What is your stance on the cost of living and wage growth in Australia?
Sluggish wage growth over the past decade has been one of the factors holding back the economy. Low income workers are increasingly struggling to pay for the essentials of life. It is also the case that any increase in pay they received would immediately go back into the economy and help boost growth.
How do we have an enforceable plan to at least halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero before 2050 whilst supporting the economy?
Climate change is among the most urgent and pressing challenges for Australia and the world. Strong action on climate change is a top priority.
Government spent $10.3 billion subsidising fossil fuels in 2020-21. We should not be subsidising or propping up stranded and failing industries.
But it’s not only about taxpayers money, it’s about clear and consistent policy. Large corporations and investors are already redirecting funds away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and industries. Policy certainty will encourage this and grow our economy. Doing nothing will lead to an inevitable contraction as global demand for fossil fuels plummets and investors put their money elsewhere.
Meanwhile, subsidies should be diverted to renewable industries. This would include electric vehicles, large scale solar and wind, as well as encouraging uptake of rooftop solar for households and small businesses. Large scale government investment in upgrading the energy grid is a must and will form the backbone of our future economy, with great potential for clean hydrogen and iron for export.
Renewables will faczilitate the switch from gas to electricity, allowing us to hit that 2050 target. As seen in the UK, legislating enforceable targets, monitored by an independent climate body, removes the issue from the 3 yearly election cycle. This will guide policy and enable us to meet the required benchmarks without the triennial political arguments.
The Business Council of Australia is committed to a target of a 50 percent reduction by 2030,and having taken further expert advice I believe we can hit 60%. The BCA and other key business leaders, including Deloitte, argue this is the pathway to jobs, growth, productivity and our future prosperity.
If it is good enough for business, it is good enough for me.
A global failure to act now, as the IPCC points out, will not only mean more frequent fires, floods, and storms but also the reduction of jobs and growth in manufacturing, services, and agriculture. This would reduce the size of our workforce, harm our economy, and be an impediment to prosperity.
Australia must pull its weight on emissions reduction, but in doing so is in a unique position to harness the renewables revolution. If elected I will fight to ensure we meet our enormous potential in this arena, delivering real climate action and ensuring our country’s future prosperity.
What is your stance on an Integrity Commission?
If elected, one of my highest priorities will be the implementation of a National Integrity Commission as part of an overarching integrity system that has the necessary powers to address Government and public service corruption and to keep elected representatives accountable.
It’s vital components would comprise the following:
- A fully independent and properly funded statutory body in the form of a National Integrity Commission, headed by a Chief Commissioner appointed on the recommendation of a bipartisan parliamentary committee
- The NIC must have all the powers of a Royal Commission
- Its jurisdiction must be broad, as must the definition of ‘corrupt conduct’
- It must be able to hold public hearings (apropos: I do not agree with PM Morrison’s view that the NSW hearing of the Berejiklian matters was a ’kangaroo court’ – on the contrary, I saw it as a healthy shining of light on a subject of important public interest).
Further, I support a code of conduct for elected representatives, enforced registration of lobbyists, transparency and caps on political donations, truth in political advertising, protection of whistleblowers and an end to the rorting of taxpayer funds.
What is your position on outlawing hate speech and Holocaust denial?
Answer: I am a strong supporter of Section 18C of the Anti-Discrimination legislation. While freedom of speech is important, there must be limits on inciting hate. No community should have to live in fear of such incitement.
Australians are rightly proud of their multicultural society; however, in recent years, there have been attempts to undermine safeguards against discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.
Considerable efforts from within the Liberal-National Government have been expended in trying to scrap key anti-vilification legislation.
My Liberal-National opponent, for example, was a prominent advocate for the right to vilify others on the basis of race and ethnicity.
If elected, I would undertake to maintain our anti-vilification legislation (18C), in line with recommendations from numerous stakeholders, including the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV).
This crucial legislation protects the Jewish community from hate speech: something that should never be tolerated. Indeed, I am supportive of stronger measures to deal with hate speech, especially online, where antisemitism has been subject to lax regulation. The safety and security of Australia's Jewish community must be a priority.
What is your position on entrenched misogyny and gender equality?
I strongly support the implementation of all 55 recommendations of the [email protected] report. I will continue to advocate for this and negotiate with the major parties to achieve this aim. I strongly support the report’s main recommendation that a positive onus be placed on workplaces to ensure the safety of employees and contractors.
Indeed, gender equality is one of the key pillars of my campaign and a central motivation for running for the Seat of Goldstein. Like many Australian women, I have been appalled by the lip service paid by the Morrison Government to gender equality and ending violence against women.
In the event that the cross-bench holds the balance of power, real action on gender equality will be a key issue on which I negotiate with the parties seeking to form Government.
Further, I will advocate for:
- Free and accessible early childhood education and care.
- Expanded paid parental leave of up to one year shared between parents.
- Action on the national plan for First Nations women and girls.
- Strong and consistent child sexual assault laws.
- Establishment of 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave.
- Laws to get rid of the gender pay gap.
These policy settings will not only enable women, girls and families to reach their full potential, but will boost our economy by enabling women to reach their desired potential in the workforce.
What is your view on the current state of Medicare and this NDIS?
Affordable, accessible medical care is not just a human right, but an investment in our population that pays enormous dividends. Failure to fund healthcare adequately results in unnecessary pain and suffering for individuals and families, as well as exorbitant costs to Government which must fund our increasingly burdened emergency care system.
Much is made of the cost of publicly funded healthcare, but there is no economy without a healthy community. Having seen the disastrous and inequitable health system in the United States close up, I see Australia’s health care system as fundamental to the strength of our nation.
Every Australian is entitled to the quality of healthcare a prosperous nation can afford, regardless of their socio-economic status and state of health. We must not create a 2 tiered system of healthcare. Covid has shown the importance of a robust public health system and indeed, the shortcomings in our current model in which the system has been stripped back so much that there is no extra capacity to cope with a crisis.
I do not support further cuts to Medicare. Healthcare must be depoliticised both at a federal level, and also between the Commonwealth and the States. Consideration should be given to a National Health Commission that deals with budgets outside of politics.
Boosting our medical workforce must be immediately prioritised. The workload and contribution of nurses and support staff must be revalued as part of a broader revaluation of the care economy and the female workforce. Covid has clearly highlighted our reliance on these professions. Gaps in the training pipeline must be addressed to upskill workforces in general healthcare, aged care and mental health.
Dental and mental health cover under Medicare should be expanded as a means of addressing current gaps that result in aforementioned, exorbitant downstream costs which inevitably burden future generations.
Dental care for those over 65 with pension cards is a priority area.
The mental health system must be restructured via real cooperation between state and federal governments to enable a regional and community focus as recommended in the 2019 Health Services Report by the Productivity Commission. This is not a matter of more funding, but better use of funding via well developed strategy.
The NDIS, meanwhile, was originally conceived as a means of affording people with disabilities the opportunity to fully participate in society without their care forcing them into penury, and, like adequate preventive healthcare elsewhere, avoiding the inevitable downstream costs that accrue from neglect.
Under the Liberal-National Government, however, the NDIS has become a system that can work for some, but is inconsistently delivered. It is rife with bureaucracy and inefficiency, creating further trauma for individuals and families.
If elected, I will fight to have these administrative issues streamlined, as well as prioritising the adequate funding of our public health-care system.
How will your policies involving spending not increase national debt?
Under the Morrison-Joyce leadership, our national debt has spiralled - forecast to reach $1.3 trillion, which is 55% of our current GDP. While some of this debt may have been an unavoidable product of the pandemic, much of it is due to the enormous profligacy of a Government that has shown contempt for taxpayer dollars.
The media has been replete with reports of countless rorts (Sports Rorts, car parks, etc) costing many billions, unimaginable waste as mates are given jobs for which they seem quite ill-equipped (Paladin, The Great Barrier Reef Foundation etc), unconscionable policies that similarly cost billions while harming the most vulnerable in our community (refugee detention, Robodebt, the Aged Care fiasco), and the enormous amounts - again in the billions - spent on outside consultants because of an ideological proclivity to favour consultancy firms over the public service.
These are only a few examples of the profligacy which has unfortunately characterised this Government. Reining in this spending will free up billions of dollars that should be spent on strengthening our economy and society.
If elected, I will fight for smart spending, underpinned by a robust and effective National Integrity Commission which will ensure that political mates do not prosper at the expense of ordinary Australians.
The stripped out public service must be boosted to provide true and accurate advice to government rather than utilising overpaid consultants at an average cost of $2 million per day who provide the government with the answers it wants to hear.
What is your stance on refugees?
Australia’s current policy settings regarding asylum seekers are not just cruel and unnecessary, they are also enormously wasteful, costing taxpayers billions.
If elected, I would seek to implement the following:
- End indefinite hotel detention immediately
- Accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle people immediately
- Increase annual refugee intake to respond to emergency need (immediate acceptance of people from Ukraine and Afghanistan above current quotas)
- Return the Murugappan family to Biloela
Further, I will seek an independent review of the current system to consider its cost to taxpayers and humanitarian impact. Terms of reference to include the following:
- Ending offshore detention based on cost benefit analysis
- Implementation of a humane detention timeline and conditions
- Implementation of fair process with access to an independent review tribunal
- Allowing permanent protection visas for rebuilding lives
- Allowing access to family reunion for all granted refugee status
- Strengthening regional cooperation to provide safe and timely pathways to resettlement in Asia via constructive engagement with Southeast Asian source nations
- Reviewing boat turnbacks as an approach of last resort when those seeking protection are being returned to a country where they have none
- Considering expanded community sponsorship
Who would you support in minority government?
This election is in the hands of the voters and I will not pre-empt their decision.
I have no pre-meditated position on which major party I would support in a hung parliament situation. My policy pillars and principles are clear, so if the people of Goldstein vote me in, it would come down to a negotiation with both major parties to weigh up who can best deliver on those positions.
If I am elected and we are in a state of minority government I would hope those aspiring to be Prime Minister would want to consult me.
As I have made clear my priorities are:
- Real, immediate and more ambitious action on climate change with a clear economic focus
- The restoration of integrity to - and the removal of corruption from - politics and politicians (implementing a National Integrity Commission)
- Accountability in the spending and allocation of taxpayers' money
- Safety for women at work, at home and in the community
Who are you preferencing?
I won't be directing preferences. My how to vote cards will ask that you Vote 1 Zoe Daniel and then number every square according to your preference. As an independent I believe that it would run counter to my approach to recommend preferences. We live in a highly educated electorate so voters can make up their own minds about who to preference.
What is your stance on China?
China remains Australia’s most significant trading partner and a profoundly important nation in the Indo-Pacific. Australia’s China policy should not be subject to partisan political point-scoring.
Australia’s policy makers are, however, correct to be concerned about the increasing assertiveness of China’s diplomatic, military, and economic activity in the region.
Australia must stake a position where it won't be bullied but where it also won't fight foreign policy battles on the front pages of the newspapers. We must finely balance our alliances in order that we can retain old friends, without isolating ourselves combatively from those who we must be able to converse with in our region. Diplomacy of the highest order is key at a time of great geopolitical upheaval.
What is your position on the Russo-Ukranian conflict?
I unequivocally condemn Russia's illegal, inhumane invasion of Ukraine. I stand with the people of Ukraine. I support measured steps, including those taken by the Australian government, to intensify the pressure on Russia to end its invasion. I encourage the Australian government to provide financial and material support to Ukrainians displaced by the conflict to neighbouring countries and to offer them refuge in Australia should that become necessary.
What is your policy on defence funding and national security?
The security and safety of the Australian people is the paramount responsibility of Government. Defence spending should be commensurate with the geopolitical and regional circumstances in which Australia finds itself. Clearly, the world and the Indo-Pacific are less secure than they were a decade ago. Spending on defence needs to recognise these circumstances and predict future challenges. This is not, however, a matter of spending for spending’s sake. Financial commitments have been made, but ineffective decision making means that Australia will be less protected than would otherwise have been the case (especially in relation to a new generation of submarines) during a period of heightened tension and risk. This needs urgent correction. Our circumstances also suggest the need for greater emphasis on diplomacy (including soft diplomacy) rather than merely militarising our international relations.
Where do you stand on the Israel-Palestine Conflict?
Israel has a fundamental right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, within safe and secure borders.
After centuries of statelessness and persecution, the Jewish people's creation of The State of Israel is the practical realisation of the phrase, 'Never Again'.
I, therefore, agree with both major parties, and support the bipartisan position of a Two-State Solution that ensures Jewish sovereignty and security within their homeland and the rights of Palestinians in the territories to live in a safe and secure homeland there.
Australia's influence, security and authority in the Asia Pacific is negatively affected by short sighted cuts to foreign aid. Aid programs are transformative for people in our region, but they also demonstrate our commitment to being an active participant in our region. I will strongly advocate for a reversal in cuts to foreign aid.
What is your view on Australia signing the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons?
The Australian government has not signed this document. All Parliamentarians, however, are able to express support for the treaty and I have done so as a pre-pledge ahead of the election.
What is your funding policy on tertiary education and research?
I support the restoration of funding for tertiary education and research to levels commensurate with our standing as a prosperous and innovative nation. Research and development is especially critical to our future when it comes to climate and renewable energy.
Where do you stand on the issue of public and private educational funding?
I believe that people have a choice regarding where they send their children to school, be it private or public. I went all through public school. My children have experienced both. School funding should be equitably distributed across the education sector; however, disadvantaged schools and special needs programs should be prioritised. All children deserve an equal opportunity in education regardless of where they live, what their parents earn, or whether they are educated in public or private schools. Having worked all over the world in developing countries less fortunate than Australia, I see education as the ultimate power of a nation.
What is your position on the Uluru Statement?
I support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and substantive, constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations people. I support Truth Telling processes, and in line with the Statement, structural reform so that, ‘this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.’
A First Nations Voice in the Constitution would create a direct line of communication between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the parliament, creating specific input into policy. This is an important step towards self determination for First Nations Australians.
The structure of such a Voice is still evolving. I have consulted the Boon Wurrung people of Goldstein and based on their feedback I am supportive in principle and will continue to take their counsel.
Do you support Indigenous rangers and Indigenous protected areas?
Indigenous rangers and Indigenous protected areas are providing enormous benefits for Australia’s land and people. The rangers are responsible for protecting key cultural sites and managing invasive species. They also play an integral role in limiting bushfires and monitoring threatened species. This crucial work also provides wonderful career and business opportunities for First Nations people, and offers an important framework in which role models emerge, demonstrating the importance of healing Country and protecting precious cultural and natural sites.
If elected, I will be a strong advocate for increased funding for Indigenous land and sea management. I support the call from Country Needs People to commit to:
- Double the number of Indigenous rangers over 10 years.
- Create a fund for ranger training, capacity building, networking, and infrastructure costs.
- Double the funding for the Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) program over four years.
- Ensure equal employment opportunities for women rangers by 2030.
What’s your position on local development and affordable housing?
Like many Goldstein residents, I am concerned about the pace of development in the area, and retaining our neighbourhood amenity. While much of this policy area is a state and council responsibility, I believe we must keep medium density development as close as possible to commercial centres and public transport for both environmental and community character reasons.
My ideas around affordable housing go to the kinds of innovative rent to buy and discounted rent schemes that are taking off overseas and I think they can fit the above concepts with some strong thought leadership and planning.
While I do not support alterations to negative gearing, if elected, I will strongly advocate for expert review into affordable housing and rental accommodation, including an increase to rental assistance that ensures it keeps pace with the CPI.
Where do you stand on live animal exports?
Evidence shows that heat stress coupled with lengthy and crowded journeys has a cruel impact on the animals being exported. For this reason I believe that the live animal export trade should be wound up.
Do you support the Indue (cashless welfare) card?
I do not support the cashless welfare card. In line with research and feedback from major charities I believe that it takes away freedom of choice and removes dignity. Should particular communities seek to adopt the use of the card, those requests must be considered on a case by case basis and underpinned by evidence.
Do you support the Religious Discrimination Bill?
No. Absolutely not in its current form and likely not at all. Religion is already protected under broader anti discrimination legislation. My consultations thus far with religious leaders in Goldstein indicate that this new legislation is not needed, particularly not in a form where it discriminates against LGBTQI+ people.
What is your position on the ABC and SBS?
Strong public broadcasters are a huge asset to our democracy. Funding must be restored to protect the capacity of the ABC and SBS to do rigourous public interest journalism here and through Australian eyes overseas, to provoke debate, to reflect our nation in fact based programming and drama, to be part of our regional communities and to provide critical emergency coverage.
Polls show that more than 80% of Australians agree that the ABC provides a valuable and trusted service to the community. To continue to erode this will be a further loss of capacity to hold the powerful to account and to reflect our unique culture.