Our State MPs respond to 'hard to contact' claims
A Northern Rivers online poll shows that many people appear to be less than impressed about how to get in touch with State MPs.
What our politicians had to say:
Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith: The results obtained by The Northern Star are surprising as we've obtained very different results through our own constituent satisfaction mechanisms. Following the opening of our office on May 5, 2015, we have responded to and acknowledged every constituent enquiry we have received. We have conducted our own electorate-wide survey, from which we've received positive responses in the thousands. We've helped many hundreds of constituents who have engaged with our office. There is a number of avenues constituents can engage with me which include but aren't limited to electorate office visits, phone calls, Parliamentary e-mail, on our website and meeting people out and about.
Lismore Nationals MP Thomas George: No comment received.
Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis: I, along with my staff, feel very honoured and privileged to be in a position to help and guide constituents with any concerns they might have. My door is always open and I conduct regular constituent interviews both in Grafton and Casino as well as attending meetings/events in other parts of my electorate. Communication with constituents is on a daily basis, whether I am in the electorate, in Parliament or at home. My office is manned Monday to Friday from 8.30am-5pm and my office contact details are readily available so I am a little puzzled that 54% of voters were unable to get in touch/speak to myself or my staff.
Page Nationals MP Kevin Hogan: In the last two years, my office has had contact with every member of the electorate on a number of occasions. This has always included a survey about what issues are important to them.
I have numerous points of contacts including phone, email, Facebook and website. I have instituted a series of "checks and balances" to ensure no person is overlooked. We have responded to close to 78,000 individual queries during the last two years. Being available to my constituents is the most important part of my job. I spend 100% of my work time in this role. My diary is made up of meetings, ringing people back, or at community events so that I am accessible. In Canberra, whilst not in the chamber, I have meetings with Ministers reflecting the will and wishes of the people I have spoken to at home.
Richmond Labor MP Justine Elliot: In my experience the most important role for an MP is to be available and listen firsthand to constituents. My door is always open. I'm interested in people and in their concerns and views across a range of issues. I engage with locals through a variety of ways; individual meetings, attending public functions, doorknocking, mobile offices, community rallies and sometimes just having a chat while I'm buying groceries at the local store. I constantly engage with locals on many social media forums including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I receive literally hundreds of queries through emails, phone, mail, and social media each day. Together with my team of staff, we are dedicated to serving the residents of the North Coast and will always strive to support and help everyone.