After contesting the 2015 State election, Kingsley Liu is back and ready to argue the alternative views of the Greens across the seat of Lindsay. Even though the bookies suggest the Greens don't stand a chance in Lindsay, Mr Liu is confident he can bring the third party perspective to the table.
What made you want to run for Parliament for Lindsay?
I guess here was a couple of reasons. I was ready to be able to communicate and listen to the electorate because I’ve been here [in Lindsay] for long enough. I had a head start because I ran a law firm here so I’d met a lot of the community who came to me for help, but that was for legal issues. Political issues is more what the community wants to do and what they’re concerned about. Secondly, I had joined the Greens Party but I had a bit of a run up in some sort of political consciousness because I had worked together, very closely, with the former Attorney General, Jeff Shaw, who I formed my law firm with and he was twerking my political conscious all along, unbeknown to me. So a long time later I decided to get involved. I think the third reason is, I was involved in a community campaign called project 18C, which was involved in trying to reverse the government's efforts in making changes to the racial discrimination act. Why is that important for a place like Penrith? The community here is quite diverse, and it will get even more diverse, so for community cultural diversity it is important to have support mechanisms like a racial discrimination act. So I got involved with that and I met lots of politicians, basically at local council level and I communicated with people right across Australia. I also met politicians at State and Federal government level, and they were all from different sides of politics, Liberal, Labor and Greens, and I developed a political conscience, and when one develops a political conscience they feel the need to act on it. So they’re all the reason why I’m here.
If you win in Lindsay, what can the Greens bring that none of the other parties can bring to the electorate?
The Greens have a much more distinct approach and focus on certain issues where the other two parties seem to moderate themselves on. For instance, in the area of penalty rates, the Greens would act to endorse penalty rates in law and protect it. Whereas the other parties will prefer to run it through a process and to see if it will be discussed and dealt with, but the Greens will always push for legislation straight away. The other thing that the Greens want to do is push for a national integrity type commission. Now that could be a national ICAC but they want to go further than just that. They’re looking in at other areas of corruption. I think as a Green with a platform I’ll be able to have that additional voice to point out the areas of transparency and accountability that we need much more of in government. The other issues in education and in health, it is probably not much different than Labor, we want to protect the Gonski reforms and we want to be able to stop the funding cuts staying in place in regards to Medicare and hospitals. Another area where we distinguish ourselves is, we take a much stronger position around negative gearing, and we want to see negative gearing out full-stop. We’re not taking the half way approach that has been suggested by another party and we are completely against the idea that it would cause a market collapse. We would love to see that it would moderate the market and cause a correction.
A few of those things you’ve mentioned are similar to what the Labor Party has said they’d change or do if they form government at the end of this election. In a marginal seat like Lindsay, in a lot of voters eyes, there are only two sides who can win. Do you think the Greens can win?
I think the Greens will be a significant factor in determining what happens in Lindsay, so whilst our margin in the west will always be marginal, a win comes from how we can dictate the outcome. I think this election will show that the Greens are a growing voice. If not this time, we’ll be much more dangerous next time. So I’m not holding up false expectations, politics from my point of view is listing to the community and being able to communicate, have the dialogue and have the ability to express political thoughts and directions for people to make a choice from. Whilst I might not win, I’m still connected through the party to many other Greens politicians, so the process doesn’t stop at the election. I’m still here and they’ve established a pathway to Greens politicians who may run parliament because we might have a hung parliament.
If you had to narrow down your campaign to three major policies, what are they?
I will put fairer economic outcomes, and that will include taxation reform, because along with transparency and accountability issues, it is looking at a strong, rebalance of the budget where revenue will come from the corporates and the wealthy, and not from the more vulnerable people. We want a national ICAC, we want banking disclosure to be important. The other thing is the public services, which is health and education. I want strong outcomes there.
A lot of people talk about the taxation and where the budget cuts have, it all comes back to budget cuts. If we have a proper and fairer system of raising tax then we wont have those cuts to hospitals, education and the health system. It is a round robin, it is all interconnected, but I guess if I had a model of government I would say that would be it.
When I talk with people around here [Lindsay] about refugees and our humanitarian policies, whilst people talk about it, it isn’t the immediate interest for the people of Lindsay. I wont say its not the immediate interest but a lot of people wont raise it as the first issue. A lot of people will talk about the environment and refugees but if they wanted to talk about something, they’ll talk about government, economy, health and education, taxes, that is what people want to talk about.
Who are you going to be preferencing?
Traditionally we go on an open ticket. A few parties will have discussions with us, because it is important to know how the other parties, what are their policies and how they want to prioritise Lindsay, and I would like to know that too. And perhaps relationships might be formed, in some way, that we might want to form a preference with them. But generally we want to run an open ticket.