FIONA PATTEN, AUSTRALIAN SEX PARTY
What are the top three issues facing Melbourne residents and how would you address them?
Drugs, transport and policing. We want decriminalisation of recreational drugs, and drug administration within the health rather than the criminal justice portfolio.
Public transport in the city has to run 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays to allow people from the suburbs, who come in for a night on the town, to get home and go to sleep – $50 cab fares are not affordable for many. Trapped in the city, people can become anti-social and violent.
More than 50 per cent of violent crime happens in people’s homes in the suburbs. Only 2 per cent of violent crime happens in the city. So where are all the police? In the city, of course.
What is your vision to help the homeless, mentally ill and dispossessed?
A large percentage of people with mental illness also use drugs. Decriminalise drug use and people are way more likely to report themselves with a health problem before it gets out of hand. If we treat drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one, we will have better resources to deal with people affected by drugs and people with mental illnesses.
Not all homeless people want a ‘‘home’’ to live in. This has to be respected and tolerated and adequate facilities provided.
We need to establish specialized emergency facilities for the mentally ill. Police are being forced to drop mentally ill people at emergency rooms. Obviously this is not the answer!
What will you do about Melbourne’s population growth and high-rise development?
Melbourne is a cosmopolitian and 24-hour city so it is not surprising that people are flocking to it. What we must do is maintain the facilities that brought these people to it in the first place. These days it is common for businesses, particularly late-night ones, to be closed or restricted because a new residential development has gone up next door. There need to be strong regulations so the vitality and vibrancy of this city are not wiped out by new high-rise apartments.
Is heritage being protected adequately in the Melbourne electorate? Will you fix what is broken in heritage protection?
In some areas it is and some it’s not. Allowing a grand old rock music venue like the Palace Theatre to be pulled down would be unforgiveable.
If elected, which party would you vote with in state parliament? Would you cross the floor if you believed your chosen party’s position was not in Melbourne’s interests? Conversely, would you vote against the interests of the Melbourne electorate for the greater benefit of Victoria?
I would vote for the party that makes the most sense to my finely attuned and socially responsible radar. Yes, bloody oath I would cross the floor on issues where people’s personal freedoms are being restricted. The Nanny State is upon us! People’s parents should be able to die with dignity at a time of their choosing and not when the Premier says they can go.
What shape should the East-West road link project take? Should it be built at all?
Answer to come.
Will you support Moonee Valley Council’s plans for a bike lane on Mt Alexander Road, at the expense of a car lane, even if it results in increased traffic congestion?
I cannot comment yes or no as I have not seen the plans and the extent of bike and car use on Mt Alexander Road. I would be hesitant about supporting it without looking at what bike transit paths already exist and whether there are ways of improving bicycle commuter options without hacking into Mt Alexander road.
How would you fix traffic congestion at Flemington Showgrounds and racecourse during major events?
Again this will come down to a better and more flexible public transport system. We want to see 24-hour public transport on Friday and Saturday nights. There are often up to 100,000 people in the city on those nights with no adequate way to get home. The public system must be redesigned to accommodate large numbers of commuters outside “business hours”. The mayor’s recent suggestion of maxi taxis as quasi courtesy buses was laughable.
If elected would you lobby for the reunification of Carlton (returning Princes Hill/Carlton North to Melbourne City Council)?
Yes I would. As a resident of Carlton North I appreciate the beautiful 19th century design of Carlton. The decision made in the 1990s was against the wishes of almost the entire community. Geographically and socially it makes no sense.
What steps if any will you take to restore public confidence and ensure that the Melbourne City Council is open and transparent?
I strongly support Freedom of Information. Our rule of thumb is that all government information should be available unless the government body can argue on limited grounds that it is the national or community interest for that material to remain confidential.
Source: Melbourne Times Weekly