The Daily Advertiser is profiling each of the people vying to win the seat of Riverina at the May 21 election.
To help you get to know them, we've asked some key questions - including why they're standing, what they believe are the biggest issues in need of attention, and what their key policies are.
Labor candidate Mark Jeffreson, 64, is having his second crack at representing the Riverina after what he said has been an unforgivable three years of inaction by the current government.
A local business owner and lifelong Riverina resident, Mr Jeffreson is running on issues that he said directly impact the region, like local infrastructure, health services and cost of living.
All my life, geographically. I was born in Holbrook, raised in Albury and Lavington, and moved to Wagga in 1987.
[I operate] a process kind of business. It's consulting to small to medium enterprises about the process of going through a day's work, where you have things that you rate as A-type projects, B-type projects and C-type projects. It's mostly a time management system.
Essentially, the changes in the world since 2019 and the response from the federal government. Last time, I guess that I wasn't not going to run again. But I wasn't saying to everyone, 'I'm going to go again'. But then we had the bush fires and the government response to those which is still not finalised now, far from it. We had the pandemic, and the vaccine roll out hopelessly delayed after that, which probably caused another lockdown. And then we had the RAT tests, the mice plague and the floods, recently. Whatever happens, the government's response seems to be, 'we don't have an action plan'. We're highlighting where the government's gone wrong, that's our job, and where we would do better. They spoke about having a balanced budget, and didn't do that. They talked about having low inflation, they haven't done that. The only thing they've got of their economic architecture left is the low wages growth - they've still got that.
The flexibility with my work. I'm able to get out in the regions, because a bit of work is out there, and see people. It wasn't quite as easy last time because we had a work that required day-to-day attention in the office with clients. Being able to talk to more people than I could last time, I can really get a better perspective on what issues are in front of people.
Local infrastructure, health services and cost of living. Wherever I've gone, it's been the health system, cost of living. The integrity commission also comes up all the time. I can't explain it, why every state and territory in the country has got an integrity commission of some sort or another and the federal government doesn't. Money is being fuelled around electorates depending on whether they think they can win that electorate, whether they think they can keep that electorate, and whether it's an electorate they needn't worry about because they either got it good or never going to get it. That's no way to spend public money.
Because it's regarded as a pretty safe seat, there's no particular desire on [the government's] part to spend any money in the Riverina because their perception would be that they don't need to. And that's certainly been the evidence over the last few years.
I'm a democrat. So, people listen to the candidates, they listen to what they say, they go in, they vote, someone counts up the vote, a government forms and away we go. I wouldn't have it any other way, that's the way that it ought to be. Particularly if this government gets re-elected, the only way for the Riverina to get some share of what we put into the economy is to not be such a safe seat. You can see what's happening with those teal independents. [The government is] throwing money at that to try and save Josh [Frydenberg], to save Tim Wilson. There's money going in everywhere for programs that aren't necessarily that much value. Here, [the government] feel quite safe. So, if we can change that a little bit, for starters, that might mean the Riverina gets a bit more attention, Because at the moment it doesn't get it.
A long time ago, I was talking to my mother about something or other and this fellow Whitlam was standing for the Labor Party - he was running on a thing called Medibank. And I said to Mum, what's Medibank? And she said, 'it's a system where anyone can avail themselves of health care if they need it. Right now, if you don't have the money to get yourself medical attention, you've just got to rely on the goodwill of the system to come through for you, whereas this Medibank will provide everyone with a basic level of health cover.' I thought that made terrific sense.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Gough [Whitlam] because of Medibank and a number of things for a fellow who came into office at a particularly unfortunate time. Bob Hawke, of course. Hawkey's the champ. Modern era, I'd say Kevin Rudd because he took government from opposition - really hard to do that.
This is just from travelling around, but hardly anyone has mentioned Scott Morrison or Anthony Albanese. I think that the Riverina is focused on what's happening or what's not happening in the Riverina. It doesn't matter who your Prime Minister is if your hospital systems are okay, if your infrastructures are okay, and your roads are okay - but they're not.
Well, we need to come out of the pandemic a lot differently to how we went into it. We went into it in an economy where not everyone was getting decent reward for it. Whilst the economy has been strong, the people who get a dividend from that strength is getting less and less as time goes on. That does make it a bit difficult for people who are just trying to buy a house, educate their kids, all that sort of stuff. We have to think about ways that we can structure ourselves, so as the economy is rewarding all the people who will participate in the economy, not just a few.
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