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Meet Mary Aldred; Federal Liberal candidate for Monash


Editor’s Note: We are pleased to be able to present a short profile of Mary Aldred and there will be more on Mary in this paper in the coming months. Traf District News also expects to bring you information on other political candidates to help you to be well informed come election day.

Russell Broadbent is your local Federal member of parliament and one of the longest serving MP’s in Canberra. Russell lost Liberal Party preselection to Mary Aldred last November and now serves as an independent MP.

When the next Federal election occurs is anyone’s guess, but it must occur before the end of September next year which gives Mary Aldred time to work in and better understand the electorate. As we found when we spoke to Mary recently, she is off and running.

Mary Aldred has a long and impressive track record. She also has a very strong gaze and listens intently. We were in a noisy crowded coffee shop but Mary focussed solely on the task at hand. It was apparent she knows how to listen.

It’s a really great privilege to have been selected as a Liberal Party candidate. To get the endorsement is an honour and it gets me to the starting gate. Now I need to go out and make the most compelling case I can to the broader community to win their trust and confidence about why I would be the most effective representative for them at the next election; and I haven’t wasted a second since the preselection.
‘My first job is to listen. I really want to hear from local community groups. I am getting out and meeting as many people as I possibly can, to ask them what are the local issues that are important to them. And I’m getting some enthusiastic and strong messaging back already.

‘I am hearing about a mix of national and local issues. So, at the national level, cost of living is really hurting people. I saw that when I was at a food relief centre yesterday, which is now looking after up to thirty-nine families a day. And it’s a broadening cohort of people seeking support. Some people just can’t afford to pay their rent, they can’t afford their mortgage repayments and they are really struggling with food and utilities. The cost of living is really hurting people right now at a local level.

‘Roads are another critical issue. We’ve had some heavy rains in recent times and the state of some of our roads is diabolical.”

Mary joined the Liberal Party when she was in year twelve and unlike many politicians she has not spent her life as a party apparatchik which brings a broader view to politics.

Mary left school at age fifteen to work in the family small business in Upper Beaconsfield, returning to school later and went on to gain a Batchelor of Arts with Honours and then a Master’s Degree in Agribusiness, working three part-time jobs to pay her way.

‘I saw firsthand how hard my parents worked, and so that gave me a lifelong dedication to small business. People really put their house on the line to give someone else a shot at a job. Young people often get their first start in life in a small business, and then I’ve seen so many businesses that put an enormous amount back into community initiatives. So we need to look after small businesses.’
Mary worked in Canberra for a short time for a few politicians, after having volunteered at the age of  twenty in the office of a US Senator in Washington. She has a very good understanding of how government works.

Mary has also been heavily involved in Lifeline Gippsland, and worked for the Committee for Gippsland for more than seven years. She has been fighting for a new hospital in West Gippsland for over a decade.
‘I am very passionate about ensuring that we get that built. It should have been built ten years ago, so we need to turn the first sod on that. And I’d like to see that develop as a tertiary hospital as well, so that attracting and retaining aged care and health workers in the region is a challenge. If we can attach the tertiary elements to a new hospital that will provide the skilled workers that we need locally.

‘We need to protect our industries. If the timber industry dies, that will have a devastating impact on local schools, on local businesses, on local community spirit. And those things matter. They’re important and they’re issues that I intend to stand up and fight for.’

I will also fight very hard for all our farmers to continue to have the right to farming. I’m very proud to come from an amazingly diverse farming region and I want to see that continue and be able to grow.’
When not working for the industrial arm of Fujitsu or meeting the people in her electorate, Mary relaxes with family and enjoys spoiling her nieces and her pet Jack Russell. Cooking, sport and horses are high up on Mary’s list of things to do in order to unwind.