We asked seven of the eight candidates* nine questions on key environmental issues in the Macquarie electorate and nationally.
We also asked them what they intended to do for the environment if elected (personal conservation goals).
The questionnaire we sent can be found here.
A link to the candidate’s full response and the combined details of all responses can be found here.
Out of the seven candidates contacted, three responded to our questionnaire (in ballot paper order):
The Society would like to thank all the candidates who responded to the questionnaire.
The responses are not interpreted or evaluated in this summary.
Who didn’t respond
The four candidates who did not respond to our questionnaire (in ballot paper order) are:
* A response to the questionnaire from the Coalition Campaign Headquarters (Liberal/National Party) was received on 4 May - nearly a fortnight after the deadline for responses. The response did not follow the requested format and was received too late to be included in reviews and publicity.
The environment questionnaire provides Macquarie candidates with an opportunity to be open and accountable about their environmental policies. The Society is concerned at the very low response rate from candidates this year.
A non-response means that residents in the Macquarie electorate will have no information on these candidates’ policies and positions on critical issues, such as ensuring protection of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, action on climate change and sustainability, and political integrity. The Society believes the questionnaire assists in ensuring greater transparency and accountability and we urge all candidates in the future to participate.
What they said
There was broad agreement amongst the three candidates who responded to the questionnaire on most of the issues.
Susan Templeman (Labor) did not indicate a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to most of the questions except for a ‘yes’ in her comment to questions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8c.
Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) and Tony Hickey (The Greens) answered ‘yes’ to all the questions.
Q1. Will you commit to meaningful climate action for the Macquarie electorate through:
Q2. Will you advocate for the refusal of Commonwealth approval of raising the Warragamba Dam wall?
Q3. Will you actively support the extension of the existing GBMWHA to include all additions to the national parks and reserves since the listing of the GBMWHA in 2000?
Q4. Will you actively support the nomination of additional values including cultural, scenic and geomorphological for the GBMWHA?
Q5. Would you initiate a process to ban low-flying non-essential helicopter flights (e.g. joy and recreational flights) over wilderness areas in the GBMWHA?
Q6. Will you actively and publicly advocate for adequate funding for research to establish baseline data on health and status of the GBMWHA Eucalypts in order to establish a creditable monitoring regime for these eucalypts and the effect of climate change on them?
Q7. Will you advocate for an active federal role in legislated environmental protection and, in particular, for retaining the federal Minister’s independent approval role under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act)?
Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) and Tony Hickey (The Greens) supported strong environmental protection in federal legislation but declined to give unqualified support for federal oversight and, in particular, for the Minister’s role. The next federal government will play a critical role in determining the proposal to raise the Warragamba Dam wall.
Greg Keightley (Animal Justice Party) answered ‘yes’ but had strong criticisms of the current operation of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act), citing the failings of the environmental assessment process identified in the National Audit Office’s review of the EPBC Act. The implementation of the review’s recommendations would be the condition for his support for federal government oversight of applications under the EPBC Act. Keightley is also concerned about the Morrison government's proposed devolution of environmental assessments to the states.
Tony Hickey (The Greens) also answered ‘yes’ to this question and cited The Greens’ plan to strengthen the EPBC Act, though The Greens propose to create an independent watchdog to ensure compliance rather than rely on the federal minister to oversee environmental protection.
Q8. Will you actively work towards the introduction of the following four measures to reduce corporate influence and restore balance to politics?
Q9. Western Sydney Airport