Australia goes to the polls on Saturday May 21 to elect our Federal representatives. We asked our 50,000+ Northern Beaches Living followers what questions they would like to ask their candidates. Every candidate running in our local electorate of Mackellar received the same questions and the same opportunity to respond. ONLY ONE DID!
Below are the responses from Sophie Scamps, who was kind enough to get back to us. All candidates are listed in alphabetical order by candidate surname below. Any candidate who has not yet responded may do so at any time and we will add to this list – contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
But first, a bit about voting in the Federal Election for Mackellar…
Am I in the Mackellar electorate?: You can view a handy map on the Australian Electoral Commission website here https://www.aec.gov.au/profiles/nsw/mackellar.htm
Do I have to vote? Yes, enrolling and voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years and over.
Where can I vote? You can vote at any polling place in your state or territory on election day. Polling places are open from 8am to 6pm. To find your nearest polling place visit aec.gov.au/where
How can I vote early in person? If you are eligible, you can vote before election day at an early voting centre (open from May 9). For more information and to check if you’re eligible visit aec.gov.au/early or call 13 23 26.
How can I vote early by post? Postal voting is available to eligible voters. Check your eligibility and apply online at aec.gov.au/pva. Complete your application for a postal vote so it reaches the AEC by no later than 6pm Wednesday May 18 2022.
How can I make my vote count? On election day you will be given two ballot papers, a small green one for the House of Representatives, and a large white one for the Senate. You must complete both ballot papers.
On the green ballot paper for House of Representatives you must number every box in the order of your choice.
One the white ballot paper for Senate you have a choice of two ways to vote; either:
– Above the line (for parties or groups): If you choose to vote above the line you need to number at least 6 boxes
– Below the line (for individual candidates) : If you choose to vote below the line, you need to number at least 12 boxes
On either ballot paper, don’t worry if you make a mistake. You can ask for another ballot paper and start again. You can also practise voting on the AEC website – visit aec.gov.au/practise
Your Candidates for Mackellar:
Christopher Thomas Ball, United Australia Party NO RESPONSE YET
Darren Dickson, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation NO RESPONSE YET
Jason Falinski, Liberal NO RESPONSE YET
Paula Goodman, Labor NO RESPONSE YET
Ethan Hrnjak, The Greens NO RESPONSE YET
Sophie Scamps, Independent
Give us your elevator pitch – why should the people of Mackellar vote for you?
Our community has been ignored and taken for granted for decades. I have lived here for 22 years and during that time our representatives have not genuinely listened to nor represented the views and values of our community.
It’s time Mackellar had an MP that listened and acted on the issues that matter to us most. I am standing at this election as a community-backed independent with the main focus of protecting our way of life here in Mackellar.
As a community-backed independent, the priorities and policies I am taking to this election have come directly from the community. Locals have told tell me they want to see meaningful action on climate change, a government that will help our local businesses grow while they also want to see a return of integrity and transparency to politics through the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission with teeth. People have also told me that improving our health and mental health services here in Mackellar is a major priority, and as a former emergency room doctor and GP I agree that our health system is in crisis. These will be my priorities as your independent MP for Mackellar.
What is your connection to the Mackellar area and tell us three places in the electorate that you love.
I live in Avalon with my family and have lived on the Northern Beaches for the last 22 years. Prior to deciding to run as an independent for Mackellar, I worked in the emergency room at Mona Vale Hospital and most recently was a GP in Narrabeen.
Three places in Mackellar that I particularly love are:
- Palm Beach – which has one of the most beautiful rockpools in the world to the amazing lighthouse on the headland. I’ve spent a lot of time walking there with my eldest son every Sunday and learning to surf more recently with friends
- The bush tracks in Duffy’s Forest. We are so lucky to have some of the most beautiful bushland in NSW on our doorstep and sometimes my daughter would borrow a friend’s horse and she would ride the trails while I jogged beside her.
- The cafes close to my old GP practice in Narrabeen. There are such friendly people there in every café and shop and I was always able to have good for a chat with staff or regular customers whether it was the morning or afternoon.
What do you see as the key issues Australian people will consider when casting their vote in this election?
I started this campaign two years ago by listening to the concerns of people around kitchen tables, in parks and in local cafes. What the people of Mackellar told me is that they believe our way of life is under threat and that they believe they have been ignored and taken for granted by Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party.
People believe our way of life in Mackellar is under threat from climate change, with coastal erosion, flooding and bushfires all a risk here. While the health impacts of climate change are also a real concern for people. People also tell me our way of life is under threat from over-development and it’s under threat due to the high cost of living pressures being faced by people every day. People here also can’t believe the Morrison/Joyce Government broke their promise by refusing to establish a federal anti-corruption commission. Finally, people tell me our local health and mental health services are over-stretched and we desperately need the government to improve access to crucial health services here in Mackellar.
If you were to introduce one bill to bring before parliament, what would it be?
My first act in parliament would be to introduce a bill to recognise that climate change as a health emergency. The World Health Organisation has said climate change is the biggest threat facing human health and Australia needs to prioritise improving the way our health and mental health systems are funded to deal with the health impacts of climate change.
As a GP I still remember seeing patients with respiratory and cardiac problems caused by the smoke from the Black Summer bushfires, with older people and children impacted the most. While earlier this year children on the Northern Beaches got sick just from swimming at our beaches due to all of the pollution caused by flooding. There are also reports of severe mental health issues in communities in northern NSW following the recent floods – and we need to ensure those people are getting the help they need to recover, both physically and mentally.
By recognising the climate change as a health emergency we can help increase funding to our public hospitals, while also increasing funding for mental health services to ensure people can get the help they need during and after a natural disaster.
In the event of a hung parliament, how will you vote?
If I am elected I promise to vote for the values of the Mackellar community in Parliament – a conscience vote on every issue. I will do that on an issue-by-issue basis, no matter which party forms Government, and I will not align myself with any party.
The people of Mackellar have told me that after decades of being taken for granted they want to see real action on climate change, including Australia setting a 50% 2030 emissions reduction. This target is in line with the science as well as what the Business Council of Australia is calling for. The people of Mackellar have also told me they want to see a strong federal anti-corruption commission, action taken to reduce cost of living pressures, support for local businesses, as well as increasing funding for our public hospitals and mental heath services on the Northern Beaches.
Give us a brief overview of your position on the following:
– whether there should be a Federal ICAC
I support a strong independent federal anti-corruption commission. That is why I support Independent MP Helen Haines’ Integrity Bill.
Scott Morrison’s model for a federal anti-corruption commission has been described as ““appallingly weak sham designed to hide corruption” by the Centre for Public Integrity. The Coalition’s model is more about protecting its MPs than it is about restoring integrity and transparency to politics.
– how Australia should handle the recent news of China’s involvement in the Solomon Islands
The news of the security agreement between China and Solomon Islands is concerning. It is also clear the Morrison Government has dropped the ball when it comes to relations with our Pacific neighbours and work must be done to restore trust in the Pacific. As an independent MP I would take security briefings from our Defence and Intelligence community and work to ensure there is a bi-partisan approach to national security and defence.
– what action needs to be taken on climate change
We must increase our 2030 emissions reduction target to 50% – this in line with the science as well as what the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group is calling for. Right now Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party is taking Tony Abbott’s 2030 emissions reduction targets to the election, and it is not good enough.
We must also legislate Australia’s 2050 net zero target to give the business community the certainty it needs to invest, while also protecting our net zero target should any future governments try to back away from our commitment.
– how small businesses struggling in the wake of Covid can be assisted
When I speak to small businesses in Mackellar they tell me they are struggling with staffing shortages while the cost of doing business is also rapidly increasing. The first we can do to help deal with staffing shortages is to fast-track skilled migration, while also removing the barriers that are currently in place that disincentivise older Australians from working. I believe if older Australians want to work, they should be able to without losing their benefits, and this could help reduce staffing shortages.
We also need to act immediately to help reduce the cost of doing business, including reduce energy bills and petrol costs by investing in cheap and reliable renewable energy and providing incentives for businesses to invest in EVs to reduce petrol costs.
Finally any future tax cuts and breaks should be targeted – and small businesses should be the first in line should the budget situation improve in the future.
– what can be done to ease the soaring costs of living in Australia
A lot of the cost of living pressures we are all facing such as increasing petrol prices and electricity prices, are in part due to Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels. And the price for fossil fuels including coal and oil have skyrocketed in recent months due to the war in Ukraine.
Rising petrol costs have also increased transport costs which have been passed onto us when buying groceries. While Scott Morrison will argue the war in Ukraine is out of his control, his failure to plan must be a lesson to future governments. Australia’s energy independence and energy security relies on evolving our energy system away from fossil fuels.
While in the short term the halving of the fuel excise is a good idea, in the medium to long term we need to incentivise EVs and cheap renewable energy, so we are not dependent on foreign fossil fuels.
In addition wages are going backwards – so the government needs a plan to increase wages for hard working Australians.
How will you stay in touch with the people in your electorate to make sure their views are represented in Canberra?
As a community backed independent, my role will be to ensure the views, values and voice of our community are genuinely represented in Canberra. To do that I will consult with our community by:
- Developing constituent advisory bodies to help get advice and learn the views from the community on every bill that comes before parliament. These bodies would help create solutions to major problems and I can then invite them to Canberra to present those solutions to policymakers, just as Helen Haines does in Indi.
- Conducting regular townhall meetings and Q&As in every part of the electorate so people can let me know what issues they are facing and need resolved and so they can provide feedback on how parliament is addressing these issues
- Digital feedback forums and community consultation, so that even if people cannot attend a townhall or face to face meeting they have the chance to provide feedback and let me know what issues they would like me to represent them on in Canberra.
- Ensuring my local office is always open and available to the people of Mackellar, even when I am in Canberra.
How can we learn more about your views and stay in touch with your campaign?
Barry Steele, The New Liberals NO RESPONSE YET