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Lucy Who?

One could be forgiven for not knowing who Lucy Wicks is – even her electorate had never heard of her before she was parachuted into the seat of Robertson in a captain’s pick by Tony Abbott, bypassing the pre-selection process, much to the chagrin of the local Liberal Party membership:

“NSW State Executive of the Liberal Party have endorsed Lucy Wicks as the Candidate for Robertson. No preselection was held and the executive of the Robertson Federal Electorate Conference was not notified, only told that this was under consideration today. Nominations for Robertson have been open for 5 months, Lucy Wicks being a member of that State Executive that delayed nominations”.

The comments from local Liberals were scathing, as the above link testifies. A poster with the aptly-named persona of Back Room Deals summed up the sentiment thus:

“Lucy Wicks lives in Warringah, Tony Abbott’s electorate . . . hmm. Wicks nominated on Thursday and was rushed through NRC. Then the vote went to State Executive on Friday. The problem is that our leadership has shown no integrity in this issue. To fix the problem in Dobell, a problem of their own making, they take away the democratic rights of Robertson branch members. We will not stand for these tactics, there are 10 branches in Robertson . . . 10 branches with hundreds of unpaid foot soldiers who will walk away, let Head Office pay for the lot come the Election”.

Lucy then called in the big guns, hosting a morning tea at which Bronwyn Bishop spoke. This was the reaction from someone who attended that function:

“Lucy Wicks was totally uninspiring and seemed like an impressionable kid that didn’t have a brain between her ears. The helpers there all seemed like young Liberals that were nice, but really, did nothing to add any degree of credibility at all. Dressed like they came off a refugee boat. Doesn’t some-one give them a dress code at all? As for Bronwyn, she was the main star and Lucy apart from telling us she worked in a factory in the Central Coast really had nothing to say. And it showed. Bronwyn did all the talking and Lucy shut up which is just as well I think”.

Even though there was a 0.1 per cent swing against the Liberal Party, there was an even larger swing against the Labor sitting member, Deborah O’Neill, who in my mind was a hard-working MP who ably represented her constituents. 21.8 per cent of the vote went to the minor parties and Independents. Hardly a resounding victory for the Coalition.

So it was with interest that I watched Lucy ask her first question in Parliament:

“My question is to the Assistant Minister for Education. I remind the minister that childcare groups and parents in my electorate of Robertson have told me of the burden that the previous government childcare rules and regulations placed on costs for centres and parents. Will the minister tell the House how the Government plans to fix the red-tape mess and reduce costs?”

Up bounced Christopher Pyne’s sidekick, Sussan Ley, who seems to have learned her oratory skills from her Minister, to tell us that axing the carbon tax and cutting red tape would fix all the woes of the childcare system. Her proof of this was a couple of anecdotal stories about turning the lights off for an hour and eating individual cupcakes.

Perhaps Ms Ley is unaware of what her colleague in the NSW State Parliament is doing:

Community preschools across the state could be sent broke under changes to state-government funding for three-year-olds as daily fees nearly double for parents of the younger children.

The sector is warning many community centres will be forced to close under a new model that slashes funds for the age group in a bid to get more four- and five-year-olds into classes before they start kindergarten.

In what has been slammed as a further blow to the chronically underfunded sector in NSW, the Community Child Care Co-Operative claims one in three centres could be forced out of business if parents switch their children from preschool to cheaper long day care.

The report, by UNSW professor Deborah Brennan, said the state government would need to “substantially increase” investment in early education to meet its commitments as community preschools had been underfunded for “decades” compared to those in other states.

Ms Ley also failed to mention that the Coalition have cut $300 million from the Early Years Quality Fund:

A $300 million funding boost aimed at improving the wages of 30,000 childcare workers looks increasingly likely to be axed as the federal government continues to sit on the Labor-approved initiative.

The money was to be spent in 1100 childcare centres to bolster the meagre $19-an-hour wages of certificate III childcare workers by $3 an hour and early-childhood teachers by $6 an hour. The starting wage for a university-educated early childhood teacher is $42,000 a year.

The government wrote to childcare centres who had accepted the funding soon after winning office, revoking the conditional funding offers and advising it was reviewing the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF).

Ms Ley did not specify what “red tape” would be removed, and when Graeme Perrett asked “What—you’re going to have free-range kids in the childcare centres!”, he was promptly ejected by our fearless arbiter, Bronwyn Bishop.

The National Quality Standard for Education and Care Services can be found in Schedule One which appears at the end of the Regulations.

Having glanced through them, I am not sure which of these guidelines could be dumped, and how that would improve the quality of the service. But then again, quality of education isn’t a goal of this government.

So it is with a great deal of trepidation that I reiterate the question asked by Lucy Who and could we please have some detail to your answer rather than “axe the tax and cut red tape” slogans.

“Will the minister tell the House how the government plans to fix the red-tape mess and reduce costs?”

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  1. M. R.

    I do admire this kind of researching of facts for their sensible and coherent presentation! Lucy doesn’t look too happy, does she? – but then, in comparison with Peta Credlin, EVERYONE looks happy.

  2. John Fraser


    The Assistant Minister for Education is certainly in the right mould for the position.

    A wham bang thank you ma'am combined act with the Education Minister.

    "Murdoch and Abbott lied to Australians".

  3. Kaye Lee

    We are all no doubt aware of the update since I wrote this story.

    Tony Abbott said in Parliament that they would honour all contracts signed by the previous government to raise childcare wages but he had apparently forgotten to tell Sussan Ley who had commissioned a PricewaterhouseCoopers report on the short-term wage increases.

    ”I commissioned this independent report because a huge cloud was hanging over this flawed and inequitable Labor fund, including serious claims it was a front for an aggressive union membership drive,” she said.

    Firstly I wondered why you would pay PWC to produce a report when we have the productivity commission and Fairwork Australia already looking into it as well as Treasury, Finance, the PBO, the Education Dept and the Social Services Dept at your disposal, and no doubt many people from concerned bodies who would be happy to make submissions for free.

    In keeping with the slogans, this money was tainted as a “push by unions”. Lets have some facts shall we Sussan.

    Fairwork Australia are taking two years to look into the very low wages paid to childcare workers. This fund was intended to top up their wages in the mean time. The enterprise-bargaining agreements were to ensure that the above current award pay rises went to the workers rather than the centre owners.

    Now, under the cover of using yet another slogan “Shame, shame”, Sussan has been put in the embarrassing position of having to ask the centres that have already received some payments to return them. In return she will give them a pittance to send their staff off for more training (but no payrise). So now these poorly paid people will be better trained and even more likely to leave the job (which, btw Sussan is one of the main problems – staff retention).

    This is another example of the shambles that is the Education Ministry. Stop changing your minds, talk to each other before the media, and stop looking at education as a place to save money.

    Read more:

  4. lawrencewinder

    I saw Sussan Ley deliver her parliamentary stuff. My wife said, “Do you understand what she’s talking about?” I replied, “No, she’s all over the shop!”
    For anyone trying to repeat what was said, may I suggest placing a forefinger in front of and touching the lips, waggling it up and down quickly whilst blowing, hard.
    Also, has Lucy Wicks got sex appeal?

  5. captain51

    Seems this Govt is saddled with hopeless backbenchers. After months of writing to my dud local member, D Gillespie (Lyne) as to what knowledge HE had of any OFFICIAL BUSINESS carried out by Abbott at Port MacQuarie on 5-6 November 2011 and at Gloucester on 7th April 2011, what knowledge HE had as to the nature of such OFFICIAL BUSINESS, who attended such OFFICIAL BUSINESS and where such OFFICIAL BUSINESS was conducted, I finally received an E-mail today (11 Dec11) to contact Abbott’s office, to determine what he knew of what Gillespie knows. I kid you not

  6. Kaye Lee


    “THE childcare workers union has warned low paid carers will walk away from the sector after the federal government scrapped a Labor scheme to increase their pay.

    While the government said it would honour pay rises agreed to under the fund by 16 service providers, Ms Ley called on them to “do the right thing” and join the professional development program instead.

    United Voice President Michael Crosby described Ms Ley’s slush fund claim as “ideologically driven rubbish” and warned it would be parents and workers who will suffer.

    The union had lobbied the former Labor government to set up the fund so any pay increase was borne by the community, and not parents, who “already pay way more than they should for childcare”.

    “What happens now is that wages stay at $19 an hour for a Cert III educator, and people will leave,” he told AAP.

    “At the end of the year, when (workers) are really breaking their backs … this is the moment they’re thinking ‘Am I going to go through with this year? Am I coming back?’.

    “And too many of them are going to say, ‘No, it’s not worth it’.”

    In fairness, the article goes on to quote the Australian Childcare Alliance who said that only 27% of childcare workers would have received the payrise. That, to me, would have suggested we needed to invest more money rather than less. Could the PC and FWA possibly give an interim recommendation to do that and speed up a change to the Award, rather than making them have to justify themselves and fight for it. Might save on “red tape” and a lot of time and energy. Just give them a rise and then index childcare rebates. I’m not up on current means testing rules for this – could means testing be looked at? Perhaps money for after school programs at schools while you’re at it?

    I know I am saying a lot of stuff but you keep making me want to make suggestions – you seem a bit lost.

  7. Kaye Lee

    PS A visit to Lucy’s facebook page is less than promising. She, to date, is showing little understanding of the issues, little engagement with her constituents, and an unfortunate penchant for simple regurgitation of the party propaganda interspersed with photo shoots. I know, I know…’s early days and she’s been busy. I expect too much.

    Nov 29th: “We will deliver the certainty you want on schools funding, not the discriminating #ShortenShambles approach to funding.”

    “I pledge to stand up every single day to champion your concerns, your aspirations and your hopes – for the benefit of every family, every business owner and every individual in my electorate who knows that things can be better tomorrow than they are today” (Maiden Speech, 5 December 2013, Australian House of Representatives)

    There are a few people asking questions on your facebook page Lucy. Perhaps you are answering them by email? Others may be interested in your answers so perhaps you may have time to respond on your page?

  8. Kaye Lee

    It is interesting to hear what people have to say about their local MP’s. They are there to represent us so I think contact with them is crucial in the hope that they will convey community sentiments and concerns to Canberra.

    captain51….at least it’s a funny story.

  9. patsy

    susan ley ……what a shrew……is she pynes understudy for the stage show version of parliament live the real story as told by liars…and Bronwyn bishop should be pensioned off…….another old shrew…..I thought she would have a little bit of charisma seeing she has been around for SOOOOOOO long has she really learned anything about human beings or is she so engrossed in her own self to be compassionate…or even an honest chair person…..impartial……bulls twaddle

  10. Kaye Lee

    I saw Sussan Ley interviewed on ABC 24 and she spoke much more reasonably than she does in Parliament. Even though the information wasn’t necessarily forthcoming, at least the presentation sounded far better. QT is so unproductive with everyone speaking in slogans and saying shame shame or hear hear in between looking at, and typing on, their mobiles.

  11. rossleighbrisbane

    Lucy In Disguise?
    You know, with Diamonds?
    Lucy in disguise with diamonds…

  12. Keith

    Part of the advertising during the election campaign in the electorate I live, was that the sitting Labor member had done nothing. That is now a far more accurate description of the Liberal now elected, useless.
    The Child Care Industry is the new area for the Abbott gang to trash. Child care workers do some impressive work ; yet, receive a pittance for their efforts. It is an industry in crisis and does not need the Abbott mad ideologically driven solutions.

  13. olddavey

    I remember seeing Sussan Ley on Kitchen Cabinet before the election and thinking she looks a bit more rational than the average RWNJ.
    Was I wrong or what?
    BTW, PWC stands for Pick Wallet Clean, not Price Waterhouse Coopers.

  14. olddavey

    Keith @8:30 pm
    Abbott can’t trash child care. After all, Margie is in the business. No union members working for her, though.

  15. Gilly

    I knew Peter Andren very well. He was thoroughly appalled by so many MPs from both sides who never read what they were voting on, He said often when the bells were rung he would have MPs asking what was the vote on and what was it about. Party hacks having a free ride.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Gilly that is one reason I so admire many Independents. They actually put in the hard yards to understand the issues at hand and they vote on the basis of the information the experts give them rather than because of a star chamber decree.

    JF enjoyed the video. I know many biking enthusiasts who are incensed about these draconian laws. The focus in this country seems to be shifting towards demonising certain groups in society rather than the people who have actually committed a crime.

    olddavey it annoys me that many adopt a persona in Parliament which is based more on theatrics than on imparting information or achieving goals. In time that becomes their natural approach and rationality takes a back seat to histrionics.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Interesting strels. There certainly seems to be a trend in this government for staunch Catholics and Charismatic Christians. I found the description of that group rather odd:

    “GCC is a group of people who are seeking to build an authentic community by building individual lives within a corporate setting in the context of what the Bible calls the kingdom of God. As such we function under God ordained leadership and are committed to becoming more Christ like so He is reflected in the way we live our lives individually and as a community.”

  18. Peter

    She IS a Central Coast local, though, her father was a School Principal, and was working at Narara’s Gosford Christian Community School from the 1990s.

  19. Kaye Lee


    Wicks first lived in Canberra, then Cowra and Walcha, before the family settled in Point Clare on the Central Coast. When she was parachuted in, she lived in Abbott’s electorate of Warringah.

    She wasn’t born here. She didn’t live here when preselected. Having once lived here, among several other places, does not make her a local. The local Liberals had already selected a candidate that they knew. No-one knew Wicks. Still don’t, other than as a background nodding head that gets her photo taken at every opportunity. She is a useless gravy train rider.

  20. Albos Elbow

    Sussan Ley has stated publically and argued in court that she is not responsible for the welfare of Australia’s children so f*ck you if you want affordable and quality childcare.
    Sussan is the favourite lay of the big swinging dicks club and will do anything to keep her kushy well paid job.
    Sussan has also decided to delay releasing the report on the Great Barrier Reef bleaching till after the election. Wonder why?. Another Scummo recruit who gets paid to do nothing.

    Incidentally I once worked with Lucy Wicks husband, biggest back stabbing c*nt I ever had the misfortune to work with.

  21. Kaye Lee


    According to Wikipedia, that would be her “former husband”.

    Ley said re the GBR report that she would stick to the statutory requirement of tabling it within 15 sitting days. She got the report in December. It is now May and they did not rack up 15 sitting days in those 5 months, What a rort.

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