Topics: 2019 Federal Election
Steve: On 4CRB. My name is Steve and we have the Honourable member for McPherson, Karen Andrews was due come in at 10 o'clock this morning but uh, has to get away a bit earlier so she's popped into a little bit earlier. Thanks for joining us. Karen.
Karen Andrews: Pleasure to be back Steve, and I love being in here and, and having a bit of a chat.
Steve: So, uh, we've got til about quarter past 10. You have to be heading up to Brisbane. So, uh, we'll, we'll break at 10 o'clock for news, but yeah, we'll have a talk for 10 minutes or so, have the break and then we'll come back afterwards. So great opportunity, particularly during this election campaign, if you want to speak with Karen about any questions or concerns, the number to call is 5520 8888. Um, maybe let's just start with, uh, how the campaign is going. What do we got about three, just three weeks. Just under three weeks left?
Karen Andrews: Yes, about three weeks. So the elections obviously been called. It will be held on the 18th of May, which is about three weeks from now. But voting has already started. So here on the Gold Coast, the first votes have already been cast. So I've heard back from now pre poll booth's that this morning. So people are already voting now. So here on the Gold Coast, there's a
number of pre poll booths that are open so people can cast their vote early. It's the, the other option for, for many people who are traveling and who’d like it to get a postal vote that's available for them as well too.
Steve: Did you have to have a legitimate reason to pre poll because you're going to be a way or?
Karen Andrews: oh yeah, look, that's the intention that early voting and postal votes are there for people who are not going to be here on the actual election day themselves. But I think that there's a recognition that people have very busy lives these days. And if they can't be sure that they're going to be available to vote, then they just need to make sure they use a postal vote or vote early, which they can do from today on.
Steve: Hmm. And how bout just for yourself personally as far as the campaign itself was going.
Karen Andrews: Yeah, so this will actually be my fourth campaign here on the Gold Coast. So I'm seeking re-election for a fourth term. Look, we've been out, doing the roadsides and I quite enjoy that. I really get a great sense of satisfaction when I’m out talking to people, hearing what concerns them, so that has happened particularly over the last three years. So I've always treated my electorate and of course the Gold Coast as a seat where it's very important to make sure that we're meeting the needs of the people here and we’re out there every single day doing the best that we can. So I've done that for the last three years. And look, I think that in terms of the issues that people have raised with me, we've been able to get some significant movement. The M1, I got the funding for Varsity to Mudgeeraba upgrade in the 2016 election campaign, since then, and its not an election commitment was actually signed off several months ago and announced the money's there federally for us to upgrade the M1 all the way through to the border. There's money for the next part of Light Rail, which takes it from Broadbeach to Burleigh, and there's money there for the forward planning for the light, sorry, heavy rail to go all the way through to the airport. So they’re some of the big ticket items. So I've worked for the whole nine years effectively that I've been the member to make sure that I'm fighting for the Gold Coast each and every single day. So I'm asking people obviously to vote for me first.
Steve: 5520 8888 is the number to call if you'd like to speak with Karen that this morning. So nominations closed last week for candidates. So I understand there are a number of candidates for the seat of McPherson.
Karen Andrews: Yes, there, there are there’s actually quite a large number of candidates, so across the Gold Coast. So there's either eight or nine candidates in the Gold Coast seats, so that's a bigger ballot paper than what we've been used to here on the Gold Coast. And of course, the important thing is that in a Federal election, in the House of Representatives, you need to number every box. So you can't just put a one that will actually make your vote informal. So it's now in McPherson one to nine and in, uh, Moncrief and in Fadden, Wright. Uh, it's one to eight? So, so even eight for the other two seats is much higher than what we've had before.
Steve: Yeah. And, uh, we talked with David [inaudible] a couple of weeks ago about the whole system of voting and preferencing and things like that. So, um, how's that? Um, that basically is where if someone says that they, or you give out a card on the day to say, you know, this is the way you should preference if you're voting for us. So, um, how do you determine where you put your preferences?
Karen Andrews: Yeah, well that's actually a very good question. So as voters go in to vote, they'll receive how to vote cards, what that has is recommendations of what the parties are suggesting should be the order of the vote. So a lot of work goes into that and obviously preferences are important and often a seat will swing on the preference arrangements that are put in place. So normally parties will preference on the basis of who has similar policies to them. This time it was actually really quite difficult given that there was such a large number of the minor parties that we're seeking to have to have a candidate in as well. So it was a case of working through that. But what voters will receive is a how to vote that sets out what the recommendations are. They
don't need to follow that. They can preference in any order that they want. So we'll be giving my recommendations, out on my how to vote card and other, other candidates will do whatever they need to do as well. But I'm actually asking for their first vote.
Steve: So yeah. And obviously the key as you said is to just to make sure that you, your number, every box.
Karen Andrews: Exactly. Yeah.
Steve: Otherwise it doesn’t count.
Karen Andrews: Otherwise, yeah, it will be. And I guess the other thing that could make things a little bit interesting here on the Gold Coast is that for the first time we've, in a long time anyway in my memory and we've got the Liberal Democrats standing. So the Liberal Democrats are a very different party to the Liberal National Party. So it's really something the voters need to be aware of that if they're going into vote for the Liberal National Party, they make sure that they vote for the Liberal National Party and read the ballot paper properly.
Steve: Is it actually the Liberal National Party, I know that is in Queensland, but for Federally, some electorates will l have a Liberals candidate and some will have a National candidate.
Karen Andrews: Yeah, so how it actually works is in Queensland only, it is the Liberal National Party, which is technically a division of the Liberal Party. So in Queensland where LNP members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, what we do is it's based on an electorate rather than on a personal choice. We will be either in the Liberal party room or the National Party room. So for me, when I go to Canberra, I'm a member of the LNP and I sit with the Liberal Party. Other candidates and members around Queensland, for example, George Christianson, LNP member, when he's in Queensland, when we go to Canberra, he sits with the National Party.
Steve: You mentioned about early voting and that’s started when and where is that happening if people do need to do that?
Karen Andrews: Yeah, well it's a little bit, a little bit different this time. So, pre polling, the big centres that are open are really Robina and this time it's at their Robina Home and Life Centre on Christine Avenue. So that's where Bunnings is on Christine Avenue. So it's up close across the road from there. So that's actually open and running now. And then the other very large centre that's running it up taking votes now, is it Southport and that's at 5 Nerang Street. Now on the southern coast many people have chosen, chosen to vote early at Burleigh Heads at Fradgley Hall. It will be the same polling centre there, but it doesn't open until next week. So here on the
southern Gold Coast Robina's probably the biggest centre that we've got, but there's also voting across the border at Tweed Heads as well, which is at the old blockbuster video shop in Wharf Street. So people can vote down there for McPherson or Moncrieff or Fadden as well, other electorates. So, yeah, so it's a little bit different because normally Burleigh opens three weeks out from the election, but this time it's only two weeks out.
Steve: Um, so I guess all we've been hearing over the last few years is that yeah, that the Coalition is in trouble and, and you know, Labor's ahead and, and the election was called now Labor would be, would be winning. Um, it seems like the, that as far as the polls go that, uh, the level, the Coalition is making some ground, but just for you personally, how, how do you respond to all that
constant, you know, speculation of who would be in Government?
Karen Andrews: Look and it is constant speculation. Um, look, I respond to it by saying that just because people think that Bill Shorten and Labor will be elected doesn't mean that they're going to go and vote for them. So here on the Gold Coast, particularly in my electorate, I'm receiving some really strong support. And while some people may still think that there'll be a change of government, they're not signalling to me that they're going to vote that way themselves. So I answer that question on that basis. What's important is for people to understand that this is a very important election and there are a lot of minor parties and independents that are putting their hands up. What I would say is that if you vote for a minor party or an independent, what it has shown in the past is that that actually translates to Labor. So this is not the time to vote for a minor party or an independent. This is the time to choose a major party to vote for. So I have that message for voters and I think that it's clear that the last time there was a lot of stability in government was back under the Howard and Costello years because when Labor was in, they had three different Prime Ministers, well they recycled Kevin Rudd. So, they've had three. Um, unfortunately we've done exactly the same thing but we've changed our rules now. So, a vote for Scott Morrison is a vote for Scott Morrison and he will continue as the Prime Minister post the election if the Liberal National government is re-elected. So make that clear. I think that a lot of people were very supportive of Howard and Costello with what they were doing at that time.
I think that people should be very confident that Scott Morrison firstly gets Queensland gets the Gold Coast and he's in there fighting every single day for the best outcome for Australians.
Steve: All right. Now we do need to take a break for our national news. We've got a call on the line but I'll just talk to her off air and hopefully she will hold on. And Federal member for McPherson Karen Andrews. And we'll just take a break for our news. But if you'd like to speak to Karen, you can call 5520 8888.
Steve: And we are continuing our talkback program this morning with the Federal Member for McPherson Karen Andrews. And if you would like to speak with Karen, you can call 5520 8888. We've got about 10 minutes left before Karen needs to head up to Brisbane. So 5520 8888 and Karen, we have Maureen on the line for you.
Karen Andrews: Hello Maureen, how are you?
Karen Andrews: Okay. Yes, absolutely……Ok, look, Maureen, thanks for calling back in. The mental health of our people is something that we all need to be very concerned about and taken very seriously. So there is additional funding that is available to support people with mental health issues. What I'd like to do if you're okay with this, Maureen is talk to you off air and we'll go through some specifics again. There are certainly acute mental health facilities here on the Gold Coast, but if we need to look at different support for your daughter, then I'm very keen to work with you to see what we can do to make sure that she is appropriately supported and placed where she's going to get the best possible care. So if you're happy with that, Maureen I will actually call you back and have a chat to you about what we can do specifically to assist your daughter.
Karen Andrews: Right, okay.
Karen Andrews: Yeah, absolutely it is. And of course youth suicide is an enormous issue for us here in Australia, but really it's suicide at any age. So Maureen, I will do all that I can to help you and your family and I think you've touched on a range of issues including the impact that mental health issues do have on other members of the family as they’re trying to care and provide the best possible support for their loved ones.
Karen Andrews: Okay. All right. Well I'll give you a call off air and we’ll see what we can do, but I'll do all that I can to help you Maureen.
Karen Andrews: Well I care and I'll do all that. I came to help. Okay. Thanks for calling in Maureen.
Steve: Thank you Maureen. Now we've got just over five minutes so you still have time. If you'd like to speak with Karen Andrews this morning 5520 8888. Karen, so you mentioned people can start voting today. So if, if someone needs going to vote today, can you just summarize the choice that they're facing?
Karen Andrews: Yeah, absolutely. Voting today is going to be a choice between Scott Morrison as Prime Minister or Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. In the eight months that Scott Morrison has been Prime Minister, he's done a fantastic job with making sure he's got a good strong solid team around him. We are all united. We're all out there working in the best interests of the Australian people. What you had with Scott Morrison was responsible for immigration, he stopped the boats and that's an important thing when we go to the ballot box to look and say, okay, Scott Morrison, eight months as Prime Minister but he had a lot of time and a lot of experience in the immigration portfolio. He was the one that masterminded the policies that did stop the boats. He's had time in Treasury. He understands how to balance the budget. And of course we are going to be hitting a surplus for the first time in a decade, in the next financial year. So Scott Morrison has got some significant runs on the board. What we're seeing from Bill Shorten is a couple of things with his recent interviews. One is that he's not across the detail. So he made some significant mistakes when he was talking about electric vehicles and battery charging times. And the other thing is that because he doesn't know the detail he’ll actually say whatever he chooses and at the moment he's saying whatever he wants to try and win the election so that he can move himself into the Lodge. Now, one of the things that we've got happening around Australia and here on the Gold Coast is claims that funding has been cut to health. Now that's just not true. So I've been out there talking about specifically what's been happening with the public hospitals here on the Gold Coast and look under Labor the last year that they were in government, the public hospitals here on the Gold Coast; Robina hospital and Gold Coast University Hospital, that network was receiving $190 million per year. They are now receiving $400 million a year. So there is no way there was a cut.
Steve: So how do they come up with these claims then?
Karen Andrews: Well, they're claiming that it's in our 2016 budget paper. We've gone back and checked that. But quite frankly, the 2016 budget papers now, a long time ago, we've called on them to justify what they're saying about the Gold Coast because this isn't the wild west. They don't just get to pluck figures out of the air and whatever they want. But there has been a stony silence from Labor here on the Gold Coast. So I would say to all of the listeners here that under the Coalition government funding for health here on the Gold Coast has increased by over 111%.
It's more than doubled. So that's fine. I mean many people were concerned about Medicare at the last campaign because Labor ran a Mediscare campaign. We look at the history since the last election. There actually haven't been any negative changes to Medicare. So bulk billing rates are up. So there's actually, I think a real problem with the believability of anything that Labor is actually saying at the moment. So when people go into cast their vote, this is a very clear choice. It's an untried, untested leader of the opposition Bill Shorten or there's Scott Morrison who is Prime Minister and who has a very long history of delivering what the voters are actually looking for.
Steve: All right. We've got Robert on the line. We might have time for one more, but we've got two people waiting. So let's see what Robert has to say.
Karen Andrews: Hi Robert. How are you?
Karen Andrews: So that there wouldn't be preferential voting. It would be first past the post. Uh, look, potentially, uh, yes. I mean it can't happen under the regulations at the moment, but changes were made in Queensland where effectively you just needed to vote one, you didn't have to preference. Look, there's been many discussions over many years as to where the first past the
post is, the better way to go. There would actually have to be changes to the Act.
Karen Andrews: I can look at it. It could, but I don't think you'd need a referendum to be able to do it. But I'd need to check what the Constitution actually says. So we'd need a referendum if there would need to be a change to the Constitution. If it's just a change to either an Act or a Regulation or it's a new Act, then that can be dealt with by Parliament in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Karen Andrews: There's been discussions on and off over the years. It's really just never been actioned. And really that just indicates that there hasn't been able to be broad agreement reached on the way forward. So it's maintained the same system.
Karen Andrews: Well, the parliamentarians are the ones that would get to vote in accordance with the wishes of the electors clearly. So…
Karen Andrews: Well what, yeah, well, what it would depend on, is an elected representative taking that to Parliament to explore first pass. So it does happen from time to time. I would assume that the process from here would be that if it was to be progressed, it would go to a Senate inquiry and they would conduct a new inquiry to find out what the impacts of first past the post voting would be. And there would be some recommendations from that. That would then be considered potentially by the House of Representatives and the Senate. So that would be the process.
Karen Andrews: Well, they do that by voting for their elected representative and making sure that the electorate representative votes in accordance in Parliament and raises issues with what's important in the electorate.
Karen Andrews: No look, if you're looking at her at a race in sporting, then no, you don't. It is first, second and
Karen Andrews: Yes. Look I do hear what you say and I think that there is potentially an argument for that to be explored at some stage in the future. The counter to that obviously is that many people actually do want to be able to say, well, okay, that's my first preference. But if they don't get in my next preference, I would prefer that person rather than to just say it's all or
nothing, which is what first past the post voting becomes.
Steve: We have to hurry up. Sorry. Robert we have to hurry up because Karen has to go.
Karen Andrews: No that, that was good. Thank you for calling in.
Steve: Thank you Robert. And sorry we don't have time for the last call cause you need to get going. So we appreciate you coming in today. Karen.
Karen Andrews: It's a pleasure – take care
Steve: We have speaking with the Federal Member for McPherson, Karen Andrews.