On Saturday 23rd March we get to vote for the 57th Parliament of New South Wales. This includes all 93 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council.

Election polling booth
Photo credit: Western Magazine

In the lead up to the election, there can be a bit of information overload. But it can also be hard to find out about our local candidates and what they stand for. Chances are most of us won’t get along to a meet the candidates forum. So to make it easier to get to know the candidates, we developed a set of 10 questions. And asked each candidate in the Parramatta electorate to answer them. Plus seven other electorates – Auburn, Blacktown, Epping, Granville, Prospect, Ryde and Seven Hills – that cover where our readers are mostly from.

| About Parramatta Electorate | Meet the Parramatta Candidates | About the State Election |

Candidates listed on the Electoral Commission website were sent the questions on 3rd March and had 10 days to respond. Unfortunately we didn’t realise that candidate nominations were still open for a few more days. And we have since emailed the candidates that nominated later our questions. We sent reminder emails to candidates on the 12th March. We strongly believe it’s in everyone’s interest for all candidates to provide responses. And we welcome your support in encouraging them to do so.

Parramatta state electorate

We appreciate candidates making the time to respond, particularly given how busy it is for them in the lead up to the election. Candidate participation was purely voluntary. The responses have been provided by the candidates themselves and have only been formatted, not edited (even to correct spelling or grammatical errors). Where a candidate did not provide information, we have written NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.

ParraParents is not aligned with any political party or candidate. We have collected this information to help you make an informed decision when voting in the 2019 state election.


About the Parramatta Electorate

Lake Parramatta Reserve

The Parramatta electorate is 36 square kilometres and includes the following suburbs: Camellia, Carlingford, Dundas, Dundas Valley, Ermington, Granville, Harris Park, Melrose Park, North Parramatta, North Rocks, Oatlands, Parramatta, Rosehill, Rydalmere, Telopea.


Meet the Candidates for Parramatta

Here are the 7 candidates running in the Parramatta electorate. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by surname.

Parramatta electorate NSW State Election 2019
Parramatta candidates who responded to our questions, in alphabetical order by surname.

We have provided the responses below in the order they were received.


Michelle Garrard (Our Local Community)

Michelle Garrard

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I grew up in Granville. I went to MacArthur Girls High. I love our city Parramatta. I have watch our city grow and am excited to be apart of where it is going.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  1. I’m a single Mum of 3. However I’ve had a fantastic partner for a while now.
  2. I’m Deputy Lord Mayor of Parramatta (2017-2019).
  3. I’m passionate about what I believe in.

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Parramatta community? (limit to top 5)

  • MAAS (powerhouse) location
  • lack of consultation
  • Loss of Parra Pool
  • Light Rail route
  • saving our Heritage

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. Non support of MAAS
  2. Lobby for full funding for a Pool
  3. Surveying constituents for their priorities.

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

  • Cost of electricity – revise and consider energy efficient options
  • Explore Cross city Transport options – facilitate cross city bus services ie. Westmead to Rydalmere. Ie. Old Toongabbie to Winston hills/Northmead. Currently every service goes via parramatta.
  • Adequate before/after school services

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

Pressured the State for a Pool; Listened to the community; Represented Residents at all levels of Government; maintained an independent position. Upgrade to Dundas Community Centre facility. Park upgrades.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Yes, an example is the current liberal state government have rezoned Telopea from 1500 dwellings to Nearly 6000, with no additional open space, no additional community facilities or infrastructure.

Solution is adequate infrastructure, open space and facilities to compliment development.

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

School audit across the Parramatta District to identify inadequacies and overcrowding. If necessary additional priority Funding accordingly.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

Water Quality unfortunately is a long term issue. Adequate funding to continue cleansing of waterways.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I am a member of Our Local Community (OLC). I am running as an independent candidate. I have never been a member of any other Political Party. I have not had any discussion relating to Preferences. Nor have any intention of preferencing. I think it is important for voters if they are to support me choose their own preference if they are so inclined.


Phil Bradley (Greens)

Phil Bradley

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I am a City of Parramatta Councillor, the first Greens Councillor ever here. I was the Greens candidate for Arthur Phillip Ward in the last Parramatta City Council election in 2017, and for the Parramatta electorate in previous NSW and Federal elections. I have lived with my spouse Annie Nielsen in the Parramatta local government area for 23 years and have two daughters.

I love Parramatta’s vibrancy, its remarkable Aboriginal, colonial, multicultural and built heritage, and its fabulous green spaces including its bushland.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  1. That I have demonstrated my ability to not just talk, but to act on my beliefs as a Parramatta Councillor, and previously as a civil engineer, TAFE teacher, and senior officer of the NSW Teachers Federation.
  2. That I have won a National Volunteer Award for voluntary leadership roles in the Parramatta Climate Action Network (10 years), the Parramatta Female Factory Action Group (5 years) and as President of Reconciliation for Western Sydney (20 years).
  3. That I also volunteer with Parramatta Bushcare and on the Executive of the Better Planning Network.

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Parramatta community? (limit to top 5)

  1. Poorly planned overdevelopment without the community infrastructure, green spaces or services needed for the population growth.
  2. Creating more quality, secure, safe and well paid jobs.
  3. Addressing increasing extreme heat and its negative heat stress health impacts, including by urgently building our new Aquatic Centre.
  4. Inadequate state public services including transport, education and health.
  5. Totally inadequate supply of genuinely affordable housing.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. Better Planning , Heritage, Culture and Arts – opposing unsustainable development and supporting better planning, with priority on genuine community consultation to deliver on feedback; and promoting Parramatta’s outstanding Aboriginal, multicultural, natural and built heritage.
  2. Creating a Jobs-Rich, Clean Energy Future – thousands more secure, well paid jobs by addressing extreme heat; supporting solar energy, more trees, water parks, green spaces, energy efficiency and early intervention against heat stress health risks.
  3. More Quality Public Services Not Privatisation – affordable housing; free, quality public education including preschool, school and TAFE; increased staff at Westmead hospital; more trains, buses and cycleways, not the exorbitant WestConnex toll road nor a 24 x 7 noisy, polluting airport nearby; and improved community services.

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

Poorly planned overdevelopment without the community infrastructure, green spaces or services needed for the population growth, and paying ever increasing bills. See 3(1), 4(1, 2, 3) above

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

  • As the first Parramatta Greens Councillor, I successfully moved that Council lobby the State and Federal Planning & Heritage Ministers to grant National Heritage Listing for the Parramatta Female Factory Fleet Street Precinct, which was approved soon after.
  • I have also achieved increased provision for high performing building sustainability, reduced use of single use plastics, planning for a community garden at Westmead and a motion strongly opposing a huge toxic Incinerator in Western Sydney.
  • I have also supported numerous Council motions to reduce excessive high-rise and other overdevelopment, and to protect heritage sites.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Absolutely yes! Please see 3 a) and 4 a), b) and c) above. Also, the State government must support a much higher public value share of the huge profits that developers and land owners are making, especially in the CBD. Parramatta Council is in shortfall for the necessitated community infrastructure funding by about $200 million in the CBD alone!

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

This is outrageous and a clear example of poor planning and inadequate funding for education and for preservation of open spaces, in favour of high rise overcrowding by government allowing huge profits to wealthy developers and land owners.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

I am a Councillor representative on the Parramatta River Catchment Management Group and have as a civil engineer worked to minimise waterway pollution and treat trade wastes. The PRCG is working hard to clean up sources of pollution, support wetland filtration and purification works like planned at Milson Park Westmead and to make the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025, like Lake Parramatta is now (most of the time). I support the reintroduction in schools of Stream Watch pollution monitoring and more funding for the Environment Protection Authority to do this and to enforce compliance.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I was a member of the Labor Party until 2004, when I left and joined the Greens. Preferences in this election are optional, but YOUR CHOICE not that of the party or that person you vote for. If your first choice is not elected, your number 2 vote will count like a 1 vote if that person is still in the race to be elected, so please empower your vote by numbering as many squares as you prefer in order 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. The final winner in Parramatta is most likely either Liberal or Labor, but even if I don’t win, a vote for me still helps The Greens, sends a strong message and your 2, 3, … will still count. The Greens in Parramatta recommend Greens 1 and a vote for Labor ahead of Liberal.


Geoff Lee (Liberal Party) – Current Member for Parramatta

Parramatta electorate

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I first moved to Parramatta in 1992 when I set up and ran the Hambledon Garden Centre. In 2004 I started as a lecturer at Western Sydney University and was appointed Associate Dean of Engagement in 2007. In 2011, I was elected as the Member of Parramatta and I have been honoured and privileged to represent the Parramatta electorate for the past 8 years. Myself, my parents and my brother all live in the Parramatta area.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  • Born in Australia, I am of Chinese and Scottish heritage. I am also the first person with Chinese ancestry to be elected to the lower house of the NSW Parliament.
  • I was a teacher. I was a TAFE teacher from 2003 to 2004 and a lecturer and Associate Dean at Western Sydney University from 2004 to 2010.
  • I love gardening, have been a horticulturist for 20 years and hold an undergraduate degree in Applied Science (Horticulture). I also hold a Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of Business Administration from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Parramatta community? (limit to top 5)

  1. Congestion. I am committed to delivering Parramatta Light Rail and better public transport. Light rail will move 9,000 people an hour and take thousands of cars off our roads. I am also committed to delivering more bus, ferry and train services and introducing new transport solutions, such as ‘last mile’ and ‘on demand’ buses that take people to and from their homes and transport hubs. Delivering more cycle ways is another way we can take more cars off the roads, with the Parramatta Light Rail project including a new shared pathway along the Carlingford corridor.
  2. Overdevelopment. We need to build the right development in the right location. That means density should be built close to major public transport hubs. Supplying more homes not only makes housing more affordable, for renters and buyers, but it gives people choice. Some people want city living, with all the amenities close by while others want to live in leafy green suburbs. But we also need to make our suburbs liveable, by improving access and connectivity to jobs, schools and universities, hospitals and transport, as well as parklands, open spaces and sporting facilities.
  3. Parking. People in Western Sydney drive cars, and as the population grows that means more cars, making parking an important issue for many people. Planning for the future is critical. New developments need to have adequate off-street parking and we must have alternative transport options that are attractive to people, such as the ‘last mile’ and ‘On Demand’ services which are being trialled across Sydney for getting people from their homes to transport hubs or from transport hubs to their place of work. Delivering bicycle infrastructure from bike paths to bicycle storage sheds at train stations also encourages more people to cycle rather than drive. Councils also need to work closely with residents to find solutions when local traffic conditions change.
  4. Schools – delivering the world best education for our children, we need the best teachers and expand capacity and quality. See more in question 8.
  5. Liveability. Making our suburbs and city more liveable, by giving people a choice of housing options, providing access to good jobs, schools and universities, hospitals and public transport. It is also about improving our environment by investing in parklands and open spaces and sporting facilities. We have already made record investment in our local area, with $35 million spent improving facilities, such as playgrounds, picnic areas and heritage restoration in Parramatta Park and $24 million on shared pedestrian and cycle paths and we have committed $5 million to upgrade Rydalmere Park, $10 million to upgrade George Kendall Reserve, $100,000 for flood lights in Doyle Park and $3 million on further Parramatta Park upgrades.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. Ensure the delivery of a record $5 billion in infrastructure in the Parramatta over the next 4 years, which includes Parramatta Light Rail, the Powerhouse Museum (which will include Australia’s largest Planetarium), Riverside Theatre upgrade, new schools, pool, Westmead adult and children’s hospitals upgrade and West Metro.
  2. Realising Parramatta potential as an Education City.
    Sydney University is investing $500 million to build their second campus and NSW and Western Sydney Universities are building a major engineering and innovation hub in Parramatta. With the NSW Government’s record investment in new schools and the relocation of the Department of Education Headquarters to Parramatta, we have the potential to be Australia’s best Education City.
  3. Focus on liveability so not only can families access good jobs, schools and universities, hospitals and public transport but can also enjoy access to quality open space, where kids can get out and kick a ball around.With $2.2 million of NSW Government funding, Parramatta Council has opened their first all-inclusive playground and water playpark at Ollie Webb Reserve. Additionally, the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund will upgrade up to 20 local playgrounds.I will also be focusing on the delivery of the $10 million George Kendall Reserve upgrade, the $5 million Rydalmere Park upgrade and $3 million Parramatta Park upgrades to improve the quality of existing parks and deliver more upgraded playgrounds and sporting facilities.

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

Cost of Living is a key issue and we have a number of savings and rebates to help families and to make it easier these are now available at Service NSW. Savings and rebates include:

  • $200 in Active Kids Rebates and $100 Creative Kids rebates
  • Energy Rebates
  • One Click Energy Switch’ to compare and switch plans
  • NSW Gas Rebate
  • Apprentice Vehicle Registration Rebate
  • CTP Green Slip Refunds
  • Toll Relief for privately owned vehicles, with half-priced registration if you spend more than $15 p.w. on tolls and free rego if you spend more than $25 p.w.
  • Seniors Opal Card Concessions, capping public transport fares at $2.50 per day
  • First home buyers grants
  • All savings and rebates are available in a single portal at service.nsw.gov.au, or
  • Book a free appointment with a Cost of Living Specialist at ServiceNSW.
  • In addition we were the first state to subsidise all three and four year olds attending community preschool, on average saving families more than $1,600 over two years.

Our Government has also committed to make available before and after school care to all parents with children at public primary schools by 2021 which will be available from 7am to 6pm.

Finally we are committed to delivery of new public transport solutions including light rail, metro and bike paths to that gives people more affordable car-free options and greater choice. Our Government will continue to focus on ways to help families with cost of living pressures.

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

From the small to the large:

  1. Pedestrian bridge over Pennant Hills Road, North Parramatta
  2. New and upgraded schools: O’Connell St public school opened 2018; Rosehill Public School major upgrade; and new Parramatta Public and Arthur Phillip High Schools to be completed this year
  3. New stadium to open in April 2019
  4. Decentralisation with 1,800 Education Headquarter jobs relocated and 4,000 Government coming soon to Parramatta
  5. $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail, contracts awarded to build and operate Stage 1, which connects Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta CBD and Camellia.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Everybody knows that infrastructure should be delivered at the same time as development. However, in 2011 we inherited a $30 billion infrastructure backlog for the State and coupled with population growth we have been playing catch-up.

We have worked hard since coming to Government to bring the budget into a strong position. It is because of our robust financial management we have been able to invest $110 billion over the past 8 years and commit to a further $87 billion over the next 4 years on infrastructure. This is a remarkable achievement.

I am proud to say Parramatta will benefit from $5 billion in infrastructure over the next 4 years – no other electorate is getting this much. We are making good progress but we are not finished yet.

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

When elected in 2011 we inherited a $30 billon infrastructure back log. A new trend emerged at that time with families with children choosing to live in apartments. Unfortunately planners failed to identify this trend early on, and as a result student numbers in some school catchment areas increased significantly over a short period of time and we have been playing catch up ever since.

I am proud to say that Parramatta is receiving record investment in new and upgraded schools. This has seen the new O’Connell Street Public School open in 2018, a major upgrade of Rosehill Public School and the two flagship vertical schools in Parramatta CBD well underway and due to open late 2019 and planning for a new K-12 school in Rydalmere (on the old Macquarie Boys site) and for Carlingford West Primary School and Cumberland High School.

New schools are carefully designed to suit the needs of students, teachers and to fit into the local area. Buildings are architecturally designed based on the latest pedagogy. They have modern, flexible and collaborative learning spaces, are equipped with the latest technology. Clever design means the new flagship vertical schools will have three times more outdoor recreation area for students.

All new and refurbished schools should be based on modern design that looks to improve outdoor space for recreational activities.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

There are definitely things we can do to help.

  • We are developing a Green Grid in Parramatta that connects homes to parks, open spaces and the river foreshore through green corridors, encouraging more people out of cars and into more active options of walking, cycling and running. This forms the basis for our strategic investment to make Parramatta the most liveable city.
  • Our 5 Million Trees program will grow the urban canopy of Greater Sydney to 40% by 2030 this will provide more shade and cooler suburbs. We have also announced a $6 million grants program to help councils facilitate the planting of more trees.
  • Four years ago I helped established the Parramatta River Catchment Group. Their goal is to make Parramatta River swimmable by 2025. In October 2018 they launched a Masterplan and Ten Step Plan to create new swimming spots, reduce run off, improve overflows and involve the community. I support their priorities and call for more resources to expand their network and water quality monitoring program and to increase the role that local community groups can play in improving tributaries.
  • I am also pleased to have supported the improved facilities at Parramatta Lake, which is proving to be a very popular swimming spot and I also support Council expanding the number of water play and all-inclusive playgrounds in our area.
  • Finally, we will deliver the new Parramatta Pool by 2020 and in the meantime, the pool at Macarthur Girls High School is open for learn to swim and lap swimming.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I have been a member of the Liberal Party for 8 ½ years and the Member for Parramatta for the past 8 years. I will not be giving preferences.


Liz Scully (Labor Party)

Liz Scully

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

Hi! I’m Liz Scully. My family (husband Gerard, three kids and a cat) love living in Parramatta: the diversity, friendliness and connection that comes from a shared sense of community. I’ve lived locally since 1994. Some of our favourite places to get out and about are Lake Parramatta, Parramatta Park and Doyle Ground in North Parramatta.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  • I work part-time as a Communications Officer at Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
  • I’m really excited to be part of a group of local volunteers working to start a new women’s shelter in Parramatta this year
  • I’m the descendant of a woman who was in the Parramatta Female Factory in the 1820s

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Parramatta community? (limit to top 5)

  1. Overdevelopment: Local residents are concerned about overdevelopment, and what it means for quality of life. A NSW Labor Government will put people first by directing the Greater Sydney Commission to revise unfair housing supply targets that will see more than 21 000 new dwellings built in Parramatta over five years.
  2. Parramatta Pool: I was active in the campaign to save Parramatta War Memorial Pool. Like other community members, I’m still devastated that the Berejiklian Government sent in the bulldozers on this local icon. That’s why a NSW Labor Government will deliver Parramatta Pool.
  3. Cost of living pressures: As a mum with a mortgage, I understand cost of living pressures first hand. Policies like free public transport for kids, a cashback scheme on the pricey M4 toll and tackling rising power prices by re-regulating the electricity market will help household budgets.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. Deliver Parramatta Pool
  2. Bring back cashback on the M4 toll
  3. Introduce free public transport for kids

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

I think NSW deserves a world class health system. I had my kids at Westmead Hospital, and we’ve had plenty of experience using the Children’s Hospital too. The staff are terrific, but I know they need more support. Local hospitals also have some of the longest wait times in NSW. We’ll cut waiting times and improve patient care by employing thousands more nurses, paramedics, and hospital security staff – including mandated nurse to patient ratios for the first time.

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

My community involvement includes chairing the newly established Board of Parramatta Women’s Shelter; volunteering at local playgroups and membership of the North Parramatta Residents Action Group. I have been involved in the campaigns to save Parramatta War Memorial Pool, Willow Grove and St George’s Terrace and to protect the Parramatta Female Factory.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Our city and suburbs are changing fast, and local services are stretched. The Berejiklian Government has failed to meet the needs of our rapidly growing community. In fact, through the Greater Sydney Commission, Parramatta is set for significantly more growth than any other local government area in NSW: 21 650 new dwellings over five years. If a Daley Labor Government is elected in March, the Greater Sydney Commission will be directed to review these targets to make sure that each area gets its fair share of new homes.

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

Lunch breaks are rostered at my kids’ school! If elected, Labor will conduct an audit of all government land to identify priority sites for new schools. I know parents and carers of students at local schools are also concerned about the increasing numbers of demountables on schools sites across the Parramatta area. We’ll also replace 1000 ageing demountables with new air conditioned classrooms. Schools right across NSW with the most demountables will be prioritised.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

Thanks for asking! Just this week, we announced that a Daley Labor Government will invest $1.8 million in priority actions towards making the Parramatta River swimmable again by 2025. This investment would be put to immediate use to support further research and expand water quality monitoring across the river.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I’ve been a member of the Australian Labor Party since 2002. I’m giving my preferences to Phil Bradley from The Greens and Independent Michelle Garrard.


Susan Price (Socialist Alliance)

Susan Price parramatta electorate nsw state election 2019

1. What is your connection with your electorate (including how long you have lived in the area) and what do you like about it?

I moved to Parramatta from Sydney’s inner west in October 2017. I enjoy living in such a diverse community, near a beautiful river and parkland, with important cultural and natural heritage and history and amongst community members who are serious about protecting it.

2. What are 3 things that people might not know about you?

  • I am a member of the National Tertiary Education Union and have been an active unionist all my working life.
  • I am a member of the Refugee Action Coalition and am passionate about refugee rights.
  • I grew up in Brisbane, and I first became politically active in the campaigns for women’s reproductive rights and against the first Gulf War.

3. What do you believe are the main issues affecting the Parramatta community? (limit to top 5)

  1. Overdevelopment and destruction of environment, heritage and community facilities;
  2. The housing crisis including high rental and purchase costs, destruction of public housing and homelessness;
  3. Cost of living increases exacerbated by low wage growth, job insecurity and the undermining of free education, healthcare and other services by cuts and privatisation
  4. Access to a free, fast, frequent and accessible public transport system.
  5. Policy decisions by government that serve big corporate interests, not the needs of people.

4. What are 3 key things you plan to achieve if elected?

  1. To work in solidarity with First Nations peoples and alongside communities
  2. To be a voice for campaigns against privatisation, for a switch to 100% renewables and a phasing out of coal and coal seam gas
  3. To fight for the right to housing, education and health for all, regardless of income

5. What do you think is a key issue affecting local families and how do you plan to address it?

The lack of access to affordable, flexible and on-demand childcare places.

6. What have you already achieved locally? (limit to top 5)

  1. I have organised local events in the refugee rights campaign, including a film night and a number of campaign stalls.
  2. I have spoken at a number of protests organised by the western Sydney Iranian community.
  3. I am an active community environmentalist, and have recently joined ParraCAN (Parramatta Climate Action Network).
  4. I was invited as a keynote speaker to address the International Women’s Day event for the Iranian community in Pennant Hills on March 8th this year.
  5. I am an active supporter of the creative precinct in Parramatta, through the Parramatta Clay and Arts Inc – a local. artist run cooperative.

7. Do you think there is an issue with development outpacing infrastructure? If so, what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Yes. Through giving back power to local councils to make decisions about appropriate development and to be able to enforce them. Through putting the community at the centre of decision-making about future development and infrastructure projects, not greedy developers!

8. There is growing concern among parents about the overcrowding of some schools – with play areas being lost and lunch times having to be rostered. What are your thoughts on this and how to fix it?

The answer is to immediately build more pubic schools. This requires an injection of funds, for more permanent teachers to be employed and for land to be set aside for schools in growth areas where it is needed.

9. Western Sydney just keeps getting hotter and it can be costly for families to travel to ocean beaches. Parramatta River and other key waterways go to the heart of the area and are potentially a great way for families to cool off. But sadly they continue to be in poor health and there is no water quality monitoring of a number of natural local swimming spots used by families. What do you think needs to happen and how will you help address the issue?

Long-term it would be great if the whole river became an option for swimming. Right now we have a crisis because Parramatta Pool has been closed for more than two years and other local pools have been under threat. We need more pools, not less. There is ample evidence that swimming pools provide heat relief, health benefits and bring communities together.

10. Which political party are you a member of, or have been a member of, and who are you giving your preferences to?

I am a founding member of Socialist Alliance (socialist-alliance.org). Our preferences will go to The Greens, then Keep Sydney Open and then Labor, followed by Sustainable Australia, the Independent and we put the Liberals last.


NSW State Election 2019 – General Info

What Are We Voting For?

The 57th Parliament of New South Wales, including all 93 seats in the NSW Legislative Assembly. Plus 21 of the 42 seats in the NSW Legislative Council.

What is the Role of the NSW Parliament?

With three levels of government in Australia, it can be confusing to know who looks after what. The State Parliament makes laws on matters such as:

  • police
  • schools and hospitals
  • state transport, roads and railways
  • housing services
  • community services

When Do I Need to Vote?

NSW Election Day is Saturday 23rd March and voting is between 8am and 6pm. Some voting centre or polling place keep different hours so be sure to check. And don’t leave it to the last minute! You’ll need up to an hour to vote in busy times. You can also vote before Election Day – it’s called pre-polling (see Where Can I Vote? section below) but you must vote.

State Election 2019
Long queues at Centenary Square for the 2016 Federal Election (Photo credit: Daily Telegraph)

Who Needs to Vote?

Voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens who live in NSW and are 18 years of age or older. Fines apply for not voting. You can check your enrolment to vote if unsure.

What Do I Need to Vote?

Take your licence or other photo identification, or something with your current residential address on it. You may also want to take some money to buy a famous election sausage sizzle. And bring a bottle of water in case you have to wait a long time. Comfy shoes are a good idea as well!

Election sausage sizzle

Where Can I Vote?

Voting in person on Election Day (23rd March) is the way most people vote in NSW. It’s generally quick and easy to vote in person at a voting centre or polling place, often at a local school. And election staff and officials are available if you need help. Plus you can usually enjoy a sausage sizzle or cake stall while you wait to vote.

If you would like vote in person, but you are unable to get to a voting centre or polling place on Election Day, you may be eligible to vote early or pre-poll. Early voting for the NSW State election opens from Monday 11th March until Friday 22nd March.

There is an early voting centre in Parramatta, at 23-27 Macquarie Street. And other centres around the local areas. Parramatta voting centre hours are: 8am-6pm Monday – Friday, 8am-8pm on Thursday 21st March and 8-5pm on Saturdays. Closed Sundays.

You can also vote by post/ mail – call 1800 011 542 to arrange this.

How is My Vote Counted?

There are two papers you will be required to fill out on Election Day to vote:

  1. Small paper is Legislative Assembly (lower house of NSW parliament)
  2. Large paper is Legislative Council (upper house of NSW parliament)

You will be given choices on each paper of which individuals or parties you would like to give your vote to. You may choose on each paper to simply put a 1 next to the candidate of your choice. But you may number more if you wish. It’s different for each paper.

  • For Legislative Assembly ballot paper (small): A candidate has to receive 50% of all votes+1 to be elected. This is called an ‘absolute majority’. If the candidate you have voted 1 for, does not have enough votes to be elected, votes are re-sorted to the other candidates remaining, according to the second preference. This is why some people choose to vote by numbering their 2nd, 3rd and 4th etc preferences. See here for more information on voting in the Legislative Assembly (small paper).
  • For Legislative Council ballot paper (large): You may vote above OR below the line, but not both. You may “Vote 1” for the party you prefer ABOVE the line (listed as “Groups”). This is the minimum you need to do to vote. But you may further empower your vote for other preferred parties by labelling 2, 3, 4 etc above the line, and preferences apply, as for the lower house. If you choose to vote BELOW the line you must number a minimum of 15 boxes. See here for more information about voting for the Legislative Council.

Some “how to vote” cards suggest preferences but you are free to vote for any candidate or party you wish. And give your preferences (2nd 3rd 4th choices) to anyone you wish.

What Do I Do After Voting?

Enjoy a (democracy) sausage sizzle, return your how to vote papers to the party for reuse and politely decline any more. A simple “I’ve voted”, or “no thank you” should keep unwanted party politics away.

If interested tune in to TV coverage after 6pm and have your own political watch party!! Results and trends often become clear on the night of election day.

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