Sun. May 19th, 2024

So you’ve probably heard of Kevin Anderson and know a little bit about him, but who are all the other candidates on the ballot in the Tamworth?

Here’s the list in the order they will appear on the ballot paper. If they have a website or Facebook page we’ve linked it to their name.

CandidatePartyHome town
BROOKE RyanThe GreensHillvue
McCREDIE RebeccaInformed Medical Options Party (IMOP)Somerton
RAYE SueLegalise Cannabis PartyCammeray
RODDA MarkIndependentSouth Tamworth
ANDERSON KevinThe NationalsEast Tamworth
DRAIN ColinSustainable Australia Party –
Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption
McGRATH KateLaborGunnedah
SCANLAN MatthewShooters, Fishers And FarmersStannifer
Nominated candidates for the electorate of Tamworth

We asked all candidates the same 5 questions to give them each an equal opportunity to state their case. Rebecca McCredie from the Informed Medical Options Party must have been seeking out more information, Sue Raye of the Legalise Cannabis Party was possibly busy mowing the lawn, Colin Drain of the Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption we think was trying to figure what else to cram into the party name, and Matthew Scanlan of SFF must have been off in a duck blind somewhere, as they did not respond to the questions.

The remaining candidates answers are below, again in the order of the ballot. As it happens, our Tamworth based journalist Tom Plevey has also interviewed each of these candidates and you’ll find a link to our story about them below their name.

Ryan Brooke – Greens

Read our story

Why do you want to be the local member for your electorate?

The electorate of Tamworth has been taken for granted as a safe seat for far too long. I want to represent Tamworth as a member who will work to improve our overlooked regional services such as health, education and affordable housing. I also want to work towards making our regional communities vibrant and sustainable, something that I feel isn’t a focus of the incumbent government.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the electorate and why?

Water. Tamworth and its surrounding townships need to be ready for the next drought that we know is coming and is going to be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. Yet we are no more ready for a prolonged drought now then when we were when the last drought broke. Rather than holding out for our federal member’s white elephant project in the new Dungowan Dam, a project that looks increasingly likely to not get up federally and has various concerns about its feasibility, The Greens are calling to take the funds committed by the state government for the dam and redirect those into various other water infrastructure projects.

Further east in the electorate, the water of Gunnedah shire and the fertile agricultural land of the Liverpool plains are under threat from the Hunter Gas Pipeline. A project that overwhelmingly doesn’t have approval from landholders or the Gomeroi people whose land the pipeline would directly affect. The risk of contamination from the pipeline would be disastrous on the residents of Gunnedah and some of the best farmland in the country.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the whole state and why?

I feel like the big issues facing our state right now are largely interconnected. So to pick one particularly prevalent one: the cost of living crisis. Rent and mortgages have risen out of reach of most in the last couple of years. Power prices are out of control and the Coalition seems intent on facilitating coal and gas industries extracting the last profits out of their dying infrastructure instead of investing in renewables and bringing grid assets back into public ownership. Public sector workers who have been at the front line of the pandemic: Nurses, Paramedics, Teachers have had their wages unfairly capped. This, and unsustainable, and often dangerous conditions are resulting in people leaving these profession and fuelling the lack of people entering into these sectors. The systematic dismantling of TAFE has people paying out of pocket for less available courses leading to a lack of options for those who can’t afford vocational education to up-skill themselves. And our lack of action towards mitigating the climate crisis is causing floods, fires and droughts to be more frequent and extreme, compounding the cost of living crisis as the effects of climate change continue to rise.

Why do you think someone would vote for you over your opponents?

The electorate of Tamworth needs someone who will fight for what’s best for the region. While in the past we’ve been represented by members of the National party, a party who have largely forfeited any power in their coalition agreement for cushy cabinet positions. But we also have a history of bucking that trend and electing independents from the cross bench. We are in an era now where Australian politics is moving past its history of being dominated by two major parties to a government having to negotiate with a diverse crossbench, who hold the balance of power, to get legislation across the line. With this election looking likely to result in neither major party forming power in their own right and an expanded cross bench, I would encourage people to think about who they want representing them in the next parliment. I think we should put more Greens at the table who will fight for laws and policies that bolster our regional communities and preserve our environment for future generations.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.

I’m also a regional creative professional having run my own videography business for the past 5 years and having worked on everything from local ads to feature films. I’m a member of several local film making and theatre groups and have a great interest in supporting the arts sector’s growth within the region.

Mark Rodda – Independent

Read our story

Why do you want to be the local member for your electorate?

I was born and bred in the New England North-West and I love rural NSW.  I loath the neglect by our current MP and that view is not only my view but also many of his party and the NSW Parliament generally.  This is proven by the lack of achievements over the last four years.  There are numerous 2019 election promises that haven’t even commenced – Gunnedah Hospital, Banksia Acute Mental Health Unit, Rangari Road and Goonoo Goonoo Road upgrades, Tamworth University, new Tamworth school, Tamworth water security – there’s zero after 12 years of his government.  Then on the Liverpool Plains the Government is preparing to permit a National party donor to extract Coal Seam Gas, wrecking the best biophysical strategic agricultural farmland in Australia if not the World. It will also contaminate the Gunnedah-Oxley Basin groundwater supply of the town of Gunnedah. Those farmers have been abandoned by The Nationals and I will be their advocate and give them a voice.  They can announce $400 million for 21 Western Sydney councils in marginal Liberal territory plus a $16.8 billion WestConnex to get Sydney people home 30 minutes earlier but can’t prioritise Gunnedah’s hospital or the professionals to man it.  It doesn’t get any more appalling than that.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the electorate and why?

There’s a few big issues, Health and Education which ARE in crisis as well as water security for Tamworth and district and the Liverpool Plains and town of Gunnedah.  If Santos Ltd is permitted to extract coal seam gas from the Liverpool Plains and not only destroy that land but also the groundwater supply for the Plains and town of Gunnedah.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the whole state and why?

Energy deficits caused by privatisation and the premature closing down of coal fired power stations.  This will cause rolling blackouts which will afflict rural NSW and lower-socio economic regions of NSW.  Mismanagement by the Government with a penchant for privatisation has also been detrimental.  If they are re-elected and they sell water infrastructure imagine how that will go awry for the people of this State.

Why do you think someone would vote for you over your opponents?

Because I don’t bullshit like the current MP and I’m willing to stand up for not only my fellow electors but the region.

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.

I collect Uranium Dioxide infused 1930’s glass that fluoresces under ultraviolet blacklight/bluelight lamps because it is radioactive.

Kate McGrath – Labor

Read our story

Why do you want to be the local member for your electorate?

My background is in community services, largely frontline work with the most vulnerable people in our community. People who already face significant challenges due to disability, chronic illness, or socio-economic disadvantage depend on our state systems to meet their basic needs, and give foundational opportunities. 

Health and education have been actively depleted by the current government to the point that it is dangerous. This impacts everyone, but particularly those who have the least resources to begin with. 

So, to answer your question, this campaign isn’t an extended job interview, it’s an extension of the advocacy that people in my sector do every single day, and an act of hope that we can make real systemic change. 

What do you think is the most important issue facing the electorate and why? What do you think is the most important issue facing the whole state and why?

The single most important issue facing our electorate is the same as the most important issue statewide. Health. It is the single most important service the state delivers, and it has been neglected for far too long. The Greens candidate, Ryan Brooke, and I attended a snap rally yesterday in solidarity with nurses and midwives. They have had to escalate to legal action against the NSW Government because the blatant disregard of the award and chronic understaffing has worsened to the point of being systemic. Patients have been robbed of 120000 hours of care across the state, and Tamworth is second only to Maitland in our local health district. Gunnedah is only able to provide maternity during business hours, and then are bypassed to Tamworth. So the midwives there, already carrying 19 FTE vacancies, are also picking up from Gunnedah and often Narrabri too. They are doing multiple double shifts a week to cover, and are terrified that if something doesn’t change it will result in deaths of mothers and babies. 

That is just one example, and it’s the same story at every hospital, every unit. 

– 60 per cent of frontline workers are planning to leave their roles in the next five years

– 15% of NSW nurses and midwives have symptoms consistent with ptsd directly attributable to their workplace

– 100% of nsw nurses had experienced verbal abuse in the preceding 6 months 

– 80% had been physically assaulted in the preceding 6 months 

– 47% had been physically assaulted in the preceding week 

– 25% had experienced sexually inappropriate behaviours 

– the majority of participants were of the opinion that violence was an inevitable part of their job and that it was increasing in frequency and severity.

We can’t continue this way, it is completely unsustainable, and while those of us in rural areas are more impacted than our city counterparts, no one is impacted more than the most vulnerable members of our communities. 

Why do you think someone would vote for you over your opponents?

Ideally, people would vote for me because they believe I will stand for what is right, not what is politically convenient, and trust that I value good governance and strong policy above convenience and marketing strategies. 

Realistically, people will vote for me because at the end of the day, one way or another, we all depend on public health and education. Labor may only be offering the first steps to remedy the crisis we’re experiencing after years of Liberal National neglect, but they are steps in the right direction. We need to be taking those steps together. 

Tell us something about yourself most people don’t know.

I have no idea how to answer this. I’ll just tell you things I think are interesting. I am one of four, all girls, all named after dead famous movie stars (Kate – Katharine Hepburn, Lauren – Lauren Bacall, Bridgette – Brigitte Bardot, Grace – Grace Kelly). I continued this with my eldest 2 children (Ava – Ava Gardner and Edie – Edie Sedgwick) but named my youngest Yogi after his late grandfather, my husbands Dad. I have a BA in Sociology and Anthropology and a Certificate IV in Mental Health. I am slowly plugging away at some postgraduate study in Behavioural Economics, but that’s just a hobby so I’ve deferred for the time being. I grew up in Manilla. I am weirdly lucky in raffles (but not ballot draws!), we have a miniature dachshund called Princess Barnaby (adorable picture attached as pet tax), I have adenomyosis which is currently keeping me awake and making me really cranky, I have half a dozen half started novels that I’ll never finish writing, and the only thing on my bedside table is a stack of books I’m planning to read once the campaign is over. 

Election Day is March 25, and prepoll is open now. Find a voting booth near you here: https://elections.nsw.gov.au/district-profiles/tamworth

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