Barker candidates: where do they stand?

We ask the candidates for the seat of Barker what they stand for ahead of Saturday's federal election.

Yvonne Zeppel, Family First

Yvonne Zeppel, Family First

Yvonne Zeppel, Family First

1.      What will be your main focus for the electorate if you win the election for the seat of Barker?

I am committed to Barker and will do my best to represent every Barker voter by giving them the attention they deserve, and working with my Family First Senate and state colleagues to provide the best assistance to them.

Barker also needs a representative whose party is firmly focussed on responsible management of the budget and economy, and on backing our farmers.  No slight on the current member, but the Liberals have lost the plot.

Family First fights for family business, family farms, every family, a job and a house.  Family farms need water and export markets, and the trade deals Family First pursued with China, South Korea and Japan have seen South Australian wine exports go through the roof.  We’re chasing even more, with India, Indonesia, Israel and the European Union. It is also critical that we restore South Australian farmers’ right to farm.  Farmers need protection from changes to their land rights, whether by council, state or federal over-regulation.

On managing the budget and economy, getting back in the black is no longer a Liberal focus, but it will always be Family First’s.  Peter Costello left the nation without debt before the Global Financial Crisis, and his surplus and iron ore revenue pulled us through the GFC better than every other developed economy.  This time, we are $450 billion in debt on the national credit card, paying $1 billion a month in interest and the other parties don’t care.  Worse still, they are raiding super, smokers and our children’s futures, promising dodgy ’10 year plans’.  A Brexit, tensions in the South China Sea or a Trump presidency will trigger another global financial meltdown – and we have no reserves this time.

Yet the Liberals, Labor, Greens and NXT pork-barrel marginal seats as though we are sitting on a surplus!  The Liberals have abandoned the late Sir Robert Menzies, who said “Governments, contrary to a well known political superstition, have no money of their own”.  Long after the current mob lose their seats, we’ll be paying for their crazy schemes and pork-barrelling.

Poor budget management robs Barker of the money it needs for improving major roads for safety and productivity, and ultimately to getting enough money to states to fund hospitals and schools.

I will also represent the views of Barker voters on marriage, by supporting legislation to have a public vote in 2017 – not before Christmas – with protected free speech and a fair debate on redefining marriage and the huge consequences.

2.      If there are three things the Federal Government needs to address in Barker, what are they?

The first thing is energy affordability, and the blight on our landscapes that are wind turbines.  Wind turbines are driving electricity prices through the roof.  Compare the prices per megawatt hour - coal $38, gas $47, wind $120!  We’ve lost coal capacity and added wind  - why has the government forced the installaion of so much unaffordable energy capacity?   Wind turbines have shut down affordable energy in Port Augusta energy (and resulting direct and flow-on job losses) and as good as closed down Leigh Creek altogether.  The danger of living in a ‘safe’ seat is that it is not safe at all, when radical ideology costs affordable energy and jobs.  City people don’t need to look at or live under wind turbines, but you do.

The second thing that needs to be addressed are Barker’s roads.  South Australia does not get its fair share of federal funding – a fact acknowledged by the national federation of councils, who are lobbying for SA road funding to be improved.  Our state is not getting its fair share of funding per fatality, per capita or per kilometre of road maintained.  The Dukes Highway needs more safety improvements.  Road safety rankings highlight unacceptably high risk of crashes through the Coonawarra wine-tasting area, and longer-term master planning is needed than just a bypass of Penola itself, to balance road safety, tourism and diverting heavy vehicles around towns efficiently.  I would like to see the Princes Highway on the Coorong attract more federal funding for safety upgrades, like overtaking lanes.

Among other things, the Federal government also needs to consider its contribution to a possible extension of the runway at Mt Gambier airport for improved freight and tourism access, and a significant contribution to re-directing South-East drainage into the lower Coorong.

3.      Why should the people of Barker vote for you?

I am a committed Christian, a teacher, wife, mother and grandmother who has taught, run a business and lived within Barker for most of my life.

Like many Barker voters I have spoken with during this campaign, I am very concerned about the loss of social and economic conservative values in our country.  The major parties have rejected these values upon which our country was founded.

 On social values, the biggest threat is through the ALP, Green and Nick Xenophon Team proposal to redefine marriage.  Those three parties will deny us our say in a public vote and let politicians change the law – as if it were that simple!  We need a protected, public debate on the impact such a change will have on the rights of children, the rights of parents, free speech and freedom of belief in this country.  The ALP, Green and Nick Xenophon Team rush on this shows how they are populists who think they know best, when a public vote would show how strongly Australia feels about this issue.

On economic values, Family First stands for Family business, family farms, every family, a job and a house. Family businesses create jobs – I know this first hand from our own business. Family business is battling against increasing taxes and regulation, Family first wants to reduce and simplicity tax and reduce government bureaucracy and spending.  We value balancing the budget – as every family, business and farm must – because $450 billion in debt is not politicians’ debt, it is ours – linked to our incomes and bank accounts.  So Family First supports Barker’ voters in their belief that governments must be responsible and, like each of us, live within their means.

4.      Do you have any more comments on the upcoming election?

I want to highlight how much benefit trade deals with South Korea, Japan and China have brought to Barker, particularly the wine industry.  Family First’s 2013 candidate campaigned for these deals, and we are campaigning for new deals with Indonesia, India, Israel and the European Union.  Nick Xenophon Team regularly calls such deals ‘duds’ yet these same deals improve farm gate prices and force Coles and Woolworths to compete with overseas markets for farm produce.  Family First supports export markets for our farmers and affordable water and energy for family farms.

If you're disillusioned with what the big parties have put on offer, and if you support responsible budgeting and traditional values, your protest vote belongs with Family First.

Tony Pasin, Liberal Party

Tony Pasin, Liberal

Tony Pasin, Liberal

1. What will be your main focus for the electorate if you win the election for the seat of Barker?

My main focus as the Member for Barker has been to provide an effective and strong voice for the people of Barker. If I win this election, and have the privilege to again represent my neighbours and friends throughout the electorate on the national stage they will once again be foremost in my focus.

In my first term I fought to improve services and infrastructure throughout Barker, so that all our communities could be better connected, and the people of Barker could benefit from the best the Federal Government can offer.

Should I be re-elected I will continue to fight for a better Barker, with more funding and improved infrastructure for its residents.

2.      If there are three things the Federal Government needs to address in Barker, what are they?

I believe that the most important issues that the federal government can address in the seat of Barker is to continue our Plan towards a strong new economy, which will create jobs, and allow us to further invest in healthcare, roads and telecommunication infrastructure.

The Coalition Government has spent its last term in Parliament working to achieve our strong economic plan,

structured to provide jobs and growth and a secure future for Australian families. Our economy is growing at 3% a year, with around 300,000 new jobs created last year, the strongest growth in employment since 2007.

The introduction of three new free trade agreements has positioned the primary industries of the South East perfectly for growth.

We are investing record amounts in additional health services to address the needs of the Australian people.

Locally I have successfully advocated for an MRI licence in Mount Gambier, removing the need for the people of the South East to drive to Adelaide or Warrnambool.

We are also tackling the scourge of Ice across Australia, investing over $300 million in the coming four years to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention, support, and community engagement; recently announcing $5.3 million for drug and alcohol rehabilitation in country South Australia.

We are also investing heavily in infrastructure including over $200 million into the road network in Barker, addressing the mobile black spots, and expediting the roll out of the NBN, which is now available to 22,779 premises in Barker.

3.      Why should the people of Barker vote for you?

This election has been a long, tight run race across Barker, and with the support of the people of Barker for a Coalition Government we will continue to deliver the economic security that enables Australians to fulfil their aspirations.

If you vote for me you will be voting to continue the Coalition’s strong economic plan for jobs and growth. A vote for anyone else is a vote for the economic chaos of a Labor-Greens- independent government, with Labor being held to ransom by the minority.

I am from Barker, I live in Barker, I know Barker. Since 2013 I have been working hard to build a better Barker.

The choice on 2 July is clear – back a strong stable Coalition majority and continue our nation’s economic growth.

James Stacey, Nick Xenophon Team

James Stacey, NXT

James Stacey, NXT

1.      What will be your main focus for the electorate if you win the election for the seat of Barker?

If the community of Barker elect me as their representative, my focus will be to discuss the opportunities and challenges in the electorate of Barker with the community and take them to the federal parliament to get the best outcomes for the electorate.

2.      If there are three things the Federal Government needs to address in Barker, what are they?

1.  Jobs

We need to have appropriate pathways for employees and businesses to develop skills of employees through training and apprenticeships. We have a great opportunity to add greater value to our fabulous agricultural produce in Barker of food, wine and timber. We need to encourage further development of these businesses to provide more jobs in our region.

     2. Mobile Telecommunications. 

The federal government needs to work effectively with state governments to enhance the mobile telecommunications network across the electorate with mobile black spot funding to help connect regional communities.

     3. Water

The Federal government needs to protect the Limestone Coast from the threat of shale gas fracking. We cannot afford to risk damaging our precious water resources in the Limestone Coast.

3.      Why should the people of Barker vote for you?

 I am putting myself forward to Represent the Nick Xenophon Team in Barker as I want Barker to get on the political radar. Like Nick, I have a long record of holding people to account. The electorate of Barker has a wealth of natural beauty from the river to the Coorong to the Limestone Coast. We need to make the most of the opportunities that exist; from agriculture, welcoming communities and fantastic destinations. I believe I can offer Barker my hard working practical work ethic to continue to build the community.

4.      Do you have any more comments on the upcoming election?

At the upcoming  Federal Election the people of Barker have a rare opportunity for a community taken for granted. I have put myself forward to represent Barker knowing full well the challenge of success is huge. I have turned the extremely safe seat of Barker into a marginal seat in 8 weeks, imagine what I can achieve for you as part of the Nick Xenophon Team over the next 3 years. If you as a voter in Barker want a stronger representative in Canberra, who will work effectively to deliver for Barker, vote 1 James Stacey for the Nick Xenophon Team, don't let this unique opportunity pass you by! 

Mat O’Brien, Labor

Mat O'Brien, Labor

Mat O'Brien, Labor

Response not received before deadline.

Mark Keough, Greens

Mark Keough, Greens

Mark Keough, Greens

Response not received before deadline.

The story Barker candidates: where do they stand? first appeared on Naracoorte Herald.

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