Below, three of the state election candidates vying for your vote in the inner-city Brisbane seat of McConnel (formerly Brisbane Central) introduce themselves. The Queensland election will be held on Saturday, November 25.
Grace Grace: Labor Candidate For McConnel
Grace has lived in the electorate with her family all her life, has spent her working career fighting for a better quality of life for Queensland workers and is a strong advocate for the diversity that exists in her electorate.
Since being elected to the seat of Brisbane Central – now McConnel – in 2015, Grace has been working hard for the local LGBTI+ community. Grace Grace and the Palaszczuk Government have delivered on the removal of the ‘gay panic’ defence from the Criminal Code; equalised the age of consent; passed same sex adoption laws; reinstated Civil Partnerships – and Grace has been heavily campaigning for marriage equality.
Grace and the Palaszczuk Government have funded $6 million to Queensland Aids Council for access to PrEP, and close to $410,000 to the LGBTIQ Legal Services, making it the first time the legal service has received funding. Grace was an integral part of the government that established the LGBTIQ Roundtable which includes ten community members who represent the diversity of LGBTIQ Queenslanders. Grace is a part of the Palaszczuk Government who apologised to those affected by historical gay convictions, and passed a bill to expunge those convictions
As Employment Minister, Grace has overseen the successful $27.5m Back to Work SEQ program. Over 122,500 new jobs have been created since 2015, with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.9% for the first time since 2013. Grace is delivering city changing projects such as $3b Queen’s Wharf, delivering 2,000 construction jobs and 8,000 operational positions, and work has begun on the fully funded $5.4b Cross River Rail. Grace has delivered the $1.1b Herston Quarter project, a world class health and wellbeing precinct, as well as restoring frontline health services, including 104 doctors and 287 extra local nurses.
Grace will always put our local community first and seeks your support to continue to deliver for the residents of McConnel.
Jamie Forster: Liberal National Party Candidate For McConnel
I have lived in McConnel (formerly Brisbane Central) for more than 25 years. I was born here, I got my first job at a bar in the city, I got married at the iconic Brisbane Powerhouse; I raised my family and started my career in this area, and I now live in the area with my wife Mandy and my two daughters. It’s fair to say that I live and breathe McConnel.
People I talk to say that they want a local member who is as committed to the community as they are, and that’s what they respect. As someone who has built successful small businesses in McConnel since the early 1900s, and now a university lecturer in finance, I will be a champion local business.
My commitment to community service is evident through my roles as a volunteer, tutoring refugees. I actively support community groups such as Footprints Inc (for which I recently organised corporate support for the Pawprints in the Park). Starting as a boy carting Lions Christmas cakes around my neighbourhood, community service has always been part of my life; there are some great community groups and I am now introducing my daughters to them.
It is this commitment to serving the community that inspired me to run for politics. McConnel has faced some real challenges under this government. The lock-out laws are a perfect example. A thriving and important part of our vibrant economy was nearly destroyed for no discernible reduction in violence. I found the impact on locals from the constant disruptions to rail, the disgusting state of Fortitude Valley Train Station, as well as rising electricity prices and dramatic increases in crime as issues I want to fix. As a successful small business owner, I know what it takes to create jobs and provide job security. Experience and teamwork deliver results.
Kirsten Lovejoy: Greens Candidate For McConnel
Kirsten Lovejoy is a familiar name; a long-term advocate for the LGBTIQ community she stood with us through wins for equalisation of the age of consent, removal of the gay panic defence, legalisation of gay adoption, and the recent passing of the Criminal Law (Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement) Bill.
She has worked in Brisbane for almost twenty years, lived here for over a decade with her partner, children, cat, and food-thief dog, Myrtle. With a passion for improving social and environmental outcomes through inclusive and evidence-based policy, Kirsten has utilised her background in science, economics, social and environmental issues as a professional and in volunteer contexts. A volunteer for multiple community groups across Brisbane, Kirsten has seen our shared values and aspirations trampled time again, particularly when political donors’ and lobby interests are on the line. Kirsten and the Queensland Greens don’t accept corporate donations, and will move to have them banned within 100 days of election.
Kirsten’s commitment to finding solutions that work for communities has not gone unnoticed but, not resting on the successes we’ve seen, Kirsten has identified a number of priorities for her advocacy, including as the next MP for McConnel. Kirsten is eager to secure funding for the Safe Schools program, and to support important support services such as Open Doors, Q-Life, QuAC, and the LGBTI legal service. Kirsten will push for a review of the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act, to provide safer work environments for LGBTIQ people, and to update the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act, to make it easier for transgender people to change their legal documents to the gender that aligns with their identity.
An increasing Greens vote in inner-Brisbane and changes to electoral boundaries, mean Kirsten is only a few hundred votes away from becoming the first elected Greens member to Queensland Parliament.