Miranda voters head to the polls - see candidate profiles

THE Miranda electorate will take on a radically different shape at the 2015 state election following an electoral redistribution, which was confirmed last month.

It will stretch across Georges River to Illawong and Alfords Point.

However, Saturday's by-election is being fought on the "old" boundaries.

Residents from suburbs including Bonnet Bay, Como, Grays Point, Gymea, Gymea Bay, Jannali, Kangaroo Point, Kareela, Kirrawee, Miranda, Oyster Bay and Sylvania must vote this weekend.

Unlike federal elections, where voters are required to number every box, the optional preferential system applies at NSW state elections.

Voters must mark "1" in the square next to their first-choice candidate. They can also allocate preferences by numbering the other boxes.

Miranda was once a blue-ribbon Liberal seat, but voters have shown they won't be taken for granted.

Bill Robb held it for Labor from 1978-1984 during the Wran era.

Ron Phillips, who became the deputy leader of the parliamentary Liberal Party and Health Minister, was the MP from 1984-1999.

Barry Collier unexpectedly unseated Mr Phillips in 1999 and greatly increased his majority in 2003. He just hung on in 2007 and retired at the 2011 election.

Liberal Graham Annesley won the seat but quit recently to become chief executive of the Gold Coast Titans rugby league club.

CANDIDATE PROFILES

MURRAY SCOTT (THE GREENS)

MURRAY Scott, 68, of Heathcote, said high hopes for positive planning and environmental changes under the O'Farrell government had been dashed.

"The Greens are calling for changes that will deliver real community control over planning decisions so local people can protect what is precious to them and encourage new development that meets local needs," he said.

"For too long, state governments have been working hand-in-hand with the big developers, saying the only way to increase Sydney's population is to build Hong Kong-style apartment towers in place of much-loved garden suburbs.

"The government is proposing aggressive new planning laws designed to take powers from local councils, increase state government intervention and [to] weaken environmental planning standards.

"This is a direct breach of its 2011 pre-election promise to undo Labor's rotten planning changes and return planning powers to local councils."

Mr Scott will direct preferences to Labor.

Lisa Walters (Independent)

LISA Walters, 39, a projects manager, is a life-long Sutherland Shire resident who lives at Como.

This is the first election she has contested but says she has "no intention of winning".

"I was motivated to stand by the continued reduction of services in our area," she said.

"This is exemplified by the new rail timetable.

"The peak-period service cuts at Como and Jannali stations are the worst I have seen and will have a big impact on residents who travel each day to the city."

Ms Walters started a petition seeking changes to the timetable and hoped to get 10,000 signatures.

"Historically, voters in Miranda electorate choose either a Liberal or Labor candidate and that won't change," she said.

"Even to get 4.5 per cent of the vote to cover my costs will be a challenge.

"But, I want to give a voice to residents and if I make the seat more marginal the major parties will take more notice of it and deliver more for the area.

"I am a true Independent, so I am not directing preferences."

Barry Collier (Labor Party)

BARRY Collier, 63, of Kareela, held the seat of Miranda for the Labor Party for 12 years before retiring from politics at the 2011 election.

"With the community, we delivered long awaited and much needed infrastructure, such as the $344 million Cronulla rail duplication and the $89 million Sutherland Hospital redevelopment, as well as improvements in services," he said.

"It's quite clear that since the change of government the people of Miranda have not been getting the representation they deserve and are entitled to expect from their state MP.

"Even before Graham Annesley's resignation, I had people come to me seeking advice and assistance, with one lady at a local shop two months ago asking me if I was still her local member?"

Mr Collier said he felt "refreshed and reinvigorated" and had more goals he wanted to achieve for the electorate.

Allegations about Liberal-controlled Sutherland Shire Council reinforced the need for Miranda to have "a strong, effective and experienced voice in State Parliament".

George Capsis (Christian Democratic Party)

GEORGE Capsis, 66, of Woolooware, runs homeless services in Sutherland Shire and is active in community causes.

He served on Sutherland Shire Council from 2008 to 2012, and was deputy mayor for some of that time.

In 2001, as a Christian Democratic Party candidate, he went close to being elected to the Senate.

Mr Capsis, whose main policy is to to stop "overdevelopment" in the shire, said he was giving voters the chance to "send a message" to the major parties.

"Both the Liberals and Labor are on the nose at the moment and I want to give the community an alternative vote," he said.

"I am not against development, but I am opposed to overdevelopment."

Mr Capsis's other aims include getting an independent inquiry into allegations against Sutherland Shire Council, stopping proposed parking fees at Westfield Miranda and banning coal seam gas mining in residential areas.

He said he was not directing preferences.

Brett Thomas (Liberal Party) 

BRETT Thomas, 50, of Bonnet Bay, is a criminal lawyer with a practice in Sutherland Shire.

He served on Sutherland Shire Council from 1995 until 1999 and contested the seat of Menai for the Liberal Party at the 1999 and 2003 state elections.

Mr Thomas is a former president of the St George-Sutherland Regional Law Society and Jannali Business Association. He is deputy chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of NSW.

"It is important the people of Miranda have a strong local voice in government," he said.

"They can only achieve this by electing a government member.

"Labor didn't deserve to be elected in 2011 and they still don't."

Mr Thomas said he wanted to see the new Sutherland Hospital emergency department project through to completion.

"I also want to ensure we have a strong, balanced approach to planning and that we provide a good public transport system, including a new commuter car park at Sutherland."

John Brett

JOHN Brett, a Miranda resident and retired road and rail engineer, is not affiliated with a party but declined to be listed as an Independent.

It is the third time he has run for the seat of Miranda.

Mr Brett is known as the "Major" by early-morning surfers at Cronulla after his days in the Army Reserve.

He said his reason for standing in the by-election was to "give voters a choice, which they don't get at present because the major parties are much the same".

His policies include "preserving open space and free-standing houses from developers".

Mr Brett also wants to see the road environment enhanced and qualified engineers given responsibility for stopping the deterioration of major roads.

He also sees a need for cycle lanes on roads to progressively be separated from motor vehicle lanes, with improved safety and lane capacity.

Mr Brett has also advocated a new cycleway from Sutherland to Captain Cook Bridge on the F6 road reserve.

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