Federal Member for Pearce, Christian Porter, and State Member for Ocean Reef, Albert Jacob, last week teamed up to explore the new suburbs to fall within their federal and state electorates.
Under recent changes made by the Australian Electoral Commission the suburbs of Mindarie and Clarkson now fall under the Federal seat of Pearce. And under changes announced by the WA Office of the Electoral Distribution Commissioners the suburb of Clarkson will also fall under the State seat of Burns Beach, which will be the new title of Mr Jacob’s electorate, replacing Ocean Reef, at the next State election.
Mr Porter and Mr Jacob held a coffee event together at the Mindarie Waterfront Café & Restaurant with 22 people in attendance. It was here that both MPs were able to address concerns and discuss issues that local residents raised on a broad range of subjects, including:
• Mental health and men’s issues;
• Paid parental leave;
• Child support;
• 410 visas;
• Changes to citizenship laws for New Zealand citizens;
• Age pension;
• Grandparent carers;
• Social services – reform and spending restraint; and
• Immigration – skilled migration, refugees and resettlement services; operation sovereign borders.
“There was a strong turnout in Mindarie and I was pleased to meet so many local residents and discuss the issues affecting them,” Mr Porter said.
“I find that making myself available to residents in the comfort of their community and connecting directly with them as often as I can means that I can best represent the views of our community in Canberra.”
“I always enjoy meeting and speaking with local residents at these coffee events,” Mr Jacob said.
“It is important to me that I create an opportunity for residents to voice any concerns they may have, as well as things they are pleased with in our local area, in a relaxed community atmosphere.”
Mr Porter and Mr Jacob also visited St Andrew’s Catholic Primary School where they toured the grounds with Deputy Warren Smith and later participated in a question and answer session with the Year 6 students.
Q: When did you both decide to be politicians and what did you do before being elected to Parliament? (Charlie W)
Porter: I was a lawyer before I decided to be a politician. It was a decision that I made with my then fiancé Jennifer in 2008. I was involved in State politics for four years and have been involved in Federal politics since 2012.
Jacob: In 2008 I decided to run for the new seat of Ocean Reef. I studied horticulture and, if any of you have been to the Botanical Golf in Wanneroo, I was in charge of making sure their grounds and greens were well looked after.
Q: Why did you want to be a politician? (Jessica M)
Porter: I have been a politician in both the State Government and now in the Federal Government. I wanted to be a politician because I felt like I could make a difference and this was a platform that would provide a better opportunity to help a lot of people, not just one person. I think it is important to do something that you find personally enjoyable.
Jacob: I was on the Joondalup Council and I loved being a local member so I wanted to do it full time. I think there is no better job than to serve your community full time in every aspect. Being a Member of Parliament allows me to help all of the community. I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day because this job is not a job but an opportunity to make a difference and is personally fulfilling.
Q: What are the main things that politicians do? (Jarrod C)
Porter: State and Federal politics are very different and I have had ministerial positions in both. Every day is different and I love that about my job, like today I am here talking to you and tomorrow I will be on the other side of the country. The Government and politicians make decisions. They get together as a group and discuss or debate how to make decisions, which is largely in respect on how Australia’s money is spent and allocated so that everybody and everything is being looked after properly.
Jacob: Decision making is usually a ministerial role, which Christian and I both are, so we have a lot to do with allocating funding to different things.
Q: What are the specific major projects that you are both working on at the minute? (Ella M)
Porter: Well I don’t build things but I am working on ways to spend our money better so that there is money left for improvements to things like roads and school and hospitals.
Jacob: I am working on the North Kimberley Marine Park which will be the biggest marine park in Western Australia and the second largest in Australia. It goes from Eighty Mile Beach to the Northern Territory border. It is a really exciting project and is focused on conserving the unique environment. I have been partnering with the Aboriginal people and have employed 200 Aboriginal people to be rangers. I’ve also had to negotiate with big mining companies and have been successful in having them return all the mining leases to the State Government.
Q: What is your favourite flavour of ice cream? (Anthony G)
Porter: I love ice cream. My favourite is vanilla.
Jacob: I can’t go past Cadbury Choc Chip.
After visiting St Andrew’s Catholic Primary School Mr Porter and Mr Jacob then visited Clarkson Community High School were they also toured the school and were shown the facilities by Principal John Young, teaching staff and the student leadership group.
“The facilities and attitudes of the staff and students at Clarkson Community High School were impressive,” Mr Porter said.
“There is a real feeling of community here, of which everyone is very proud to be a part of.
“It is pleasing to see the school offering such a diverse curriculum which caters to every student’s individual strengths, whether they be academic extension and higher education or vocational education and training which prepares them for the world of work while still being at school.”
“Whilst the facilities at the school continue to improve, so too does the community culture amongst the students and staff that make up the school,” Mr Jacob said.
“I was delighted to see the focus that the school is placing on creating a learning environment that benefits all students and best prepares them for their future.”
Later that day Mr Porter held another coffee event at Essence Café at the Ocean Keys Shopping Centre, with 25 people attending. He answered questions on a range of topics, including:
• Pathology bulk billing incentives;
• Age pension;
• Upcoming Budget;
• Welfare expenditure;
• Paid parental leave;
• Recovery of Centrelink debt;
• Politician’s entitlements;
• Centrelink service upgrades – ICT improvements; and
• Government accountability.