Warrnambool veterinarian Michael McCluskey has flagged his intention to again stand as an independent candidate for South West Coast at the November 24 state election.
Dr McCluskey was born and raised in Warrnambool and believes his diverse employment background would be of great benefit to the community.
He worked as a dairy farm hand, went on to join the federal public service as an employment officer and then worked as a vet servicing the agricultural industry and later the horse sector.
"Having worked in both the public and private sectors, in particular in the fields of agriculture and employment access, puts me in good stead to understand the needs of the South West Coast electorate," he said.
“I believe my strong grounding in science would be an invaluable asset to our political system especially as there is a real scarcity of science backgrounds among our current crop of politicians.
"Given the importance of the challenges currently facing our communities, particularly in relation to education, sustainable agriculture, energy security, affordable healthcare and climate science there is a crucial need for more people with science backgrounds to enter the political arena.”
Dr McCluskey pursued his passion for education undertaking further study at university in law, psychology and economics as well as obtaining entrance by examination to the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
He is a strong believer in independence of thought and said that the current approach of parties requiring their politicians to adhere to party allegiance and ideology was preventing the political system from achieving its potential.
"Just as a well run business or community organisation thrives when independence of thought is nurtured, so to will our community benefit at a political level," he said.
"When we have more politicians who can vote on policy according to the evidence, rather than following their ideologies, then we will create a community that achieves greater economic and social outcomes for our children and grandchildren."
Dr McCluskey said the quote “a statesperson thinks about the next generation whilst a politician thinks about the next election” rang very true today.
"Especially for many people in our community, who are understandably disenchanted with the behaviour and decision making of many of our politicians at both the state and federal level," he said.
"Until we have more people entering politics with the desire to serve the community, rather than serve their own pocket and/or careers, then our current and future generations will never have the opportunity they so desperately need to achieve their full economic and social potentials.
"Understandably this requires community minded people to put their hands up as viable alternatives to career driven politicians."
Dr McCluskey said that importantly the community ultimately had the power to determine the political landscape.
"Particularly by being open to considering all candidates who choose to stand at an election rather than being rusted on to following past party leanings," he said.
"Our community will be best served when we elect more politicians who have the capacity to be intergenerational thinkers, those planning and acting for the here and now and also for the future for the sake of our children and their children."
The independent candidate said a scarcity of people with strong backgrounds in science was holding back the collective political wisdom.
"As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wisely stated ‘Science and technology are transformative for society’. Both arenas are playing an ever increasing role in society throughout such diverse fields such as agriculture, transport (public and private), health care, energy harnessing, manufacturing, mining, computing and IT, etc.
"Electing more people who intimately understand science and technology will ultimately lead to wiser policy and decision making in these areas."
Dr McCluskey said that in many cases governments had been guilty of awarding funding according to what would enhance their political destiny rather than being driven by the needs in a particular community.
"Sadly for our community in the south-west the relative safety of the seat has meant we have suffered in comparison to other electorates," he said.
"Hopefully more people in our community take the opportunity at this election to send a message to our politicians by voting for a candidate that will help make the South West Coast a marginal electorate.
"Better funding in our region for such vital areas as healthcare, education and road and rail, as well as other important aspects of our community will be shaped by the vote we make at this upcoming election," he said.