The Gilmore Greens have announced their candidate, Carmel McCallum, for the upcoming federal election.
Carmel is a pharmacist and has been a Greens member since 2004 when she joined The Greens to support Andrew Wilkie in the Sydney seat of Bennelong after the Australian government invaded Iraq based on the weapons of mass destruction deception.
Carmel moved to the Shoalhaven area in 1978, to reside first in Vincentia and, later in North Nowra and Cambewarra. She is married to Howard, who served in the Navy as a helicopter pilot and they have four grown-up children. Howard’s naval postings took them to California in 1985-87, where one of their children was born, and then to the RAAF Headquarters in Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains in 1993 where they lived for almost 20 years. The McCallums returned to Cambewarra in 2012.
Carmel’s involvement in pharmacies has given her a wide range of business and social experience. She owned the West-End Pharmacy in Berry Street, Nowra for almost nine years and, as a result of her husband’s postings, has also worked in almost 50 pharmacies both as a casual and as a locum.
Currently, Carmel is Vice-President of Professional Pharmacists Australia (a division the union Professionals Australia) representing employed pharmacists. She also sits on the South Coast Labour Council representing the NSW Committee of Professionals Australia, and spent eight years as a councillor on the NSW Federation of P&Cs Associations, and was a board member on the Lower Blue Mountains Neighborhood Centre.
In 2007 and 2010 Carmel was The Greens candidate for the federal seat of Macquarie and campaign manager in 2011 for the state seat of Blue Mountains, where The Greens’ result yielded 17%. The local government areas in these electorates are similar to Gilmore, covering regional areas within a few hours of Sydney, having similar issues with lack of public transport, reduced services and beautiful fragile environments.
Of the coming Federal Election, Carmel says, “This is the most important election in my lifetime, with many of the wonderful things we take for granted, which have been built up over decades, now being undermined or diminished. My father and many others went to World War II to fight to keep our country the best it could possibly be. Our democracy is being threatened by a government that is portraying us as intolerant and unkind, always resorting to unreasonable treatment of those who are least able to defend themselves. There is a lack of honesty and transparency which exceeds any previous Australian government.
“I see living on the beautiful South Coast as a privilege. Seeing what’s happening in other parts of the country, where environmental protection is being sacrificed for short-term greed and permanent destruction is one of my greatest motivations.
“And it’s not leading to more jobs or better education opportunities. In the Shoalhaven we have recently seen our paper mill close and the Port Kembla Steel Works is now under threat. This government is taking away all levels of education and training opportunities for our youth and displaced workers: the role of TAFE has been drastically downgraded in the community and our universities are becoming unaffordable except for the very rich.
“The Australia I know can be so much more than this, investing in our future through education, training and job creation; nurturing health and wellness; growing renewable energy and greater innovation, while at the same time looking after and caring for the most vulnerable, including ‘those who come across the seas’ seeking our help.”