Belinda Burke 68, Supporter and member of Grandmothers for Refugees, Hawthorn
Belinda is tired of feeling unrepresented and wants a more compassionate approach to refugees.
Australia has had a huge shift. We're not the country I grew up in.
When I travelled in the 70s, I was proud to say I was from Australia because we were doing good things. We told ourselves we were the best country in the world, the land of opportunity. Now I’m embarrassed with Australia on the world stage, especially with our poor performance on climate and refugee policy.
There's lots of things that have gone backwards; the environment, the treatment of women and refugee policy – that’s my priority. After the Second World War, we were welcoming, and we accepted people. Now we won’t accept people who are fleeing persecution.
I agree that we need strong borders, but we can do it in a compassionate way. Why do we lock people up for nine years? Why can't we let refugees in when they're going to make a huge contribution to our country? What sort of a cruel society have we become?
Grandmothers for Refugees have met with the Greens, and we've met with Monique. She can’t promise anything, but she listened to us.
“I am tired of feeling unrepresented, tired of feeling unheard. With the independents, that’s how we can get representation at a local level and not be taken for granted. I think Monique is our best chance for bringing about a change in Kooyong.”
Josh Frydenberg does not reply to my correspondence even though I am a constituent. When I’ve protested outside his office with Grandmothers for Refugees, the state and federal police turn up. Why can't we talk to our local politician? Why won’t he listen to what’s important to us?
I am tired of feeling unrepresented, tired of feeling unheard. With the independents, that’s how we can get representation at a local level and not be taken for granted. I think Monique is our best chance for bringing about a change in Kooyong.
The Kooyong connection
I’ve grown up in Kooyong so there’s a lot of memories here. My favourite place is the Hawthorn Swimming Pool. It’s an outdoor pool with lemon scented gums around it and when you swim after it’s been raining, you get the beautiful scent of the gums.
I barrack for Collingwood.