1. Tell us your name & political party.
Viki Zhang, The Greens
2. What is your connection to Bennelong and why are you running for the seat?
Bennelong is a really diverse and beautiful area, and a unique place in Sydney. I believe that we must face our challenges and plan solutions, not ignore them and leave them for our children to deal with. Our biggest challenge is climate change and our children’s future depends on taking action right now. That is why I am running for Bennelong and supporting the Greens plan for our children’s future.
3. Tell us a bit about yourself and what other “hats” you wear in your life.
I am a Mum with a ten year old daughter. I have just completed a Masters degree by research and am now starting a PhD in Economics at Macquarie University. In my working life I have been involved in the cancer research area of the Children’s Hospital and in financial services.
4. What do you love most about the area and what is your favourite spot?
I love the open spaces and parks, especially Lane Cove National Park and the river. It is wonderful to be able to walk somewhere away from traffic and noise and enjoy the bushland with my family. I don’t have one favourite spot, but many!
5. What do you believe are the 3 main issues affecting the seat of Bennelong and why? If elected how would you address each of those issues?
The most important issue is climate change which will become increasingly more severe in the coming years. My biggest concern is for those who are least able to cope with extreme heat, flooding and storms which will be especially devastating for some of the most marginalised communities, details here: https://greens.org.au/platform/renewables. There are many things we have to do but the main one is to phase out coal and bring in a renewable energy revolution. The second issue is providing a free public education system from pre-school right through to TAFE or university: https://greens.org.au/platform/services#education. It is a basic right and all students should have access to top quality education no matter what their background is. Thirdly I am concerned about housing and homelessness, particularly the hidden kind where mothers and children have to live in their car because of a lack of affordable housing or spend their time moving from one relative to another, never in secure accommodation. That has to stop. The Greens plan is to start with building 500,000 social homes, give renters more security and help first home buyers by abolishing unfair tax breaks. The details are here: https://greens.org.au/platform/homes
6. What other key objectives do you have planned for the area? Please provide short-term (under 12 months) and long-term (up to 3/4 years). Please keep to a max of 4.
Nothing will change in Bennelong until we make big reforms nationally. There is too much corporate influence in our politics, so a national corruption watchdog is essential. The Greens plan is here: https://greens.org.au/platform/democracy. Our environment is being degraded and we have to protect it from more destruction. That includes tackling our waste problem and having a national plan for re-use and recycling http://contact-nsw.greens.org.au/. We cannot provide proper waste management services in Bennelong without national action. Lastly we have to move away from the philosophy that privatisation is good and public services are bad. Essential services should not be run for profit https://greens.org.au/platform/public-ownership. That will help everyone in Bennelong with their bills. Healthcare, including for dental and mental health, should be accessible when people need it without having to worry about the cost. Details of our Medicare of the future are here: https://greens.org.au/platform/services#healthcare.
7. What is your party leader’s biggest strength and biggest weakness?
Leader of the Australian Greens Senator Richard di Natale is a doctor by profession. Richard understands the challenges that families face, as he has seen them in his practice every day but he also knows that bandaid solutions do not work. We have to change our priorities as a nation if we are going to enable our children to have a brighter future than they are facing right now.