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We emailed 100 state election candidates: Here’s what we found

Art by Anh Noel

We emailed 100 state election candidates from the electorates closest to UNSW, asking what their main focus for this election was and if they had anything to say to student voters. This is what we found:

First, we’ll break down how many members of each party actually replied to our questions. For the purpose of this article, a ‘reply’ is defined as something that is written by a human, and either attempts to answer the questions asked or redirects us to another spokesperson. Replies within this article do not include automated responses or anything that is not an attempt to have our questions answered. If a single candidate replied to us multiple times, i.e., in a thread of emails, it is still counted as a single reply. 

PartyNo. of responses
Labor1
Liberal0
The Greens5
Animal Justice Party3
Legalise Cannabis Party1
Informed Medical Options Party1
Independent2

Quotes from all election candidates will be included below. Some quotes have been shortened due to word limit constraints, but none have been edited beyond that. 

1. Which issues are you championing in your campaign?

Tim Pateman, Legalise Cannabis Party
“The Legalise Cannabis Party has a very clear mission statement, legalise cannabis. One policy – many issues. Legalising Cannabis for Adult Australians in all its forms whether for medical or personal use. Amending drug driving laws to be more in line with other medications for medical users. Impairment must be tested for rather than just presence. Allowing for home grown. A state licensing system for commercial growth, sale and distribution.” 

Margaret Merten, Labor Party
“My campaign is for all of the Vaucluse community. I am campaigning on the following issues: the need for a second public high school in Sydney’s east and full funding for all public schools; the need for real climate action – I have announced fast-tracked funding for 19 new public EV Chargers in Vaucluse and Coogee so people who live in apartments can have the choice to buy an electric vehicle; stopping the privatisation of our bus routes; protecting our precious biodiversity and saving our NSW koalas who, after 12 years of a Liberal government, will be extinct by 2050 if we don’t act now; no more asset recycling and no privatisation of Sydney Water; better staff and patient ratios in our hospitals and paying our essential workers such as teachers, nurses, paramedics, aged care workers what they are worth.” 

Philipa Veitch, The Greens
“The Greens are fighting to get real climate action, stop the sell-off of public land, housing and services, and cut rents and stop unfair evictions. Our key policies include: Treaty and truth-telling. No new coal & gas. Cut rents and stop unfair evictions. Action to support people with disability. Phase out pokies and introduce a mandatory cashless gambling card. Restore integrity and end corruption. Stop land clearing and protect koalas. Repeal the anti-protest laws. Improve the ratio of nurses to patients. Stop the evictions and sell-off of public housing. Stand up for LGBTIQ+ rights.” 

Charles Jago, The Greens
“Big issues here are overdevelopment, climate change, low priority for public education including lack of high school places, major transport issues with a particular need for public transport, and more.” 

Rafaela Pandolfini, The Greens
“We want serious and urgent action on climate change, we are championing the work rights and wage increases for nurses and teachers and access for all to properly funded public education and health services. We want to see serious action on gambling and insidious pokie culture across our clubs and pubs, we are championing young people’s rights to live in vibrant communities with arts & culture and we are passionate about proper functioning clean and green public transport options and pedestrian and bike-friendly streets. And we want to see renters rights in this state, including rental freezes and an end to no grounds evictions.” 

Holly Williamson, Animal Justice Party

“Preventing the Yarra Bay cruise terminal. I will fight to ensure our community is safe from the increased traffic, overdevelopment, pollution and the degradation of our estuaries that would result from the development. We do not want to see the decimation of the Indigenous community’s land and water-based activities. We want to welcome visitors to a healthy, clean and relaxing Yarra Bay, not a concrete mass surrounded by barren waters. This includes continuing to welcome the dolphins, whales, turtles, fairy penguins and seal colonies that call Yarra Bay home.” 

Gaye Cameron, Independent for Miranda
“I champion for ALL residents in the electorate, and more importantly the silent members who are disadvantaged including the people living with Disability, people who endure mental health issues, people who need more resources for health related issues, and our youth – who want to get a great education, get a job and live life as anyone should be able to.” 

Alicia Mosquera, Informed Medical Options Party
“I can’t wait to not only continue to encourage medical autonomy but also create stronger community connection to reduce mental health, supporting local schools so they give the right environment for our children and keep parents in the loop. Having a strong family support is essential for our children to create mastery throughout their lives.” 

2. Which views within your political party are most important to you?

Tim Pateman, Legalise Cannabis Party

“The freedom for Australians to make a choice. For me freedom of choice is what it comes down to. The war on cannabis is outdated, unjust, ruins countless lives and is not based in any common sense. We are constrained in choice in many ways.” 

Margaret Merton, Labor Party
“Climate action; public education support; fixing our hospitals and health system; stopping the destructive cycle of privatising public assets; a fairer deal for renters.”

Philipa Veitch, The Greens
“Overall it’s about reversing the massive inequity we see in society today. Too many people are living in poverty while the major parties continue to enrich the wealthy and privileged, whether it’s big corporations or political mates. Funds are being stripped from too many public services like schools, hospitals and public transport. Action on climate change, the environment and native forest logging are other huge issues for me. The Greens have a set of comprehensive policies to tackle all these really serious issues.”

Charles Jago, The Greens
“Views within my party – I don’t really get this question. We are generally united, but there is still debate on lots of things. We make grassroots democracy a core principle.”

Rafaela Pandolfini, The Greens
“I work in the arts and I struggle to see what support there is for art, culture and a vibrant community in Coogee. There is more support for clubs who are propped up by pokies. There is a real anti-youth sentiment in local government and in state politics in this area. And the rental market is completely out of reach for most young people.

Greens was to ensure that public induction is fully funded and we want to see rent freezes and an end to unfair rental agreement terminations.” 

Holly Williamson, Animal Justice Party
“Our values are kindness, equality, non-violence, rationality and these concepts underpin all the Animal Justice Party’s work and policies. I think that the connection between human violence toward each other often begins with a person causing harm to animals, and gambling on animals is one of the worst activities out there that connects humans with the concepts of violence toward animals. We believe that the damage caused by gambling to our community and to animals is unconscionable and desperately in need of reform. We support measures to address gambling companies’ sponsorship of sporting events and transparency into donations to political parties, as well as supporting the introduction of consumer protections such as the gambling card and restricting funding to gambling industries.” 

Gaye Cameron, Independent for Miranda
“I am a pure independent, however I do hold conservative views with compassion on social issues.” 

Alicia Mosquera, Informed Medical Options Party
“Medical autonomy, stronger voice for doctors.” 

3. If there is one thing you could say to the student voters of UNSW, what would you like them to know about your campaign?

Tim Pateman, Legalise Cannabis Party

“Young people, particularly students, can have a massive impact on this coming election. Get out in numbers, organise your friends, talk to your family and let them know that a vote for legalising cannabis is a vote for freedom. It’s about making our voice heard which historically is something students have had a particular talent for.”

Margaret Merton, Labor Party
“This is a very important election; after 12 years of a tired, undisciplined Liberal government it’s time for change. Your vote is powerful. The result could be tight, so make sure you fill out your preferences to really make your vote count. Vote NSW Labor for a fairer education system, a better health sector, a better deal for renters, and real, immediate climate action.” 

Philipa Veitch, The Greens
“As the Greens candidate for Heffron and Randwick west ward councillor I’m on your side! I’ve supported and attended UNSW student campaigns including No ADA course cuts, SS4C rallies on campus during covid, housing and climate rallies and much more. I’ve had UNSW students up at council speaking to motions and have and will always be a staunch defender of students and public higher education. As a long time activist I support the right to protest and believe anti-protest laws and over policing have led to terrible situations such as UNSW student Cherish Kuehlmann being arrested and thrown in jail in the middle of the night. We need to defend the right to protest and these draconian laws need to be repealed.”

Charles Jago, The Greens
“Action on climate change is urgent, as is action on key community needs like housing, health and education which have been neglected in the drive to spend many billions on motorways.” 

Rafaela Pandolfini, The Greens
“Please use your voice and vote! You are the future and there is not enough representation in local government, state or federal politics and the decisions they all make are going to affect your lives. The Greens are fighting for rent freezes, arts & culture and vibrant communities, your right to protest, a strong health system and much better conditions for our nurses and doctors and very importantly equal access to quality public education! Make your vote count.”

Holly Williamson, Animal Justice Party
“Voting #1 Animal Justice Party in the upper and lower house sends a really clear message to the major parties that you want change. It shows them you want stronger laws for animals and the environment and that you are tired of the abuse, harm and mistreatment of non-human animals and their habitats. The major parties cannot ignore thousands of #1 Animal Justice Party votes. Putting #1 Animal Justice Party will help us influence and negotiate when debating in parliament. As a minor party, the Animal Justice Party recommends numbering more than one box on both ballot papers, that way, if the Animal Justice Party doesn’t win, your vote will count towards your second preference. Essentially, your vote will be counted twice. Now that’s a win!” 

Gaye Cameron, Independent for Miranda
“Follow your dreams – work hard, get a great education, never stop learning, and be proud of yourself for your efforts you have achieved so far, but know that we live in a great State and there is so much opportunity for you all to reach your goals. I want to be your advocate to ensure achievable resources can be made for you, and living in this great electorate of Miranda, that we preserve the greenspace and waterways that surround us for future generations.” 

Alicia Mosquera, Informed Medical Options Party
“We are interested in your concerns and will implement practical strategies immediately to improve the environment and public transport. I personally welcome your concerns and will be a transparent, honest communicator on what changes can and will be made. Vote 1st for IMOP so positive changes will be made”.


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