The federal electorate of Cook is a Liberal heartland and has been held by the party for 41 of the past 44 years years.
Scott Morrison, who is the Opposition's spokesman on immigration, holds the seat by a comfortable 12.7 per cent margin, making it officially a "very safe" Liberal seat.
The Liberals also swept through the shire in the last state election and gained an overwhelming majority in last year's local government elections.
A field of seven starters will line up to fight for the hearts and minds of Cook voters in 2013. *Scroll the photos above to see them.
In order of the ballot draw they are: Peter Scaysbrook (ALP), Matthew Palise (Palmer United Party), Beth Smith (Christian Democratic Party - Fred Nile Group), Jim Saleam (Australia First), Mithra Cox (Greens) Scott Morrison (Liberal), Graeme Strang (Independent). See related story: http://www.theleader.com.au/story/1710281/labor-scores-poll-position-for-cook-palmer-united-first-spot-in-hughes/
Peter Scaysbrook Labor candidate for Cook
Mr Scaysbrook, 62, is a Labor Sutherland Shire Councillor and comes from a small business and eningeering background.
His concerns are for education, the environment and a compassionate policy for asylum seekers.
‘‘Voters have a choice between Labor’s $15 billion Better Schools Plan, or just settle for Mr Abbott’s second-rate scheme,’’ he said.
‘‘We must decide if all Australians should have access to state-of-the-art broadband through Labor’s NBN, or rely on the Coalition’s outdated copper wire technology.
‘‘Can we trust the Coalition to leave our health system intact, or will we see a repeat of the $1 billion cuts to hospitals made during Mr Abbott’s time as health minister?
Environmental legislation, workplace laws, and income support are all in the sights of the Coalition razor-gangs.
‘‘Are we prepared to stand by and watch Australia’s reputation as a caring and humane country slide into disrepute as assessment of refugee status is replaced by the Coalition’s gunboat diplomacy?’’
Matthew Palise (Palmer United Party)
Matthew Palise, 30, is local small business owner.
He has a strong belief that residents of Sutherland Shire are frustrated with professional politicians and fed up with political rhetoric surrounding current policy debates.
His passion for Australian business sparked his interest in politics and led him to join the Palmer United Party because of the party’s policies that support the success of small and medium sized businesses.
He believes that business success ultimately leads to better economic, social and employment outcomes for all residents of Sutherland Shire.
Mr Palise has a bachelor of commerce accounting and worked as an accountant prior to establishing his wholesale fruit and vegetable business in the Sydney food markets.
He has established a strong Facebook presence throughout the election campaign and welcomed the input of many younger voters who have engaged with him through this forum.
Beth Smith Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) candidate
Beth Smith has represented the Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) at several federal and state elections.
She has more than 35 years experience working with children in Sutherland Shire and said strong loving families were the best defence against drug abuse, youth suicide and many other social evils.
Her policies include:
- defending the definition of marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman, because the natural God-designed family unit of a father, mother and children is the foundation of society;
- establishing a royal commission on the rulings of the Family Law Court;
- speeding up the processing of legitimate refugees in refugee camps by establishing medical, education and assessment teams to work alongside the UN;
- stopping all coal seam gas mining in residential areas and prime agricultural land and only allow elsewhere if proven safe to do so;
- removing age discrimination from the National Disability Scheme.
Jim Saleam (Australia First Party)
Dr Jim Saleam of the Australia First Party said he was the only candidate in Cook who demands an absolute end to refugee intakes, whether deriving from ‘‘legal’’ or ‘‘illegal’’ sources.
He said he was campaigning for the repudiation of the UN Refugee Convention.
‘‘Labor’s Papua New Guinea plan must collapse and be open to abuse across the unprotected Queensland border, and the Liberals’ offshore processing alternative inevitably means entry into Australia for (so-called) legitimate refugee claimants – as was the case in the past’’.
Mr Saleam said he demanded the immediate return home of all refugees who have entered Australia since the 1990s and that the billions of dollars wasted on the refugee program be applied to pensions, public housing, healthcare and the abolition of HECS student debt.
‘‘I believe the high-rise precinct development plans for Sutherland Shire are linked to immigration and foreign investment in our real estate. Immigration is now unsustainable and has made home ownership difficult. I am committed to fight against 457 visa labour to protect Australian jobs.’’
Mithra Cox (Greens)
Candidate did not provide a photograph or details.
Scott Morrison (Liberal)
Scott Morrison, the Liberal Party candidate, has been the federal MP for Cook since 2007 and is the Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
The 45-year-old father of two is patron, member, and supporter of numerous local community and sporting groups.
He believes in helping to build a stronger shire community through initiatives like the Cook Community Classic which raises more than $100,000 a year for local charities and community organisations.
‘‘I have spoken out on key local issues such as aircraft noise, local services and protecting our local heritage and lifestyle,’’ he said.
‘‘Shire residents are fed up with the way Labor has mismanaged our economy and our borders, resulting in a bigger financial burden on local families and small businesses through higher taxes and more red tape.
‘‘As a senior member of the Coalition team I will continue working hard to help deliver a strong, prosperous economy, cleaner environment, a safe secure Australia and more modern infrastructure.’’
Graeme Strang, indepdendent candidate for Cook is using the election campaign to condemn all forms of taxation and privatisation.
‘‘In any monetary based economy currency constantly and continually needs to be created and issued,’’ he said.
‘‘That process should remain a government responsibility under the most strict and stringent of controls.
‘‘Unfortunately, governments worldwide have surrendered such currency control to the private banking system.
‘‘The main activity of government is defence ( i.e. warfare ) so it ultimately means that taxation forms the legal consent for war.
‘‘Remove taxation and the legal foundation of war is also removed. The key for a better future, and to ensure a future, involves government regaining control of currency issue and creation, and in the process abolishing taxation, usury (interest on loans ) the foreign exchange market (one unit of one nation’s currency to equal one unit of another nation’s currency), and introducing an unconditional direct issue of currency to all individuals in society for essential food, accommodation, and clothing.’’