CORE PRINCIPLES & Peak goals
FIVE CORE PRINCIPLES
All people of Australia deserve to be fairly treated and succeed at building a positive life. I will make decisions based on the principle of fairness.
Government as a service
I will put people before profits with the knowledge that services are what makes the electorate of Wright, and Australia, a liveable place.
I will make decisions that work to include, not put down. I will be respectful and listen as you have a story to tell.
I am committed to doing my best for the people of Wright; not just following the party line. That is also why I am NOT preferencing any other party, I want you to have an independent choice with your whole vote.
A voice for the voiceless
I commit to looking after the little person. The struggler, the marginalised, the single parent, the environment and I promise to act on climate change.
FIVE PEAK GOALS
I will work to make the Australian Government provide services for all – Whether it is universal health care, high quality education, great communication infrastructure or public transport.
I will work to collect what is due without fear or favour and spend it on nation building infrastructure and services. I want a parliament that is controlled by the voice of the people not corporate donations. I will work to make funding for political parties immediately transparent and limit corporate donations to increase the communities trust in the institution, so that decisions will be made by thoughtful people not people who want donations.
I will work to foster industries that are good for the people of Wright and all Australians, with an eye on the future not tying us to the past. Agriculture is crucial as we need food and fibre, a strong service sector and a renewable industry providing us with cheap and reliable energy creating the jobs of the future not tying us to the past.
I will work to provide a safe place for all Australians – Regardless of race or religion the people of Wright and the broader community should feel safe. By investing in the root cause of issues like poverty rather than blaming minorities for their circumstances.
I will work to keep an environment that allows for a spectacular natural world, a thriving agriculture sector yet addresses the challenge of climate change. The Great Barrier Reef needs us to act now, not doing so will leave our children and their children an inferior world.
Questions & answers
Innes will be going LIVE on Facebook daily until election day on May 18. These live Q&A sessions will take place from the summit of one of the many mountains in this electorate for a unique ‘Community Summit from the summit’.
To view more past live sessions or to be alerted when the next live event will take place, checkout the Innes for Wright Facebook page.
A selection of questions from Innes’ LIVE Facebook Q & A community summits.
You can still follow Innes on Facebook daily until May 18 to ask your own questions
Q: Who am I
A: I grew up in Brisbane to a mother and father who gave me every opportunity to be in the outdoors. At some stage, I started climbing the mountains of this area, the scenic rim. And then eventually I took over the management and the ownership of the business of Mt Barney Lodge from my parents who had set it up. I have two kids, Connor and Caitlyn. They have both now left home. Caitlyn is travelling overseas and my son Connor is at boarding school in Brisbane.
I have been fairly active and involved in the local Scenic Rim region and have gathered a lot of information. A lot of connections to both people and place. I clearly am attached to this area. I love living in this area. And I would be stoked to be your federal representative.
Q: Why would you vote for me?
A: That is a good question. Because, as an Independent, I am standing here, not tied to party lines. As an Independent, I will fight for the community on their issues.
Q: What do you stand for?
A: I have five principles that will guide me in my fight. And they will apply across all issues. I am using an old outdoor education working agreement and adapting it to federal politics. Being a teacher and an outdoor educator, this is what I do. Imagne the five fingers on your hand…
So, the little finger is always look after the little person. So, I aim to be a voice for the voiceless. I want to look after the marginalised. I want to look after the single parent. I want to look after the environment. I commit to acting on climate change. So, if you are thinking that you need somebody to stand up for you, that is what I will do.
Ring finger signifies commitment; I commit to being your voice. The voice for the people of Wright and the wider Australian public. I know that if I can get the issues that you have in the Wright electorate correct and apply that across Australia, that we indeed will be in a better place.
Middle finger. Should not be used in a “putting down scenario”. I want to use this to say it is about being inclusive. I want all people of Australia to feel safe. I want them to feel like we include them. Instead of a putdown, I want to include people in the decisions that need to be made. Those hard decisions. Those courageous conversations that have been three word slogans for too long. The issues we face cannot just be solved through words. It will take sitting down, discussing and actually working out what is best for Australia.
The pointer finger signifies normally pointing the good and bad in an outdoor setting. But, I have taken it to represent that I am not going to be pointing out to people of Australia what they do wrong. I actually want the government to be a service. For the people. Not for profit. Yes, a strong and resilient economy is very important. But, at the moment what we are seeing is not such a strong resilient economy backed up with low wages growth. A whole section of the community is not gaining in our economy. We can do better, whether high quality education, federally funded health. The electorate of Wright is disastrously serviced by public transport; will be a number one priority.
If we get those first four funders right, then the thumbs up is that we will be a fair and just society. A fair and just place to live. Nothing is more important than a fair and just society.
Q: Why do you believe you are the best person to represent the electorate?
A: Being an independent, I have a unique opportunity to represent you. Commit to representing you. Not following party line. Not interested in that. I will sit down with anyone. Based on those five principles. Working through issues. I have been down to Canberra helping lobby for “Lock The Gate” organisation. And, you know, I sat there and people wouldn’t come to meetings about crucial issues facing Australia because they didn’t want to sit down with this person or that person because of internal politics. This is the sort of stuff you would deal with in the school yard. And, yet there it is happening in the middle of Canberra, in our nation’s capital, where the most important decisions are made. As an independent, I am absolutely happy to sit down, apply my principles to really good governance. Because, we know we can do better.
Q: Farming is a key industry in the electorate. What will you do to ensure that it remains sustainable?
A: When you look across the region, we have World Heritage National Park but surrounding it and filling in amongst it is the some of the best farming land in this region. The second best carrot producing area in Australia. We have small cropping. We have all sorts of critical agricultural industries. And they are a really big employer in the electorate of Wright. There are a couple of things that farmers need; a climate they can grow and thrive in. Acting on climate change is so crucial. This year, we have seen the first catastrophic fire season in history. We only just introduced the level and immediately it got applied in this year. We have seen hail storms uninsurable because they have never happened before, wiping out entire crops. We have seen floods and droughts simultaneously. We are now in the midst of climate change. And don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at an article I have posted a number of times on Facebook about David Attenborough. A man who everybody believes in. A man who has spent his lifetime showing us the most unique natural wonders of the world. And, he is now saying he wished he had come out stronger thirty years ago. He said he has been talking about it but we can’t just talk about it anymore. So, number one thing farmers need is a climate which their agriculture can thrive in.
Other issues; this electorate is so poorly connected to the internet. The new technologies that are coming out in agriculture (the ways you can tag and GPS things, the way you can use the internet and its capabilities to control your cropping etc.) It is crucial that we have that sort of infrastructure. Sadly, there are more “black spots” than we have good spots.
So, climate that makes agriculture thrive. Internet connections that allow them to work their business, be smart in their business. Water is crucial. We cannot produce the food and fibre we need in Australia without water. And it absolutely surprises me that we give free water to miners and yet in the Lockyer Valley, we are charging a crazy amount of money for water. I don’t get that. Why would we do that? So, it would be in my interest for the electorate of Wright and for the whole of Australia that the people that produce our food and fibre are the people who we are going to look after.
You can’t just have one industry; tourism is thriving. If you look out here, this is World Heritage National Park; but the beauty of it is you drive through spectacular farmlands before you reach the national park. Imagine if those were industrialised because our farmers went out of business. Doesn’t make sense to me. So, I commit to making sure that our farmers get the tools, the water and the climate they need to make their industry thrive.
Q: (from Louise) I think that this election will come down to environment issues that we are facing and I am looking for brave and courageous change unlike we have seen before. And given this is a safe LNP seat, how do you propose to not split the green vote? And how will you be different from the Greens?
A: Again, it comes back to that being an Independent. I am able to take the best from every party. LNP when they handed down their budget did some great things for business. Well done. The Greens have some wonderful policies. So does Labor. As an Independent, I get to look at them all. I get to do them for what is best for my electorate. Splitting the green vote, unfortunately, is beyond my control. I made the decision (and it is pretty full on one) to stand as an Independent.
So, for me, I represent you. It is about you. I don’t have to follow the party line. I will sit down with each and every party. For the people of Wright. That is the way I am looking at it
As an Independent, I have the ability to work with all parties. You know, as I talk to people and I have been out and about for few weeks now. The common thread is that people are very tired of major parties. They are very tired of the infighting. They are very tired of parties bickering among themselves. I want to have those courageous conversations. I want to make sure that when we sit down at a table, we are doing the right thing for people, not following ideologies. My thoughts, always, are always around those five “finger” principles and how I can make them work for Australia.
Q: Do you have any ideas how to rebuild retail business in the Beaudesert area? So many empty shops are there and likely other areas in Wright as well or is this merely a local council issue?
A: There is never just a local council issue. Every setting flows down from the top. E.g. the federal LNP helping out small businesses with their deductibility of large assets of $20,000 $25,000 $30,000. That is great. But, we need to look at each and every layer of what businesses need. At the moment, they are not getting that consistency of decision making. They are getting thought bubbles. They are getting creative ways of hiding things. They are getting large tax cuts that are twenty years, five, ten or fifteen years in the future. That is not what the people of Wright need. The people of Beaudesert, their shops; they need the thought process to start now. Everything flows down from the federal level. The settings from federal government affects the state government which then affects the local government. And that then flows on to each and every business.
As an Independent I will make sure we get those settings right at the federal level. If we make the environment for businesses to thrive, that will flow through the economy down. I am not talking about tax cuts that can magically trickle down to the small person at the bottom. I am talking about real economic gains. The levers the federal government has are very strong. If they choose to take them. I will be a person who will stand there and I will help them take those decisions. Those hard decisions.
Q: There are many issues facing Australia. e.g. climate, education, health, economy. What would you say are the major priorities?
A: Without doubt, that we need to act immediately on climate change. We cannot not. Human society (the richness of human society) will need a stable environment. And from that then once we have got that stuff under control, we can start to reinvest in health and the education system. Then we can really start to look after people, the poor, the marginalised. Not point the finger at them and say it is your fault. Sit down with them and say “How can we serve you? How can our government serve you?” So, I would put the number one issue that we need to face in in this electorate and across Australia and potentially across the world as climate change. And then that will allow the rest to continue on from there.
Q: Can you help residents on Tamborine who are concerned about their water?
A: It is a gap not being covered by any particular legislation at the moment. We need to look at it. The best way I can see in a federal stance is to work with the EPBC Act and create a very strong water trigger. When a development application comes in, a layer says what is the cumulative impact on the people around. Do the studies and understand what is going on. That then allows us to make informed decisions. We don’t know what we don’t know. Because we are just doing it. It was the same reason we fought against coal seam gas in this area. There was no water study. They didn’t know what they didn’t know because we are just doing it. And they just wanted to go in and start drilling and deplete the water aquafers. The precautionary principle is clear. We can do better. I see the EPCS Act as setting the tone and flowing down from there. I am very keen to work with the Tamborine residents on that issue.
Q: What is your policy on the environment?
A: We need to have action on climate change as our number one priority. Everything else slots in underneath that. If we have a climate where we can all thrive, businesses will grow, agriculture will grow and our natural environment will be spectacular. Some of the mountains and environmental diversity in this region have taken 24 million years to come into existence. So, we don’t really want to see that disappear. People have been saying for years that the last time climate changed this quickly and this drastically, 95% of earth’s living plants and animals were decimated. So, for me, number one priority.
So, the EPBC Act – Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is due for an absolute overhaul. I would be sitting down at that table, engaged in that overhaul. Absolutely. Making sure it has some clear teeth. There are issues on Mt Tamborine where the EPBC Ac tis not effective. There is unsustainable water extraction happening that is depleting people’s aquafers and there is nobody at a council, state or federal level to look out for it. It slips through. Just a small example of how if you really interact with EPBC, you can get some clear policy settings that flow down.
Q: What are your thoughts on a new independent environment and a corporate watchdog?
A: That would be spectacular. That would be the ideal situation. In WA they have that very thing. In Margaret River (a place we all love because it produces spectacular wines) an independent Environment Protection Agency produced 250km water zone where there is no coal or gas mined in that area. Why? Because they see it is more important. And it is protecting the very nature of what they need.
Q: As an independent, do you believe you can have a genuine impact on the decision-making process in Canberra?
A: Yes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have run. The overwhelming feeling from people is that the two-party system isn’t working. It is just this bickering from side to side. There are strong independents standing across the nation. And I applaud each and every one of them. I applaud anyone who stands, as it is a lot of hard work. But for those strong independents, each and every one of them is going to sit down and they will represent their community. I see that. I see those negotiations and those courageous conversations as a positive step. Not as “oh we are going to take more time”. Good decisions on a national scale do take time. So, absolutely, I can see independents from this seat and other seats having a crucial role in the upcoming federal parliament.
Q: Why are you standing on a mountain and not behaving like a real politician?
A: Real people need to be in parliament. I am not just a suit and tie. This is who I am. Welcome to my office (Innes is answering this question on the summit of Mt Barney). So, this is what I will bring. You know, the knowledge of what is behind me. That absolute energy. It takes me (and today I did it) sometimes twelve hours to guide people up and down this mountain. So, I am used to taking time and helping people out. This is for some people one of the pinnacle experiences of their life. And so, for me to be able to spend that time, help them through the difficult stages is great training for a politician. I am listening with people for twelve hours. I am talking with people for twelve hours. These are critical traits that a good politician should have and so I don’t believe it is a stunt. Great training for being a politician. I certainly believe I needed to get your attention. I need to break through that clutter. As an Independent, I don’t have the funds the big parties have. But what I do have is a spectacular backdrop. I have the energy and the passion to work through things. I wanted to share that with people. What better place to share than on top of Mt Barney, a place that I have spent a fair bit of time.
Q: How do you respond to those that say that you can either have action on climate change or a strong economy but not both?
A: That is such a disastrous argument and has no basis in a modern Australian world. It has no basis in a world where every other economy is leading the way and Australia is lagging. There are places around the world, there are countries, there are continents that are stepping up. And, unfortunately, Australia is still lagging behind. We are still the largest per capita carbon emitter. Our emissions have been climbing. Other countries are taking definite steps and their economies are strong. To be honest, if we don’t do anything on climate change, we are going to be tanking. We cannot wait till the last minute because the knock-on effects will continue. Our coastal cities will have issues. Our farmers will have issues. And then we will be spending more money. Chasing our tail. Getting in now, doing the right thing now is absolutely the right way to do it. And it will save us money. It will create future industries. Renewables. The new technology that comes out of whatever is going to happen with electric cars. These are twentieth century technologies. These are the future of Australia. Coal and gas are old technology. We can move on from them. At the moment, we spend nationally about five billion plus subsidising the fossil fuel industry. Why on earth would we do that? We need to reinvest that into industries that will be there. Let’s give agriculture a kicker. Let’s really make our food and fibre work for us. Let’s give to technology industries. Let’s look at the ones that we haven’t even thought of now. And make sure that Australia is there at the plate ready to go.
Q: What will be the first thing you would do if you are elected?
A: The first thing would obviously be learn how to be a great parliamentarian. There is a process you go through. The first thing I would do/ the first big thing I would be looking to influence is to act on climate change. It is crucial for our agriculture. It is crucial for our tourism. We saw a summer that was drier than ever before. We saw farmers now nearly six months behind (if they are a dairy farmer) because they haven’t been able to grow the hay. Not just because it was super hot and dry. But they had no water. Water allocations had either run out. Creeks had stopped running. In my local area, for nearly a month or two our creek was dry. It was disastrous. That impacts then on your decision to buy equipment from town. So, then the towns suffer. So, it knocks on from this one big issue. Absolutely, that will be the first thing l am acting on. I believe that there are a number of people out there (Independents, Labor, the Greens and others within their party structures) who are also committed to acting on climate change.
Q: What do you think of recent vegan warriors who are trespassing on farmers’ properties?
A: I am going to start by saying that each and every person has the right to a safe working environment. So, our farmers have the right to be able to go about their property and do their job without fear. I absolutely believe that the vegan people have a point of view and are able to voice their point of view. And I will listen to that, but protesting on somebody’s workplace is taking it too far. So, I would encourage the vegan warriors to look for ways where they bring the community with them. I commend them for caring, and trying to bring people with them but I don’t believe that what they did was good and appropriate. And it made farmers and others feel a threatened. I don’t believe that what they did was good. Does not fit well with my inclusiveness principle.
Q: What is your position on Inland Rail, because there are major negative impacts in your electorate.
A: Inland Rail (for everybody in that north of my electorate, from Greenbank to Jimboomba and even across to Beaudesert) has been an issue. There are some big problems. They are trying to bring six million tonnes of coal through heavily populated areas. They are talking about double stacking freight trains, initially starting at 1.8 km long. The ultimate goal is a 3.6 km long train running through highly populated areas of Jimboomba, Greenbank and then on to Acacia Ridge. They are not being listened to. The community is crystal clear in their consultations with me. They are standing there in consultation committees and they are being talked over. They are being ignored. They say they are being bullied. This is not the way to bring a community on a journey, if you are trying to push a massive change through.
So, I commit to standing with that community. I commit to helping them deal with this issue. For ARTC to sit down, to listen to what their issues are and actually act on them. If it is just another case of classic consultation where “here is what we are doing; now, what do you reckon?” then I will stand for that community and make sure that that does not happen. Thanks very much for that question. It is a big issue for that Jimboomba area and surrounds.
Q: What are you going to do about rising energy prices?
A: The Government has been subsidising coal and fossil fuel industries for a long time. And as you can see, that hasn’t worked. Our energy prices have continued to go up, so I will suggest something different. I think we need to take those subsidies and we need to invest in all forms of renewable energy. There is an absolute plethora of ways we can get energy now. And tying ourselves to old technology does not make sense. The future is in solar, thermal, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, hydro and the ever increasing battery technology that backs all this up. The issues we are having with power now when we get brownouts or blackouts has nothing to do with renewable energy. It has got to do with coal fired power stations. These are ageing and their owners (private owners) are saying we can move to better ways. The federal government recently had a big fight with AGL over closing down a power station. Suddenly, it is government policy to tell a business when it is more profitable for them to do something. I don’t get that. I will make sure that we invest in the energies for the future. I will work to make sure that if we were to make sure that we had a grid of renewable energy, then we are going to drive prices down. It is free energy. Yes, it costs to put up the infrastructure. But that is what a good business does. It is that capital investment so that many years later we can reap benefits.
I installed put battery and solar in my own business years ago when the trend was clear that energy costs were rising. It has been an absolute boon. We are absolutely reaping the benefits of that now and will continue to. Did I have any subsidies to do that? No. All down to my own funding. So, I suggest we reinvest those big fossil fuel subsidies. And put them into energy that is going to be there for the future. And, by the way it just happens to help with our climate change issue as well.
Q: Generally, what are you views on climate change?
A: There have been a lot of questions on climate change. It is interesting. Obviously, the feeling is out there. People are worried. Sir David Attenborough is worried. He has just come out in a BBC article. He is stressed about it. He wishes he was louder and more vehement about it. He has been talking about it for thirty years. Scientists have been talking about it for thirty years. We are now living it. I commit to acting for climate change. So I commit to making sure Australia does our bit.
We have a lots of ability to really influence our energy mix. To work with industries where changing the energy source is cheap. And also to work with industries where it is not so cheap to change and to help them. Instead of pointing out what people are doing wrong let’s use government as a service and make sure the people of Wright get what they deserve.
Q: After talking so much about climate change, are you a greenie?
A: I am a thoughtful, considerate person. If we are to have a society that lives and thrives, we do need to look after our environment. So, if that classifies me as a greenie, so be it. But, saying that I am also a small business owner. In eighteen years, I have grown my business 900%; it is thriving. I have reduced my inputs. I have reduced my energy costs. Reduced my food waste. Reduced my rubbish. We compost on site. So, all of this stuff can be done. And it is good business. Making sure we have an environment where agriculture can thrive is good business. Making sure we have an environment where people can go through summer and still get the water they need to survive. That is good business. I think it has moved beyond this greenie left/right divide to a point where it just intelligent decision making. I will stand there and I will be there in that intelligent decision making process. I will apply those principles in each and every decision. So that you know what I say is what I actually mean.
Q: Who are you giving your preferences to?
We now have a compulsory preferential system for the house of representatives. That means you must number each of the eight candidates in seat of Wright. I am not going to tell you how to vote. I want you to make that decision. If you believe that I am the person then look at my principles. Look at the other parties. If you are putting me first but if you have your own principles you want to abide by, do that. But, take the time. Listen to your inner voice and make your choice. Do not let me or anybody else to tell you how to vote. That is your right. How to vote cards are advice from a party. Nobody can any longer preference your vote without you doing it. Make your vote count. Invest a little bit of time in researching the party which best fits. Number from 1 to 8.
Q: You are not recommending preferences. Have you spoken to other candidates regarding their preferences back to you?
A: No. One candidate approached me about preferences and I explained my position very clearly to them. Here is what I am doing. I want you to have the vote. No. There are no preferences. There will be no horse trading. What you see is what you get. And I think that stands firm. I think the people are sick of this whole horse trading. And, so, for me it is crystal clear. I want you to think about your vote and If I am lucky enough to get your vote, then apply your principles, apply my principles. However you do it. But make an informed decision. This is democracy. Each and every person who is in this democratic nation of Australia needs to think carefully about their vote. It is so crucial. So, please look carefully at the policies of the parties and make your decisions accordingly.
Q: How about immigration and refugees?
A: A very hot topic at present. If I go back to my principles; looking after the little person. Our
refugees who are coming here are running away from a horrible place. It would be nice to look after them. Inclusiveness means when they do get here that we also make sure they feel like they are a part of Australia. The rhetoric that has come out at some times has been really frustrating and not Australian. We are better people than that. I do believe in being firm and fair with our borders. But not cruel. Indefinite detention, according to all international laws, is illegal. We are being seen as very, very, very bad people in the international community for our treatment of refugees in indefinite detention. So, close down Manus and Nauru. Bring those people here. Help resettle them. Let’s make this work. Let’s invest millions and billions of people on indefinite detention on offshore locations on more boats that patrol our seas. Make sure our borders are firm and firm. Again, let’s not be cruel. We can be better than that.
Q: What is the margin held by LNP for Wright? Is this a hard seat to win?
A: Yes. This is. The margin here is 9.5% in 2016. Since it was actually created in 2010, the seat of Wright has been entirely held by the LNP.
It will be a big job to win. I am a mountain guide, and climbing a mountain is also a big job. I am up for both of them. I will make my way right around this electorate from sun up to late at night. I am answering each email. Making sure you are heard.
I am not taking seat of Wright as a given. I have a 9.5% margin to work against and I am also standing for the first time. But, you know, I saw a wonderful person respond in Jacinda Adern, in the wake of New Zealand. That was one of the reasons I chose. It showed that a thoughtful, considerate person can actually make a difference. So, if you are sick of not being listened to, if you have had many emails unanswered by a person or incumbent, I suggest it is time for a change.
Q: How do you feel about the divestments of Coles and Woolies to reduce their power over farmers and other suppliers?
A: It is pretty clear that our current ACCC hasn’t got the power to look after the little person; the farmer. A dairy farmer trying their hardest to do their job, to be in charge of their world and to pass their farm on to the next generation. There are fifth/ sixth generation farmers across this region. I think we need to look carefully and make sure that the ACCC is able to look into these issues and has the teeth to be able to do something about this as well. That entire dollar milk and the flow on from that clearly put dairy farmers in an awful position. For me, that does not ring of an inclusive fair society. I will be working to make sure what we can do at a federal level is enacted.
Q: Wright and in particular, the Lockyer Valley has a rapidly growing population. How would you go about ensuring development and growth is sustainable?
A: A big issue in our area is a lack of infrastructure. We can’t just let growth happen without doing the hard yards to make sure that people are able to get that lifestyle they are looking for. People don’t move to beautiful areas like this to then sit on the Mt Lindsay Highway for five hours in a traffic jam. They move in wanting good services.
I stand for the principle of government as a service; so let’s spend that money on infrastructure. I know in the Lockyer Valley, there are water issues that we have got to sort out; let’s spend the money. Public transport on this area is absolutely abysmal. If you are a young person trying to get anywhere, you must be driven. We can solve that. We just need to act in the right interests. So, absolutely, I will commit to making sure that happens.
Q: Do you have thoughts on agricultural water rights for the Lockyer Valley?
A: Absolutely. It is crazy that we give our mining industry free water. The upcoming Adani coal mine has free water. It is crazy that we are doing that. And yet here we are charging our farmers. I don’t see the sense in that. Our farmers produce our food and fibre. So, we need to sit down. We need to have a good conversation and work out how to solve water issues. Without water, farmers cannot produce the food and fibre we need. So, I commit to sitting down at the table with all levels of government. The policies flow down from the federal government. Again, federal government sets the scene. State government enacts some of those things. Local government helps that occur on the ground. So, let’s set the scene at the federal level. Let’s make sure that we are serving you, the people, and then go from there.
Q: One of the issues I have with the current politicians is the blame game and the buck passing. How do your principles fit in with that?
A: Not only my principles, but who I am. As the owner of Mt Barney Lodge, I work in a small team environment. There is no buck passing. I am happy to say that the blame game is not part of what I will do. I will be sitting there having constructive conversations. Not about finger pointing. Making government work as a service for all people. Honesty, clear thinking and ability to articulate clear solutions is how I will be serving as a politician.
Q: Should we have the right to own more guns and defend ourselves?
A: I have had a lot of questions about this, and I have thought about it a fair bit. Australia is lauded around the world for our gun policies. Jacinda Adern came out and did what we did, following Christchurch. I don’t personally see the need to change our gun policies. I live in a community of farmers who all have access to guns and use them when they need them. There is no issue with that. Gun ownership is not bad. It is ok. It just needs to be done within the law. Do you need a gun? Are you a sporting shooter? How can you do that within the laws and staying within our current laws? I don’t see a need to change, particularly as the rest of the world looks up to Australia. Our policy has worked ever since port Arthur ever since port Arthur, we have been a bastion for that policy. We have had zero mass shootings since Port Arthur.
Q: How can you balance the interests of farmers and environmentalists when both have different points of view?
A: Different beliefs but I don’t think their views are that different. They are both wanting to protect their land for future generations to come. Sustainability is the key to both groups. A classic example is land clearing. The State is telling a farmer that he can’t clear his land because it is important habitat. Yet the farmer doesn’t get an income if he doesn’t clear the land. My way of looking at both issues aligning is making sure the farmer does get an income for habitat protection so that it becomes part of their income stream. We can make solutions work. We need to invest money in making the solutions work. Collect what is due without fear or favour. So, farmers can do their job. And we can enjoy the environment. Australia has massive beautiful places. The Great Barrier Reef is under threat. The number one threat is climate change. But it doesn’t mean farmers cannot thrive. I believe that both our farmers and the environment can thrive. Just need to get settings right. Need to invest in farmers as well as our environment.
Q: What is your stance on federal funding for private schools?
A: It is clear that when the Gonski Report came out that needs based funding was the way to deal with school funding. That doesn’t mean deals on the side or preferences to here. It means that those students who have the need get the funding. Apply the principle without fear or favour. And our students will end up on top. As soon as we make deals that do this and do that we water down the very needs So I commit to make sure our kids get the funding they need to be awesome people in school and then transition on.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on the condition of health services around medicare rebates on dental, hospital waiting lists, NDIS and emerging concerns about tick born disease that our GP’s do not even recognise as a problem?
A: Application of my principles is for the government to collect without fear or favour what is due. If we can make sure our taxation system works, we can invest that money. Dental in Medicare is a no-brainer. If you are in pain with toothache, you are unable to be a useful part of society. We need to solve those issues and you can join with your friends and family and work colleagues and be active.
NDIS – where do you start? We have funded the NDIS. The NDIS is currently being under-spent – by around 1 ½ billion dollars; There is a significant under-spend in NDIS. That is what is making a budget surplus happen. Why? Because we haven’t invested the money that the people cannot get to the clinicians to get the care they need. Absolutely. We need to make sure the money is there but we also need to make sure the services are there.
In the electorate of Wright, I know of five or ten people who are suffering massive impacts from tick born illness. Whether it is lymes disease or not is an irrelevant question. Life full of chronic fatigue or pain or discomfort is affecting people. Let’s collect what is fair without favour and make sure we invest that in up and coming diseases. Is the number of ticks we are seeing caused by something greater?. Let’s do some research. Invest in the sciences. A chronic lack of funding by current government for science. There is currently no Minister for Science. We can do better. We can invest in these things. And that will make our lives richer for it.
Q: What can people do to support your campaign?
A: I am very bad at this question so I avoid it at all costs. Go to my website. Read the principles. If you don’t have time but would like to donate, please feel free to do that. If you do have time and would like to volunteer, I would love to catch up and see how we can work together and make this an awesome campaign.
Q: Where can we connect with you?
- Facebook: innnesforwright
- Instagram account: innesforwright
- Twitter account: innesforwright
Now is the time to go to one of these ways to and connect in with me and see what I can do to help. And, if possible, what you can do to help me to change this government and make it a better place.
Q: Who are you giving your preferences to?
A: I am not directing preferences rather I am asking each person to think about their vote as I believe it is important and a personal responsibility. If you vote for me then apply your principles and values to number off the other candidates.
Q: Why are you and Independent and not with a party?
A: By being Independent I am not beholden to any party lines or decisions. Only by being Independent can you truly be represented.
Q: Are you a greenie?
A: I have never been a Greens Party member, and I am not preferencing them or being guided by their policies in this election. I will be independent with principles and someone who doesn’t have to follow party lines but can actually listen to the community and act on their behalf.
A: If by saying “green” you are referring to my concern for environmental values, then you are correct. Climate change and it’s impact locally on agriculture, water security, insurance claims, personal comfort, increasing pest numbers such as ticks/lymes disease is a huge federal issue. Also, the Electorate of Wright is home to more than half of the land-based World Heritage-listed National Parks, it is the third most biodiverse region in Australia – that is worth protecting and celebrating. One of my principles is to be a voice for the voiceless – and the environment fits into this theme.
Q: Why have I never heard of you?
A: As I have been in tourism in the Scenic Rim for 18 years, there is a lot of content about me on social media and on webpages. I invite you and everyone who is considering voting for me to do a google search … as you should for all the candidates … to see who I am and what my background is.
https://www.innesforwright.com.au/about-innes/Running a small business with 7 employees, being a dad, and guiding up mountains in the Scenic Rim normally keeps me fairly busy so I had not fully made the decision until late in the process. I actually saw how Jacinta Adern handled herself in the aftermath of the Christchurch incident and that spurred me on to take this step. So as an independent, I am asking that you look at my principles, and understand the sort of person I am and then work out whether I am the right person for you to vote for. It was a tough decision to run and I understand it may seem odd, but it took a lot to step up in this enormous electorate
Q: Tell me why I should vote for you?
A: This testimonial sums up who I am:
Katie Greenwood recommends Innes for Wright – April 2 at 6:05 AM
“Innes is a man of principle and integrity who will fight for what is best and right for his constituents. Innes has long been a fantastic representitive of the local area and a fierce advocate for sustainable outcomes for the people he lives and works with. Some people just talk, Innes acts on his beliefs.”
Q: This will be a hard fight, why do it?
A: I live and own a business in the electorate of Wright. Yes, this is a hard seat based on the margin that the incumbent holds, however it is my passion to represent the local area. I know it well and I have been here for nearly 20 years.
Q: Are this Live Facebook “summit” events just a publicity stunt?
A: It is really hard to connect with the 100 000 people within the Wright electorate, so I am running with my strengths and giving people every opportunity to ask me the questions they really want to hear answers to. I think it is novel, I think it is unique but it is definitely not a stunt as I have stumped up the $2000 to nominate, got the 100 signatures to nominate and then spent every day in the last two weeks campaigning. I am running for the job.
Q: What’s your position on ARTC?
A: I will represent the community on this issue. I am informed and standing with the community in their wish for true consultation not just platitudes. This means the ARTC needs to consult clearly with you, understand your concerns and address them. If they cannot and choose to ride over your concerns then if elected I will be an absolute advocate for you. Please look at link to see how I was arrested protecting the Scenic Rim from inappropriate coal and gas development https://www.smh.com.au/…/nine-arrested-at-qld-anti-csg… . I am not afraid to stand up for the good of the people.
Q: What’s your position on gun ownership?
A: I have thought a lot about gun laws and given that Australia is lauded around the world and NZ is now following our lead I do not think our laws need a great deal of change. I live in a farming community and all my neighbours have guns and have no problems with the laws as they are. I absolutely think it is fine to have a gun within the parameters that are set out, so gun ownership is not something to be considered a bad thing at all. I am not in favour of changing our current laws regarding self defence.
Q: What’s your position on boosting employment?
A: We need to focus on the new industries of the future not stay tied to old technology. If Australia wants to be serious and gain competitive advantages we need to be at the forefront of the development. Sticking with Coal and Gas will never give us this advantage – it limits our renewable industries, it sucks $5 billion in subsidies per year, it will become a bigger shock each year we do not start to transition and it builds towards certain climate change disasters. Re the “Indue card” even the governments own evaluation into this card found that 49% of people reported they were worse off and 1 in 5 participants reported their children were worse off. It is time our government listened to experts and stopped playing to their ideology. I commit to listening to experts and taking the thoughtful decisions not the easy decisions. I challenge any politician to work as a tradie or farmer until they are 65 or 70. Your body does not last… I know as a mountain guide that my body will slow down and it will be impossible to last till the pension age should I need it. Let’s commit to collecting the fair tax from all including multinationals and then spend it looking after all Australians.
Q: What is your top priority this election?
A: The top issue is climate change and its effect of our ability to produce food and fibre. Extreme droughts over summer, lack of water in streams and dams, unique storms and hail wiping out crops, catastrophic fire seasons that are getting longer, and drier. We need to act on this issue now so our environment continues to sustain food production and our sons and daughters and their children can continue to live on the land.
Firstly I am not afraid of hard work, as a mountain guide I spend 12 hours helping people to achieve a lifetime accomplishment, then spend my evening sometimes running activities for the Lodge. Secondly I am the only independent that is not tied to party lines, I choose to represent you, and my principles mean I will be inclusive, a voice for the “little person”, and fight to make government a service for the people.
Q: What are your key goals?
A: A key goal is to collect what is due without fear or favour and spend it on nation building infrastructure and services. I want a parliament that is controlled by the voice of the people not corporate donations. I will work to make funding for political parties immediately transparent and limit corporate donations to increase the communities trust in the institution, so that decisions will be made by thoughtful people not people who want donations.
By truly listening to the priorities of the communities that I represent and taking those concerns to Parliament. In the Lockyer Valley it may be water infrastructure, in Jimboomba it is the inland rail/public transport, around the electorate everyone talks about internet service, but on each occasion if you find yourself questioning the current members resolve to truly represent you then I am the only solution.
I will champion making sure that the climate allows for agriculture to thrive, The cost of energy – invest the $5 billion/yr subsidising fossil fuel industries into making renewable energy cheaper, subsidising coal fired power has not kept prices down. Water security – Without water we cannot farm. If we give free water to mining why charge our farmers? Strengthening the ACCC to fight the duopoly of Coles/Woolworths and their impact on food production.
I am already working, meeting and consulting with residents. I will represent your community on this issue. I am informed and standing with the community in their wish for true consultation not just platitudes. This means the ARTC needs to consult clearly with you, understand your concerns and address them. If they cannot and choose to ride over your concerns then if elected I will be an absolute advocate for you.
Planning is key, I commit to working with all levels of government to find the solutions that are both sustainable and make people happy in their community. At the Federal level we set the tone for this planning and are the major drivers for funding. As an independent I will have a unique opportunity in the upcoming parliament to have a clear voice to drive this sustainable change. “It’s the Wright Time”
If elected I would work to ensure that Federal funding is given out on a needs based model similar to Gonski first time around. I am passionate about education and would listen to the teaching experts, apply my principles (https://www.innesforwright.com.au/principles/) and not just follow the party line to arrive at a thoughtful and considered position. Regarding Naplan, as a teacher I know that standardised testing is a good starting point but if we are just teaching to Naplan then we are not really doing the students a service. By getting rid of the school by school comparison and putting it online with further qualifying questions to really understand the students knowledge point that would make Naplan a much more useful tool for educators and policy makers.
Q: Will you stop live cattle exports?
A: Farming is a key employer in Australia and the live export trade is one part of this large employment pool. However we should have the same level of treatment of our animals in Australia as when we export them. I commit to working with the live export industry aiming for them to be respectful in their treatment of animal. The competing interest of finding alternative sources of income for farmers needs to be considered as well. Refrigeration at the target country is an issue.
Q: Will you work to Stop Adani?
A: As the only Independent candidate for Wright, I am the only one in this electorate who can set my plans, and stick to them without the fear that “the party” will change their mind.
My stance on action on climate change is clear.
We are beyond bickering about the science of it, it is time to move on and do substantial actions to mitigate and reverse climate change.
Climate change is real, it affects all of us and the evidence is being seen now. From frequent coral bleaching, to heatwaves and record temperatures, to extinctions.
I am committed to stopping Adani. This is not just a promise, as I have already taken action in this arena.
I have displayed a Stop Adani poster in my tourism business for 3 years, handed out flyers, organised and conducted a community survey at the BOSS World Environment Day in 2017, and was part of the 2018 Woodford Stop Adani action during Anthony Albanese’s talk.
Without doubt I oppose any new thermal coal mines. I took action on the Acland coal mine expansion years ago, as well as stopping Adani recently.
In addition I was spokesperson for the community action group “Keep The Scenic Rim Scenic” – which successfully repelled the inappropriate coal seam gas exploration and development in the Scenic Rim, culminating in the fameous Kerry Blockade in 2012. My position is that unconventional gas (i.e. that that uses fracking) is also unsuitable in our future energy mix.