Here’s how I replied to Dr Gillespie’s response. What do you think are the biggest issues out there? Do you think I was too harsh? Not harsh enough?
Dear Dr Gillespie
Thank you for responding to my letter and for your apology in regards to the original post on Facebook.
I find the Coalition’s position quite confusing. Is ‘stopping the boats’ a border protection issue, or is it to prevent people risking their lives at sea? I believe the phrase ‘stopping the boats’ is misleading and plays on the fear of immigration, which as an immigrant myself, I have experienced first hand. This is what I am referring to when I speak of cheap political gain.
I support any policy which reduces the rate of people risking their lives. However, that is the whole reason people, legally, seek asylum in Australia. If they remained in their home countries, they would be risking their lives for the duration of their life.
Asylum seekers don’t come to Australia for the weather, they come here because to stay in their home countries would be far more dangerous than the path to Australia.
I worry your position does not legitimately cause the least harm to all people involved.
Further I would like to add that I deplore the ‘PNG Solution’. There are whole subsections of asylum seekers, namely LGBTI people, who may face persecution in PNG itself.
I can see this is an issue we will continue to disagree on and something we could debate indefinitely. That’s a summary of my main concerns and I would like you to know that I have been overwhelmed by the community support of my position.
I am glad that you do not support coal seam gas development where it may pose a risk to water. It is definitely an issue very close to the hearts of the residents in Lyne. I think it is something we need to stop and think about, as a nation before we act on it, taking into account independent scientific research and the detrimental impact it has had in the US. The process itself depredates any land it is on, with boreholes etcetera. Perhaps there are more sustainable options out there instead of just mining another (limited) fossil fuel?
I have had a lot of interest in the media attention my original letter received. It has helped engage many of the young (and older) people I know. I decided to use this momentum for good. I’ve been canvasing the views of my peers and here’s a few of the issues that have arisen.
This is a major issue for many people, who are concerned that we are ignoring the scientific evidence out there. What is your personal view on climate change? I know there are many in the Coalition who refute the scientific evidence. How will you be working to protect our future?
Most people I speak to believe this is a simple issue and it does not make sense why same sex couples cannot yet marry. It is often likened to mixed race marriages in the past. Especially as same sex couples can adopt in NSW and are actively encouraged to foster. If you are afforded a conscience vote how will you be voting on this issue?
This is an allowance that is extremely hard to become eligible for, especially for regional people. It is a significant amount less than Newstart Allowance, although YA recipients are expected to be studying full time. Most people I know on YA are forced to work a job as well to support themselves.
Youth Mental Health and Suicide
Do you think there is enough services and education provided on this issue? Too many men lose their lives to this, and it is especially concerning when they are young people. This is something I have been personally affected by, and I am sure it is something close to the core of many regional people’s concerns considering the rates of suicide. Does the Coalition have any specific policy on this and what is your personal position?
Jobs for Young People
I know when someone finishes school it’s very hard to get an apprenticeship or traineeship to get skilled up. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to be able to gain permanent employment after someone finishes their studies at school. However this is not the case with people struggling to find even casual employment in Lyne.
I would be very interested to attend any public forums or candidates’ debates. Will there be any held during the campaign? It will be difficult to attend as I am at university at the moment, but it is something I think is certainly important and I will be encouraging my peers to attend.
Several of my friends have seen you out door knocking so keep up the hard work, again it’s great to see a candidate listening to their constituency.
My number is listed below and I would love to talk to you further however I would prefer a response in writing. This is the best way for me to communicate it on to the many people in our community who have been following this so keenly.
All the best.
CC: Editor, Manning River Times