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Meet the Candidates



The upcoming Federal election on May 21 is an important election not just for Australia, but also for the coal mining industry. We’ve asked the candidates to share with us why they should be chosen to represent our region.

Stuart Bonds – Independent

I’m back for round 2, but this time I’ll be running and an independent ticket.

I’m grateful to have to opportunity to get the Hunter back in the news as the economic powerhouse we are.

There is the very real possibility that this could be a hung parliament.

Under those circumstances with an independent representative in parliament, the Hunter would have unprecedented leverage to get our community what it deserves and what we have earned.

A lot has changed since the last election, but a lot remains the same.

On the back of soaring global demand and record prices, the relentless push to destroy our industry through NET zero policy continues.

Do not be fooled though, NET zero is not only a guideline for our electricity production.

It’s a complete control structure for every aspect of your life. What you eat, the material in the clothes, how you travel, how often you travel, the type of car you drive, right down to the type of shipping you can use to move goods.

We need a strong voice in parliament who will fight for the Hunter and push back against these career politicians and professional seat warmers.

They talk about ending the ‘climate wars’. I say end the ‘Hunger Games’.

How much wealth does this community need to supply the capital before we get some significant projects in our area?

  • High speed rail maintenance depo.
  • World class lithium and solar recycling centre.
  • New power stations.
  • University level research and development institute to develop more efficient mining technologies.
  • Build the infrastructure to support a high growth corridor from the Hunter to Tamworth.

Not a finger has been lifted in any meaningful way to bring in new investment an infrastructure support to the area.

We deserve better.

The people of the Hunter shook the political world in the 2019 federal election.

Let’s make history this time.

Vote independent.

Victoria Davies – Animal Justice Party

Hi, I am Victoria Davies, Animal Justice Party’s candidate for Hunter, on Wonnarua land, in the upcoming federal election.

I have lived in the Hunter for 45 years and share this beautiful part of NSW with my husband, 4 children and 7 grandchildren. I am a Registered Emergency Dept Nurse and passionate advocate for animals, the environment and the most vulnerable in our society.

I am a volunteer and foster carer for dog rescue and I am passionate about responsible pet ownership and providing sanctuary and love to a variety of rescue fur-kids.

I am campaigning for legislative change to end cruelty of all animals; those in the farming industry, companion animals and native animals alike.

I will be combating environmental destruction and working towards habitat rehabilitation and reforestation.

I am concerned that future generations will not experience our unique wildlife due to the destruction of their habitat through land clearing for urban development and agriculture.

I will campaign to end live export, to ban factory farming and farmed animal mutilations such as tail docking, and to end cruel confinement methods such as battery cages and sow stalls.

Our pets play an important role in our lives giving love and companionship and they deserve our care and protection.

I will be campaigning for nationally consistent laws, that ban puppy and kitten farming, regulate interstate sale of dogs and cats, and outlaw ‘jurisdiction shopping’ done by breeders to get around state puppy and kitten farming bans.

Animals in Australia are not adequately protected. The solution? An independent office of animal protection to standardise animal protection laws between states and territories. To remove the current conflicts between animals and industry, promote animal rights and prosecute offenders.

“I stand for the animals, the environment and the vulnerable.”

Scott Laruffa – Independent

G’day I’m Scott Laruffa and I am running for Independent because I’m hoping to make a difference not only here in the Hunter but for all of Australia and ensure we have the future we all deserve.

I believe along with many others that we must look into what the Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese parties are hiding and why they won’t let independent accountants review their definitely ‘cooked’ books. One day Josh Frydenberg will be crying that we are going into a trillion dollars debt, the next day boasting about the Government has made 110 billion in revenue from Iron Ore. It is our right to know the truth about what is really happening with Australia’s Wealth Management System.

From the taxes paid in Australia’s minerals resources and farming industries to putting money back into the areas where we need it – manufacturing, employment, railways, roads, schools, hospitals and hospitality. We need transparency on where our money is being spent to ensure it is being spent wisely.

Why aren’t we utilising our dams, lakes, rivers and creeks? Build an extra canal for Lake Macquarie with tide gates and a tall bridge to entice visitors from all around the world. Build extra lakes out West for farming. Create more moisture by bringing in clouds from over the ocean. Make heat shields to combat drought. Stop clouds from crossing the coast inland.

When it comes to mining, it has always been a part of humanity’s survival. Science is telling us we must reduce emissions. The only way we have to do that now is nuclear power. Until we have magnetic propulsion systems perfected nuclear are the safest power plants known to humans. In the right locations, it’s our best option.

In summary, this is a small part of why the system and regime we are living in now has to be discarded.

Dale McNamara – One Nation

Dale McNamara is a great Australian success story. A born and bred Singleton local who has lived in the Hunter all his life, he’s a self-made man with extensive business experience and success in the coal mining, agricultural, horse racing and hospitality industries – covering the wide economic diversity of the Hunter electorate.

Dale started work in the coal industry when he was just 18 years of age and has a wealth of experience to draw on.

One Nation is the only party left supporting our coal industry. The major parties both signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement calling for coal to be phased out. This would decimate thousands of jobs in the Hunter and impoverish thousands of families. Maybe even yours. Under the major parties’ policies, the only Hunter growth industry will be the Centrelink queues.

Dale’s first priority is economic development—protecting Hunter jobs and assisting every industry in the Hunter region to drive down unemployment and give young local people a future.

Dale’s promise, “I’m fighting for every family and job in the Hunter. I want our region to have a strong and bright future. I’ll be working hard to cut red tape – not simply turning up to cut a pretty ribbon!”

A full list of One Nation policies can be found here:

Dale can be contacted at:

Janet Murray – Greens

I’m standing for Hunter because we’re in a climate emergency. We urgently need to transition out of coal and gas by 2030. The LNP and Labor are giving false hope to our coal workers. Emission reduction targets in Japan and Korea will determine the fate of our coal industry, not them.

I’m an engineer by profession and worked at Newcastle Steelworks for nearly 20 years. I was retrenched in 1999 when steelmaking closed down. I know that having a plan to support the workforce during transitions is crucial. The sooner you face reality, the sooner you can plan your future.

Locally, the contraction of the coal industry in the next 10 years is going to be a major issue. We need to get renewable energy and storage projects up and running in the Hunter electorate to provide jobs for workers displaced from the mining industry. The cheaper renewable energy will provide a competitive advantage to manufacturers to set up here, providing more jobs for displaced workers.

The Greens will fund a Hunter Valley Authority, involving local representatives to develop a tailored transition plan to attract jobs and industries to our area. The Authority can then apply to the $2.8b Diversifying Coal Communities Fund, for funding to turn those plans into reality.

Coal workers will benefit from our Job-for-Job guarantee. Employers outside the coal industry can receive a wage subsidy of 50% of a full-time worker in the coal mining sector when they employ someone from the mining sector. This encourages businesses to snap up ex-miners, but also allows employees to maintain their wage and service their commitments. Workers who can’t find a job will be paid the subsidy directly.

It’s time we all worked together to ensure the area thrives after coal and no one is left behind.

Geoff Passfield – United Australia Party

There’s a lot of talk about job security in the Hunter. Labor is making grand promises about addressing the casualisation of the workforce, as if they will actually do something about it. However, we know there is no job security, if there is no security for the industries that provide those jobs.

No one is talking about the elephant in the room. The elephant is NET ZERO. Scott Morrison signed us up to Net Zero and Anthony Albanese’s only complaint is that it’s not soon enough.

After 112 years of Labor in the Hunter, and decades of neglect, they are now coming for us with a with a wrecking ball. The chance of a hung parliament this election is high.

The Greens are planning on a shared government with Labor and already have a list of demands. “NO COAL OR GAS” top of the list.

I’m not a politician and never expected to be running for parliament. I’m an ex-tradie who has worked labour hire and taught at TAFE and in industry, before retraining as an Industrial Arts teacher. Many of my ex-students are apprentices in the mines.

Who’s fighting for their long-term job security?  I am. I’ll fight for the coal industry and fight for the Hunter, because someone has to.

I’ve lived, worked and raised my family in the Hunter. The coal industry has sustained this region and put food on the table for generations and can for generations to come.

It’s time the Hunter had someone to truly represent the best interests of our region in parliament. I have no history, owe no favours, and have nothing to lose. My priority is to save your job, save your home, bring industry back to Australia, and provide a secure future for your family.

Vote 1 Geoff Passfield.

Dan Repacholi – Labor

My name is Dan Repacholi and I’m Labor’s candidate for Hunter.

I worked for years in the mining industry, all the way up until I decided to run for parliament, so I know as well as anyone how vital the mining and resources sectors are to our local economy.

During my time at Mount Thorley Warkworth, I saw firsthand how hardworking and important workers in our sector are. Workers in the mining industry deserve good, secure jobs – which is why I’m fighting for same job, same pay. This means that unlike the Nationals and One Nation, I want to stop labour hire firms from being able to rip off workers. Under Labor’s same job, same pay policies, all jobs in the mining sector will be well-paid and secure.

Under the Nationals government, we’ve seen dozens of industries like automotive manufacturing closed and offshored. I won’t let that happen to the mining industry here in the Hunter and I’m committed to making sure that as long as people buy our coal, we sell our coal, so that we have good, secure mining jobs for years to come.

Having chosen to raise my family in the Hunter Valley, I’m acutely aware of the issues that we face. Housing affordability, rising cost of living and cuts to Medicare have all made the last few years even harder. That’s why I’m campaigning to save our GP Access After Hours Services, open a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic in Cessnock, build 30,000 new social and affordable houses and make childcare cheaper for 97% of families.

As a former Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist, I know what hard work means. I want to work hard for you and to stand up to Scott Morison and his Liberal and National government so that the Hunter gets its fair share.

James Thomson – Nationals

I grew up in regional NSW in Narrabri with parents who run their own small business. I moved to the Hunter 12 years ago and studied a double degree in Business and Law at the University of Newcastle.

I’ve spent my professional life in community engagement – everything from the V8 Supercars Newcastle 500 to the education industry, where I currently work at a local School. This has given me a strong understanding of community values and the issues important to the Hunter.

I am passionate about making sure our kids and grandkids can land the job of their dreams in the Hunter. We need a vision for the future where we back existing industries whilst creating new opportunities for families. This will come about by supporting our coal, tourism, wine, dairying, agriculture and manufacturing industries as we back small business. We will continue to invest in our record number of trades and apprentices.

Fighting for jobs and projects right across this region is a passion of mine and I will fight for the 14,000 families that rely on mining.

I am passionate about improving our road infrastructure, which is why the Nationals are building both the Singleton and Muswellbrook bypasses. We have locked in $1.3 billion as part of our Hunter package. I get the frustration of how long it has taken under 100 years of Labor federal representation that these projects haven’t gone ahead. The Nationals have changed that. Both projects are fully funded with combined State and Federal funds locked in.

Tourism, as we know, is a massive industry for the Hunter. I’d like to see a doubling of visitor numbers, which would provide a massive boost to our economy. I’d also like to see an expansion of the Singleton Army Base.

It’s all about helping the Hunter reach its full potential.

Cathy Townsend – Informed Medical Options Party

Cathy was born, raised and educated in the Hunter. Following school, she went to work for the Commonwealth Bank, reaching the position of senior teller before leaving to get married and raise her own family. Cathy had five children, fostered two more and is now a proud grandmother of four, with another on the way. 

She has a great love for young people and has always been committed to all children receiving the best care possible. Cathy was actively involved with her children’s schools, sporting activities and associations and she continued volunteering for other organisations in various ways.

When Cathy returned to the workforce, she found herself the target of discrimination against women in two male dominated businesses, with one employer even accused of a criminal offence and she chose to leave. On the positive side, she attained a Business Certificate III during this time.

Due to government restrictions over the last two years, Cathy’s mother died in 2020 without family and friends around her. This tragic event was one of the triggers leading to Cathy’s decision to return to the Hunter region. She is also undertaking further studies in business.

Cathy has long held an interest in natural health. She was a Nursing Mothers’ Association counsellor and ran their Morisset group for nearly three years. Bodily autonomy is high on Cathy’s priorities and she stands for everyone’s right to make uncoerced medical decisions regarding their own health.

As a long-term resident of the Hunter, Cathy understands the value of employment; that it offers stability to families and keeps communities in a positive frame of mind. She is supportive of good environmental policies, but not of extreme positions and sudden, dramatic change that could destroy the lives of the Hunter communities.

Cathy will work to make sure that a regime of economy destroying, so-called, but actually unscientific, ‘health’ policies of the kind that have been dominant in Australia for the last two years never happens again.

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