Meet Geoff Howard, Labor candidate for Buninyong

Geoff Howard, Labor candidate for Buninyong. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER
Geoff Howard, Labor candidate for Buninyong. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

BALLARAT East MP Geoff Howard wasn't a certainty to run again in this year's election.

The sitting member since 1999, Mr Howard was prepared to let someone else have a shot at the new seat of Buninyong if the Labor party believed it was the best option.

However now he is enjoying the election race more than ever.

"I initially didn't want to stand if there was someone young and enthusiastic who wanted to stand or if people thought I had been there too long, but in fact people were very supportive and encouraged me to stand," he said.

"I was still enthusiastic, there is so many reasons why I want to stand again, because I want to see Labor back in government and I want to be part of the team and offer my experience and I am still as enthusiastic to serve and make Ballarat and the state a better place to live."

Mr Howard said campaigning was never his favourite part of his political career.

"I would rather usually get on and do the job, but I am enjoying everything I am doing," he said.

"Actually I am enjoying it (the campaigning) as much as ever which is good."

His passion for politics and the main reason he got involved in the political arena comes from his interest in the importance of law and order.

However, this stretched further than just police according to Mr Howard who was always interested in what made people proud of their community

"Why are people are falling out of their sense of community and that got me standing, more than anything, to ensure we have an passionate and connected community," he said.

"I think I gained my interest from my grandfather, who was a Methodist minister but he was, some would say he was a bit of socialist, but he was just a community advocate that believed people need to be supported and a good government would support people who had need."

Having been an MP for close to 15 years, Mr Howard is an elder statesman of the Labor Party.

"It is remarkable how time has flown," he said.

Geoff Howard answers our 10 questions

How should we make our community safer?

There are a lot of things to be done to make our communities safer. We do want a good police force, well supported. But we need a whole lot of support for families who are struggling, young people who are struggling and those supports (will work) together to keep people at risk, supported across the whole community (and) needs to be fully supported and then we can look at reducing crime levels.

Should Civic Hall be restored or demolished?

In regard to Civic Hall I am on record in saying it should be demolished as part of overall development to see something like a Federation Square developed but in the meantime unless that plan comes along we should renovate the hall so it is in use while we are waiting for those investors to come.

What action should be taken on climate change?

This is one thing I am incredibly concerned about and we have seen under the Liberal governments a total neglect of issues of climate change. We have stopped wind farm support, we have stopped support in solar panels, we have stopped support in so many areas and I want to see that turned around.

I am concerned about the Abbott government also knocking back the carbon tax and what we really need to see is full support from both levels of government, really addressing this serious issue for future generations.

Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal?

I do. I can see that it is happening in so many other places around the world now and if people want to declare themselves as a loving couple, there is no reason why they shouldn't be married.

Do you think abortion should be legal and available to all women?

It is a pretty sensitive issue, but overall abortion does need to be legalised. We do not want to go back to the old years of backyard abortion and those dreadful issues there. So I do support legalising abortion. I want to see mothers fully counselled about their options before taking that choice or making that serious decision.

What is the biggest infrastructure priority for Ballarat?

The biggest infrastructure priority is probably the Ballarat West Employment Zone. Nothing has happened in the last four years on that site. It has been talked about for a number of years. We want to see it really working and see industry attracted there. Better growth at the Technology Park too, but really infrastructure related to jobs is the most important thing we need.

Should tomato sauce be free with a meat pie?

Well that is a pretty significant issue, I reckon it should be but I know if I am on the run I better not have tomato sauce at all. So many times I have got tomato sauce down my pants before I have gone to a meeting and it’s very awkward.

The Beatles or Rolling Stones?

Definitely The Beatles, great band, just sensational and I still have a number of their albums. I love to get the vinyls out and play them periodically, a great experience to be had but the Rolling Stones are OK too.

What's your favourite TV show?

I mostly keep to the ABC which sounds a bit boring and of course want to watch the news but favourite TV shows? Travel around Australia type shows or those documentaries showing significant travel opportunities or of other places around the world.

What's your favourite meal?

I am bit of an Indian food fan now. I went to India a number of years ago, I love Indian cooking.