Election survey: read about the Bruce candidates

Julian Hill, Labor


This week, Dandenong Star Journal published edited responses to a survey sent to all Bruce candidates standing in the 18 May federal election.

To help our readers make their choice, our survey quizzed candidates on their policies on affordable housing and rentals, traffic congestion and their three top concerns.

We also asked for their occupations, their suburb of residence, age and to name the electorate’s best asset.

The full responses of Rhonda Garad (Greens), incumbent Julian Hill (ALP) and Tim Boyanton (Anning’s Conservative Nationals) are published below.

Mubahil Ahmed (United Australia) and John MacIsaac did not respond.

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Rhonda Garad


Dr Rhonda Garad is an academic, University educator and public health researcher in health system responsiveness. She is the mother of four children and a passionate believer in grass roots activism and collective social responsibility. Rhonda’s activism is strongly focused on strengthening democratic structures and representative government. She is a strong believer in universal education and health care systems, and has been active in campaigning against the corporatisation of these sectors. She has also worked extensively in the field of prevention of violence against women. She has strong links to local community groups such as being an office bearer for a school council and an active member of a number of women’s groups. Rhonda writes and speaks extensively on issues such as universal opportunity and social activism.

What’s your electorate’s best asset?

The people who live in the Seat of Bruce are by far its greatest asset. We have tremendous diversity and can be truly held up as a successful exemplar of multi-cultural Australia. We have a younger demographic moving into the seat who are keen to establish their families and build a future for their children. However, politically being a very safe seat with the redistribution strengthening Labor’s hold, is a disadvantage as we do not see the election focus that more marginal seats receive. We are also often the focus of LNP and right wing parties racist and islamophobic rhetoric which further marginalises newly arrived groups that need support not vilification.

How would you increase the supply of affordable housing/rentals in Bruce? What other means can you address cost-of-living pressures? (Please provide costings, if possible)

The rates of homelessness in the seat of Bruce is one of the highest in the state. We strongly believe that everyone should have stable and affordable housing. To assist this we will increase the stock of social housing. Australia’s social housing sector is small, making up less than 5% of homes. In many progressive European countries, social housing makes up between 10%-30%. Expanding our social housing sector is the key to ensuring we all have a home.

Young people are increasingly locked out of the housing market which means that the system is broken and we need to change the rules. Therefore, we support the dismantling of the rigged system that privileges investors and landlords over the rest of us.

What would you do to fix transport congestion in the electorate? (Feel free to identify hot-spots and provide costings, if possible.)

Traffic congestion in the Seat of Bruce is of great concern due to the enormous growth in the southeast coupled with the lack of forward planning. Some of the worst bottlenecks include; the South Gippsland Highway, Heatherton Road, Princes Highway, Pound Road, Hallam Road and Abbotts.

Many people are spending hours every day stuck in traffic jams with no real action on this. This is costing people money in maintaining cars and time that could be better spent with their families. We want to work with businesses to see growth in the creation of local jobs that limit the need for the daily comminute by better use of new technologies. We also want greater investment in the fast bus network and to extend the rail network to the new growth areas. We have seen great investment in the expansion of roads which has not delivered the results promised. Increased investment in strengthening the public transport is the most cost effective and climate friendly approach to dealing with this important issue.

Identify your three top concerns on behalf of Bruce constituents.

The top three concerns of constituents in the seat of Bruce are:

1) Cost of living.

Constituents are feeling the impact of rising costs and stagnant wages growth. They are very focused on energy costs and the lack of direction federally on this issue. Constituents are very much in favour of moving to clean energy sources such as solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicles. However, the costs of moving to renewables are prohibitive for many therefore, policy which provides financial assistance for this transition is viewed highly favourably. Also, Government intervention in curbing the unacceptably high incomes of CEO’s in the energy sector is strongly favoured.

2) A liveable climate.

Many residents are extremely concerned that their children and grandchildren will not enjoy a liveable planet. They are demanding meaningful action that will prevent the catastrophic increase in global temperature that we are facing. They want strong leaders who can help the community grow in their awareness of how climate change will impact their lives and what practical and affordable things they can do. Greens plan is to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030 and create 180,000 nationally in sustainable industries.

3) Population growth.

In the past 5 years we have seen a 60% increase in growth in the Seat of Bruce. This leads to pressure on transport, housing, child care, hospitals and schools. We are greatly enriched by the influx of new constituents but we also need planning and controls that ensure the highest standard of living for all. The tremendous traffic congestion leads to lower quality of life for those stuck in cars and lower air quality. We need to ensure accessible public transport for all. Forward planning to ensure public schools are situated in the areas with correct areas is also important. Many people are unable to find public schools and are forced to put their children in private schools which is not necessary their preference. The Greens are strongly committed to a fully funded public school system. Costs of child care are very prohibitive for young families and the greens support the subsidising of child care to ensure women in particular are able to return to work. Also, funding community based and preventative health care is also a Greens policy.


Julian Hill

Age 45

Suburb Dandenong

Profession(s) Community advocate, Federal Member for Bruce

What’s your electorate’s best asset?

Without doubt, our human and cultural diversity. Bruce today is Australia tomorrow with people from all over the world making their home here. In the coming decades this diversity will allow us to understand, connect and trade with the world around us.

How would you increase the supply of affordable housing/rentals in Bruce? What other means can you address cost-of-living pressures? (Please provide costings, if possible)

A Federal Labor Government will build 250,000 new affordable rental homes over the next decade in partnership with the community housing sector for Australians on low and moderate incomes. 1 in 10 employees engaged in building new housing stock will be apprentices. You can find more detail about Labor’s affordable housing policies is at: https://www.alp.org.au/policies/labors-comprehensive-plan-for-housing-affordability/

Cost of living policies include: expanding Medicare to provide free dental care for pensioners, and blood tests and scans for cancer; massive reductions in childcare fees for families earning under $174,000 a year; tax cuts for everyday workers not the top end of town; and cleaner, cheaper power by investing in renewable energy.

What would you do to fix transport congestion in the electorate? (Feel free to identify hot-spots and provide costings, if possible.)

Labor will ensure Victoria gets a better deal and a fairer share of Commonwealth transport funding. Under the Liberals Victoria has been totally ripped off, last year getting less than 8 cents in every dollar, despite being 25% of Australia’s population and economy and the fastest growing State. A Federal Labor Government will partner with Daniel Andrews’ Victorian government to deliver more transport infrastructure faster.

Major rail upgrades like the Suburban Rail Loop and Melbourne Metro will create more capacity on the trains and ease congestion on local roads.

Labor has also committed to an $850 million road and rail package for South-East Melbourne, including an extra lane in each direction on Hallam North Road in Endeavour Hills, Victoria, Australia, between Heatherton Road and James Cook Drive.

Identify your three top concerns on behalf of Bruce constituents.

1. Liberal cuts to vital public services, including local hospitals, schools and TAFEs.

2. Growing delays at Centrelink, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Home Affairs, due to Liberal budget cuts and government chaos. This is affecting thousands of pensioners, as well as people across Bruce waiting for visas and citizenship applications to be processed.

3. Youth unemployment and job creation.


Tim Boyanton

Age 39

Suburb Hallam

Profession(s) Storeman, Actor.

What’s your electorate’s best asset?

Parks, sporting and recreational areas.

How would you increase the supply of affordable housing/rentals in Bruce?

Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party aims to provide universal home ownership as a national objective. Home ownership shouldn’t be pushed out of reach due to the increases in the cost of owning a home. We will do this by ensuring the purchase of land is reserved to citizens. Much like legislation just passed in New Zealand.

What other means can you address cost-of-living pressures? (Please provide costings, if possible) .

We will do away nonsense policies like renewable energy mandates which in conjunction with the closure of coal fired power has driven up the cost electricity. We once had the cheapest power in the world now we have one of the most expensive. We will cut fuel excise which hurts every day Aussies and businesses at the fuel pump. Further through the creation of a not-for-profit government bank that will provide investment loans at little or no cost to our Farmers we can ensure that Australian industry starts producing again.

What would you do to fix transport congestion in the electorate? (Feel free to identify hot-spots and provide costings, if possible.)

With an immediate and drastic reduction in immigration this will allow our infrastructure to catch up with our current population growth. Australia for Australians. We would also upgrade ulterior routes to ease the burden on main arterial roads.

Identify your three top concerns on behalf of Bruce constituents.



Cost of living


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