Liberal party candidate for Hotham Fazal Cader feels much of what he has learned running his own business is going to come in handy if he is elected
By Tanu Kallivayalil
Hotham was originally a safe Liberal seat. However, demographic changes resulted in Labor taking it in 1980, and it is now considered a fairly safe Labor seat. Fazal Cader though believes there is another change in the offing in the electorate which could eventually see a swing going in favour of the Liberals.
“It’s been considered a safe Labor sear for a long time. It’s changing now. The whole composition has changed. Nearly 50 per cent of the electorate are born overseas. Of that, about 25 percent are South Asian, rest are South East Asian. It has changed quite a bit,” says Cader.
Cader says he needs a swing of about 8 per cent. “As of the last election, it was about 12.9 per cent and then there was a redistribution which made it worse – it went to 13-plus. With Simon Crean (the incumbent who retired) gone, and the Labor in disarray, the seat has gone from almost impossible to very difficult,” he says, laughing.
All the politicians seem to have a very strong view about the asylum seeker issue. “I think that it does not look to be workable. Many questions have to be answered. I’m more concerned after looking at the details concerning both PNG and here that it does not stack up in regards to cost or implementation,” he says.
What about Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s response?
“It’s appealing to bring everything into one coherent chain of command. I think that people smugglers will believe that because we‘ve done it before, we’ll do it again. We have more belief in what we do. I have more faith in this than in Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s plan,” he says.
Asylum seekers aside, what does he feel is the biggest issue faced by Australia as a country. “I think it’s our cost of doing business. A sound business and economy is a fundamental platform on which all else is built. We have a track record of always doing better than Labour. They are not used to running businesses or economies on a sound basis,” he says.
He feels that the NBN is a great idea but execution is the key to its success.
“Our philosophy is that we would love to have the best of everything every way. Execution is key. Labour party spoils it. We are just concerned about the cost and the waste. They (Labour) have lots of ideas, they all cost money. We (Liberal Party) prioritize. Our idea of using whatever has been built so far and reducing the scope of the works (would have contained the budget). Internet should be cheaper, not more expensive,” he says.
“We pay about 9 billion in interest every year on our current debt. That could have funded Gonsky and the National Disability Scheme. We believe the Labor Party went overboard. It shows a lack of business experience,” he adds.
Cader was attracted to the Liberal Party for its conservative values. “My family have been conservative politicians in Sri Lanka for generations. So when I looked at the major parties, I was attracted to the Liberal party, which I believe, overall, is best for Australia,” he says.
As a person who has been running his own business since he was 20, Cader feels he is time-bound in politics. “I will continue working as a consultant. It’s hard to say if I’ll enter politics again because one never knows,” he says.
He is concerned about the tendency of the new generation to stick together. “We did not form communities at the time. We never made a fuss and drew attention to ourselves. It was only the next generation that hangs out together. We are concerned that we will go down the ghetto structure of America. The whole idea of Australia is that you blend in and, unfortunately, this links back to refugees. We have to support them. I don’t want to see anything to change it too fast and too negatively,” he says.