Saturday is your last chance to vote. Votes need to be cast at a polling place within your division — either Mitchell or Berowra for the majority of residents. Usual locations are schools, church halls and public buildings, which will be open from 8am to 6pm on the day.
In Mitchell, polling places include Jasper Road Public School, DaySpring Church, Castle Hill and Wrights Road at Kellyville and West Pennant Hills Valley community centres. The Hills Private Hospital has relocated to the Baulkham Hills Community Centre at 390 Windsor Road.
In Berowra: Dural, Annangrove and Galston public schools. For polling booths: aec.gov.au
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DO NOT VOTE?
Initially the Australian Electoral Commission will write to you requesting a reason for your failure to vote. Or for you to pay a $20 penalty.
If, within 21 days, you fail to reply, cannot provide a valid and sufficient reason, or decline to pay the penalty, then you may end up in court where you may be fined up to $170 plus court costs.
Mitchell covers about 101square kilometres from Nelson and Box Hill in the northwest to Northmead and North Rocks in the southeast and includes Baulkham Hills, Beaumont Hills, Bella Vista, Box Hill, Castle Hill, Kellyville, Nelson, Northmead, North Rocks, Rouse Hill, Winston Hills and West Pennant Hills. Mitchell is a very safe Liberal seat, not held by another party since Labor MP Alfred Ashley-Brown (1972-1974).
Berowra covers about 782square kilometres and includes Pennant Hills, Cherrybrook, parts of Carlingford and Hornsby, as well as the communities along the Pacific Highway between Mt Colah and the Hawkesbury River. West of Berowra Creek it includes Annangrove, Dural, Glenorie, Maroota and Wisemans Ferry. It has been a very safe Liberal seat since 1962.
MEET YOUR MITCHELL CANDIDATES:
■ ALEX HAWKE, LIBERAL (SITTING MP): I have worked hard for our families and businesses in parliament. It is important to me to advocate for people on the individual difficulties they have with government. There are a few things I see as critical at this coming election. The first is getting government to reduce red tape and regulation on our small businesses. We have many family-owned/operated businesses in Mitchell and all are concerned with the amount of paperwork they are doing for the government. Second is the cost of living. I will ensure we remove Labor’s carbon tax and wasteful spending. Third is better infrastructure for our community. The Coalition will build the WestConnex motorway which will help improve traffic for Sydney. I believe we need a new government that will get our debt and deficit under control and run the economy well.
■ ANDREW PUNCH, LABOR: My professional experience is as a senior software engineer. My experience includes 24/7 Media – part of WPP, the largest advertising company in the world — and Nasdaq OMX — the second largest stock exchange in the world. I strongly believe democracy is best served by giving the residents of Mitchell a choice in the forthcoming federal election. I strongly support Labor’s Disability Care which will make an enormous difference to the lives of Mitchell residents who are disabled or have disabled children and relatives. I strongly support Labor’s Better Schools funding model that provides funding to meet each students’ needs — regardless of whether the school is public, independent or Catholic. I support Labor’s National Broadband Network that will improve internet reliability and speed, improve business productivity and create jobs.
■ NATHANIEL DODD, DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY: I am married and have four children. Although I am currently studying to be a primary school teacher, I am from a trade background, having spent the last 10 years working as a self-employed bricklayer or as a team member in a small business. I understand The Hills can’t do without workers and small business, so will facilitate their active involvement in the community. I know how important it is to have government support for the basic unit of society, the family. I stand firm on issues that are detrimental to workers, families and Australian agriculture and industry. Along with the families in The Hills, I also stand for a more hopeful and just future for my children.
■ DARRYL ALLEN, CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: I am married to Trish. We have three children and six grandchildren. I graduated from the University of NSW with a bachelor of architecture and have worked in private practice and the public sector on a broad range of projects. I am very concerned about the future of our nation and the increasing erosion of the values that have made our nation prosperous and a safe haven for persecuted people around the world. I seek to be a voice for the most vulnerable in our community: the unborn, elderly, homeless, single parents, the disillusioned enslaved by drugs/alcohol, the financially disadvantaged and others. I was the Christian Democratic Party candidate for the Castle Hill electorate in the 2007 NSW election and the Mitchell candidate in the 2007 federal election.
■ MICHAEL BELLSTEDT, THE GREENS: I have worked as director of a Castle Hill-based refrigeration engineering consultancy for 13 years and live in Glenhaven with my wife and children. I am an enthusiastic cyclist and enjoy gardening, bushwalking and spending time with my family. I have been an active member of the Glenhaven community for 15 years and am passionate about energy efficiency, clean energy, recycling and public transport. My professional activities are focused on advancing energy efficiency, alternative energy and the use of natural refrigerants in the commercial and industrial refrigeration industries, and I am a frequent public speaker at industry events on these topics. My campaign in Mitchell will focus on the advancement of clean energy and energy efficiency locally and nationally, improving all aspects of public transport in The Hills area, and ensuring food producers stay at the heart of the Australian economy.
■ MURRAY SCHULTZ, PALMER UNITED PARTY: The Palmer United Party was created out of frustration over the way our two major parties have treated the democratic process, and wasted billions of dollars along the way. In 2007 Kevin Rudd gave us money to buy LCD televisions costing over $20billion. During the peak of the global financial crisis visionary European nations were building clean energy plants that will provide clean renewable energy for centuries — see iter.org — and its start up costs was $16billion. I joined the Palmer United Party because in the middle of this mess Tony Abbot (Labor government) was barely polling above the worst government in Australian history. We need a fresh approach. We need to break the duopoly of government. We need ‘‘ideas people’’ that will make things happen.
MEET YOUR BEROWRA CANDIDATES:
■ PHILIP RUDDOCK, LIBERAL (SITTING MP): Philip Ruddock has been the Member for Berowra since 1993 and a former minister for immigration and attorney-general. Mr Ruddock refers to Berowra as the ‘‘lungs of Sydney’’. “People are concerned with rising costs of living and the continuing flow of boat arrivals," he said. "The choice is clear. The Coalition will reduce the cost of living and stop the boats. Most householders know you shouldn’t spend more than you earn. The previous Coalition government gave Australia the four largest surpluses in our history; Labor has given us the five largest deficits on record."
■ JOHN STOREY, THE GREENS: Dr John Storey is an internationally-recognised Antarctic physicist. An emeritus professor at the University of NSW, he has a career in research, teaching and management spanning more than 30 years. He co-founded Solar Mobility Pty Ltd and has lived with his wife in Hornsby since 1998. He is a keen native gardener with a love of music. He is passionate about minimising harmful climate change. This means weaning Australia off fossil fuels, and promoting a thriving, sustainable economy based on renewable energy. He wants to reduce social inequity in all its forms, by properly funding public education, public health, public transport and public housing. As a scientist, he is keen to bring reasoned, thoughtful debate back into Australian politics.
■ PAUL GRAVES, PALMER UNITED PARTY: Paul Graves lives in Castle Hill and is a licensed security consultant, working with corporate and government clients to provide advice to mitigate security risk and implement security infrastructure such as CCTV and access control. He has become disenchanted with the limited choices available to the Australian voter. ‘‘Clive Palmer has displayed the courage to take on the duopoly, and I see this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Australia to change the political landscape for good,’’ he said.
■ DEBORAH SMYTHE, STABLE POPULATION PARTY: Deborah Smythe lives in Mount Colah and has grown more concerned about over-development, clogged roads and overcrowding, all stemming from the major parties’ reliance on population growth to achieve economic growth. She believes population growth is unsustainable. Such growth does not lead to long-term prosperity, as the additional economic activity generated by growth lags behind the resulting larger population — resources are spread ever thinner. ‘‘A stable population would enable us to develop a more resilient economy that is not reliant on bringing in more people in order to remain prosperous," she said. "Education and training would underpin this economy, stimulating new knowledge-based industries. A stable population would also protect the natural environment for future generations, as its future is constantly threatened by population growth."
■ MICK GALLAGHER, INDEPENDENT: Former independent mayor of Hornsby, Mick Gallagher of Mt Colah is ‘‘Your True Local Representative’’ whose motto is ‘‘People First – Not Party First’’. ‘‘For too long we have been dictated to by the will of the party, and not exercising the will of the local people," he said. "This has to change.’’ His election points include no increase in the goods and services tax, no double fuel tax, sustainable population growth and not imposing over-population quotas, sensible development, local democracy — not party dictatorship, and federal grants for local infrastructure such as a second Hawkesbury River crossing and the upgrade of Old Northern Road.
■ LEIGHTON THEW, CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Leighton Thew is a conservative person of Christian faith with strong pro-family and pro-life values, because he believes that society will only be its best when it follows God’s laws. He would only support legislation that enhances Christian family values. He fully supports the CDP because it has given reliable, trustworthy and even-handed representation for more than 30 years with sensible and realistic policies that are family-friendly and protect the environment. He remains skeptical about the man-made climate change doctrine.
■ MICHAEL STOVE, LABOR:
Michael Stove says that Labor has much to be proud of.
“Labor has maintained continuing growth in the Australian economy since 2007 and by keeping inflation low has reduced interest rates down to 2.5 per cent, their lowest level in fifty years. An average Berowra electorate family with a $300,000 mortgage is now saving more than $5,000 per annum on their loan repayments. A typical Berowra electorate family is now paying $3500 less a year in personal tax than when Labor came to office in 2007.’’
Mr Stove said the government is delivering a sensibly-scaled Paid Parental Leave Scheme, vast improvements to the funding and resourcing of school education and a long overdue National Disability Insurance Scheme and a roll-out of the NBN. If elected, Mr Stove says he will be working towards the building of an Australia that will be an international example of what an intelligent, civil society can achieve.