Dr Monique Ryan values her engagement with the Kooyong community.
Please scroll down for answers to the questions that Monique has been most frequently asked by the people of Kooyong.
But as a doctor and as a mother, I can no longer ignore the Morrison government’s failure to take urgent action on climate change; its lack of commitment to creation of a strong, diversified and clean economy; its lack of integrity, transparency and accountability, and its lack of leadership in the promotion of equality and respect for women.
Our current MP votes the same way as Barnaby Joyce on every important matter: climate change, a strong future-focused economy based on renewable energy, a federal ICAC, workplace protections for women, treatment of asylum seekers and protection of vulnerable minorities. His actions no longer reflect the values of Kooyong.
I’m running as the community Independent for Kooyong because it’s time to take a stand on the issues that Kooyong cares about.
I believe the voters of Kooyong are smart enough to choose their own preferences. I will not be doing preference deals with any parties. I am a true Independent.
My vote will always be independent, informed by expert evidence and the views and values of my Kooyong community. My commitment is to the people of Kooyong, not any party, donor or lobbyist.
An Independent listens to the needs and values of her community and puts them first.
An independent makes up their mind on every vote in Parliament, rather than following the directions determined by backroom deals.
Having Independents in parliament helps to shape the agenda and forces the major parties to debate issues that they would often prefer to avoid.
Recent examples of the Independents shaping the parliamentary agenda include Helen Haines’ bill for an Australian Federal Integrity Commission, Kerryn Phelps’ bill to assist refugees needing emergency medical care, Zali Steggall’s Climate Act bills, and Andrew Wilkie’s bill to end the indefinite and arbitrary detention of refugees. Most recently Rebekah Sharkie led the opposition that stopped the Religious Discrimination Bill from passing in the House of Representatives.
Every donation goes to the cost of running the campaign, including advertising, office space, administration support, software, and legal and accountancy services.
I also have received a donation from Climate 200, a group of more than 9000 donors supporting political candidates who are committed to a science-based approach to climate change, restoring integrity and accountability in federal politics, and improving gender equity across Australian society. This donation helps level the playing field between our campaign and the major parties, which together spent more than $400 million on advertising in the last election and receive many benefits related to incumbency and their party status
I am a strong advocate for campaign finance reform. This would include caps on political donations and election spending, increased transparency for donations, and tighter controls on government advertising.
All donations to my campaign comply with the Australian Electoral Commission rules for political donations.
Unlike the weak model proposed by the Morrison government, the Australian Federal Integrity commission called for by Dr Haines would have the freedom to: investigate public decision-making (including the conduct of politicians, public servants and third parties); initiate its own investigations; hold public hearings when this is in the public interest; receive referrals from the public; and report its findings publicly. It would also have retrospective powers to uncover serious and systemic past failures.
The AFIC bill was developed in consultation with judges, ethicists, legal academics and MPs from across the parliament and has been described as ‘best practice’ by legal experts.
The establishment of an anti-corruption body is only a partial solution to restoring integrity: Australia’s system of political donations and campaign finance also needs root and branch reform.
Australia’s lax federal donation laws have had a corrupting influence on politics and must be reformed in order to ensure a well functioning democracy that acts on expert advice and the wishes of the people rather than vested interests.
Donation reform is an important part of restoring integrity to parliament, but only one piece of the campaign finance picture.
Members of Parliament receive significant benefits such as paid staff and a generous communications budget, all funded from the public purse. At election time, these benefits give MPs a huge advantage over other candidates. Governments also regularly spend public funds on large advertising campaigns that help shape opinion to the government’s electoral advantage. On top of this, public election funding arrangements provide established political parties with advantages over independent politicians.
I support lowering the disclosure threshold on donations, real-time reporting and caps on donations and expenditure, but without root-and-branch campaign finance reform (which must include government funded staffing, advertising and electoral funding) partial reform risks entrenching incumbency and further weakening our fragile democracy.
While some still cannot face up to the seriousness of this issue, or acknowledge that we haven’t yet got the settings right, I believe we cannot plan a responsible path until we honestly face up to the reality.
I’m proud to live in the City of Boroondara, which recognised a climate emergency in September 2021. Since then, the council has been responsibly planning for our shared future.
The CSIRO reports that the lowest cost source of new generation is a mix of wind and solar, even when taking into account the entire system costs to maintain a reliable grid.
Australia’s Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is tasked with ensuring the reliability of the grid. AEMO has recently published a set of possible development scenarios. The scenario seen as most likely has renewables providing 82% of our electricity in 2030 and 97% in 2040. AEMO has published a more ambitious scenario that sees us at 98% renewables in 2030 and at 99% renewable with major clean energy exports by 2040.
Renewables are already a very significant player in the electricity market, and there is now a high level of confidence among experts that Australia can phase out almost all fossil fuels from the electricity sector by the end of the decade, achieving the ‘holy grail’ of affordability, reliability and low emissions.
Recently the states have been taking the lead on the energy transition. I will work to ensure that the federal government works hand-in-hand with the states, our energy institutions and the private sector to deliver abundant low-cost, reliable and low emissions energy to Australian households and industry, in the hope of achieving the highest AEMO scenario. The energy transition will bring hundreds of thousands of jobs and economic advantage to industry and exporters.
China, Mexico and India have stronger vehicle emissions standards than Australia.
We need to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce emissions and reduce air and noise pollution. Electrifying Australia’s vehicle fleet also means much less reliance on foreign oil, which has economic and national security benefits. Our transport can run on the energy of the sun and the wind without depending on imported oil, and the Federal government should speed up this transition.
We need, and I support, stronger vehicle emissions standards. This will give car manufacturers a market signal to bring more electric and low emissions models into the country, giving Australians more choice. Stronger emissions standards, and setting a sunset date on new fossil fuel vehicle sales in line with commitments in other markets (eg. UK by 2035), will prevent Australia becoming a dumping ground for high emissions models.
A national plan to address the take up of electric vehicles is required. A 2019 senate inquiry into EVs, chaired by former independent Senator Tim Storer, identified a number of small changes to federal vehicle taxes that would make lower-end EVs more affordable for everyday Australians without affecting the federal budget. I support these recommendations.
More than half of all new vehicles in Australia are bought by government and commercial fleets. I support strategic changes to government purchasing guidelines and fringe benefits tax that would dramatically accelerate fleet adoption. The increased volumes would reduce the cost for all EVs, and after just 3 to 4 years these vehicles would enter the second-hand market, making EVs a viable choice for many Australians.
To make the switch to EVs, motorists need confidence that they’ll never be far from a car charger. The private sector is best placed to install charger networks, and this is happening now at great pace. However, just as the government provided assistance to build mobile phone towers in ‘blackspot’ areas, government should incentivise car charging operators to install chargers in areas not well served.
1. Legislate clean car standards to ensure Australians have access to efficient cars
With Australia already seeing the impacts of global warming, it is in our interests that the agreement is successful. With our wealth of renewable resources we have an opportunity to help the world decarbonise and benefit financially as a clean energy superpower.
In May 2021 the International Energy Agency called for ‘No new investment in oil, gas or coal exploration or development’ if we are to meet the Paris Agreement. It is therefore important that the Commonwealth government immediately cease subsidising fossil fuel exploration and extraction. No new fossil fuel mines should be supported from this point.
Much of our society is currently heavily dependent upon fossil fuels. Of course we cannot move away from fossil fuels overnight — nobody is calling for that — but we already have the technology to transition most activities towards zero emissions. Government must develop credible plans and supporting policies to transition to zero emissions in line with climate science. These plans must include a phase down of fossil fuel mining as well as programs to ensure that communities and workers currently dependent on that sector for employment are not left behind.
Australia is a generous country which has always welcomed refugees. Since WWII, Australia has settled more than 850,000 people fleeing from persecution, torture, and war. They made Australia home and their contribution has benefited all of us.
Australia has one of the best settlement programs in the world and has demonstrated its capacity to welcome large numbers of people in times of crisis. Currently we accept nearly 14,000 people annually, but we can do more. I support an increase in Australia’s refugee intake to 21,000.
Refugees need a permanent home to provide the stability they need to fully integrate into the social and economic life of our country. Temporary Protection Visa holders have been found to be refugees by the Australian government and are living and working in the community, paying tax and making a valuable contribution. These are people who have fled war and persecution. But they live in limbo because they must reapply for a TPV every three years and cannot reunite with family. In parliament, I will advocate for the granting of permanent resident status to TPV holders to enable them to get on with their lives in Australia and be reunited with their family members.
Australians will not stand for the deprivation of liberty of refugees and asylum seekers held in indefinite immigration detention. The government policies which enforce that, as well as perpetuating family separation and insecurity, are unnecessarily cruel. These policies have long passed their relevance and need to be changed.
Members of our community in Kooyong have expressed strong support for the arts and our public broadcasters. I have pledged my support for press freedom, arts and public broadcast funding. I support government funding for the arts, measures to increase local content in film and television, and a robust and independent media. I am committed to improving trust in Australian institutions including transparency in government and truth in journalism.
I recently signed the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) pledge, committing to:
Restore ABC and SBS funding to a sustainable level and respect the editorial and programming independence of the public broadcasters, while keeping the ABC 100% commercial-free.
Recognise that government has a role to play in sustaining public interest journalism, particularly at a community and regional level.
Commit to press freedom, transparency and accountability.
Support the arts and creative industries at all levels through adequate and sustainable levels of funding as part of a comprehensive cultural policy.
Ensure that Australian audiences can watch Australian stories on their screens by restoring local content requirements for free-to-air and pay TV and extending them to streaming video on demand services.
In our federal parliament, only 30 percent of parliamentarians are women; in the business sector, only one third of management positions are held by women; female graduates are paid 4 percent less than male graduates and the gender pay gap remains above 13 percent with women retiring on 23.4 per cent less superannuation than men. In addition one in six women experience violence from a partner and one in five women have experienced sexual violence.
Our Watch , a national peak body addressing the prevention of violence against women, points to a lack of respect for women as the fundamental issue. Underappreciated and undervalued - the lack of respect for women pervades workplaces, social spaces and the home.
The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), in its 2020 [email protected] report, made 55 recommendations putting the achievement of substantive equality at its core. But the government has acted on only five recommendations. I support setting a clear direction for accelerating gender equality by adopting all of the report’s recommendations. In addition, only one of the 28 recommendations of the Jenkins’ Report, Set the Standard: Report on the Independent Review into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces 2021 was adopted by this government but should be implemented in full to ensure Parliament reflects best practice in prevention and response to bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Women continue to be underpaid, to experience more poverty, more homelessness and more violence. Women carry the burden of caring at a cost to their own well-being.
Women’s interests are economic interests. Women’s equality is about fairness and it is also about the advancement of a nation. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap Report linked gender equality to a nation’s economic productivity demonstrating that tapping into the skills and talents of half the workforce drives competitiveness and per capita gross domestic product.
I have pledged to support the Australian Gender Equality Council’s National Gender Equality Strategy that sets out actions for increasing women’s economic security; women’s representation and leadership; and safety and respect for women including prevention and early intervention on family violence.
My priority is increased pay and conditions, job security and better training and career pathways for childcare, aged care and disability care workers. The care sector has a highly feminised workforce. Improving conditions recognises the value of their work and attracts staff to this essential sector and reduces the gender pay gap.
I am also committed to achieving affordable, quality childcare and access to early childhood education which is an investment in education, and a driver of women’s workforce participation. Reducing the upfront costs of childcare will allow primary carers, mostly women, to choose to re-enter the workforce and improve our national productivity.