence and avoidance of the major parties to acknowledge and respond to the climate crisis, and the cost-of-living crisis proves that there needs to be a cultural shift in the way we do politics. I believe my skills in communication, collaboration and empathy are needed at this time, and that the progressive policies of the Greens are more important than ever. If elected, I plan to focus on sustainability, communication and collaboration to improve the lives of individuals and groups.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

The cost of living crisis is putting pressure on households and local communities are suffering. We need fair wages, particularly for essential workers, lower power prices and better access to housing.

The current government’s wages cap for public sector workers has meant that teachers, nurses, paramedics and many other vital public sector workers are actually experiencing a real wages cut. Suppressing the wages of public sector workers is also keeping wages low across the economy. I will advocate for an end to the wages cap and a pay rise for essential workers. The Greens will push for more sustainable and affordable energy, for example we will push for a publicly owned energy retailer which will offer electricity prices without the excess charges or inflated margins demanded by the major energy companies.

We need more affordable housing options in Wahroonga. If elected I will campaign for investing in and building affordable homes and will ensure developers don’t receive special treatment.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Wahroonga electorate?

We need more public transport options in Wahroonga that are affordable, accessible and efficient, that will reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and improve the safety of our streets for children and the elderly.

If elected I will advocate for:
● More bus routes in Wahroonga.
● Preventing any further privatisation of bus routes and make privatised routes public
again.
● Free public transport.
● Fast tracking infrastructure projects that will make public transport more accessible and
efficient.

Additionally, active transport such as walking and cycling provide healthy and sustainable alternatives to car travel. The Greens have a plan to improve access to active transport outlined in our ‘Cycle Friendly NSW Plan which includes properly funding active transport infrastructure with a dedicated active transport budget of $300 million, increasing the ‘Get NSW Active’ fund to $300m p/y and allocating $1 billion over ten years to drive implementation of Transport for NSW’s Principal Bicycle Network plan.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

I would work with independents to hold the major parties to account and deliver for the local community. As mentioned above, I believe my skills in communication are needed at this time. I can collaborate with others to bring about changes by drawing competing ideas and arguments together to achieve a progressive outcome.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

  • End coal and gas by 2030. Support and develop renewables and a sustainable energy
    sector.
  • Provide support and funding for education and healthcare including better pay for
    frontline workers and more inclusive and free services.
  • Manage development to protect Wahroonga’s unique habitat and ensure the area
    remains liveable for years to come by improving environmental and development
    regulation.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

I am actively involved with local community groups. If elected I would be committed to listening to local community voices and advocacy groups by having regular meetings with individuals and community groups and having open channels of communication.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

You can get in touch with me via email: wahroonga.state@nsw.greens.org.au Or follow me on instagram @greensforwahroonga or my Facebook page Greens for Wahroonga.

Kristyn Haywood, Independent

Tell us about your connection to the Wahroonga area.
Before my marriage came to its natural end, and before moving close by to St Ives, I lived in Wahroonga. My son was born in Sydney Adventist Hospital Wahroonga 20 years ago. For a time he went to the Bush School and works as an accredited Tennis Coach in Wahroonga. For almost three years I have worked as a Leadership Educator with the Sydney Adventist Hospital. In the local area I continue to enjoy trekking through the bush to marvel at the breathtaking diversity of flora and fauna. One of my favourite walks is The Blue Gum Walk at Hornsby where a rare pocket of Sydney Blue Gum forest (pictured) awaits.
Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?
The bottom line is that I care deeply about our precious earth, about our climate, about our flora and fauna, about equality, health, education, youth, and thriving economies that sustain the earth rather than pillage from it. I feel strongly about looking after our vulnerable. The measure of a healthy community is how we look after our most vulnerable. We have some work to do in this space. I have also been deeply inspired by the integrity, resilience, intellect, grace and community values of my friend Nicolette Boele who turned the supposed safe seat of Bradfield marginal at last year’s Federal Election.
Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?
Between December 2021 – 2022, headline inflation in Australia rose by a mind-boggling 7.8%, with the cost of non-discretionary items (which low-income Australians spend most of their incomes buying). Meanwhile, wages appear to have only risen by 3.3% over the same period of time. This means that the price of goods grew way faster than salaries – a sure sign that households have lost some of their purchasing power.
Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Wahroonga electorate?
After a full day at school it is totally unacceptable that children should have to walk more than 30 minutes to the station with heavy bags or wait lengthy periods to catch a bus or train home because our local members are uninterested in fixing the problem. Furthermore, I am appalled that the NSW Department of Planning’s demands of constant high-density housing without providing the infrastructure, such as reliable transport services, to support it.
I will collaborate across our electoral boundaries to fix the transport services for our school children and community to get transport working properly. It’s a complex issue including the inability to attract bus drivers. It’s been a neglected problem for years. Vote me in and I’ll do everything in my power to fix it.
The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?
I am an independent candidate and will collaborate with all parties on issues affecting our community. I’m not into playing games. Let’s just do what we were elected to do and focus on solving problems and looking after our community.
What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?
Protect our Local Eco System
I am running on three platforms. There is more detail on the website kristynhaywood4wahroonga.com.
Our Wahroonga electorate and adjoining electorates are home to endangered fauna and flora found nowhere else in the world! Both the Blue Gum High Forest and the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest (STIF) are listed as critically endangered ecological communities under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Other endangered communities include Duffys Forest of which only 15 per cent remain. Under NSW’s destructive Planning laws, developers can commission their own ecologist and arborist reports as evidence these critically endangered species are insignificant! We’ve lost thousands of healthy trees and their wildlife occupants over the last 10 years. It’s got to stop!

The residents of NSW should have confidence in the integrity of the government. Confidence is central to good governance. Yet confidence in government is at an all time low because of repeated offences by governments on both sides of politics. Many government boards, tribunals and independent agencies are stacked with people who have worked in politics. And they are dragging the performance of important government functions down. It seems more important to the major parties to ‘win’ votes than it does to have integrity. It’s a short-term approach that will see further destruction of our precious ecosystem.

Integrity
Integrity in leadership is everything. Nothing else matters as much. It’s central to my teachings as a Leadership Educator.  Winning is ego-centric whereas integrity is values-centric. As good corporate citizens we also need to strengthen our integrity to set an example for future generations. Integrity over winning. Integrity over personal profits. Integrity over entitlement. If elected I will fully fund ICAC, stop jobs for the mates and ban political donations from developers, coal and gas, gambling lobby groups.
I grew up hearing the words ‘Fair Go Mate.’ It was a non-threatening way to ask for what was right and just. Although Australian society is based on the principles of egalitarianism we have a long way to go before we can say we have a socially equitable society.

Social Equality
To ensure that we all have equal opportunities, regardless of our gender, ability, sexuality or background, reform is urgently required. f elected I will work to increase the number of Women represented in Parliament and senior jobs within the NSW public service. A fair, safe and inclusive NSW starts with better representation and participation, particularly in Parliament. We all deserve a Parliament that truly represents us. Currently, NSW has some of the lowest female representation in the Country at just 33%. We also struggle to appoint women on the boards of State Owned Corporations, with only 34% of women.
I will work to improve Women’s Safety. We also need social housing for victims of domestic violence. Indeed, providing social housing to solve the housing critiss is critical. I’m also incredibly focused on ensuirng equal pay for equal work. We need an improvement in pay and conditions in traditionally female industries such as nursing, teaching and care work.
Prevent further Climate Change

The Climate Crisis is here. We’ve had unprecedented severe weather events such as mass flooding and severe fires. The time to act has long gone so now we must run at a fast pace towards reducing our carbon emissions. If elected, I will work towards at least a 60% Emissions Reduction Target (ERT) from 2005 level by 2030, 80% by 2035, and Net Zero by 2040. Legislation of targets and clear emissions reduction planning for all sectors, including hard to abate sectors. Legislation must ensure built-in monitoring and accountability. Regular reporting to Parliament and a Climate Change Joint Parliamentary Committee to strengthen monitoring, reporting and public confidence. We mut rapidly phase out fossil fuels and protect and increase forests and resist continuing the green-washing marketing spin we so often hear from Governments. No new fossil fuel approvals is essential!
Fair Education System
Educating children not only secures their personal life but collectively contributes to the development of a more reliable nation and the world. It can yield a better surrounding in which people can differentiate between right and wrong, know the importance of voting, adhere to laws, and reduce crimes. If elected, I will work to support parental choice and diversity in the schooling system. This includes access to properly resourced public schooling. I would fully implement of the recommendations of the Gonski Review to ensure a fair and just education system for all. We must address critical teacher shortages through support for higher wages and permanent role status. We need to support for evidence based reforms which aim to improve the desirability of the teaching profession. TAFE needs an increase in funding to lift its quality and availability. TAFE plays a crucial role to play in building the workforce required for the transition to a decarbonised economy.
Strong Healthcare System
We have a health system that is struggling to cope with the demands placed on it. If elected, I will work with the Federal Government to improve access and affordability of health services – including dental and mental health. I will support the implementation of the National Preventive Health Strategy investing in holistic, evidence-based, outcomes-focused policies to reduce the human and economic costs of chronic disease and to ensure the future sustainability of our health system. I will aim to address critical nursing shortages through support for higher wages and nurse to patient load ratios and tackle the vaping epidemic in young people, in collaboration with the Federal Government. I’d like to see more research into the root cause of the increase in vaping.
Mental health services to young people can also be improved. The number of young people seeking help is a tidal wave and the system is struggling to cope. Long waiting times of up to 6 months to make a booking with a psychologist or psychiatrist are being reported, especially in regional areas. Services should target family systems and not just the individual who is struggling. I’d also work to organise local youth climate and ecology social groups that give young people input on important environmental issues. This will give them hope. Hope is a wonderful motivator for change and action.
If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

I will bring back monthly town halls. I believe in community consultation, in transparency in using the intellect and the wisdom of the community. There is not enough transparency.
How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

Please follow us on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. Also if you want to volunteer you can let us know by following this link.

Alister Henskens, Liberal Party

Tell us about your connection to the Wahroonga area.

I have lived in our local community with my family raising two children for over 25 years, and since 2015 have served as a Member of the NSW Parliament. Since then, I have developed and maintained strong relationships with community organisations, community leaders and schools. Prior to entering Parliament, I was a community volunteer in sport clubs and a local school P&C while working as a barrister.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

As a community-based MP, I am committed to serving our local area. I hope to continue that service by using the professional skills I developed before entering Parliament plus the experience I have gained as an MP since 2015.

I want to continue to be part of the Liberal team delivering on our long term economic plan for the state to meet the challenges that confronts our
community.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

In the most recent 2022-23 Budget, the NSW Liberal Government invested $7.2 billion to ease cost of living pressures including stamp duty reform, the Toll Relief Rebate Scheme, Active, Creative Kids and Back to School NSW Vouchers, the Energy Bill Buster Program, Energy Assistance Program, and initiatives to drive down grocery prices.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Wahroonga electorate?

In 2022, my Parliamentary colleagues and I were able to secure additional bus services in our area to schools through communications to the Transport Minister and Department. We have also improved accessibility at railway stations across our area with the installation of lifts through the Transport Access Program. I will continue to advocate on behalf of our community to achieve the best outcomes for local transport customers.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

I will always work with other MPs to achieve outcomes for the community.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

Preserving the special character of our local community. Continuing the NSW Liberal record of investment in our local schools, hospital and transport infrastructure and our community groups. Improving the delivery of government services as we have done with Service NSW.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

I attend community events and maintain a strong presence on social media and in community groups to stay updated on the issues of importance to our community. I respond to correspondence via email, phone, and meetings in my office in Wahroonga.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

My website at https://nswliberal.org.au/ contains information about my campaign and you can often find updates via my social media.

Stephen Molloy, Sustainable Australia

Tell us about your connection to the Wahroonga area.

I was born and raised in the area and now raising a family here too.

Why are you running as a candidate in this election and why should locals vote for you?

I am running to de-corrupt politics in NSW and implement sustainable solutions for our future.

Our Ku-ring-gai Living members have told us that rising costs for households is a key election concern for them. How will you advocate on their behalf for policies on this issue?

I will advocate for them through targeting the root cause of the issue – government-engineered hyper-demand. To address this issue, we need to phase out negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions for property investors, banning foreign ownership and stabilising Australia’s population size. We also need more investment in public housing in the short term.

Transport is another major concern for locals. What are some policies you will suggest to improve conditions in the Wahroonga electorate?

We seek to improve transport conditions through prioritising the most ecologically sustainable and congestion-free public and private transport systems. This means lowering the cost of public transport, expanding bus networks, building better and safer bicycle networks and pedestrian infrastructure.

The last Federal election showed that Independent candidates are a strong force on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. If you are an independent candidate, how will you work with the major parties if elected? And if you are from a political party, how will you work with independents if elected?

Sustainable Australia Party is an independent community movement that has a science and evidence-based policy platform. We are willing to work with anyone as long as their policy is sound.

What are the main issues you see as important for this election, and how will you advocate for them?

The main focus for me is protecting our environment, stopping overdevelopment and stopping corruption. This includes protecting endangered species habitats, native forests and local tree canopies; reducing Australia’s waste production; acting on climate change; stopping inappropriate high-rise and sprawl; delivering new community infrastructure before more housing; stabilising Australia’s population size; transparent reporting of political donations and lobbying; and banning political donations from big business and unions.

If elected, how will you stay in touch with the community and their concerns?

If elected, I will stay in touch with the community through local market and festival stalls, engaging in social media, as well as my office.

How can locals stay up to date with your campaign in the leadup to the election?

The Sustainable Australia Party website has all of our candidates bios and policies for further reading as well as a eNewsletter for keeping up to date with party announcements.

 

 

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