It is very rare in the modern political world you can meet a person who has not been a career politician, and who genuinely wants to enter our Federal Parliament as a Member of Parliament to work hard for an electorate which successive Liberal Governments have neglected because they consider it to be a safe Liberal seat.
When I joined the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in January 2019 I rang our Federal ALP candidate for the seat of Ryan for the 2019 Federal Election, Peter Cossar, who had left his calling card in my letterbox with an actual direct link telephone number to talk to him. The mobile telephone number I rang was busy, and I left a message for Peter in which I explained I was a new member of the ALP, and I was calling him to see how I could be of assistance. After I left the message, I wondered whether I would receive a return call, but sure enough five minutes later I did receive a return call from Peter. Not only did Peter return my call, but he also very decently told me he would be happy to meet with me that day for a coffee, which subsequently occurred by way of Peter making the special trip into the city. We talked over a coffee for about 45 minutes to an hour, and when we finished our first meeting it was clearly apparent to me Peter was a genuine, honest, intelligent, and articulate person who was concerned about the welfare of the people of Ryan, the state of our nation and the future for our children. I went home that night and told my wife I had met with Peter, and I explained to her Peter is a person who we desperately needed to be the Member of Parliament for the seat of Ryan, a person who had not been a career politician, as opposed to the background of the Liberal Party’s preselected candidate Julian Simmonds, whose preselection reportedly at the time had caused an outrage with some Liberal Party members such as Mr Warren Entsch and Ms Michelle Landry, and whose political background had been one of a career politician.
Indeed, the former Ryan Federal Member Jane Prentice, whilst not specifically mentioning Mr Simmonds by name, may nevertheless be allegedly implying a reference to Mr Simmonds in her departing speech because of the alleged furore about the 2018 Liberal Party preselection process for Ryan (I am not suggesting there were any underhanded tactics used by Mr Simmonds during the 2018 preselection process), that he was of a political class who, to quote Mrs Prentice; “Impatient ambition, treachery and lies are now more than ever part of our political fabric. For the only response to be, ‘Oh, come on, that’s politics,’ is actually very sad. It is also sad that we are increasingly seeing candidates and elected members whose primary focus is not a desire to serve their communities but to serve themselves.” I also explained to my wife I wanted to work as part of Peter’s electoral team to assist him to become the ALP member of the Federal Parliament for the seat of Ryan.
Within days of meeting Peter, I had joined his campaign team, and I went door knocking with him around Toowong and Taringa. On this first occasion I knocked doors with Peter I asked him about his background, and he happily told me he had lived in Brisbane his whole life being the proud son of an Italian born father and an Australian born mother. When I asked him about his own family, Peter then told me he met his wife Katherine in 1992 and they married in 1996, they then had two children. Peter added that he and Katherine moved to Toowong in 1999 and have lived there ever since.
Regarding his qualifications, when Peter left school he initially qualified for his trade certificate as a bricklayer, but then he decided he would return to study, and he eventually graduated from the Queensland University of Technology with a Bachelor Degree in Arts, majoring in theatre. This piece of personal information immediately caught my attention, as I had obtained a Diploma in Dramatic Arts before returning to further study to be admitted to the legal profession. Peter mentioned that he had success in the international and domestic markets of dramatic arts, but of course the work is not constant so in between performing he also utilised his trade skills to work on building sites as a carpenter; an undertaking which he told me gave him a keen sense of the business of construction work, the margins which apply to each job and the overall knowledge of the laws which apply to the construction sector.
I have gone into some detail about the life information Peter shared with me that first day of knocking doors, as it illustrates just how open and honest he is as a person, as well as him possessing knowledge of the needs of the business community, and the greater public at large. His caring and compassionate nature was also displayed during the next four months I worked with him on his campaign, not only in Peter genuinely listening to people’s stories about their difficulties in life living under the neoliberal policies of the successive Liberal Federal Governments, but even personal matters which applied to me at that time. Subsequently, Peter did not succeed in winning the seat of Ryan for the ALP at the 2019 Federal Election, but through his hard work and appealing personality traits he was the only candidate for the ALP in Queensland to achieve a swing of the vote in his favour on that occasion.
Don’t just take my word for it regarding Peter’s character. Recently I have spoken to one of Peter’s long-time supporters as to the reasons why he is such a staunch supporter of Peter. Alan Rowell is a retired school principal, so having spent so much time in the education system I understood how perceptive he would be of a person’s character. Alan told me:
“I’ve known Peter for about 8 years. In our many conversations I have been impressed by how passionate he is about ensuring a fairer nation for all Australians, including such key sectors as education, healthcare, aged care, and social services. He has genuine concern for people doing it tough under the harsh policies of the successive Liberal governments. Peter is committed to protecting the environment and his work in ensuring the Zip-Lines were not built on Mount Coo-tha conveyed to me his genuine and honest passion in addressing Climate Change. He sees government has a role in taking urgent action in relation to Climate Change. Peter has a great sense of commitment to serving the best interests of the people living in the electorate of Ryan and he is an overall good bloke who I would love to represent me in Canberra.”
Alan’s words are so compelling about Peter’s wonderful nature, and I concur with Alan. Indeed, on the personal front for me Peter has regularly checked in on me to see how I am faring, as over the past twelve months as I have battled a major depressive disorder and other mental health problems. Peter has stayed in touch with me, to see how my recovery from mental health illness is faring, and how my family is coping. That has spoken volumes to me about Peter’s good nature. Compassion is a key element to any person’s nature, but when it is so kindly displayed by a person wishing to enter the savage field of politics it is a character trait which we as people want to see overflowing through a politician’s veins, and Peter is indeed that type of person.
Peter is committed to ensuring an Albanese Federal Government delivers to the people of Ryan:
- a revitalised and stronger Medicare system by making it easier to see a doctor.
- creating local jobs by investing in Fee-Free TAFE and more university spaces, making your job more secure with better pay and conditions.
- cheaper childcare so that it’s easier for working families to get ahead.
- goods made here in Australia by working with business to invest in manufacturing and renewables to create more Australian jobs.
- an education system which enhances our school children’s learning as presently under the Morrison Government, Australia has recorded our worst ever results in reading, science, and maths.
- Powering Australia, an ALP policy plan to create jobs, cutting power bills and reducing emissions.
- lower taxes for more than 9 million Australians through the legislated tax cuts that benefit everyone with incomes above $45,000.00, as well as supporting cost of living relief for Australians through an increase in the low- and middle-income tax offset by $420 this year.
- the Better Deal for Small Business, which includes measures to ensure invoices are paid within 30 days, rather than the current national average of 37 days.
I would be offending the writing rule of prolixity if I mentioned all the ALP policies which Peter will ensure are delivered to the people of Ryan. Rather than waving at traffic (Julian you are going to cause a car accident one of these days), Peter’s door will always be open to the people of Ryan to listen to your concerns, so that he may improve the lives for everyone living within the electorate of Ryan.
Peter is the person for all seasons of our lives, good or bad. After so many years of the Liberal Party treating Ryan like a neglected piece of silverware Peter will make an excellent Member of Parliament for the Federal seat of Ryan. It’s time for an ALP member to represent Ryan, and of course it’s time for an Albanese Government.
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