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.

Prospect electorate
Prospect Electorate Map

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 Prospect electorate to answer them. Plus seven other electorates – Auburn, Blacktown, Epping, Granville, Parramatta, Ryde and Seven Hills – that cover where our readers are mostly from.

| About the Prospect Electorate | Meet the Prospect 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.

Election polling booth

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), except where the response exceeds the question limits. 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 Prospect Electorate

Prospect Reservoir
Prospect Reservoir

The Prospect electorate is 71 square kilometres. It includes the suburbs of Arndell Park, Blacktown, Bossley Park, Eastern Creek, Fairfield West, Girraween, Greystanes, Huntingwood, Pemulwuy, Pendle Hill, Prairiewood, Prospect, Seven Hills, Smithfield, Toongabbie, Wentworthville, Wetherill Park.


Meet the Candidates for Prospect

Here are the 5 candidates running in the Prospect electorate. Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by surname.

  • Matthew Hana – Liberal (no responses received)
  • Milan Maksimovic – Independent (waiting on response)
  • Hugh McDermott – Labor (responses received)
  • Dorothea Newland – Greens (responses received)
  • Catherine Ward – Animal Justice Party (no responses received)

Prospect Electorate nsw state election 2019

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


Hugh McDermott (Labor)

Prospect 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 currently live in the electorate of Prospect with my wife Bettina, and our daughters, having moved here in 2011. Prior to entering Parliament, I held the positions of President of the Rotary Club of Wetherill Park, Trustee of the Smithfield RSL Sub-Branch (I served 7 years with the Army Reserve), and Brigade President and volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire Service, Horsley Park Brigade.

My favourite thing about my area is the strong sense of community, our multicultural diversity, and the strong support network for young families like my own.

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

  1. After leaving school, I worked as a jackeroo in central Queensland and north-western NSW.
  2. My daughters have a rabbit named Bunnyhop.
  3. I was awarded the Australian Defence Medal (ADM) for my military service.

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

  • The rising cost of living
  • Lack of local health services, and the underfunding of Fairfield Hospital, including the closure of the Fairfield Hospital GP Clinic
  • Overcrowded schools, classrooms without air-conditioning, and the 2nd most demountable classrooms in the state
  • The M4 Toll
  • Funding cuts to TAFE

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

  1. Building new, permanent classrooms with air-conditioning, instead of old demountables, so that our children have the resources and the environment for a world-class education
  2. Upgrading Fairfield Hospital, so that our area has the health infrastructure that it desperately needs
  3. Reintroducing the M4 Cashback, to take the burden of the M4 toll off Western Sydney families

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

Cost of living has to be the biggest issue affecting our local families. NSW Labor and I plan to address it through bringing down power prices by re-regulating the electricity market, reintroducing the M4 Cashback, so that families aren’t slugged with over $2,000 a year in tolls, and through affordable housing targets, bringing down rent prices and the cost of buying a home.

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

Cost of living has to be the biggest issue affecting our local families. NSW Labor and I plan to address it through bringing down power prices by re-regulating the electricity market, reintroducing the M4 Cashback, so that families aren’t slugged with over $2,000 a year in tolls, and through affordable housing targets, bringing down rent prices and the cost of buying a home.

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?

I do believe that there is a problem with development outpacing infrastructure, and I believe that this Liberal government has made it worse. In the last 10 years, Western Sydney has grown by 23%, but Northern Sydney has only grown by 15%. Western Sydney is doing more than its fair share when it comes to new growth. That’s why NSW Labor and I have pledged to stop spot-rezoning, and examine how population growth can be distributed more fairly across Sydney.

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 definitely a concern that I share, and that’s why I’m incredibly proud that NSW Labor has announced a $1 billion fund to replace demountable classrooms with new, permanent, air-conditioned classrooms. We have also announced our policy to provide an additional $2.7 billion of funding to fully meet our Gonski funding targets, and have pledged to hire 5,000 new teachers to reduce class sizes and give our kids the education that they deserve.

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?

This current government has continued to mismanage water from all across the state, from the bush to our local suburbs and waterways. Labor has always been committed to cleaning and protecting our local waterways, and we have pledged over $1 billion to build and upgrade water infrastructure across NSW.

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 the Australian Labor Party. This election I am giving my preferences in the following order, to Dorothea Newland, Catherine Ward, Milan Maksimovic, and then Matthew Hana.


Dorothea Newland (Greens)

Prospect 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 have lived in the Holroyd area for over ten years and also worked for 29 years as a therapist in a large residential centre for people with disabilities in North Parramatta, where I was a long serving PSA Union Member.

I enjoy the local bushland, natural reserves and wildlife, local indigenous history such Pemulwuy’s defence of his land and the struggles and life of early settlers, the wide variety of tasty cuisines offered in restaurants from different ethnic areas and accessibility to quality technology services and local trade services.

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

  1. I have worked in a variety of unskilled and professional jobs for over 47 years. These include cleaning, domestic work, retail and teaching, music therapist and psychologist jobs.
  2. I play and perform acoustic traditional and multicultural folk music in 3 bands.
  3. I have implemented regular, voluntary music groups for Red Cross and the Boy Scouts Association and was Chairperson of the NSW Branch of the Australian Music Therapy Association on two different occasions over 5 years.

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

  1. Quality, public school classrooms, good teacher ratios and teaching conditions.
  2. Overdevelopment and lack of infrastructure.
  3. Affordable Public Housing for renters and lack of social housing.
  4. Pre-school care availability and lack of appropriate award rates.
  5. Monitoring and regulation of clean air and water.

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

  1. Improved funding for education and increased pre-school staff pay rates.
  2. A stop to overdevelopment.
  3. Monitoring and regulation of air quality and water quality.

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

A key issue is the increase in the cost of living and struggle to support a young family. Support for families would include increased child support and concessions and support for those on the poverty line or in need of financial assistance.

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

Local achievements include support for local swimming centres and advocacy for quality air and monitoring of air quality.

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, there is an issue of development outpacing infrastructure. This needs to be stopped, until there is adequate infrastructure to support any new developments.

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?

There are many ways to deal with this problem. Every child needs a place to play that is safe and supports their needs in terms of space and area. Building new play areas, swimming pools and recreational areas is one solution and another is to build new schools with proper child facilities.

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 needs to be more access to swimming and recreational areas that are healthy and have quality water monitoring and enforcement of this is very important. Building new swimming pools and enforcing quality water monitoring of Parramatta River is important and also having Tree Maintenance and Tree Planting to provide shade cover for these areas is very important.

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 the NSW Greens Party and would give my preferences to the Labour Party


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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