Steven Ciobo has been the Federal MP for the area of Moncrieff since 2001. The electorate covers Surfers Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Mermaid Waters, Bundall, Benowa, Ashmore, Carrara and most of Nerang and Southport. It is a very safe LNP seat, which saw 55.7 per cent of all votes go to Mr Ciobo. I interviewed him on election day at Benowa State High School.
EE: Are you getting a feel for people’s voting preferences today?
SC: The feeling on the booth has been really positive. The reality is that I think Gold Coasters are keen for a change and have been expressing that today. We’ve seen a lot of people out early and as far as I’m concerned I’m looking forward to seeing the results come in tonight.
EE: What kind of comments have people been making?
SC: I think a lot of people are saying they don’t want to have another term like the last two terms. They’re tired of the chaos and division and disfunction and they’re looking forward to there being a more positive feeling in government. Governing with a mandate.
EE: How have you found the atmosphere?
SC: Polling day is always a lot of fun. The reality is that people wouldn’t come out in such numbers if they didn’t feel strongly about it. The fact that so many are here early really reinforces to me that people are after a change in government. If you don’t enjoy polling day then you’re in the wrong business if you’re in politics.
EE: What do you think about young people, especially, who aren’t enrolling to vote?
SC: I’d encourage everyone to enrol to vote. The reality is that you can’t make a difference to our future if you aren’t prepared to invest your time to familiarise yourself with the parties and what’s on offer and the difference in policies and approaches. I’ve always felt passionately about politics and I know a lot of people don’t but irrespective of that we all have to collectively own our future and do that by exercising the democratic right to vote.
EE: Do you think the Palmer Party are going to get a seat in the Senate?
SC: It’s going to be interesting to see. I don’t think very many people take Clive Palmer very seriously. We’ve seen a lot of voodoo economics and lots of hollow promises but the reality is that I think most Australians and people I’ve been talking to realise that it’s not all about Clive Palmer, although Clive Palmer likes to pretend it is. Time will tell and I’ve just tried to focus on the positive plans the Coalition has, focus on what we want to do to make this nation a better place.
EE: What are those plans you have for this electorate, in particular, in the next term?
SC: Well the Gold Coast is really heavily reliant on the tourism industry, it’s our single biggest employer. Construction is another one key one. Under Labor we’ve seen over two billion dollars of new tourism taxes, we’ve seen the construction industry come to a stand still. In terms of my focus on getting unemployment down and getting more people into jobs, I think if we can get the government back on track then we’ll be able to get more people back into jobs.