In this Q&A series, we speak with Newcastle’s federal candidates to find out what they believe are the most pressing issues, how they plan to deliver change and why they want to be your number one vote on May 21.

In the fifth instalment, we meet Animal Justice Party candidate, Emily Brollo.

Animal Justice Party candidate Emily Brollo. Photo source: AJP.

If elected, climate action is among Brollo’s top priorities in Parliament. She said she will push to declare an immediate climate emergency, and announce a target of net zero emissions by 2035. The Novocastrian is also seeking to address the housing crisis, and end animal cruelty on a national level through ending factory farming and live export.

Q. What do you think is the most important issue facing the Newcastle electorate? How do you plan to address this?

A. Without doubt, the biggest issue facing the Newcastle electorate is climate change and how we will meet the challenges it poses on many different levels. 

We plan to: declare an immediate climate emergency; institute a carbon tax on industries that cause climate harm, and use this funding to aid the transition towards renewable energy sources; target net zero emissions by 2035; ensure a fair transition for workers and support growth in sustainable industries such as eco-tourism, plant-based agriculture and foods; and ensure the safety of vulnerable community members facing the impacts of climate change.

Q. What will your top local priorities be in Parliament? What are your top priorities regarding the wider domestic sphere? 

A. My top local priority is addressing the housing crises within Newcastle. We are facing a severe lack of emergency, transitional and long term public housing, as well as affordable rentals and pathways to homeownership. 

On a wider level, I am committed to ending animal cruelty, particularly factory farming and live export. 

Q. What skills, qualifications and background would guide you as a Federal Member of Parliament?

A. As a Registered Midwife, I have worked with many different community sectors, including Indigenous and vulnerable families. I also have a long history of advocacy work for animals and the environment. This enables me to critically examine evidence and determine the most rational course of action in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

It also provides me with first-hand knowledge of local issues and connections to community groups that I will continue developing.

Q. What differentiates you from the opposing parties?

A. This election has a really broad spectrum of candidates running, often with diametrically opposing views on important issues. 
I have found it incredibly disappointing that candidates from the Liberal Party, One Nation, and United Australia Party have not taken the opportunity to attend forums and knowledge-sharing sessions on domestic violence and climate change. I do not feel that they are listening to the voices within the community.

Conversely, I have a lot of respect for Sharon Claydon and Charlotte McCabe. These women have joined me to engage with the community and listen to local issues. For many years, Sharon has worked incredibly hard for Newcastle on a federal level. Charlotte is a wealth of knowledge and advocates for much-needed climate action in the city council.

As a candidate for the Animal Justice Party, what sets me aside is that our policies and decision-making will always be based on our four core values: Kindness, Equality, Rationality, and Non-Violence. In addition, we do not accept donations from mining, logging or animal agriculture corporations, so we will always be free to speak out about the harm caused by these industries. 

Q.Who are you preferencing and why?

A.Voters can give the Animal Justice Party number one, and then if we are not elected, they can direct their vote to whichever party they would like. As a minor party, we need number one votes. Unfortunately, giving us anything after a larger party means that we will never see that vote. Even if we are not elected, giving the Animal Justice Party your number one vote shows the major parties that you care about animal issues. 
My “how to vote card” is only a suggestion.

  1. Animal Justice Party
  2. The Greens
  3. Labor

We are most closely aligned with these parties, and we wish to see a change in government.

Q. What is the Animal Justice Party, and what does the party represent for those who may not know?

A. The Animal Justice Party was formed in 2009. We are the fastest-growing party in Australia, with two members currently elected to NSW Government, one in Victoria and two councillors.

We represent the growing number of people who want more done on all levels of government to protect the wellbeing of animals. Our vision is a kinder world where people and animals live together in harmony with our planet.

For more information on the priorities and plans of the Animal Justice Party, visit their website.

Maia O’Connor

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