Brisbane Central – Ruth Bonnett – Independent

Please take a moment to introduce yourself. My name is Ruth Bonnett and I have come out of an early retirement to contest the election as an Independent candidate. I am the Secretary of The Queensland Party, which survived an attempt to force it to merge with Katter’s Australian Party.

What are your thoughts on coal seam gas? The CSG industry is speeding along with no brakes or steering. I would support any initiatives to ensure that the CSG industry can operate safely, without damage to the groundwater or the Great Artesian basin. I would also like a public debate on the rights of landholders to control access to their own property, because of the conflict between the property owner who owns the surface rights, and the State which owns the mineral rights.

What are your thoughts on the dredging of the great barrier reef? If dredging is found to have any impact on the GBR, then that impact should be assessed and practical measures taken to protect the reef.

What are your thoughts on water? A safe, clean and reliable water supply is very important. I do not support the addition of fluoride into our water supplies.

What are your thoughts on climate change? I was at Wivenhoe at the height of the drought, wondering how on earth we would ever survive. I also marvelled at the speed with which Wivenhoe dam filled up again when the rains came. From early bush poets we know that Australian farmers have long battled with the elements and dealt with an erratic climate. Scores of diaries – handwritten from the 1800’s – show that farmers have noted weather patterns as part of their land management in a tough environment (and some of these diaries stay with the big stations – I have seen them myself). Is there a case for a human-induced cause and fix for dangerous climate change? From the data I have seen, the predictions of dangerous climate change reside in the computer models. Whether the models are accurate or not is another matter. I believe that Queensland needs a climate event strategy, amongst other practical environmental measures.

What are your thoughts on renewable energy? I have attended seminars at the QUT which show the developing technologies for renewable energy. I would like to take a ‘cradle to grave’ approach to assessing the viability of renewable energy projects.

What are your thoughts on nuclear energy? I don’t believe we need to depend on nuclear energy; I think that disposing of waste fuel bundles is an environmental challenge we simply don’t need or want right now. I have confidence that future generations will make discoveries that we could only dream about.

What are your thoughts on public transport? I advocate for safe, clean, reliable and cost effective public transport and think that this is a proper way to spend tax dollars.

What are your thoughts on public education? Education is one of the most important stepping stones to truly equal opportunity.

What are your thoughts on the National Broadband Network? I am reluctant to support a massive investment in fixed line technology when future technologies are fast developing, and more cost effective. I use mobile broadband, and would support initiatives to improve the coverage in regional Queensland. Anyone who has travelled throughout Queensland will know that you can’t drive and chat. You must stop when you get a signal and this hinders productivity.

What are your thoughts on High-Speed Rail? I think High Speed Rail has a place, especially if it offers an economically viable service.

What are your thoughts on abortion? The abortion debate is framed around the rights of women to control their bodies, and leaves out the rights of the father. I think that future laws around this issue should take into account the multitude of options for birth control that were simply not available 30 years ago. Laws set in the 1970’s may not adequately reflect the current advancements, and I remain confident that an open and honest debate on this issue will lead to fairer laws and a stronger community.

Do you support or oppose gay marriage? I support civil unions, and such unions should be open to all. An important part of any civil ceremony is the right to stand up in public and declare love for each other, and ask for the support of the community to respect the relationship.

Do you support or oppose the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia? This issue affects all of us. I don’t think there is a simple way to legalise euthanasia without tripping up on massive conflicts of interest.

Do you support or oppose the legalisation of marijuana? One of our members has encouraged me to have a second look at this issue, and I am receptive to a meritorious case for the legalisation of marijuana. Alcohol is legal and can lead to difficult outcomes when it is abused.

What are your thoughts on campaign finance disclosure? It is important to know the funding sources of all political parties.

Do you support or oppose the reading of prayers to start each Parliamentary day, and why? I love questions like this because they stretch my thinking and allow me to ponder why I believe certain things. Australia was founded on Christian values, but is a society which encompasses many different belief systems. Christianity seems to be compatible with most world religions and I can’t see much difficulty in maintaining the status quo.

On your particular electoral ticket, where are your preferences going, and why? My view is that preference deals are secret deals which can lead to unexpected outcomes, because they don’t get adequately scrutinised by the public. Preferences are the property of the voter, and the voter should decide. In Queensland of course we have an OPV system. My campaign slogan speaks for itself: “Vote 1 for BONNETT and give the rest the boot.” In Brisbane Central, a vote for Green will simply return Labor to government, and so your Green vote will not result in any meaningful change. Labor has struggled this past year and in my view seems to have abandoned the ordinary every day productive people, by allowing unfettered CSG exploration, selling off our assets and not standing up to the Federal Government when it counts. Brisbane Central voters may be reluctant to back the LNP, because of their record in Brisbane Central (higher costs, social upheaval, big debts and massive investment in tunnels). I have a solid track record of fighting punishing rates increases, serving on a body corporate committee which has reduced costs, common power consumption and water consumption, and helping build and maintain strong local and regional communities.

Are there any local issues you are trying to highlight with your campaign? Oh, yes. Most Brisbane Central residents live in CTS schemes (units). The current laws protect the banks and vested interests over the rights of unit owners. I support the following: 1. Review of the Management Rights industry – owners need fair, enforceable and commercial contracts so that they can keep costs under control. Unit owners need to be represented at stakeholder meetings, rather than be dismissed as has happened in the past. 2. Rates – Whilst this is a BCC issue, I would like unit owners to be treated just like everyone else, and be rated on the UCV. Campbell Newman introduced a punitive ‘parity factor’ for unit owners which still adversely impacts unit owners. I helped fight and win the “Rates Rort” campaign against the massive rates hikes for unit owners by the then Lord Mayor Newman. The LNP made city living more expensive and less desirable, so much so that Campbell Newman did not want to stand where he lives – here in Brisbane Central. 3. Building communities – I have helped build and maintain a strong local and regional communities. Urban votes impact all Queenslanders, especially for issues around water supply and flood mitigation. 4. PEP (Practical Environmental Policy) – I supported the ‘green city’ at City Shape, and support higher density around transport nodes to reduce our environmental footprint. I serve on a committee which has taken measures to reduce common power usage, reduce water usage and keep the cost of unit living sustainable. Public transport should have adequate parking facilities.

What do you think about the media’s coverage of the election so far? I am thankful for the platforms of websites such as this, and for local newspapers who have offered to cover election material. I think that federal issues have overtaken important state issues, and as the Secretary of The Queensland Party I would like to say that only a state based party can put Queenslanders first. Both the LNP and Labor tend to put federal issues before state issues, as seen by the recent media scrum on the leadership ballot.

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