Julie Peters


Profile as sent to press and on Web Site for 1996 Federal Election

1996 Federal Election

Candidate Profile

Julie Elizabeth Peters

The Australian Democrat Candidate for Batman

I was born in Alexandra, Victoria on the 9th of April 1951. I'm the eldest of nine children. I was educated in Port Melbourne, Broadmeadows, Northcote and Donvale; I see myself as educated working class.

Bachelor of Science (Univ of Melb), majoring in genetics with an eclectic group of other subjects (including Environmental Studies, Engineering, Electronics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and languages).

Recent Community Service: - workplace delegate for the Community and Public Sector Union. - ex committee member for Women in Film and Television - telephone counsellor - ex committee TLC, (Transgender Liberation and Care) - member of Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus

My Political Development:
I first became aware of politics in the 1950's; my parents were in the DLP. What I couldn't work out was why people thought these chairs/seats in Parliament were so important.

In 1969, when I started University, the issues I considered important were conscription, Vietnam and education. And when in 1972 Gough Whitlam was elected I thought Australia was heading for Utopia; we had full employment, we had just pulled out of Vietnam, there was no conscription and University education was free. I thought that by the 1990's Australia would be such a wonderful place to live; we would all have jobs that took only 25 hrs a week and we would have sorted out all the other problems by then. It's not like that; so many are unemployed and so many of those working are working huge amounts of overtime (What happened to the 40 hour week we gained in 1908?); the rich are a lot richer than they were in the 70's and the poor are a lot poorer. I was devastated by the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.

In 1980 I returned to University. Many of the subjects I studied helped me to articulate my views on the importance of being ecologically attuned our environment. These studies also helped me have an informed opinion on the social consequences of Science and Technology.

Initially I was pleased when Bob Hawke was elected, Prime Minister, but I soon realised that he and Paul Keating were leading Labor toward what we now call "economic rationalism", where profits were far more important than people. And so I joined the Democrats in the mid- eighty's. I drifted away from the party when Janine Haines did not get into the House of Representatives.

In the early 90's after dealing with my own transgenderism, I became involved with the politics of gender. I've made submissions for transgender law reform, I've presented quiet a number of seminars on many aspects of transgenderism and have been involved with coalition politcs in a number of social areas..

I've rejoined the Democrats now because I believe there are much bigger issues affecting all Australians than gender, sexuality and identity discrimination. Cheryl Kernot is leader and we have great Senate candidates like Lyn Allison. I want to help make Australia the wonderful place it could so easily be if we all had the will to take it there.

A brief description of the electorate of Batman: It is named after John Batman the 1830's explorer of Melbourne. It's borders are very close to the City of Darebin. It includes Northcote, Preston, Fairfield, Alphington, Thornbury, Kingsbury and part of North Coburg. It is considered "inner metropolitan" by the electoral commission. The total population is about 120,000; there were 78,231 on the electoral roll in 1993; the total workforce is about 49,000; 18% of households have an income of less than $14,201 a year, 48% of households have an income of less than $30.001 a year with the average disposable income about $25,500 a year. In the northern part of Batman (Preston/Reservoir) 14% of the workforce are professional or in management while in the southern half (Northcote/Fairfield/Thornbury) the figure is about 28%. The main industries are service, retail, light engineering, textiles, clothing and footwear.

Batman has large Anglo-Irish and Greek populations with pockets of other ethnic groups such as Italian, Vietnamese and Ethiopian.

I do not like the type of country that Australia is becoming and I've realised there's no point just complaining about it you have to do something. Unemployment is increasing, violence particularly domestic violence is increasing, people are finding it harder and harder to buy the food, clothing and school books they need. High rents make life very hard, especially if family members are unemployed. Most people could only dream of buying a house. Small business is finding it very hard because people just don't have the money to spend. Health care and education are being reduced. The air and rivers are becoming more and more polluted. Our unhappy and bored children are taking more and more drugs.

It doesn't have to be like this; it wasn't 20 years ago. Our millionaire Prime Minister, Paul Keating has brought us here. We want to change this. If Australians want us to become a fairer country we have to support the Party that wants change, the Australian Democrats. The Liberal party are not the free thinkers they claim to be; the Labor party don't look after the ordinary person. All the Labor Party or the Liberal Party care about is who is going to be the next Prime Minister.

The economy I'm passionately upset at how the economy is run. Everything is measured in terms of its short term profitability. The Liberal-Labour-National coalition has asserted that all they need to address are the "economic indicators" and everything else will fall into place. What they fail to mention is that their "economic indicators" measure the profitability for the wealthy. These policies make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The Democrats define "real world economic indicators" that measure such things as the number of Australians living in poverty, the number of children who are homeless and the long term cost of degradation of the environment. One of the natural consequences of this "rationalist" profit motive style of thinking is the selling off of public utilities to help increase the profits of their new owners. This policy was formalised by "The Competition Policy Reform Bill, 1995" (after Hilmer) which was supported by both the Labor and Liberal parties and would have been passed without debate if it were not for the Democrats.

Local issues
The Australian Democrats would phase out payroll tax and give a number of employment incentives and assistance to SMALL BUSINESS which would re-establish the great shopping centres - High Street and Preston Market. A Democrat economy would also give the ordinary person more money to spend, this would be a great boost to small business.

The environment
I gained a BSc (Melb) majoring in genetics, with a number of environmental and ecological subjects. All of these studies have informed my personal politics; I don't own a car because the majority of Melbourne's air pollution comes from car exhausts. I am very interested in the social and environmental consequences of science and technology; nuclear weapons and power, pollution, public transport (why do governments measure profitability of rail but not of roads?), de-forestation, gene pool reduction, global warming, ozone layer depletion, rural land degradation and salination.

Local issues
Batman has three waterways as it's boundaries, the Yarra, Merri Creek and Darebin Creek. All of which are very polluted and unsafe. "River Rescue" is an initiative by the Australian Democrats to clean up Australia's waterways, it is looking for information and then lobbying the authorities to clean up as they are paid to do.

The increasing levels of asthma and hayfever are made a lot worse in Darebin by the high levels of air pollution in the area.

Education/ local issues
I believe the policies of the Liberal-Labor-National coalition toward education are very negative especially in the long term; the Victorian government's severe cuts to Primaryand Secondary Education and the Federal government's cuts to Tertiary. We believe free education at all levels with special programs for minority and disadvantaged groups and individuals. Education should NOT be limited by user pays. Any good business knows that investment in the future is essential. Education is an investment in our the future as the "Clever Country". And this means investing in the education of our children and in the retraining of adults who need new jobs especially those who come from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds. The cultural mix in Batman means most of the problems are far worse here than in most other places.

Unionism and my work
I am a Workplace Delegate with the Community and Public Sector Union and an ex- committee member of Women In Film and Television. At the moment I am working as Director of Photography on "English, have a go" (a 26 part TV program on English as a Second Language). I've been a Lighting Director on Countdown, The Big Gig, DAAS Kapital and the Kate Ceberano Show.

Multiculturalism, social diversity and equal opportunity - an important local issue. I am a strong believer in Equal Employment Opportunity and protection from discrimination and vilification on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, race, disability, differently abledness, identity and sexuality. My belief in fairness and equality means I have a very strong belief in social justice and so striving for the complete elimination of unemployment, poverty, domestic violence and homlessness and providing a voice for the expression of diversity. The provision of adequate health care, housing and other community services for all are essential in a country that we would like to see with a Bill of rights in our constitution. I am a telephone councillor and have been involved in law reform movements for transgendered, lesbians and gays.

My transgenderism
Even at 4 of 5 years of age I felt uneasy with people wanting me to be a boy. It took me many years of dealing with guilt and the fear of ostracism to believe that living as a woman was what I had to do to live a happy, fulfilling and effective life. I am now the happiest I've ever been in my life and want everyone else to be just as happy. Everyday I see so many people who are not happy and I believe a fairer Australia will lead us there. I have become politically active to help us achieve that fairer Australia. "I have realeased the Democrat trapped in a distracted body".

The Australian Democrats
The Democrats simply have the most sensible, environmentally friendly and morally sound policies in every area. I was first involved with the Democrats in the mid-eighty's, letter boxing and handing out how-to-vote cards and I am standing as a candidate at this time because I very strongly believe the incumbent Liberal-Labor-National Party are making Australia the "greedy and sad" country instead of the wonderful country of equity and social justice that it could so easily be. We, the Democrats, are not longer in a position "to keep the bastards honest", the Liberal/Labor coalition vote as a block on allmajor issues. Their destructive Competition Policy Reform Bill, 1995 (after Hilmer) would have been passed without debate if it were not for the Democrats. The sad thing is that we, with our small numbers, are the major opposition party to the Liberal/Labor coalition. So instead of complaining about how terrible the Liberal/Labor party is I believe it is time to stand up and do something to change things. I am very confident with the current Democrat leadership and believe that we can make a very positive difference to the future of Australia.


© Copyright Julie Peters 1996
Contact julie@natasha.ironbark.id.au