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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 15:48 GMT
Australian voters' panel: Jacqueline Nunan
AUSTRALIAN ELECTION
Jacqueline Nunan
Name: Jacqueline Nunan
Age: 37
Lives: Melbourne
Works: Full-time mother

We left one country in 1992 and came back to a very different one in 2005.

And thanks to the years of Howard governments, the changes were negative in many ways.

I am a full-time mum and I refuse to go back to work until there are decent childcare options in this country. I am lucky that my husband earns enough to support our family - most people here aren't in that position.

I will be voting for Kevin Rudd, as I feel Labor are committed to a compassionate, egalitarian Australia.

Howard has run this country for the interests of big business: some workers have benefited incidentally, but the wealthy have benefited much more.

The key issues for me are maternity leave and child care
Labour have proved their economic credentials under Keating and under Rudd. We can expect policy that will allow the work-life balance that's missing in modern Australia.

Money isn't everything. I will gladly pay higher taxes if we can be assured of better healthcare, better schools, childcare centres and a working environment which respects the workers' rights.

Maternity leave and childcare are key issues for me: I was shocked to discover Australia's provisions for maternity leave were well behind those in the UK.

The Howard governments obviously had no interest in retaining female workers, as it has made it very easy for employers to quietly usher them out of the workforce.

And the horrendous state of childcare means that many mothers who decide to return to work will be forced to use sub-standard facilities.

Insufficient maternity leave forces others to return early, leaving babies of just a few months old in the hands of whichever childcare provider had enough places to accept them.

Internationally, I would like Australia's commitment to conflicts around the world to be examined closely. I was not a supporter of the Iraq war, but I do believe that we should try and clean up the huge mess we have all managed to make.

Foreign policy, however, has little impact here in Australia. I think we are targets for terrorism purely because of our status as the Western power in this hemisphere.

I am proud to be a first-generation Australian and I believe every new Australian should be given the opportunities my mother had when she first came to this country from Ireland in the 1960s.

The immigration debate is a non-starter in my view, except to prove how out-of-touch John Howard is with the qualities which made this country great in the first place.




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