Michael Ferguson MP, Liberal Member

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michael.ferguson@parliament.tas.gov.au

Check out candidates’ voting record on marriage, abortion and euthanasia HERE.

 

Answer

Please tell us a little about yourself, upbringing, family, interests etc.

I’m a born and bred Tasmanian, was raised in a large, loving family in the Launceston area.  I’ve been married to Julie for 23 years and we are raising our young adult daughter and teenage sons.  Julie and I share a background in education and our whole family love to support a range of community organisations and charitable causes close to our heart.  We are woven into the local Christian community and greatly appreciate the prayerful and other church supports that we receive as a family serving together in public life.

 

What are the top two priorities you want to achieve for your electorate

I want Tasmania to be the safest place for children, who can be raised by mothers and fathers who love them, and are supported so as to be able to meet their responsibilities.  I want to see stronger educational outcomes, leading to job-ready young people, a growing economy and creating new businesses and jobs here on our island

 

Euthanasia has been rejected by the Tasmanian Parliaments in 1998, 2009, 2013 and 2017.  Would you oppose or support any future attempts to legalise euthanasia in Tasmania?

I do not support the killing of one human being by another. I do not support suicide and have actively worked to build a stronger community belief that every life lost to suicide is one too many. The “euthanasia” debate is a debate run every four years by those who refuse to accept the outcome of previous votes and are not honest in their language about what they are actually proposing: that is, assisted suicide and medical manslaughter. I have compassion for each person who needs support during terminal illness and believe that more can be done to deliver ethical reform proposals, including legally enforceable advance care planning and improved palliative care.

 

How would you like to be remembered as a politician?

When my time as a parliamentarian comes to an end, I would like to remembered as a person who dreamed big for Tasmania, solved problems, promoted a culture of life, hope, freedom and generosity and stood by his convictions and Christian values.  I hope that whatever achievements or mistakes made, people will say that Michael remained faithful (to his family, community, parliament and the Lord), kept his word and spoke up for the voiceless in the human family.

 

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 Tasmanian Liberals will not decriminalise illicit drugs, nor introduce legislation to do so. Nor will we support legislation introduced by another political party.

Illicit drug use can lead to significant social problems, including family violence and child abuse. We will reduce the supply, demand and harms associated with the abuse and misuse of illicit drugs. See www.tas.liberal.org.au for all election policies.

In contrast, the Greens have a clear policy to remove criminal penalties for personal illicit drug use and in 2017, Labor voted in favour of the "decriminalisation of small volume use and possession of illicit drugs".

 

According to a 2013 Galaxy poll, the majority of Tasmanians oppose late term abortions except in cases of severe disability. Despite this, Tasmania's abortion law continues to allow abortion up until birth. Would you support or oppose an amendment to legislation to repeal the provision of late term (post 24 weeks) abortions except when a mother's life is in danger?

The Tasmanian Liberals have no plans to change the current laws. Should another political party bring such laws to Parliament, my Members will be allowed a conscience vote, as they have in previous years when legislation related to the termination of pregnancy has been debated.

 

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?

Such rights already exist. Faith-based organisations are able to seek exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act, subject to conditions set by the independent Commissioner, and limited to a period of not more than three years. Extensions can be sought. Exemptions enable faithbased organisations to employ persons based on religion or participation in religious observance.

 

Do you agree with state funding of education programs that teach contested gender theory (like the so called Safe Schools Programme?)

The Liberals will continue to provide safe and supportive learning environments, for all students and staff. We have put in place a new $3 million Combatting Bullying Initiative that will provide practical support to schools to ensure that all students feel safe and valued in their school community.

 

Poker machines cause a great deal of social harm to vulnerable Tasmanians. Over $15 million is lost monthly on poker machines in Tasmania, with a significant portion of this attributed to the estimated 8000 problem or moderate-risk gamblers. Do you support legislation for a $ I bet limit? What other measures do you support to help at-risk Tasmanians and their families?

The Liberals' policy is available at www.tas.liberal.org.au

Tasmania's harm minimisation framework is already recognised as national best practice and

99.5% of Tasmanians are not problem gamblers. The Liberals will:

  • reduce the cap on poker machines by 150;
  • end the monopoly;
  • allow venues to licence, own and operate machines, increasing returns to pubs and clubs to invest in economic activity and jobs;
  • increase returns for government to invest in schools and hospitals;
  • double the Community Support Levy to around $9 million per year, providing a bigger pool for harm minimisation, preventative health and support for community sporting activities and facilities.

 

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 an inquiry into the suitability of the Nordic approach to help vulnerable women in Tasmania?

The Liberal Party has no plans to change existing laws