Susan Lamb was only a young girl when she first saw the importance of health care to families. Lamb, who is Labor's member for Longman, said her father suffered with arthritis from early on in his life but continued to work. “He was about to retire when he had a brain aneurysm,” Lamb says. “All of a sudden our family became so reliant upon community services.” She says it is these kind of experiences that shaped her for her position.
“But I think the most important thing that shaped me was when I became a mother,” Lamb says. “One of my sons was burnt as a young child and we spent months and months in the hospital system. I can’t imagine what I would have done if I had to pay to go and have that treatment. You just start to realise how incredibly important services are in your community.”
Lamb meets with a team of volunteers at Narangba’s Stoney Creek Reserve to begin another day of doorknocking. She holds her map indicating the route of houses to attend. She has lived in the Longman region for 27 years yet half-an-hour into the walk she finds herself completely lost. Shamelessly Lamb admits that geography isn’t one of her strong points.
The mother-of-four has worked predominately in education as a teacher aide at Dakabin Primary School. In the last 10 years she has moved onto working as an advocate and representative for early childhood educators in the United Voice Union. According to the United Voice website they’re a combination “of workers organising to win better jobs, stronger communities, a fairer society and a sustainable future”.
Lamb describes herself as a hardworking, resilient, committed and genuine person. Her campaign manager, Taylor Bunnag, sums her up similarly, saying she is “very hardworking and authentic”. “From my personal experience she is also someone that you can rely on,” Bunnag says.
In a media release ALP Queensland State Secretary Evan Moorhead said Susan Lamb would be a great addition to the Labor team by standing up for the people of Longman.“Susan is a proven fighter for local residents, through her work as an early childhood advocate and a community activist,” he said. “Wyatt Roy and the LNP have taken Longman for granted but Susan will be a strong local voice.”
Youth unemployment currently sits at 14.5 per cent in the Longman region, the seventh-highest of all regions within Queensland. Lamb says career establishment strategies will be her first call of action if she is elected. “I think that governments don’t just go and create jobs, they create policies that allow job creation,” Lamb says. “So that’s one thing we can do.”
According to the ALP’s 100 positive policies, the $21 million Youth Jobs Pathway policy will help get more young people working and follow a new method to helping young Australians make “successful transitions from school into employment”.
Lamb is also heavily advocating her support for Gonski funding through social media using the hashtag #IGiveAGonski. The Gonski plan is designed to ensure all children receive the right resources they need in their education. In 2013 five state and territory governments signed agreements with the Federal Government to follow the Gonski plan and improve school resources. Queensland was among the states and territories that didn’t sign.
Lamb let her out her frustration at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Longman MP, Wyatt Roy, on her Facebook page. She wrote that the LNP Government has shown no care for the advancement of education outcomes by not adopting the recommendations of the Gonski reforms. “Yet another reason to put the Liberals last, WHERE THEY PUT THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN!” she wrote.
The LNP have launched their own policy to tackle youth unemployment. The PaTH scheme, or Prepare, Trial, Hire scheme, is a government funded strategy that aims to give young job seekers under the age of 25 the skills and real work experience they need to be employed.
Lamb says she profoundly believes it is the government’s responsibility to provide universal health care and education to people. “I think both of those two things are a fundamental responsibility of the government,” she said. “It shouldn’t matter where you’re born, it shouldn’t matter how much money your parents have or how much money you have. Everybody is entitled to health and education.”
The 2016/17 Federal Budget saw a $1.2 billion funding cut for complex healthcare at aged-care providers as well as items altered from the Medicare and Veterans Benefits Schedule. The budget also had implementation of the Child Care Subsidy, Additional Child Care Subsidy and Community Child Care Fund deferred by another year to 1 July 2018. This was first discussed in the 2015/16 budget.
Lamb says she will campaign until the last ballot box closes on Election Day. “We don’t have a choice,” she says. “If we continue down this trajectory of cuts and cutting fundamental things like education and health, the consequence to not just our communities but our country are going to be dire.”