Please tell us a little about yourself – your upbringing, family, interests etc.
I have been married to Johanna for over 45 years. I have two adult children who are both medical professionals and two wonderful grandchildren. I have worked as a high school teacher, teaching woodwork and metalwork, and spent over twenty years working as a veterinarian, much of that in my own practice south of Adelaide. I entered politics in 2002 as the Liberal Member for Morphett. I am now standing as an Independent candidate in the 2018 state election.
What are the two top priorities that you want to achieve for your electorate?
One of the main concerns that I know my constituents face is the rising cost of living, so reducing the cost of living is vital. My priority is to reduce government taxes and levies and the cost of utilities – electricity in particular. The other big outcome that I want to achieve for my constituents is for them to be able to have reliable, prompt and good quality access to all government services, whether that be education, health, police, the justice system or any other services provided at government levels.
No one wants to see any child bullied at school for any reason. But recent anti-bullying program seem to have gone beyond this aim. Do you agree with state funding of the SHINE SA Safe Schools program which applies contested and scientifically unsound gender theory into all SA state schools without the need for parental consent? The program also seems to promote radical LGBTIQ concepts to children without parental consent.
The need to provide safe surroundings for our children, both at school and at home, is paramount, as is the need to give a balanced view of life. While we do have a diverse range of both cultural backgrounds and lifestyles in South Australia, it is important that no particular group be given any precedence or advantage or is able to influence more than any other. There needs to be a significant balance and programs such as the Safe Schools program I think are not as balanced as they could be.
If elected will you support an independent inquiry into the implementation of the SHINE SA Safe Schools program and the mandating of the Supporting Same sex attracted, Intersex and Gender Diverse Students Policy November 2016: and the Transgender and Intersex Students Support Procedure November 2016?
Any program that is introduced to our schools to inform and educate children on matters such as those raised in the Safe Schools program and supporting same sex, intersex and gender diverse students policy is something I think needs to be dealt with in conjunction with the parents of the children. If there are particular concerns or objections the parents have I don’t believe that those concerns or objections should be in any way discounted and the parents should have the ability to stop their children attending these courses. We do need to maintain a balance of ideas.
The SA parliament has unsuccessfully attempted to reform prostitution law in SA for many years. It is clear that prostitution degrades women by objectifying them as commodities for men’s sexual gratification. Internationally, policies discouraging demand for sexual services are proving to be the most effective way of limiting both the size of and the harms resulting from prostitution. The progressive “Nordic model” criminalises the buyer of sex, not the provider, and provides viable pathways for those wishing to exit prostitution. Would you support a Nordic Model Bill in the next parliament to help vulnerable women in SA?
From the knowledge I have of the Nordic model to decriminalise prostitution, I don’t believe it is the complete answer for the problems we have here in South Australia. The legislation that has been put to the Parliament by the former Member for Ashford Hon Steph Key and the Hon Michelle Lensink in the Upper House I think was a good balanced approach. However, if further evidence is provided I may be persuaded to look at other options.
Euthanasia has been rejected by SA parliaments on 15 occasions. Would you oppose or support any future attempts to legalise euthanasia in Tasmania?
I was interested to see that I have been asked for my opinion to oppose or support legalisation of euthanasia in Tasmania. I can say that, as a strong proponent of the right to choose when it comes to voluntary euthanasia here in South Australia, I will not be walking away from my views on this, as I know many Christians are also supportive of this, including some of my church ministers in the seat of Morphett.
According to Palliative Care SA about 6000 South Australians will die this year without adequate palliative care. Would you support:
- Increased funding for palliative care in this State?
- an inquiry into improving end of life treatment for South Australians and in particular into how palliative care may be improved?
Even with my very strong views in support of voluntary euthanasia, it is absolutely vital that all South Australians be given the highest levels of palliative care possible. I have written to Palliative Care SA saying I am happy to support their $24 million claim for improvements in the sector and certainly will be working very diligently to make sure that palliative care is a real option for all so that everybody in South Australia has a dignified death.
Drugs continue to wreak havoc in our community. Some are suggesting the decriminalisation of small volume use and possession of illicit drugs. Would you support or oppose legislation to enable this?
The scourge of both legal and illicit drugs in South Australia is something we all need to address, whether it be alcohol related, prescription drugs or illicit drugs. To pretend that we have control over this or are winning the war on drugs is an absolute furphy. The need to overcome the scourge of drugs in society may in some cases require a level of government control through the decriminalisation or legalisation of the possession of small amounts of drugs that would then enable not only policing but also information gathering about drug taking in South Australia.
Given that the advances in medical science mean that children are now capable of being born alive at 24 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, would you support a review of section 82A(8) of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 which says that “evidence that a woman had at any material time been pregnant for a period of twenty-eight weeks or more shall be prima facie proof that she was at that time pregnant of a child capable of being born alive” with a view to bringing it into line with current medical science and so changing the period to 24 weeks?
I understand that in some European countries this particular legislation considers 23 weeks’ gestation as the cut-off point. I will be guided by medical practitioners as to where we as politicians should go under these circumstances.
Do you support faith-based organisations’ current right to, if they so choose, restrict employment or enrolment to those who share their ethos, just like political parties do?
Yes, I do support faith-based organisations’ right to, if they so choose, restrict employment or enrolment to those who share their ethos.
Poker machines cause a great deal of social harm to vulnerable South Australians. Over $60 million is lost monthly on poker machines in South Australia, with a significant portion of this attributed losses suffered by women. Do you support legislating for $1 bets? B. What other measures do you support to help at-risk South Australians and their families?
The need to help problem gamblers in South Australia and ensure that people don’t go down the path of becoming addicted to gambling is I believe not a government responsibility but just as important for the operators of betting and gaming facilities. The firsthand interactions with problem gamblers is in the premises where gambling is undertaken and so I think the operators of these facilities should be the ones that are primarily responsible for gambling. If a restriction on betting types and frequencies is also an assistant, then I think this could be considered.
How would you like to be remembered as a parliamentarian?
I would like to be remembered as a hard working local member who listened to all his constituents, acted on their concerns and was seen as their voice for their collective conscience. I see myself not as a delegate but as my constituents’ representative and will continue to act that way so I do hope that I will be remembered as having been a diligent representative for the people of Morphett.