TRADIE AT HEART: Russell Kilarney of the Christian Democratic Party in Murwillumbah.
TRADIE AT HEART: Russell Kilarney of the Christian Democratic Party in Murwillumbah. David Carroll

Handyman Kilarney ready for poll battle

RUSSELL Kilarney is a tradie on a mission.

The Murwillumbah-born handyman and single father, who runs his own small business, is sick of being pushed around by the big parties.

He has been endorsed as a candidate for the Christian Democratic Party in the seat of Richmond, which he says gives him more freedom to focus on local issues.

“I’m sick of the politicians being about party politics rather than about policies,” he said.

“I’m sick of the other parties attacking each other. Politics needs to get back to real life.”

This is the third time the former firefighter has put his hand up for election, contesting recent state and local government elections as a candidate for the Family First party and as an independent.

Admitting much of his policies “are not mainstream”, Mr Kilarney is advocating a seven-year cap on the dole.

“The dole is meant to be a safety net, not a lifestyle choice,” he said.

“Some people are genuine and they’re looking for work but if someone hasn’t found a job after seven years, then I don’t know. The cost of unemployment is rising and the budget is not in a position to support the dole.”

LEFT: Russell in the kitchen pantry at Pottsville Community Centre,  with Simon Phillips and Pastor Alan Pilay.
LEFT: Russell in the kitchen pantry at Pottsville Community Centre, with Simon Phillips and Pastor Alan Pilay. SCOTT POWICK

Mr Kilarney is also advocating for the introduction of an identification card for tradespeople, concerned at the plight of the elderly in his electorate, who comprise about 90% of his clients.

Mr Kilarney also rated funding for hospitals and protecting Medicare as a priority, while superannuation was also important.

“The Tweed Hospital needs a lot of work,” he said.

“The staff are amazing but the hospital certainly needs a lot of funding.”

He also lists mental health as a main concern, calling for more funding to help train people in the regions to recognise the early signs of suicide. He is opposed to the introduction of Sharia Law and the introduction of Halal food in retail.

“I don’t think our society should change... others should be adjusting to our way of life,” he said.

While not opposed to “people who consider themselves to be gay”, Mr Kilarney does not support same sex marriage.

Living out at Chillingham with his seven-year-old son, Mr Kilarney has been difficult to contact at times during the campaign, as he juggles the demands of work and parenting.



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