ACT Labor leader and Chief Minister Andrew Barr is a near-certainty to retain his seat in this left-leaning electorate. Barr describes himself as a proud Canberran, social progressive, economic reformer and sports lover. Barr began in ACT parliament in 2006, and has served in a wide range of portfolios, becoming chief minister in 2014 to replace Katy Gallagher. Barr is the first openly gay state or territory leader in the country, and has actively championed same-sex marriage and LGBTIQ rights. He said he is working to improve Canberra by upgrading roads and public transport, diversifying the economy, and building a city that reflects the "pride Canberrans feel in their home".
Josh Ceramidas is a lifelong Canberran, who says his experience of homelessness greatly shaped his early life. He struggled to make ends meet after leaving school, starting as an apprentice baker, and keeping all his possessions in plastic tubs in the back of his car. Having no fixed address and no place he could call home was an experience that made him understand how easy it is for any person to end up needing a helping hand. Ceramidas now works in the public service, and lives with his partner Katie and is expecting his first child next year.
Leah Dwyer is a public servant who lives in Hackett with her young daughter, partner, and two dogs. She moved to Canberra in 2008 from Brisbane. She studied science and international relations, and has experience in the not-for-profit sector and the labour movement. She is keen to represent a fresh and dynamic Labor and provide a voice for young parents who juggle work and family.
Richard Niven is a long-term federal public servant, keen cyclist, and performer, who has also been active in local community work. His interests in collaborative planning and innovation motivated him to enter politics. Niven has lived in Canberra for 25 years, mostly in Downer. He is married with three teenage daughters.
Rachel Stephen-Smith has a varied background, working as chief of staff to Senator Kim Carr, a horse riding coach, diplomat, waitress, and in policy areas for government and non-government organisations. Stephen-Smith has been an active member of the local equestrian community, and helped rebuild the cross country course after bushfires in 2001 and 2003. She grew up in O'Connor, and went to Turner Primary, Lyneham High, and Dickson College. Stephen-Smith studied economics at the Australian National University.
Mark Ellis is a computer systems engineer, and has worked as a computer contractor with IBM, Fujitsu, Datacom, the High Court of Australia, and UTS. Ellis was in the Army Reserve for nine years, and has a keen interest in music production and photography. His interest in politics comes from a belief in getting involved rather than just complaining on the sidelines about what is wrong. He says he was attracted to the Liberal Democrats because his personal beliefs closely align with the libertarian values of the party.
Michael O'Rourke was a public servant until his retirement in 2011, and worked for a long period with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was briefly secretary to the Federal Executive Council. O'Rourke says he is standing to "advocate for the centrality of private property and the market order, free trade, the rule of law, and freedom of the press, religion and speech". He said in recent decades these values and principles had been eroded in the ACT. O'Rourke wants them fully restored.
Hugh Upton studied law and economics at the ANU, and has been a member of the Liberal Democrats since 2012. He said he was "attracted to the highly principled approach of the party on policy issues". Upton considers the Liberal Democrats to be a breath of fresh air in a political system that increasing caters to an electoral base of older voters. He is contesting the election with the aim of informing Canberrans about a truly small-l liberal party.
Shane Rattenbury is the leader of the ACT Greens and an incumbent of two terms, first entering ACT parliament in 2008. He has lived in Canberra for more than three decades and has campaigned on issues like clean energy, light rail, and marriage equality. For the past four years, he has served as the sole Green, giving Labor its majority through a power-sharing deal that sees him awarded a spot in cabinet. It is the first time an ACT Greens member has been a minister. Rattenbury is the Greens' lead candidate for Kurrajong and is expected to hold his seat.
Jillian Thomsen is a disability support worker and advocate. She also has experience in the public and mental health sectors. The Greens say she is standing because she has seen first hand impacts that government decisions can have on our most vulnerable people.
Rebecca Vassarotti is a candidate with significant and broad experience in the community, government, and legal sectors in Canberra. She spent 10 years as the executive director of YWCA Canberra, has served as the deputy chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, and sits as a member of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Vassarotti also worked as the secretariat for the bushfire recovery taskforce. Vassarotti is a Greens' support candidate for Kurrajong.
Maryann Mussared is an artist and lives in Yarralumla. She worked in business, public and community service. She says Canberrans are all custodians of the city, and should leave things in the same or better shape than we found them. The major parties show little consideration for the long-term livability of the garden city which is being destroyed by financial imperatives and lack of concern for aesthetics and good design. Like Canberra will push for the removal of the barriers between community and politicians, and increase public confidence and transparency.
Candice Burch has lived, worked and studied in the inner north and inner south for a decade, and lives in Kingston. She is completing a Master of Business Administration at the Australian National University and works for the Commonwealth Department of Finance, where she has worked on five federal budgets. She is standing because she cares deeply about the centre of Canberra, and wants to return the focus of the government to the things that matter to Canberrans – essential services. While rates and cost of living keeps going up and up, many services are getting worse and worse. Whether it is road maintenance, footpaths, or grass mowing, she believes there are many basic services that local government should be focused on delivering, and delivering well.
Brooke Curtin's working career includes military service, business and the public sector. She was Australia's equal first woman to be qualified on military fast jet aircraft as an F-111 navigator. She lives in Campbell, is married, and has two children at school and one in daycare. As a working mum who manages the family budget, Curtin is deeply concerned about the increasing pressure on household budgets, including the significant rate rises year on year. She decided to run in this election after spending a long night enduring Canberra's broken health system with her young daughter. She is also passionate about ensuring the government gets the basics right on issues like parking, footpaths and playgrounds. Having worked with Australia's largest companies, she knows how to develop incentives for businesses to invest in the region.
Steve Doszpot and his parents arrived in Australia in 1957 as refugees from Hungary. Educated in Sydney, he was transferred to Canberra for a job in the computer industry where he worked for 25 years. He was elected to ACT Legislative Assembly in 2008. Doszpot has had extensive involvement in local sports as president of Soccer Canberra and as chairperson of the Canberra Olympic Council. He also organised Canberra's Olympic football involvement for the Sydney 2000 Games. With eight years in politics, Doszpot has become increasingly aware of local issues - rates increases, neglect of basic services and sporting ground maintenance.
Elizabeth Lee is a lawyer, university lecturer, advocate for the legal profession, and fitness instructor. She migrated to Australia from Korea when she was seven, and moved to Canberra at 18 to study law at the ANU. She has lived in Kurrajong for the past 18 years and lives in Braddon. Lee has worked as a lawyer in government and private practice and has been chairperson of the ACT and Australian Young Lawyers committee, and councillor and vice-president of the ACT Law Society, her current position. She is a law lecturer at the ANU and UC and volunteers at the Legal Advice Bureau. Lee stood in 2012 and is putting her hand up again this year because she believes that Canberrans deserve a government that will govern for all, not just a few. She wants a government that will take pride in Canberra, be a champion for its people, and create a city that Australians want to invest their hearts in. She wants to see a government that takes responsibility for its decisions holds itself to account.
Peter McKay is a Queenslander by birth and a Canberran by choice. His early years were shaped by strong family values in a small business environment. He became self-sufficient early and backpacked through Papua New Guinea, India and Nepal. He has been an army parachutist, career army officer including commanding a tri-service overseas contingent, an executive level public servant, a union delegate, and an army reservist. McKay is a graduate of the Royal Military College Duntroon, and the universities of NSW, Canberra and Flinders, where he majored in military arts, economics, law and public sector management. He values a compassionate can-do attitude, courage, integrity, teamwork, and respect. He and wife Trish have three married daughters. He enjoys mentoring, singing, swimming, skiing, travel, and weekly community events.
Richard Farmer is a former newspaper, television and radio journalist and a former public servant and lobbyist. He also set up one of Canberra's first BYO restaurants in a Kingston house and with his brother David established first Farmer Bros liquor store in 1975 that grew into a major chain in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. He founded Canbet internet bookmaking company. He is a former member of the Labor Party, who advised Bob Hawke during the 1980s. He was also involved in the campaign of former footballer turned MLA Paul Osborne and Dave Rugendyke.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to make a worthwhile contribution to the way Canberra is governed but Mike Hettinger actually is one. Hettinger migrated from the US nearly 25 years ago. He stood for the Labor Party in the 2004 and 2008 ACT elections. He lives in O'Connor with his wife Donna and daughter Phoebe, who attends nearby O'Connor Cooperative School. He helped save Dickson College, has been the chairperson of the North Canberra Community Council and is a member of his local Community Fire Unit.
Lucinda Spier has lived in Canberra and in the Kurrajong electorate since 1974. She has worked in the public and private sectors and is a partner in a micro business. She is a mother and grandmother and has stood for the Legislative Assembly before, for the Canberra First Party in 2001, and for the Liberals before that, in 1995. Her pet hate is Canberra's high rates.
John Haydon has held senior positions during his 25 years with the federal Department of Immigration, and as well as the Bureau of Statistics. He holds three university degrees including a Bachelor of Economics, and a Masters of Business Administration from Adelaide University. As someone trained in economics, Haydon is concerned at the waste that results from unsustainable population growth and property speculation. He suggests if Australians weren't paying high property prices, savings could be better spent on starting new businesses, generating jobs, including in manufacturing which he believes has been given away by the big parties. Haydon also holds a leadership position in a community education organisation where he is an advocate to government for effective and efficient public schooling in the ACT. Haydon enjoys riding his bike through the countryside, and life with his wife and daughter.
Growing up in Canberra, Oliver Tye said he obtained a great appreciation for the bush capital. Tye attended Canberra Grammar School, and finished his schooling on the NSW south coast, completing his HSC as college captain of St Peter's Anglican College. Tye is now studying a bachelor of science at the ANU. He enjoys playing water polo at the Civic outdoor pool, and is in a budding indie-rock band named Suave Combo. Tye says he feels a great sense of "custodianship for his community" and wants to represent younger Canberrans in the Legislative Assembly. He wants to stop overdevelopment and associated rates increases, and is also concerned with housing affordability and protecting animals and biodiversity.
Marea Fatseas lives in Yarralumla and owns consultancy Ideas Connect. Born and raised in Orange, NSW, of Greek immigrant parents, she went to university in Sydney, then spent 25 years in the Australian public service, working on innovation, research, education, immigration and ethnic affairs policies. She was posted to Vietnam and speaks Vietnamese and is former president of the Yarralumla Residents Association and former committee member of the Inner South Canberra Community Council. Fatseas says she will not accept donations from developers, nor overseas travel or perks. She believes political leaders are no longer listening or responding, especially on planning. She will value community views, and not be part of pitting one generation against another. She wants urban planning and respect for heritage, an independent review of light rail and other transport options, more protection for open space, a ban on developer donations and an independent integrity commissioner.
Peter Robinson lives in Ainslie and has worked as a systems analyst; arts and science journalist, actor, satirist, playwright, novelist and primary ethics teacher. He came to Canberra as an eight-year-old in 1961. He believes decisions should be based on evidence and reason rather than party dogma or captain's calls. He wants less scapegoating and more analysis in political discourse; a more collegiate assembly with dual ministers. Robinson believes the Labor/Green light rail was an appalling municipal decision, but he doesn't want the social conservatism of the Liberals. He believes ACTION could become a dynamic demand driven bus network; Canberra could be developed and branded as a premier cycling hub for residents, tourists and competitors; public tenants should be scattered throughout the community rather than concentrated in ghettos; non-violent criminals should be given non-custodial sentences. He believes Canberra can enjoy economic prosperity and development without sacrificing its natural and architectural beauty. He wants more renewable energy industries in the ACT and our urban green spaces and our cultural institutions protected and enhanced.
Graeme Strachan has been a Canberra resident for 16 years and lives in the Kurrajong electorate. He has more than 30 years experience in business management, in small and medium enterprises in the hospitality industry. He moved to Canberra to study commerce and law at the Australian National University. He is an independent candidate not bound by party ties to vote for policies he disagrees with, but says he is free to support policies he feels are in the best interests of his community. He says he will work constructively across the Assembly to bring positive change for Canberra. He believes the community is too often disadvantaged because the policies of factions and extreme wings of established parties are implemented, without merit, to placate factions. He wants to work together to keep Canberra the most liveable city in Australia. He is a proud ballet and netball dad to daughter Elise, 9, a fourth generation Canberran, who was chosen as the Canberra Centenary Girl, blowing out the candles of Canberra's 100th birthday cake.
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