Immigration, NDIS, schools and tax: Meet the federal candidates for Shortland

Incumbent Shortland MP Pat Conroy has been a member of the Labor party since he was 15.

He is now 40 and in the box seat to hold the safe Labor seat for years to come and continue the slow turnover of federal representatives in east Lake Macquarie's electoral division.

The heat map of polling in Shortland at the 2016 election was a sea of red, except for the two booths at affluent Valentine and Eleebana, where the Liberals prevailed.

A virtually invisible campaign from Whitebridge lawyer Nell McGill suggests the Liberals are focused on more winnable seats, leaving Mr Conroy a clear run to the finish line.

Labor won more than 51 per cent of the primary vote in Shortland in 2016, and, barring a miracle, it is poised to claim the seat as an early win on Saturday night.

The Christian Democrats have again declined to offer any information or photographs of their candidate, Xing Yu, just as they did with Pam Wise in Newcastle.

Here is each candidate's election platform, in their own words.

Susan Newbury

Sustainable Australia

Work: Pharmacist

Age: 66

Susan Newbury

Susan Newbury

Why I'm running: I am campaigning for better planning to stop overdevelopment as well as maintaining a sustainable environment in the Shortland electorate. I am very concerned about the environmental degradation, pollution, destruction of habitat and loss of biodiversity in our area. The roads are becoming more congested, and housing is being built up too densely and sprawling into our pockets of natural habitat. One of the fundamental underlying causes of these issues is rapid population growth being driven by immigration. None of the major parties want to do anything about this.

Priorities: Sustainable Australia advocates for an immigration average of 70,000, which should be done on a non-discriminatory basis. I also think we should all be working to lower our global footprint, which, if all nations lived as profligately as we do, would necessitate four Earths, not the one we have. I am also very concerned about the growing income divide in this country and believe that we should have a simpler and fairer tax system. I strongly believe that the large multinationals operating here should be made to pay the proper tax on the profits they make while in many instances sending Australian companies to the wall.

Xing Yu

Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

Work: Business director

Note: Xing Yu is one of several candidates endorsed by the Christian Democratic Party but not actively campaigning. A CDP spokesman said the candidate had asked that his details and photograph remain private.

Pat Conroy


Work: Shortland MP

Age: 40

Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy

Why I'm running: To strengthen our wonderful community through schools, hospitals, jobs and a clean environment. I understand issues affecting Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast and have been a strong voice in Parliament for my constituents for six years. I have used my expertise as an economist in my shadow assistant portfolios of climate change and energy, and infrastructure, to develop Labor's Just Transitions and Hydrogen policies to ensure our region thrives in a low-carbon world.

Priorities: Delivering more for schools, hospitals, pensioners and community organisations. Getting the NDIS back on track. Delivering action on climate change that will cut emissions and cut power prices as well as look after affected workers and communities. Delivering jobs and investment through constructing the Glendale transport interchange. Fighting for an Australian maritime industry and fuel security. Improving roads and cycleways on the Central Coast, and digital TV reception. Continuing to assist and advocate for my constituents.

Dani Rifai

United Australia Party

Work: Business broker

Age: 44

Dani Rifai

Dani Rifai

Why I'm running: There has been no true representation in our electorate. I have waited for 25 years to find a party that represents me, my family and friends, and it never happened. I found that the United Australia Party represents the true Australians like myself and my friends more than all the other parties combined. We need a local who supports locals and the region, someone who has a true understanding and connection with the area. I am not a career politician and believe that to be the main advantage between me and the other candidates. I am a representative of the locals and I have the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie region at the forefront of everything I do. My family and friends have encouraged me to run and represent the interests of locals in our region rather than the interests of donors.

Priorities: Jobs, youth unemployment, NDIS, aged care funding, roads and infrastructure, health care.

Wylie Campbell


Work: Student

Age: 24

Wylie Campbell

Wylie Campbell

Why I'm running: I'm standing for the Greens in Shortland because I've lived here all my life. I'm organising for effective climate action and a just transition to 100 per cent renewables by 2030 that works for the many, not just the few, and for the environment. I believe in good planning, effective management and sound investment in public transport, public education, public health and social welfare, an Australia that works for all of us. I'm standing up for the rights of people living with a disability and their needs.

Priorities: Fast, efficient, well planned and well maintained public transport; world-class free education, from early childhood through to TAFE and university; increased funding for the NDIS and the timely spending of all funds allocated; a just transition from coal and gas drilling to exportable renewable energy; and an end to political donations from mining companies and other big corporates. We Greens work for a cleaner, fairer future for all of us.

Bryan McGrath

Animal Justice Party

Work: Surveyor

Age: 36

Bryan McGrath

Bryan McGrath

Why I'm running: I am passionate about animal protection and our legal system being fair.

Priorities: I will prioritise the banning of live animal exports. I will establish a federal animal rights commission. Animals have unique rights which should be protected by law. I will establish a legal system for animals which protects their right to live free from human harm. I will protect wildlife habitats in order to protect wild animals and combat climate change. I will advocate to safeguard our national emblem. Kangaroos should be protected and not seen as resources or pests. I will urgently change legislation to protect kangaroos from commercial killing. I will legislate to protect forests and marine habitats from further destruction and invest in clean energy in order to combat climate change, establish laws to protect our companion animals from high levels of killing in shelters, and push to end factory farming.

Nell McGill


Work: Litigation lawyer

Age: 39

Nell McGill

Nell McGill

Why I'm running: To offer the voters in Shortland a strong alternative choice to the same old Labor, someone with skills and experience in advocacy and negotiation, and to use those skills to advance the best interests of our community. To be the best role model to my three daughters by fighting for their secure future.

Priorities: The continued provision of the essential services without additional costs or higher taxes for the hard-working people in Shortland, ensuring access to affordable child care and consistently increased funding to schools and hospitals.