Alexandra Tselios

Meet the women of the NSW Liberal Party

With the NSW state election around the corner, we sat down with the women of the Liberal Party to discuss their campaigns, their electorates, and the change they seek.

 

 

Gabrielle Upton—Liberal for Vaucluse

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

The main issues that people are raising in my electorate are about the quality of life issues. They want great transport and roads that are going to get them to work quickly, get the kids to school, to get them to the places they know and love. Also, they are concerned about the quality of their open spaces. They love their area as I do; they think it’s a beautiful area and they want to protect it.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I’ve served my community for eight years and I want to represent their voice in the State Parliament. I’m here for them. I know the community, which I represent. I’ve lived here most of my life and whatever it is they need to make this the best place to live, to work, to raise a family—that’s what I am delivering for them and what I want to deliver more for them.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Well, I could always do with a bit more sleep but that’s not going to happen. That said, a bit of exercise, spending time with family, that really helps give me more energy to do the job I absolutely love to do and want to continue to do.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Well first and foremost, it’s the people that are in my local community; the people who do the heavy lifting, the community leaders. They are amazing people, and it is my privilege to be able to support them to do more of what they actually do every day. It’s also the little things that as a Member of Parliament you can do to help your local community. You can make little differences in their lives and often it can improve the lives they are living.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

I tell you what, the first I will do is open the electorate office. Be open for business, welcome people coming into that office, to help them. But also to thank my local community for the trust I’m hoping they will place with me again to serve them as their local member for another four years.

 

Eleni Petinos—Liberal for Miranda

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Cost of living. Local residents are concerned at the increasing cost of living and electricity bills and want to know how this government is going to ensure that there is more money in their pocket at the end of the week.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

As your local member, I have a proven record of delivering for you over the last four years. Labor always overpromises and under-delivers. Labor can’t be trusted with our State’s economy, and without a strong budget we won’t be able to build Stage 1 of the F6, the $81.5 million Sutherland Hospital expansion, the Jannali Station commuter car park and clear the school’s maintenance backlog.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

It can be tough, but I try to maintain some normality in my routine. I make sure I get to family dinner once a week and exercise, even if it happens to be letterboxing with my team.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Knowing that our hard work makes a difference.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

I’d say thank you and then take some time to recharge.

 

Robyn Preston—Liberal for Hawkesbury

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

I’m out in the community talking to as many people as I can and I’m hearing that traffic congestion, cost of living and new job opportunities are some of the big issues that are on people’s minds. Gladys Berejiklian and her team have done so much on these issues already, but there is so much more work to do and if elected I’ll be working hard to make sure the Hawkesbury community gets the support we need and deserve.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

A simple philosophy: get amongst the people, listen to what they have to say and remind them of the hospitals, roads, schools and infrastructure improvements that the Berejiklian government has delivered and will still be delivering if returned after this election. Hawkesbury has projects to complete like the new Windsor Bridge, the third river crossing and the Pitt Town Bypass. #letsgetitdoneNSW

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I make time for my health and wellbeing by going to the gym several times a week, making sure I eat healthy foods and I like to keep myself well informed about the current local issues as well as statewide political issues.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

After more than ten years as a local Councillor, I understand what it means to serve the community and put others first.  I never tire of going the extra distance and I like to be able to find solutions to people’s problems, and the challenges thrown at me by locals always motivate me.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Roll up my sleeves and get on with the Hawkesbury projects that I mentioned earlier. There is no time to waste.

 

Catherine Cusack—Liberal for the Legislative Council

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Roads and local infrastructure. It’s really challenging because many are Council issues but I am proud of how many ways the State Government is finding to help Councils and ensure everyone gets a fair share of the financial windfall to the state delivered by prudent financial management.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I am door-knocking and listening to voters and assisting them individually particularly on cost of living issues where they were unaware of the help available and the fantastic programs we have to relieve financial stresses, particularly for families and those on fixed incomes who are most vulnerable to price increases above CPI.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

You don’t maintain the balance…you aim to get through to 6pm, March 23, and then plenty of time to recover!

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

I am an Upper House candidate so our statewide campaign is important. My focus is electing Jaimie Abbott as the new Member for Port Stephens—it’s an exciting project, we have an awesome candidate and team and have been working up to winning the seat for over three years. So it’s a very exciting and fast-paced campaign. Labor are throwing everything at us, but we keep throwing more into the campaign.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

I am personally interested in the environment and regional tourism and would love a role overhauling the red tape and infrastructure issues that could see this activity boom for our regions.

 

Christina Kang—Liberal for Auburn

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Hospital infrastructure upgrades, more nursing and medical staff, school upgrades and dealing with maintenance issues, jobs.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

Taking the pressure off families.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Family support is very important as well as staying in touch with my friends. My friends will support me no matter what and I am very grateful. My local community also provides me with a lot of energy to keep going.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Getting it done for the local community.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Go back to the voters to give thanks for their support and seek their advice for how they want me to represent them in parliament over the next four years.

 

Jamie Abbott—Liberal for Port Stephens

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Like most people around the state, people in Port Stephens are concerned with the cost of living and the ever-increasing squeeze that is being applied to the family budget. Since becoming the candidate, my team and I have spoken hundreds of locals about the Berejiklian Government’s plan to take the pressure off them and it is certainly a message that is resonating positively.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

My pitch to voters is very simple: only I have a positive plan for Port Stephens. With the strong state of the economy, we are able to invest in local roads, upgrading schools and improving health services in our community. A vote for Labor puts that plan at risk because we know that they cannot be trusted with taxpayers’ hard-earned money and they cannot be trusted to run our great state.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I am extremely lucky to have such a supportive family unit right behind me. Only three and a half months ago we welcomed my first child Harvey into the world, and it is fair to say that it has been a challenge managing a full-time campaign in a marginal seat with the duties of motherhood. But we make it work and there is no better reward than returning home after a long day door-knocking to see my little man sitting there smiling at me as I come through the door. Living so close to the beach also allows us to finish most days with a dip at our favourite spot, Fly Point. Over the past few weeks, it has become somewhat of a ritual to wipe off the sweat of campaigning and jump into the ocean to relax and restore my energy for the coming day.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

The people of Port Stephens do. While that sounds cliché, every day I meet so many amazing people doing amazing things. They share my passion for our area and want the best for their families and community. Knowing this delivers that little bit extra when you’ve had a tough day or have been going since dawn and the baby still needs to be fed, the house is a mess and the dogs are unsettled. While sometimes I know it would be far easier not to run for politics, the people of Port Stephens motivate me to serve them as best I can and fight for the infrastructure and services they need to get ahead.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

On day one, I will meet the Minister to initiate a review of the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park. In 2007, Labor created the current sanctuary zones without explanation or evidence to support their location—excluding thousands of local fishers from prime fishing zones. We need to review those zone boundaries and it is my promise to the people of Port Stephens that I will commence that immediately if I am elected on March 23. But ultimately, from day one, I hope to be an effective, approachable and consultative MP that has their ear to the ground and delivers above and beyond what the community expects. Overall, the political class is perceived fairly poorly at the moment and I hope to go some way to change that, at least here in Port Stephens.

 

Jenny Barrie—Liberal for Charlestown

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Cost of living, energy prices, affordable housing, transport (e.g.; bus privatisation), education concerns with young people/mental health, jobs growth, traffic congestion into Newcastle, drug/alcohol/domestic violence/crime in Windale area; local government issues in Lake Macquarie LGA (e.g.; fortnightly garbage collections), Garden Suburb. Federal issues: NDIS; border protection.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I am experienced in business for 25 years, have lived in the area for over 25 years, and have great life skills, as a mother and grandmother. I am passionate and work to make a difference. NSW is a great state to live in and we need to re-elect the NSW Liberal Government.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I have a great support network, enjoy working hard, enjoy a challenge, and have multiskilled my work and political life to ensure I can endure the task at hand.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

To represent the community of Charlestown in both the Lake Macquarie and Newcastle areas. I am proud to represent the Liberal Party as a female candidate to inspire other younger women to follow my lead.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Work with the disadvantaged people to support those who need help whether it is FACS or Centrelink, to work on initiatives to train and upskill the unemployed in the electorate.

 

Natalie Ward—Liberal for the Legislative Council

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Cost of living and infrastructure. They just don’t trust that Labor has any sort of plan.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

We have done the hard yards to fix the budget so that we can deliver, fully costed and fully funded, solutions to everyday life—more schools, new and upgraded hospitals, better transport, roads and rail.

We have more to do, but we have started the work and will get it done. Labor has a plan for a plan. They will throw a party and squander all the money away like they did last time. They just aren’t ready and they can’t be trusted…especially those former Ministers who are now in jail.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Not very well! I’m a sadist—I absolutely love election time. To me, it’s like a game of footy—the whistle has been blown and we are on the ground playing hard for all it is worth. We have a great story and a solid record. We’ve done the work and I’m proud of our team. I’m happy to run the ball up for my team and be judged on our performance. So I work hard. That’s not especially good for getting balance right but for me it is what I love and what I believe in so it’s worth it. My family are brilliant and they support me lovingly and patiently. I couldn’t do it without them.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Terror at the prospect of Labor running NSW. Past performance is a good indicator.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Get straight back to work! Implement our plans, work with our team to deliver, and not stop until we have.

 

Natasha Maclaren-Jones—Liberal for the Legislative Council

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

When I am out and about in the community people are raising the cost of living pressures they face and the difficulty in trying to make ends meet. They want to know that the government has the interests of their families as a number one priority and will support them and make it easier to earn a living, pay the bills and support their family.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

Every day is an opportunity to explain to voters our strong economic plan for NSW and the sound economic management of the Berijiklian Government, which has meant we have been able to deliver more hospitals, schools, improved public transport and services that the people of NSW deserve.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Like most Australians, we are all very busy, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle is important. I find planning is vital and utilising the time you have wisely to balance both professional and personal life. The election period is an unusually busy time, often away from home, so that’s why I plan time after the election to spend with family and reconnect with friends.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

I live in the Goulburn electorate and am proud of what we have been able to deliver in our community, which is why I am committed to helping Wendy Tuckerman, our Liberal candidate, at this election. I want to ensure regional NSW continues to benefit and receive its fair share of services and infrastructure that had been neglected by Labor for so long. This can only be done under a Liberal-National Government. Wendy is the person with a proven track record of fighting for and delivering for our community, she understands farming as a sheep grazier, and has dedicated her life to serving her community as a former AFP officer and Mayor. I know Wendy will work hard and continue to deliver for the people of Goulburn.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

If I am fortunate to be re-elected to the NSW Legislative Council I will focus my time on delivering on our commitments and continuing to serve the interests of the people of this great state. We should be proud that NSW is again the most prosperous state in the nation, which is no accident, but hard work and discipline of the Liberal National Government to get the state back in shape and deliver our commitments.

 

Sally Halliday—Liberal for Maitland

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

The second most important issue is people would like to keep Australia Australia.

The most important issue though is the traffic jams at the Maitland station flyover/roundabout. Most people use this to transit through the Maitland area and everyone would like to see a solution. People know the hospital is being built but would now like to know how the government is really helping them, so they want this fixed. We built a one-way flyover, completed in 2016, so people get stuck in traffic going back the other way.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

My pitch is in the Maitland area over the last four years, the government has spent half a billion dollars in health which includes a new public hospital and ambulance station. This will help you and your relatives receive quality care locally.

In education all public schools in our area are receiving a huge investment, in two new schools having a rebuild (Bolwarra Public and Rutherford Technology High School—at a cost of $40 million), air conditioning, more teachers, more lollipop people, getting rid of the maintenance backlog and putting two mental health experts into every high school. This means all students have the opportunity to reach their potential in quality learning environments with first-class support.

We have spent more than $60 million in road upgrades which means you spend less time travelling and more time with your family. The area has received more than $20 million in grants to support the local community—e.g.; netball courts, lights at sporting fields, air conditioning upgrade to Maitland Regional Art Gallery, athletics facility. All this helps you enjoy your life more fully when not at work.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I achieve balance by switching all technology off, staying home and doing things I enjoy, like studying, reading a book or gardening.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

The reason I get out of bed is that I am highly driven as a person and like to succeed at whatever I set my hand to. I like to win wherever possible.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

The first thing I would do is commence the second stage of the railway station roundabout—whether it is completing the study, putting in traffic lights, commencing the reverse traffic flow for the highway, whatever is required to stop the horrendous traffic jam! It regularly takes people between half an hour and an hour to get through the roundabout. This is not acceptable and I would like it addressed. This is the biggest issue in the area and if elected would be my top priority.

 

Shelley Hancock—Liberal for South Coast

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Roads! Roads! Roads!—particularly the Princes Highway. Improving the Jervis Bay road intersection and south to the Sussex Inlet intersection is the top priority, as well as the Milton Ulladulla bypass and Currarong Road, which are key projects requiring investment.

Education across the region particularly within the growing Worrigee/South Nowra region and the Southern Shoalhaven and improved health care including the need to improve the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital and increase crucial frontline staff such as doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

Due to the strong economic management of the Berejiklian Government, we are able to invest in the things that matter to the people of the South Coast. Better roads, improved health care, additional educational facilities and increasing our frontline services.

The Berejiklian Government has spent or committed $2.5 billion on the Princes Highway, committed $434 million to redevelop the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, complementing the multi-storey carpark currently under construction, and we have acquired the former Shoalhaven Anglican School site securing education services for southern Shoalhaven communities. We are building a new police station at Sanctuary Point and have opened the Bay and Basin Ambulance Station, and are also investing in local community infrastructure including $1.4 million to upgrade the Nowra Showground, $2 million to boost South Coast arts and culture and over $3 million to improve local parks, reserves and playgrounds.

The Berejiklian Government has committed to delivering an additional 1,500 extra police across the state, and an extra 5,000 nurses and midwives which includes 440 staff members for the Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District and will wipe the $1.3 billion maintenance backlog across South Coast schools.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Having a strong supportive family for me is key.

I am proud to have hundreds of amazing volunteers and supporters across the South Coast, who over many years have made themselves available to represent me at local events such as ANZAC Day ceremonies or school presentation days. They are key in ensuring that my electorate knows they are represented by a strong state Member who listens and values their voice and concerns.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

As a mother and grandmother, I want to make sure that the South Coast remains the best place to live for my family, and all South Coast families and residents.

I have experienced Labor’s lack of commitment to the South Coast whilst in government. Since the election of the NSW Liberals and Nationals, we have seen significant investment in our region on a scale second to none. We have delivered on our commitments to a better Princes Highway, more frontline services, better schools and health services and support for our most vulnerable. But there is more to be done and I will continue to fight to ensure the South Coast receives its fair share.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

I will continue to represent my community and work to deliver on our commitments. These include commencing the $434 million upgrade to Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital and completing the multi-storey carpark. We need to deliver new schools for the region, see a safer and better Princes Highway to the Victorian border and open the Bay and Basin Police Station.

 

 

Sue Dengate—Liberal for Gosford

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Local issues like roads, drainage, footpaths as well as maintaining our waterways, issues with commuting and the biggest one is the lack of parking, particularly in the CBD of Gosford and at our railway stations.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I will work on local issues for local people because the interests of the community are my number one priority. I want to work with small businesses to increase local jobs, therefore, reduce commuting, keep our waterways healthy and encourage development in the CBD of Gosford and the infrastructure to support it.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I am very lucky to have enthusiastic support from my partner. He helps me campaign when he can and shares the load at home, as well as giving me mental support to keep me on an even keel.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Seeing what has been neglected in the community under a local Labor MP makes me determined to make a positive difference. Then having someone in the community recognise, appreciate and thank me for listening to them and have ideas for improvements makes me realise that I can make a positive difference.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Engage with community leaders to set priorities for the region, then organise regular meetings with council project managers to deliver these priorities for the community.

 

Wendy Tuckerman—Liberal for Goulburn

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Health, schools, cost of living and the need for even more infrastructure in our regions.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

The Liberal-Nationals have invested considerably in rural regional NSW and we need to continue to ensure that the Goulburn electorate receives its fair share.  We have seen record levels of investment in this region on infrastructure and services that matter to our communities.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

Having worked and raised a family I know how important it is to find the balance.  Campaigning is frantic but it is important to set aside some time to reflect and rejuvenate even if it is for only an hour or two.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

The volunteers that help you during the campaign, outcomes for the communities of the electorate.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Thank the many people who have contributed and supported my campaign, the voters who have faith in me to represent them and for those that didn’t, a guarantee that I will work hard for the entire electorate.

 

Ying Shu Li-Cantwell—Liberal for Wyong

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

After many days of door-knocking it is clear key issues for people in Wyong are concerns of lack of infrastructure.  They are noticing it is getting busier on the trains and on the roads and more needs to be invested.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I want to see that all people of  Wyong have the opportunity to reach their full potential.  To offer improved education outcomes, employment, health services and maintain a sense of community.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

I regularly do Yoga and Qi Gong exercise, which strengthens the mind and the body.

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

Every day speaking with people.  Listening and understanding their needs has really motivated me with a sense of purpose to serve the community and make a difference.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Firstly, thank the people of Wyong who put faith in me to serve them, plus thank my family and campaign supporters. I would then get to work to have a forum to seek more information from the community about a local issue and work with them to find solutions.

 

Wendy Lindsay—Liberal for East Hills

 

 

What are the key issues that people are raising with you right now?

Locals are concerned about the amenity of our community—they want to make sure that our local schools are providing their children with the best opportunities, the local parks allow them to run around and our hospitals provide the best possible healthcare. They want the look and feel of our neighbourhoods to be maintained.

 

What is your pitch to voters?

I am a true local. I care about my relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours who live here alongside me. I understand the area, the community and the issues they are concerned about. For too long our community was ignored and taken for granted by Labor. I want to ensure that we continue to receive our fair share so that we, the NSW Liberals, can take the pressure off families, whether that be through spending more time with family and less time getting to and from work or help take the pressure off household bills. I want the people of East Hills to have the best opportunities.

 

Elections are frantic times both personally and professionally. How do you maintain balance during this period?

It is impossible to maintain balance during the campaign. I have scheduled in times for work and family events and endeavour to stick to those allotted times as best I can. I don’t sleep very much, please order me a clone along with my campaign artwork!

 

What gets you highly motivated to kick goals every week?

I want to ensure that our area is represented by someone who is truly passionate about the people who live in the East Hills electorate. Our area deserves it.

I also have the most dedicated volunteers and when I don’t think I have too much left in the tank, I just look at their smiling faces and keep going.

 

What is the first thing you would do if elected?

Have a good night’s sleep, maybe even a sleep in and then start addressing issues raised with me by locals about our area and get to work!

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading digital content platform in both Australia and the USA. As a social and technology commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio and appears on ABC's The Drum and ABC News24. Alexandra is also a Director of NFP think tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel; and sits on the board of Estate-Planning FinTech start-up NowSorted.

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