Collins in the mix

WITH the Liberals not running a candidate for the federal seat of Perth, Liberal party member Paul Collins has announced he’ll stand as an independent.

A former Stirling councillor and current president of the Mt Lawley Society, Mr Collins says he’s a Liberal party supporter primarily because of their pro-small business policies.

But he hasn’t always agreed with the party line, having gone against Liberal doctrine by opposing local government amalgamation, and he disagreed with the party’s decision not to field a candidate in the July 28 by-election.

“I’m very disappointed that they have effectively abandoned the people of Perth,” he says.

“However the decision gives a person like me the opportunity to stand as I have always done, as a community candidate.”

“I understand who my stakeholders are,” he says.

“When I was a Lawley ward councillor from 2007 to 2011, there were plenty of times when I disagreed with the decisions of the Liberal government at the time.”

• Paul Collins on his beloved Beaufort Street, just near the Civic clock tower. Photo by Steve Grant

Policy-wise, he wants a floor on the GST return to WA. Last year we got 34 cents back for every dollar sent to Canberra. He wants a minimum of 70 to 80 cents. Federal Labor policy is for a 70-cent floor.

Mr Collins worked as a lawyer and is currently a property consultant with his family’s CBD-based real estate business.

He opposes abolishment of negative gearing, saying most people benefiting from it don’t fit the millionaire, property mogul stereotype.

“I can say that they’re not millionaires. People have one or two residential properties at most, and that would be 90 per cent of our clients. People fall in love, and they’ve each got a unit or villa, and they say ‘let’s not sell it, let’s rent it out’.”

He says if negative gearing goes that’ll mean fewer places available for renters and rent prices will soar.

“I think I’ve got the best credentials to represent the community,” with a multi-generational link to the area: His great grandfather drove the Perth to Midland train line and was born in St Anne’s Hospital in Mt Lawley, living in the electorate for 40 years.

In the 2016 election Liberal Jeremy Quinn won the primary vote – 42.3 per cent to Labor candidate Tim Hammond’s 37.4 – but preferences carried Labor over the line.

With no one officially donning blue this by-election, Labor’s candidate Patrick Gorman remains the front runner with the bookies.

by DAVID BELL

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