Independent to run again for seat of Warrego in Qld election

A THIRD candidate has put their hand up to contest the seat of Warrego for the upcoming Queensland State Election in October.

Solicitor Mark Stone is running as an independent for the second time, after feeling proud of his results from 2017.

“I thought I did pretty good considering that I was an independent,” he said.

“I think coming 4th was pretty good.”

Mr Stone travels across the entire state as part of his day-to-day work and owns an investment property in Tara, but said he has a special connection to the area.

Mr Stone will run against Liberal National Party incumbent Ann Leahy, and Katter’s Australian Party’s Rick Gurnett.

READ MORE: ELECTION: Where Warrego candidates stand on big issues

His guiding political philosophy revolves around small government, less taxes, individual rights and freedom.

Here are his stances on the big issues:

Daylight Savings

Mr Stone said there’s no ‘overdriving reason’ to implement daylight savings at this stage and has likened the issue the republic vs monarchy debate.

“If the electorate decided that’s what they wanted, then sure,” he said.

“I don’t see any overwhelming support for that kind of change.”

Youth Crime

Mr Stone believes the underlying reasons for much of Queensland’s crime is the lack of education, and alcohol and drugs.

“I actually like the idea of the new solution in relation to that where you got them going off to do work experience out on farms and that sort of thing, instead of sending them off to prison or a detention centre,” he said.

“Obviously, when you’re the victim of crime yourself, you lose a lot of sympathy but crime generally for juveniles... there needs to be that further avenue for the courts to put these kids back to work or teach them something.”

For crime in general, Mr Stone believes in more intervention instead of throwing lots of people in jail.

Voluntary Euthanasia

When asked about this issue, Mr Stone said he does not have an opinion at this stage.

“It’s one of those issues, I’d have to think about a lot more,” he said.

“The major issues of this election are going to be COVID, economy, health and education.

“Once you tackle those other issues, then we can start to turn to these issues like voluntary euthanasia.

“The major parties play their games all the time.”

COVID-19 and borders

The big concern Mr Stone has about the government’s handling of the situation is that there has been a lack of preparation, given that Australia witnessed parts of the world suffer from MERS and the original SARS virus.

“I think it’s been overdone,” he said about the restrictions.

“They didn’t need to… it’s like they haven’t actually had any preparation for these things or any sort of forward thinking.”

“At the beginning we were told not to wear face masks… now they’re telling everybody to wear a face mask or on the other side of that, face masks really do very little and you’re better off social distancing.”

He described the border restrictions between Queensland and New South Wales as ‘government overreach’ and said quarantines should only occur for people who test positive at the border, rather than as a blanket approach.

Bradfield Scheme

Mr Stone would like to see a project like the Bradfield Scheme go ahead, but does not believe there’s been any solid planning to base the projects off of.

“I’ve been wondering about the cost and when, where and how,” he said.

“There’s very little detail on what [the other parties are] talking about.

“If I was ever elected, I certainly would vote to, I would be certainly interested in infrastructure being put into Western Queensland.”

Vegetation Management

He said the state’s current vegetation management regulations “seem to be going over the top” and wants to wind them back.

“People are carving out for fire breaks for their farms and they’re being hit with million dollar fines,” Mr Stone said.

“Given what we’ve seen in the southern states with the fires and so on...

“There needs to be some recognition that fire breaks are one of the big things that farmers do.”

Marijuana

Mr Stone believes cannabis should be decriminalised similar to how is done in parts of the United States, such as Colorado.

He says one of the benefits will be the tax revenue that will come from legal marijuana sales from liquor stores and tobacconists.

“That’s one of the major problems and one of the major drawdowns on the economy, the police, what they do, they drag someone before the courts for minor marijuana use,” he said.

“The courts are full of it, very little is actually achieved by putting it before the courts.

“I know people talk of it as a gateway drug but I think that’s just a rubbish argument.

“The big one they really need to chase down is methamphetamine abuse.”

Energy

A mix between ‘new and old’ power sources is what Mr Stone wants to see for the Warrego electorate going forward.

“I think there needs to be coal fired and when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining, there needs to be that backup power,” he said.

He is disappointed by the expensive power prices and believes this mix of energy is what’s going to bring them down.

“I’d like to see somebody set up some nuclear energy supply somewhere,” Mr Stone said.

“We supply everybody else but we don’t supply ourselves.

“They sold all our LNG to the world market and we buy it back for 10 times the price.

“Whoever wrote those contacts needs to be kicked out.”


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