There are 33 candidates standing for the ACT election in the Belconnen-based electorate of Ginninderra. Click or touch on a photo for more information about that candidate.
Geoff Buckmaster says he is a strong advocate for sustainability, and believes we must live within our means, without indebting our children and grandchildren or running down our environment. With a background as a corporate strategy specialist in the energy industry, now working in the science field, Buckmaster considers himself to be a very practical environmentalist. He is also concerned with building a diverse and productive economic base to secure a prosperous future for the people of Canberra and the surrounding region.
Martin Tye is a small business owner and sustainability campaigner. He is a keen surfer and can often be found at Broulee Beach, hanging out with his mates. Tye lived in Cook and attended Canberra High School in Macquarie before going on to study applied science and applied geography at the University of Canberra. He has two young adult sons, both at university, and like many parents, is deeply concerned by the total lack of economic, environmental, and social sustainability awareness being demonstrated by all current ACT politicians. Tye joined Sustainable Australia in 2012 because he was disillusioned with the major parties and his traditional voting choice. He wanted something different in politics, and a party willing to take a long term view and prioritise the broader public interest.
Yvette Berry is a sitting Labor member, and is expected to be named deputy chief minister, if the government is re-elected. She is a full-time working mum with two young children, and her family live in Dunlop in West Belconnen. Before joining politics, she worked in the hospitality industry for eight years, then joined the United Voice union. She has worked as a union organiser for 15 years. She describes herself as an advocate for social justice, concerned with industrial relations, housing affordability, education, and the rights of low paid and insecure workers. Berry has been housing and community services minister since 2014.
Chris Bourke, a former dentist, was the first indigenous Australian to be elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly. He moved to Canberra in 1993, and raised his family in Canberra. He said his career as a dentist, during which he owned a small business, instilled ideals of hard work and reinforced the importance of quality and well-funded healthcare. He lives in Weetangera with his wife Julie, a textile designer. He has three adult children. Bourke was elected to the assembly after a countback, following the resignation of former chief minister Jon Stanhope.
Tara Cheyne gained some prominence for her website, In the Taratory, an ACT-focussed review site, and strong social media presence. She moved to Canberra from Queensland eight years ago, and has been the chairwoman of the Belconnen Community Council and secretary for the Belconnen Arts Centre Board. She wants to bring experience and fresh ideas, and styles herself after former Ginninderra Assembly member Mary Porter, wanting to be open and accessible to the community.
Kim Fischer has been active in the Belconnen community for more than 15 years, working on her local school board and P&C, the National Health Co-op, and the Belconnen Community Council. She was as an advisor in the Stanhope government for five years, and has since become a communications consultant. Ms Fischer wants to improve transparency and strengthen governance in ACT parliament. She recently lobbied on the CSIRO Ginninderra Field Station site, playground upgrades, and a school crossing.
Gordon Ramsay is a former lawyer and the leader of Kippax Uniting Church, holding the role of executive minister for the past 20 years. He established and grew Uniting Care Kippax. He lives in Latham with his family, and describes Belconnen as his home and passion. He was a finalist in the Australian of the Year Local Hero awards last year, and has worked in a range of organisations to improve the lives of people doing it tough. He says his previous practice as a lawyer helps him bring "clear thinking and understanding" to his work.
Jason Chappel owns a small business. Chappel is excited about campaigning in Ginninderra and supporting small business, and wants to make the community fairer, helping those who slip through the cracks.
Indra Esguerra, the Greens' lead candidate for Ginninderra, is chief of staff to Greens leader Shane Rattenbury. Esguerra has worked as an advisor in the ACT Legislative Assembly for the past 10 years. She previously worked in a range of environmental non-government organisations and campaigns. She was born and raised in Canberra, and is now raising two children. Esguerra has previously run in federal campaigns, including for the federal seat of Fraser in 2010.
Richard Merzian has significant experience in climate policy, and climate change campaigns and activism. He spent four years as Australia's lead negotiator to the United Nations on adaptation to climate change. He has worked with the NSW Environmental Defender's Office and was one of the first chairs of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
Vicki Dunne has been sitting member for Ginninderra since 2001. Before entering politics she was a public servant in the Commonwealth Department of Education and the old Commonwealth Employment Service and was then a policy adviser to the ACT attorney-general and chief minister Gary Humphries. Dunne lives in Evatt where she and her husband raised their five children, all but one of whom still live in Canberra. Dunne has been active in community radio all her adult life and has been a patron and an on-going supporter of Karinya House Home for Mothers and Babies. She is very concerned about the cost of housing and how home ownership is becoming a thing of the past for young people. As a parent of children with chronic diseases, she is committed to better and more responsive health services in Canberra. She also knows that if we spend money on a tram for the few, the many will not see the services they want and need.
A Canberran since 1954, after a 30-year career as a diplomat and ambassador, Fisher is now a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. With her husband of 39 years, Denis, she has just served as a volunteer for two years in Indonesia and Lebanon. Her sense of principle and public service were inspired by her father, Trevor Kaine, the first Liberal ACT chief minister. As a working mother with three sons, and part of a professional couple, Denise knows the challenges of combining demanding careers with family responsibilities. She has lived in north and south Canberra, and for 30 years in Aranda. She is motivated by deep concern at Labor's pattern of big development decisions, often featuring secrecy, mateship, lack of competition, and without considering Canberra's unique heritage and residential character. She wants greater accountability to the Assembly.
As a mum, Kikkert has dedicated her life to the well-being of others – her five children, her husband, the Canberra community, youth and women's groups. She has been extensively involved in charity and community work. She was born in Tonga and immigrated to Australia with her family when she was nine. She moved to Canberra with her husband and three of her children 11 years ago - two more children were born here. Kikkert's husband is a public servant in Belconnen, where her children attend local schools. She is standing to improve the effectiveness of government. She wants to reduce rates, improve education, health, public transport and urban services.
Ignatius Rozario was born and raised in a Catholic community in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and has lived in Canberra for 16 years. He grew up in a big family with five sisters and a brother. His parents taught him that success is built on hard work and there are no easy ways. He and his wife have a daughter and live in Macgregor. Rozario studied at the University of Canberra and has worked for 10 years as an accountant, specialising in taxation and business. He spent five years as the manager of a franchised food restaurant. Rozario is a strong supporter St Vincent de Paul. He wants to ensure everyone has the chance to meet their potential, no matter what their background, and to ensure everyone is included. He believes the ACT government has a fundamental duty to look after the most vulnerable in the community. He is focussed on fair rates, better bus services for Belconnen, fixing the health system and more investment on education, better roads and car parking and support for Canberra families, young Canberrans and homeless people.
Paul Sweeney lives in Weetangera with his wife, daughter and two dogs. Born in Canberra he spent his first few years in Holt, then with his single mother in western Sydney. He credits his mum with teaching him the values of education, hard work and caring for people. He became a police officer and prosecutor to defend people, returning to Canberra 12 years ago. He is an active member of the Belconnen Community Men's Shed. He has a record of outspoken advocacy in the courts, defending the community as a whole and victims of violent, drug related and domestic crime in particular. Sweeney is running for election as he believes Labor cannot be trusted with our money, with rates soaring and quality of government declining.
Richard Harriss has lived in Canberra all his life. He grew up in Higgins, attending schools in Belconnen and graduated from the University of Canberra with a degree in office management. As a married father of two and now living in Forde, Gungahlin, he spends most weekends at kids' sport or riding the trails with family in the nature reserves near his home. Harriss wants to see Canberra reach its full potential through innovation and opportunities. He believes the government needs to be held better to account on its priorities and spending. Rather than sitting back and hoping for the best this October, he has decided to do something about it and stand for election.
Sam Huggins grew up and went to school in Belconnen, and is an electrician by trade. He said he was running to advocate for high speed rail, which he wanted to happen for his daughter, for Canberra, the region, and the country. "High speed rail is not only needed, it's long overdue," he said. "High speed rail would create more than 100,000 jobs and stimulate the economy." He said high speed rail would connect cities to regional Australia, where housing was affordable. He said high speed rail would help revitalise and connect towns to major cities. "Voters should vote for me and the other Like Canberra candidates because we we are in touch with real Canberrans, we are just 'like' you," he said.
Geoff Kettle is the former mayor of Goulburn, a position he held for six years. Kettle says he ran a council that was independent, not controlled by factions, and did what it was supposed to do, "that is govern for the whole community". He said he took a strong stance on openness and transparency, government contracts, and government purchasing. "I think the ACT should have an ICAC. I'm not a strong supporter of the tram at all, we don't know what that's going to cost," he said. Mr Kettle is a fourth-generation Goulburn resident who has owned the newsagency at Marulan since 1999, but sold the business last year. He has also lived in Canberra, including when he was in the police force in the early 1980s and worked in finance for a number of car dealers.
Alan Tutt is a greyhound breeder, who decided to run in politics after the government decided to shut down the greyhound racing industry.
Naomi Gowor was born in Canberra and is a long-term resident of Belconnen. She holds degrees in science and arts, and a master's in science communication from the ANU. Gowor is a dog lover and passionately believes in the ability of science to improve lives. She has worked in the medical and tertiary education sectors, and now advises on public health matters. Gowor believes that Canberra's base of highly skilled workers should be less restricted in exploring their ideas and innovations
Guy Jakeman believes that we are over-regulated, over-nannied and over-taxed. "The ACT government should be ashamed that we have the worst emergency waiting times, the worst business survival rates and that our justice system is far too slow and expensive," he said. "Instead they tell us we can't use fireworks, can't speak our mind, that we shouldn't drink, smoke, vape, protest or stay out late and that we must always wear bike helmets." Jakeman said the government should be reined in and only focus on providing affordable and efficient public services, allowing people and businesses to run their lives as they see fit.
Bernie Brennan is a bus driver who has lived in Belconnen for 30 years. He is the former Animal Liberation ACT president and treasurer. Brennan has been a campaigner for animal protection for the past 20 years, working to expose the cruelty of factory farming, long distance transport, rodeos and hunting. He said it's time to look at Canberra's shrinking green corridors and how Canberra's expansion is impacting on wildlife.
Kim Huynh arrived in Canberra as a Vietnamese refugee in 1979 at the age of two. He spent much of his childhood and youth working in his family's bakeries at Florey and then Jamison. In 2002, Huynh hung up his apron to become a lecturer at the ANU where he's taught politics, international relations and philosophy to thousands of students. He's also a published author of fiction and non-fiction, radio commentator and club volunteer. Huynh is running to give back to the community that has always backed him. He believes that many Canberrans are crying out for a more diverse and accountable Legislative Assembly. His policies focus on local sport, arts and planning with a view promoting social inclusion. Huynh is against light rail because he says he's for evidence-based policy.
Vanessa Jones lives in West Belconnen, and started a Facebook page "Kippax Ideas" over a year ago, because she was angry at the lack of media coverage of the area. She has lived in the area for 15 years and says she has witnessed it being ignored constantly by Labor and the Greens. She believes independent voices are needed for Ginninderra. Jones has two children who attended schools in Belconnen, and she is a teacher who has helped run a business. She wants to stop light rail, invest in rapid buses, spread out public housing between suburbs, preserve green spaces and ovals, support same-sex marriage, reduce gambling and poker machines, and maximise renewable energy, among other things.
Leigh Watson says she wants to live in a Canberra that has equity at its core – where everyone has access to the things that make living in our city great. She said she would be active wherever "wellbeing, rights and lives of all Canberrans are affected", and said her main focus would be on affordable housing. Watson was formerly the head of ACT Shelter, and said advocating on housing rights for Canberrans on low to moderate incomes has given her deep insight into how crucial secure and affordable housing was for people to live meaningful and connected lives. Watson said the ACT government has failed to listen to the concerns of community groups and professional bodies about the issue – even though the ACT now has the second highest rate of homelessness in Australia and many people are facing housing-related financial difficulties. Watson said the government's poor response on the issue had led her to stand as an independent.
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