Bega News - Get to know your candidate 2019
Here is my response to the Bega News in 2019
Name: James Holgate. GenX.
Family: Spouse and 3 adult daughters
Where do you live? Queanbeyan
Political Party: Independent
What do you do for a living? Recruitment Consultant
How long have you lived in the Eden-Monaro electorate? What is the best part of living in the Eden-Monaro electorate?
“Born and Bred” in Cooma. Lived in Queanbeyan for the last 8 years. Canberra and 3 – 4 year postings in Singapore, Micronesia, Myanmar and the Caribbean in between. Best part of Eden Monaro – how long have you got? The people and environment spanning the snow to the sea - the region has more than many whole countries, let alone single electorates have to offer. And we encompass the our Nation’s fine Capital.
Why are you running for the seat of Eden-Monaro?
Let me count the ways! I have unique experience and perspective. I grew up in the (then) “most multicultural town in Australia” and have lived, worked and have friends from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds. We all have far more in common than we have differences; I have broad interests, from sport, music, science, humanities, politics and lifelong love of learning which I think translates well to the diverse interests of this electorate. My daughters are adults so the sacrifices on my family that are a reality of political life will be a bit easier to handle.
What is your political experience?
I studied politics and policy at University and have lived and worked in a wide range of political systems overseas. I have also navigated the politics of family, workplace, sporting, social and cultural contexts. I hope to increase Indigenous Australian’s engagement and empowerment in our political discourse – a better appreciation of culture is needed. We have may challenges and much to learn and celebrate on this front.
The crippling effects of the drought continue to be felt by the electorate's farmers. What kinds of measures would you fight to install to drought-proof the region? Is the creation of more dams part of the solution, and if so, where should they be located?
Management strategies (to hazard buzz words). This is symptomatic of the much broader and very frightening reality of global warming. Any dam plan will require objective scientific scrutiny that is above politics. We will need to implement greater efficiency of water usage and recycling in agricultural, industrial and domestic settings.
Do you support the proposal to relocate immigrants to regional centres as a means of relieving pressure on metropolitan infrastructure and increasing the population of and diversity in country towns and cities? If so, what would be needed in the regions for this to occur?
Bunkum! Making people live somewhere they do not wish to is the wrong approach. Country living is fantastic, so relocation should be by choice. More broadly, we must have a sensible discussion about population. This is difficult when major political donors benefit from incessant population growth. I will not take political donations (only ideas) and look forward to making policy decisions that are pragmatic, objective and serve the long-term political and ecological interests of this beautiful continent.
Do you agree with the idea of decentralising government departments to regional areas, and, if so, which departments would you like to see be relocated to the Eden-Monaro electorate?
No – this is inefficient, wasteful and cynical pork barrelling par excellence. It has also resulted in the loss of high calibre professional expertise from affected government agencies.
What is your stance on the future of coal mining for the region? Do you support renewable energy? How do you believe Eden-Monaro is positioned to take advantage of these?
I’ll spare readers the motherhood rhetoric. My vision is ecologically responsible population policy. We must have realistic energy policies which in the short term will, necessarily include the phased reduction of coal. We should cap coal exports and boost international investment and incentives to improving clean alternatives to make fossil fuels redundant ASAP.
The South-East is seeing a big community push for significant renewable energy investment and opportunities. It is also a region partly dependent on employment opportunities in logging, and struggling with increasing power costs. How do you stand on those issues, or plan to reconcile them?
See above and look to practical measures such as energy efficient buildings, more work from home options i.e. telecommuting to reduce transport consumption. Logging must be renewable – old growth forest logging is highly problematic. Habitat protection and expansion must be a high priority.
The South-East and Far South Coast would have to be among the most enticing places to live (no bias of course!) but it also one of the most unaffordable according to recent data. What are your plans and party policies surrounding housing affordability - for buyers and renters?
A sensible discussion of population growth that is free of political interference by political party donors would create options to reduce upward pressure on house prices. Creative approaches e.g. leveraging superannuation assets should be explored; homeless rates are too high – costs on improving the lives of our most vulnerable are a long term saving in terms of expensive health issues and it’s simply the right thing to do. We need a LONG-TERM solutions beyond short-term political cycles and above party donors’ commercial interests.