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.

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

| About Blacktown Electorate | Meet the Blacktown 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 Blacktown Electorate

Nurragingy Reserve Doonside
Nurragingy Reserve

The Blacktown electorate is 33 square kilometres. It includes the suburbs of Blacktown, Bungarribee, Doonside, Kings Park, Lalor Park, Marayong, Quakers Hill, Seven Hills, Woodcroft.

Meet the Candidates for Blacktown

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

  • Stephen Bali – Labor (no response received)
  • Amit Batish – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (no response received)
  • Kristen Gibbs – Greens (response received)
  • Allan Green – Liberal (no response received)
  • Josh Green – Christian Democratic Party – Fred Nile Group (no email address provided)

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

Kristen Gibbs (Greens)

Kristen Gibbs blacktown 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 Blacktown area with my husband and two daughters for the last 7 years. When we were looking at where to live in Sydney, we choose this area for its sense of community, sporting and cultural activities and its rich diversity

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

  1. In 2017 I was privileged to be part of the Australian Civil Society delegation to the 10th Conference of States Parties to the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities at the United Nations headquarters in New York. It was incredibly inspiring to see how other countries are promoting inclusivity for people with disabilities.
  2. I taught the Flute to kids for many years when living in Bathurst.
  3. I am a huge fan of Broadway musicals and got to see 2 while I was in New York (which was almost as exciting as the UN).

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

  1. Waiting times in emergency at Blacktown Hospital, and wait times for surgeries
  2. Domestic Violence
  3. Poker machines at the 12 local clubs that are turning a huge profit,but costing local families who are affected by gambling problems.
  4. Climate change and it’s many impacts.
  5. Affordable housing

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

If elected I will work to ensure that Blacktown Hospital is adequately funded to serve our growing community. We need to boost nurse to patient ratios, decrease surgery waiting times, and improve the emergency department.

  • The Greens will fund innovative local renewable energy projects, and I would love to work with the Blacktown community to see what can be put in place so that we tackle climate change
  • We need to ensure that all kids, no matter where they live or how much their parents earn, get a world class, public education. If elected I would make sure that public schools in Blacktown get their fair share of funding and provide the highest quality education for our kids.

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

The ever-increasing cost of living. The Greens have plans for $1-per-trip public transport for adults and free travel for kids, free TAFE, free preschools, a $20 million dollar investment in after-school care, fully funded local schools, and fee-free drivers license training for disadvantaged youth. All these initiatives will enormously benefit local, struggling families.

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

The ever-increasing cost of living. The Greens have plans for $1-per-trip public transport for adults and free travel for kids, free TAFE, free preschools, a $20 million dollar investment in after-school care, fully funded local schools, and fee-free drivers license training for disadvantaged youth. All these initiatives will enormously benefit local, struggling families.

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 there is an issue in Western Sydney. The Greens believe that we need to make sure that planning is done by the local community for the local community, not for the private interests of property developers. We also need to ensure that planning is ecologically sustainable, and out here in Western Sydney that means ensuring that all developments have renewable energy built in. We also need to ensure that public transportation systems are in place that are affordable and reliable.

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?

Over-crowding of local schools is a big issue. Not only are playgrounds being lost, but children are in de-mountables that are not conducive to learning. While rostered lunch times can be a quick solution, it is important that we address the larger issue, which is having enough funding to design and re-design our local schools to meet the growing population needs.

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?

Families in Western Sydney deserve to be able to cool off in the summer heat without it costing a fortune, or taking hours to get to a beach. I support stringent water monitoring and development of a plan to transform Parramatta river, and other local waterways into a recreational space Western Sydney can be proud of.

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 proud member of the NSW Greens, and have been a member for the last 9 years. I always encourage people to think about who they feel will best represent their views and to preference accordingly. Your vote is never wasted!

In Blacktown, we are recommending people Vote 1 Greens, and 2 Labor.

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.