Ingham Daily Press

Keeping People Connected

Who is Jen Shackley?

WITH the state elections four weeks away – Ingham Daily Press reached out to the five people who have put their hats in the ring to be voted Hinchinbrook’s voice in Queensland’s parliament for the next three years.

Each candidate was sent the same script of questions.

Here are independent runner Jen Shackley’s responses:

Who: Jen Sackley

What party: I am running as an independent and am not a member of any current ECQ (electoral commission of Queensland) registered political party.

Where from: Born in Cairns; raised predominately in both North and Western Queensland.

Where do you live now: I reside in Hinchinbrook, Bushland Beach.

What is your background: I best describe myself as a centre conservative, and while I have had past party affiliations with a number of smaller conservative parties, I have in recent times, like many North Queenslanders, become very disillusioned with all parties, big or small, in their lack of political capacity or will to achieve real outcomes for the people.

What’s your connection to Hinchinbrook: My connection to Hinchinbrook is two fold: Firstly, I have family members who have lived in Hinchinbrook for many, many years and this has created and encouraged opportunities for me to personally reside within the electorate for long periods of time. Secondly, I believe Hinchinbrook constituents’ have not received the political representation they deserve.   

When and why did you decide to go into politics: I began a career in politics at university as a young woman; I was the women’s office at JCU in Cairns campaigning for centre conservative rights, even than as I look back now, I was fighting to keep the bastards honest.

I went on to study politics, social sciences, law and MSW (master of social work), always active in my communities in theses areas, and I expect, I will always be there, while there is breath in my body. This country, its people, their human rights one way or another, my passion.   

Why should people vote for you: Hinchinbrook is a broad brush of political issues. Its diverse social fabric needs someone who can span the issues from farming and small business to the rainforest and the reef. Some one who has been in the field of health and education. Someone strong with both knowledge and compassion to help steer us out of theses difficult times. Someone who is not tied to party lines and will not be bought.

Why are you standing in this election: I am standing at this election because I believe I am the right person for the job. I believe that the people of Hinchinbrook are tired of not being heard. Moreover, that as an independent, the Hinchinbrook electorate will benefit greatly from someone who is about them, someone who could hold the balance of power in their favour.

Furthermore, that whatever the peoples concerns are, from recycling, infrastructure, energy cost, education or crime, they know that as an independent their voice has every right to be heard in Queensland’s parliament at question time, the same as other representatives, only this time its their voice, not some party line.  

What in your view are the major issues Hinchinbrook faces: Currently issues raised by many locals in Hinchinbrook are matters around small business and these are everything from the local restaurants to the fishing industry.   The most common threads coming through are they feel they are hamstrung by so much legislation (what they argue is red and green tape). A major lack of growth in regional infrastructure is impacting their ability to grow their industries, like cost of power, insurance etc.

Law and order, particularly around matters of youth crime, regional health and care services about to be impacted by so many now leaving private health providers due to cost of insurance.

What would you like to do if you are elected: As budgets are handed down its important we understand they are legislated an amount per electorate. Furthermore, as an independent it is up to the individual representative to argue a case around further $$$$$$. The beauty of an independent is there is often more opportunities to explore and negotiate in the best interest of the electorate they represent, especially should they hold the balance of power.  

What inspires you: What inspires me is knowing we are a lucky country, and its important we always value each other, and acknowledge, what our fathers and grandfathers fought for, me and you. I believe I have an obligation to honour both past and present, whatever the issues, that I am more than my sandals and beads and that every issue/concern the people of Hinchinbrook raise politically with me, it should and must be considered individually on its own merit.

What do you do in your spare time: Like most people, I enjoy Sundays as a day of rest, and so in the afternoon, putting my feet up with a good movie, and some times I  watch my favourite movies over and over like Pretty Woman, I mean really, who could argue hey, Richard Gere is a bit of okay.

While I am considered a strong politically passionate woman, let me inform you, as a young woman I was very active in the horse world in North Queensland everything from pony club, to show jumping, to camp drafting, I loved it all. At school I played basketball, loved to cook with my girlfriends, and often sat to share my favourite foods’  like, spaghetti bolognaise or a marinara. My mother always made jelly and custard tarts at Christmas time, ones with the red and green jelly, yummy ones which I can still turn my hand to today.    

What else would you like to add: I would like to finish by saying, I am inspired to keep up the good fight politically by the memories and examples of people like Liz Cunningham, (a strong Queensland independent voice) and the likes of Dr Dawn May, (my first political lecturer) because they both lived, honoured and practiced their belief in Australia’s democratic process.

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