The Glenferrie Times would like to thank the Kooyong candidates for speaking with us in the lead up to the Federal election.
2019 Kooyong Candidates
D'Elia, Steven United Australian Party
Steven D’Elia is the Kooyong candidate for the United Australia Party (UAP), a small business owner seeking to represent everyday Australians. D’Elia cites his core values as “love, care and respect for others; kindness; acceptance; looking after those less fortunate; giving people time; fairness; pride in our country and appreciation of our nation’s wealth.”
While D’Elia does not live within the electorate boundaries, he is “running to give everyday Australians a voice”, having heard “the concerns of friends and associates in the electorate.” D’Elia started a signwriting apprenticeship at 16 years of age and simultaneously launched his own small business which he successfully operated for over 26 years. As a business owner, he explains that he “used to vote Liberal, but I no longer believe either of the major parties is interested in everyday Australians.” He believes that there is no longer any integrity, trust, nor genuine concern left in the major parties. “Politics should not just be about the rich or the poor, the colour of your skin, your culture or your religion; it should be for all of us and aimed at achieving a unified nation in harmony and agreement.” This philosophy is what attracted him to represent the UAP: “The United Australia Party is standing candidates in every seat who are genuine people, not the elite,” says D’Elia. “I doubt any of our current leaders really know what life is like in the real world, working just to survive and struggling to pay our bills.”
D'Elia believes that in his 54 years, he has had his “fair share of ups and down, highs and lows” both professionally, such as during the global financial crisis, as well as personally, having “lived the flamboyant lifestyle and also been to hell and back”. This resilience along with a history of innovation, property investment, volunteer work, and international travel has given him the opportunity to “have always mixed with people from all walks of life.” High on his agenda is “helping our youth get proper jobs, looking after the less fortunate, and caring for our elderly citizens” as well as addressing the urgent mental health epidemic facing Australians. “The most important thing in life is to be healthy and happy.”
“What you see is what you get”, says D’Elia, who promises: “Trust. Honesty. No Lies.” He is more interested in listening rather than talking and believes that if elected, Kooyong will be very impressed with what he has to offer. D’Elia has found that his campaign has been a “tough gig” as he has been largely ignored by the media and disappointed that “there have been a lot of forums and debates in Kooyong but no one has invited me”, which he sees as “not very democratic nor fair”.
At the end of the day, D’Elia says: “All I ask for is a fair go. Not just for me as a candidate, but for all Australians who have had enough and deserve better … I am here to bring back hope.”
Yates, Oliver Independent
At the corner of Glenferrie Road and Barkers Road sits the campaign office of Oliver Yates, one of Kooyong’s independent candidates. He is running his campaign platform with the value and promise of ‘integrity’, something he believes has reached a generational low in Australian politics. “I think that a lot of people think poorly of politics and politicians at the moment, and I’d like to see that change.”
As the son of William Yates, a member of parliament under the Holt government, Oliver Yates has been involved with politics since he was about ten years old. “I’ve been door-knocking and campaigning since childhood,” says Yates, who believes his upbringing fostered an ability to interact with the local electorate and understand their concerns.
As a former Liberal voter, Yates believes that the Liberal Party has drifted to the right, leaving traditional Liberal voters without a party. He is running as an independent as he believes that “the biggest issue we face as individuals is that our politicians are not representing us. Australia is meant to operate through a representative democracy, where representatives take the perspectives and priorities of their electorate to Canberra. Instead, the electorate seems to be irrelevant. Priorities and policies are being determined in some room in Canberra, and then told to us through our politicians.” Yates puts forward his other core value as accountability and taking responsibility, believing it "should be crucial to political decision-making. Fessing up and talking about, sharing, and explaining the decisions you’re making and why, and making sure they’re not just for yourself.”
Yates was particularly motivated to run for this election as “the need to take action on climate change is urgent and cannot be delayed with another three years of failed government.” Yates was elected the CEO of the Federal Government’s $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), where he “worked very effectively between Labor, the Greens, and Independents in Canberra to defend the corporation against multiple attempts to abolish the CEFC by the likes of the Liberal Party.” Yates believes that this role, along with his professional background in banking and finance, has given him a “unique understanding of the economics and opportunities that exist in the transition from fossil fuels toward cleaner alternatives.” For Yates, it all comes back to integrity: “It’s the reason we’re arguing about climate change. If there was integrity in our government, it would be acting to protect citizens and the environment appropriately.”
He understands that one of the issues most pressing for Hawthorn residents is growth and its challenges, particularly infrastructure and roads, as well as growing concerns regarding climate change and health services. During his career, Yates’ major accomplishments have been helping to grow businesses from the ground: “helping other people build their careers, their own futures, and create their own opportunities is always extremely rewarding.” Yates lives in the family home he built in Kew, and considers the Eastern suburbs to be a “fantastic area, and really easy to get to the city. I love it – I wouldn’t be living here if I didn’t!” If elected, Yates plans to set up the ‘Committee of Kooyong’, a committee of 25 local members from all sides of politics for the purpose of generating policy by and for Kooyong.
Yates appreciates the “very dynamic” cross-section of Glenferrie, between the heavily residential areas and the influence of the educational institutions which “results in a diversity of services and restaurants, catering to nearly everyone of all backgrounds and budgets.” He believes we need to encourage people to shop and operate locally more, and that “while Glenferrie has some great independent butchers, I think we’re missing a high-quality fresh fruit and vegetable store. I actually just had breakfast at Moustache Bros this morning, and went past the boot-maker down in the Lido arcade on the way to work.”
For Glenferrie locals, Yates believes this election is a “real opportunity for change”. This election, he insists that whether local voters "usually vote Liberal, Green, Labor… as an Independent, I can really represent them. We have the ability to change the representation of this electorate."
Independent Dr Angelina Zubac is running for the seat of Kooyong for a third time, as she believes that “one person CAN make a difference. The more times you run, the more people get to know you.” Zubac has always had an interest in politics but is wary of parties as “even if you have great ideas, there is always compromise involved with being affiliated with a party.” Zubac has outlined her major issues as tax policy, climate change, youth, and safety in retirement.
Zubac likes to keep her campaign “lean” and “stay under the radar” and focuses on a creative campaign and meeting people from the local area. She considers herself a very social person. Zubac is running a unique campaign in the fact that, unlike other candidates, she does not accept campaign donations. “Last year I spent $9,000.00 of my own money on my campaign, and this year I plan to spend around $2,500.00,” she says, as she can use the same promotional signage from years prior. “I have some volunteers, but I also do a lot of it on my own. A lot of late nights!” she laughs.
Born in Sydney, Zubac studied in Canberra before eventually moving to Melbourne in 1988. She lived in Kew for 19 years before moving to Canterbury where she currently resides. While she stayed away from student politics and the like during high school and further education, she has worked for over one hundred organisations in her career and served on many boards, currently serving for the board of her local Canterbury Neighbourhood Centre. While she has no children of her own, as an educator she has always engaged with youth through educational programs and has brought many young people ‘under her wing’ as a personal and professional mentor. Zubac believes she knows how to communicate with “millennials who might be confused” about the current state of politics and candidates leading up to the 2019 election. “Especially in Hawthorn, I believe the demographic is changing and young people are very important.”
“Glenferrie Road is my area,” says Zubac, who spends a lot of her time between the Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre, grocery stores, and her favourite Laurent Café. “I work from home a lot, so to keep sane I will often go to Laurent for a coffee, to sit down and read the paper”. She describes Hawthorn as an “affluent area” but recognises that “small businesses need support”, citing the high rents for businesses along major strips such as Glenferrie Road as one of the concerns expressed to her by local residents. Zubac is also an advocate for secure retirement, as “once you’re on a fixed income, it can be difficult”.
“Many people have thanked me for running and giving them a choice,” says Zubac, who appreciates the amount of community support she has received since she first ran. In the face of climate change, refugee issues, and financial concerns such as taxation, retirement, and rent, Zubac insists that “it is possible to have leaders who think into the future.”
The Liberal candidate and incumbent Member for Kooyong, Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, has a life-long relationship with the local area, having always lived between Kew and Hawthorn. He was initially elected to the Kooyong seat in 2010, and is running for re-election for a fourth term as he wants to “continue to keep delivering for my local community, ensure they have the infrastructure they need, and that local organisations get the support they need.”
His entire life, Frydenberg has “always been a tennis player” and fondly remembers his childhood competitions in Grace Park in Hawthorn. “I never wanted to be a politician. I could never have seen myself in the position I’m in now back in school,” he confesses. Between studying both domestically and internationally and then pursuing a professional career in law, he took a year off to play tennis professionally. “It was when I got to work for the Attorney General, then the Foreign Minister, then the Prime Minister - that was what really peaked my interest in politics.”
Frydenberg chose to represent the Liberal Party as he was attracted to “their values and their philosophy – I found they aligned with my personal values.” As a Liberal, he says, “the things that are important to me are the power of the individual and their enterprise, personal responsibility, reward for effort, and providing help for the people who need it – which is the notion of the safety net.” Last year Frydenberg was appointed the Treasurer of Australia. While “being treasurer takes a lot of travel because it involves spending time both in Canberra and other states”, he “always seek[s] to put my local community first. It’s my first responsibility. When you’re always meeting with your local community, hearing about their issues, it informs your policy development.” He says the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a good example of this: “a lot of families came to see me about improving services for disability support, and I became an enthusiastic advocate. People come to see me about matters of immigration, Centrelink, tax policy, environment, infrastructure – and my door’s always open.”
When it comes to recognising which issues are most important for local residents, Frydenberg believes “it’s important to differentiate between policies which require federal action – such as the economy, taxation, job creation, infrastructure spending, climate policy – and local issues”. Frydenberg supports funding for more carparks at local train stations and plans to invest $260 million to raise the level crossing at Kooyong station to reduce congestion. As the former Environment Minister who has “worked on policies to reduce emissions, reach a record investment in renewables, and helped lead international negotiations in the Montreal Protocol”, Frydenberg recognises climate as “one of the very important issues to the people of Kooyong.”
Living “pretty close to Glenferrie Road”, Frydenberg finds himself out in the area regularly. “I’m often at the cafes there and out meeting shop owners. Just this morning I was at the Kooyong Tennis Club, which is on Glenferrie Road.” He sees Glenferrie as a great “cultural area and hub for small business. With the Grace Park Tennis Club, Glenferrie Oval, and the swim centre, Hawthorn provides some fantastic community sporting facilities.”
Frydenberg feels very lucky to be closely involved with many community organisations around the electorate, including the Breast Cancer Network Australia in Camberwell, Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew, and Community Housing in Camberwell. Frydenberg considers his experience representing Kooyong for almost a decade now as “a great privilege”, and wants to “continue to ensure that the locals have a voice in Canberra.”
Stewart, Jana Australian Labor Party
The youngest candidate on the ballot this year is the Labor Party’s Jana Stewart. Her campaign prioritises representation, education, and equal opportunity for all, based on core values of "fairness and equality, integrity, and action".
"Family is at the core of everything" for Stewart, who grew up with family violence and was supported through a quality public school education. She eventually become a career family therapist, before working as the senior political adviser for child protection for the Andrew's Labor Government. Stewart believes that “if we invest in our people, human beings on the ground, our economy will do much better. People from strong families are less likely to commit crime, be employed and not on welfare, and those kids grow up to use our schools, join the workforce, and pay their taxes." Defying "the statistics that were supposed to define me" as the only Indigenous student in her school to graduate Year 12, she believes her upbringing curated her passion for a well-funded education system, equal opportunity, and an “incredible sense of responsibility to fight for everyone who doesn’t have a voice.”
As a proud Mutthi Mutthi and Wamba Wamba Indigenous woman, she does feel the burden of representation, considering it both a pressure and a blessing. “For many local people, I might be the first Aboriginal person they’ve ever met or spoken to. There’s a lot of misconceptions about Indigenous people, especially women. I make sure they leave that conversation knowing that Aboriginal women are smart, ambitious, well-dressed, capable – they can be all these things mainstream media depicts us as not being.” If Stewart were to win the seat, she would be the first Aboriginal person elected to the Parliament of Australia from Victoria, as well the first woman to ever hold the Kooyong seat since its inception in 1901. While Kooyong has always been a blue ribbon seat, she says “you can’t tell me there hasn’t been one competent Liberal woman in 118 years. I’ve met so many great Liberal women.” But it’s not simply about making history for Stewart: “We need a diverse range of people in Parliament to have a true representation of Australia. And Kooyong deserves much better representation than what they’ve got.”
Stewart believes that many have lost their faith in politics and politicians and wants "give them that hope back.” She never saw the political system as a system that represented, stood for, or included her. Thus, she was never interested in political involvement until 2016 when the Victorian Labor Government committed to self-determination and treaty for Aboriginal Victorians. “It sparked a renewed hope in my community. If that’s the hope a progressive government can give to such a marginalised community, I want to be a part of that. Part of a government who can inspire hope instead of resentment and hate.”
Stewart bought her first home at 21 and used the equity to buy her current home in Melbourne’s north, something her family never believed was achievable. Recently, however, she feels she is "never not in Glenferrie!" Stewart is grateful for the help of Osteria 20, who recently stepped in to cater an event at the very last minute. “They were extremely hospitable. Before the event, I’d often gone there for dinner too – it’s just always lovely there.” Finding herself most often at the train stations around Hawthorn, however, her favourite spot is Zane Coffee Little Tuckshop at Glenferrie Station. “The man who owns the little ‘hole in the wall’ café at the station is so incredibly lovely. He’s brought us out free pastries and hot cross buns… he’s just so friendly, generous, and always looking after people. That’s just the general vibe I get from Glenferrie – the people are incredibly friendly, generous with their time, and always super helpful.” Stewart believes the people of Glenferrie are a diverse range of people, especially due to Swinburne University, which makes for a “great community vibe”.
While she isn’t a Kooyong resident, Stewart spends a lot of her time talking to the electorate's locals. She believes that "this electorate is a socially progressive electorate, despite what is reflected by the current member and policies. People in the area have been telling me they want action on climate and refugees - issues that they don’t think are being reflected, represented, or fought for currently. And these are the issues I care about.”
While Kooyong has always remained one-sided, she believes “it’s time Kooyong had someone to truly represent their views and values. I feel I’m ready for some change, I’m ready for a government who cares about people.”
Hinkley, Davina Animal Justice Party
When it was brought to her attention that the Animal Justice Party was missing a candidate for Kooyong, local Davina Hinkley saw it as her opportunity to stand for what she believes in. "While I'm new to politics, I'm here with an open ear and I'm ready to listen. I'm looking forward to speaking to more and more local residents, to hear exactly what they're concerned about and what they need." Growing up on a multi-acre property in Eltham fostered Hinkley's love for animals, she says. "What's important to me and my party is animals and the environment - and they're very much interconnected. One looks after the other."
Hinkley believes that "too frequently in Parliament, the welfare of animals is passed over in the interest of profit" and that she thinks "many people have lost faith in the major parties. They spend all of their time fighting each other, whereas we are fighting for what we believe in. We can't lose sight of what is good and right and what matters." Hinkley is standing against live export and cruel factory farming, the protection of wildlife habitats, and working to combat the climate emergency the world now faces. "I'm not suggesting for a moment that everyone run off and become vegan. We want to bring attention to these issues so that people might consider it as an alternative, and reduce their consumption." She believes in providing a voice for animals in Parliament.
Hinkley lived in Hawthorn during her 20s before she moved to Camberwell, where she has lived now for around 20 years. "I know Hawthorn like the back of my hand", she says, describing it as "such a beautiful cosmopolitan area with fantastic fashion stores and a mix of fabulous restaurants and food. It has everything you need, why even go into town?" Her favourite restaurant is Osteria 20, which she describes to have a "lovely, fashionable environment and great food." Professionally, Hinkley has worked closely with many Glenferrie Traders as well as the Glenferrie Festival. While she loves Camberwell, of course, "Hawthorn has a special place in my heart as it's where I lived with my mother."
As the founder and CEO of a promotion and events company she has run for over 20 years now, Hinkley has worked with major shopping centres, councils, and communities both locally and around Australia. "I understand small business and business in general," she says. "I understand the needs of business people and the needs of the community as well, from working with them on a constant basis."
Whether it be professionally, politically, or personally, Hinkley's core philosophy comes from her favourite fairy tale: "I've always taught my daughter to 'have courage and be kind', which is from Cinderella. It's also what I stand for in Parliament - the courage to stand up for animals, and always being kind."
As the candidate for the Animal Justice Party, Hinkley wants to stand for the issues she believes are important to Kooyong residents. "We live in a beautiful place. We have lovely parks, beautiful streets, and they're very clean. I think parking can be an issue for local residents, as we all know," she comments. "I believe that I can represent the people of Kooyong, as I believe they genuinely care about animals and the environment."
Burnside, Julian The Greens (VIC)
Julian Burnside, the candidate for the Greens, is a lifelong Hawthorn resident with a “very close link” to the Kooyong electorate. When it comes to the people of Kooyong, Burnside believes local residents "typically work very hard to generate an income to leave to their kids - which is why we’re concerned about climate change. Working to leave something to your kids is meaningless if there’s no planet left.”
Up until now, Burnside had always said he would never get involved in politics. That all changed last year, when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the world has until 2030 to take action before the effects of climate change will be irreversible. “That really stopped me in my tracks," he says, "I realised that it was time to reach for a bigger platform to speak from.” Burnside’s life-long career in human rights activism, advocacy, and legal representation as a Queen’s Counsel earned him the award of Officer of the Order of Australia in 2009. “My core value is a genuine concern for human beings generally and human rights in particular. I see climate change as a human rights issue. If human beings don’t survive, then the rest of human rights doesn’t matter.”
Burnside decided to represent the Greens as he considers them to be the only major party with a coherent and serious policy on climate change and refugees. “I looked at the Greens’ policies, and they all boil down to a matter of genuine value of human rights. For me, that was an easy sell.” Burnside believes that politics is "broken", and will only be fixed once politicians and parties start listening to their electors over their donors (such as the fossil fuel industry). “What is important to me is that the Greens would stand for much greater responsibility in Parliament.”
As a local, Burnside says that if elected he is “particularly keen on, and have promised that, I will listen to the electors in the Kooyong electorate. I really look forward to that.” He describes the people of Glenferrie as intelligent, thoughtful, and "not too easily conned" by those currently in power, describing the “savage” and “dishonest” attacks on his campaign in local letterboxes as “upsetting”. Each weekend he visits the stores around the electorate to meet local people, and has found that “the overwhelmingly pressing issue [to them] is climate change. I think it’s because people in this electorate - generally intelligent and well-educated people - genuinely understand the risk we are facing.”
Living close-by Glenferrie Road ever since he was a child, his earliest memory of the area is “just how boring it was! It was full of women’s handbags and old people's clothes. Then Swinburne Tech became Swinburne University, which attracted a lot of international students and residents. Glenferrie Road has been transformed.” Burnside’s two favourite frequent spots are the Vietstar Café and Hanoi Old Quarter. He also enjoys Lido Cinema for its “really interesting range of viewings”, noting it is “good to see they’re almost always really busy”.
Julian Burnside said that he hopes the people of Glenferrie understand that: “For all of my life, from the time I was allowed to vote until and including 1996, I voted Liberal. I grew up in a Liberal voting area, a Liberal voting household, and I always voted Liberal. Sort of out of habit. Now I am horrified at what the Liberal Party has become, and I’m proud to be standing for the Greens.”
Chandler, Bill Independent
Independent candidate for Kooyong Bill Chandler has always been involved in his community, which began with his upbringing in Gippsland. “I was heavily involved in the Church growing up. It wasn’t just the religious connection, it was also for the social connections, the concerns of the community that surrounds the Church in small towns and the suburbs.” His background in community leadership “evolved out of youth groups and leadership roles, and then grew into my professional career.”
During his 45 year involvement with the Planning Institute of Australia, of which he is a Life Fellow, Chandler served for two years as President for Victoria. “It was actually my first brush with the reality of democracy – the first election I ran for, I lost by one vote! It was brutal.” Chandler is also one of the founding members of Lighter Footprints, an organisation of local Boroondara and Whitehorse community members concerned with climate change, which hosted the Kooyong Candidates forum in April this year. In 2014, he was awarded the honour of the Order of Australia Medal, but is disappointed that they “never tell you who nominated you!”
While he has never before been involved in formal politics, he has “dealt with politics and politicians – the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Chandler’s professional background spans the areas of architecture, urban design, city planning, and transport engineering, which he believes he can apply to representation and service delivery for Kooyong. “We need to get good planning into politics. You can’t just whack in a bunch of car-parks to fix parking issues – that, to me, is the exact opposite of good planning. If we don’t get our cities right, we can’t get anything right.” He says he was inspired by Al Gore’s 2005 film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’: “Back then, ‘sustainability’ wasn’t the hot topic or phrase, but it was how we approached our city design. That value has been threaded through decades of my work.”
Chandler is running for the first time in the coming election as he believes “the values of the people in Kooyong need to be represented much better than they have been.” He is running as an Independent because he “couldn’t put up with having to do whatever your party says. It’s partially due to my creativity. I just couldn’t operate under somebody telling me what I can or can’t say.” He outlines his five primary issues as: effective global warming action, affordable and renewable electricity, energy-efficient transport and sustainable cities, inclusive compassionate communities (including Indigenous issues), and transparent governance.
Chandler believes “the current government is failing on climate change,” but that it is “much broader than just stopping Adani.” He perceives it as an ‘umbrella issue’. With his background in city and regional planning, Chandler observes that climate change raises issues of water and food security too. “One of my key issues is the Murray Darling Basin and how it’s been abused by all governments over the last thirty years. We’re selling off water then we’re buying it back – and that’s coming out of my tax and out of your tax.”
He believes there’s a difference between being an activist, which “sometimes gets a bad rap these days”, versus someone who is active in the community: “That’s who I am.” As the father of four children and grandfather of six, Chandler is fascinated at the younger generation’s engagement with climate change. “The morning after the climate forum, the eight-year-old said to me: ‘Did you get them to stop digging up coal?!’” he laughs. “These kids are really learning things at school."
Chandler is heavily involved in his home suburb of Surrey Hills, especially when it comes to the local paper, Surrey Hills Neighbourhood News: “I said I was going to do it for five years… that was in 1977.” His first ever football match was at Glenferrie Oval, and he remembers when he and his father would travel from Nunawading to watch his father’s team, the Hawks, play, but he is a Collingwood supporter. Chandler’s favourite place in Glenferrie is “Readings – obviously!”, and he fondly remembers the office he worked out of for 20 years by the dip on Power Street near Grace Park.
On a federal level, Chandler sees a growing concern of climate change within Kooyong residents. On a smaller, more specific scale, he believes the “other concerns for residents are the price of electricity and gas. With my urban designer’s hat on, that’s a largely local matter to address.” With an interest in heritage, infrastructure, and cycling, Chandler believes we need an emphasis on people, pedestrians, and cyclists – especially on Glenferrie Road – instead of just cars and more car-parks.
Chandler is running on a platform of transparency. “I’m fed up with being told lies. We’re lied to about climate change, the banks, the ABC, the Murray Darling. I grew up in an era where the policeman, the clergy, and the bank manager were the highest figures in society – oh how they have fallen. In a democracy, there is no space for our political representatives to lie.”
Chandler believes that "important shared community values need to be much better represented, at both the local and national level." Although he jokes that he is the “low-profile independent”, his primary motivation is to “try and influence politics for the better.