ALICE Barnes has had a passion for politics since she was a child.
A member of Ballarat’s youth council and a student of political science, she has now set her sights on the seat of Wendouree at this year’s state election.
“I guess growing up I was always really interested in what was going into Ballarat,” she said.
After spending time overseas Ms Barnes moved into the next phase of her life by joining the Greens.
“When I got back I decided I was going to find a niche in Ballarat to try and make a contribution and very quickly realised the Greens was the best way to do that,” she said.
Ms Barnes said her family, including her father, former Ballarat mayor John Barnes, friends and colleagues have been extremely supportive of her decision to enter politics.
“We have been going out door knocking for two months, the people I have talked to all over town are surprisingly interested in voting Green because there is so much frustration with what is happening on a local, state and federal level politically that far more people than I could have expected have taken the time to chat to me at their door,” she said.
Ms Barnes listed climate change and youth unemployment as the two biggest issues that needed to be dealt with by politicians.
She announced her intention to run for the seat in June.
How should we make our community safer?
I think we could take the lead from Melbourne. So, 30 years ago there was only about 500 people living in the CBD and because of initiatives and policies put forward by the City of Melbourne in combination with the state government they increased the number of people living in the CBD to 30,000 and that is part of the reason why Melbourne is such a livable, exciting place to be. So I think we should do that kind of thing here to make our city safer and more fun to spend time.
Should Civic Hall be restored or demolished?
The Ballarat people, I think, I have voted in favour of adaptive reuse and the Greens support that. We would like to see it developed as a piece of a broader CBD revitalisation puzzle. So it could be an entertainment precinct with an improvement to the Ballarat Train Station and the area around with increased amounts of restaurants and things like that. I think it could present a really exciting opportunity for the city.
What action should be taken on climate change?
Climate change should be the top priority of all levels of government. The old parties have really dropped the ball on this and are playing Russian roulette, not just with our economy but also our lives and the lives of our children.
Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal?
Again, I think that is an issue we don’t really need to be talking about in 2014. Of course the Greens think gay people should be able to get married.
Do you think abortion should be legal and available to all women?
I think the fact we are still talking about this issue highlights the disparity we still have in terms of gender quality.
If women were better represented at all levels of government and at parliament I don’t think we would still be talking about this and irresponsible politicians would be bandying around this topic. I think all women should have access to safe, legal abortion and unbiased counselling.
What is the biggest infrastructure priority for Ballarat?
I think there are three main priorities. I think the first one is the redevelopment of the train station area. This was built over 150 years ago and it has served the Ballarat community really well for that time but we haven’t really put much more into it that is going to ensure it is going to serve the community for the next 150 years.
I think increasing the train services and increasing the places that they go to, as well as developing more bus links and connecting to an improved urban bus service that runs late at night and more frequently on weekends, I think that would be fantastic.
Then I think as well we have an opportunity to develop the Eastern Oval. Instead of spending $30 million on developing Ballarat North Football Ground which is way out on the outskirts of town near the industrial area, if we put the money into that oval which is behind the station we will bring lots of people into this part of town.
And thirdly I have already talked about the Civic Hall redevelopment and revitalising the city.
Should tomato sauce be free with a meat pie?
I only eat my nana’s tomato sauce because it is the best, that is the only way to celebrate such occasions I think.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
I feel like I am too young to answer that but my brother is a musician and he was quite obsessed with the Beatles when we were kids so I would have to say the Beatles.
What is your favourite meal?
At the moment I am really loving my vegetarian pho because the weather is cold and soup is nice. I have been a vegetarian for 20 years this year also I am pretty good at creative cooking.