A chat with Tim Murray

October 7, 2018 by Henry Benjamin
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Staring at history directly in the face did not deter Labor candidate for Wentworth Tim Murray from putting his best foot forward in an attempt to ruffle Liberals’ feathers as they work to retain the seat which they have held continuously since its inception in 1948.

Pauline and Tim Murray with Rabbi Dov Slavin at OBK

J-Wire had a chat with the Chinese-speaking economist and businessman Waverley-born Tim Murray who currently lives in Tamarama and is the president of the Tamarama Surf Lifesaving Club.

JW: With the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stating that if he wins the prime ministership he will declare Palestine a state. What is your position?

TM:  I 100% support the historic bipartisan support for Israel in Australian politics and that is the two-state solution. A unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state is not national policy in the Australian Labor party. I don’t support it. I won’t support and I’ll fight against anybody like the NSW Labor or Queensland or South Australia Labor who have argued that we should recognise Palestine.

JW:   How do you see the relations between Australia and Israel through innovation and commerce?

TM:  I worked in China for twenty years where I worked with Israeli businessmen particularly in venture capital. I have worked in the tech field with the Israelis. I have a lot of respect for the Israeli venture financing and their superiority in software and hi-tech. Australia is not a leader as Israel is in this area. We can do better with having closer relationships with Israeli business.

JW:  Wentworth has a large Jewish population base. Are you planning on working with the community?

TM:   Yes. I am working with the broad community within Wentworth as the Jewish community is important with the overall community. I have met with the Jewish Board of Deputies, I went to Rabbi Slaven’s home for Shabbat and celebrated Sukkot. I also met up with the New Israel Fund at a meeting discussing asylum-seekers. I have met with numerous rabbis since I became the endorsed candidate. I want to understand the community better and I want the community to understand who I am.

JW: In the past, the Jewish vote belonged to Labour as was in the case in the USA and UK. This did not happen in Wentworth with many Jewish immigrants coming from Communist countries who equated Socialism with communism. Is there a way for Labour to change this mindset?

TM:  Sure. There a number of Jewish people in this area who are members of the Labor Party. We do lament the fact that there was high proportion of Jewish voters who voted Labor in the past. But this is true about the whole electorate. In 2004, Malcolm Turnbull won the seat with 55% of the two-party preferred vote. He won the last election in 2016 with 67%. The change of the voting pattern is not necessarily the Jewish community – the whole electorate has changed. I think the people of Wentworth are angry about the way a popular prime minister has been treated and no other group other than the Jewish community should be angrier because Malcolm Turnbull was so well-known and so well-liked within it.  He worked on so many causes as he has done for years and not just because he became a member of parliament. He was a genuine local who cared about everyone in the electorate. In this upcoming by-election, people will want to express this anger. Is the Jewish community angry enough to vote for a party which some think is crypto-communist? I am a businessman and have always run my own businesses or sold some of my businesses and continued to run them for others. I like capitalism when it works well. There are elements of our capitalist economy which are not working well. The banking sector has been ripping off consumers. The banks should be better regulated in order to have a better functioning economy. I don’t believe in nationalising the means of production which essentially socialism means. I am a firm capitalist.

JW: Socialism in history has paralleled Judaism in as much as it looks after those who are not so unfortunate not only financially but also in health, education and other social needs. What is your view?

TM:  We should be judged as a country by how we deal with our weakest in society. We should have universal health services and universal access to free education. In this area, frankly, we are not getting them. If you have a child in a public primary school they will find it hard to attend a public high school in this area. We need to build one and only the Labor party will do that. This is a key issue for us in Wentworth. The Liberal party is planning to close down and sell off the Randwick TAFE. We plan to invest in it and build it up. The voters have clear choices in this election…choices we have not had for a long time. We want to fix the climate issue. Kerryn Phelps said that neither of the major parties has a climate change policy. This is not true. The Labor Party has an excellent climate policy. As soon as we take office we will put in 50% renewables by 2030. We will put in an emission trading scheme where we can reduce pollution to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement and exceed those standards.

JW:   What are your thoughts about housing costs in Wentworth?

TM:   People under 35 in general cannot afford to buy a home. We are going to remove negative gearing on existing stock in order to level the playing field for young people. Every time I say this to anyone under 35, a huge smile appears on their face. Negative gearing has outlived its usefulness and is harming the ability of the younger generation to buy a home. In the past, 65% of people under 35 owned their home but now it’s down to around 45% and still going down. I am sure it will be lower in Wentworth. Just to clarify matters, the removal of negative gearing will not be retrospective…it will only apply to future purchases. New housing stock will not be affected.

JW:  The aged population is on the rise. How do the services and facilities in Wentworth compare to others in Australia?

TW: The aged care nursing ratio in Wentworth rates among the worst in Australia. I spoke to a member of the Nurses Association following a survey. There are no cheap aged care facilities in Wentworth. They are all expensive. People are paying top dollar and some are getting the worst service in the country.

JW: If you fail to win the election, does this mean your work in Wentworth is over?

TM: Contesting this election has given me a higher profile in Wentworth which I can use to bring about change.

The school and the high school we hope to provide for Wentworth will remain on the table and Labor will step up to work for it. We will work to save South Head stopping becoming a function centre and looking for its alternative uses. We don’t have an indigenous culture centre in Wentworth. We need one. We need to know who the Gadigal people are and how they lived here. You can visit Vaucluse House and see how the Wentworths lived. It is a fantastic museum and the younger generation love to see how they lived. I would like them to see how they Gadigal people lived in the same area. South Head could be the ideal location. The Gadigal people lived in Watsons Bay. They still live amongst us.

The Wentworth byelection will be held on October 20.


2 Responses to “A chat with Tim Murray”
  1. Nizza Siano says:

    Surprise, surprise, Boaz Magal cannot read. I must be reading a different article. I thought Tim Murray did state Labor’s climate change policy and why be surprised that Tim supports Israel but believes in a two state solution? Both major parties support this policy.
    Tim was born in this area and has lived here all his life except for the interruption when he worked in China.
    He worked for Austrade developing businesses in China for 20 years and his family moved back to Sydney in 2013. So much for being an import like Dave Sharma who was brought into this area for the by-election.
    Tim and his family chose Tamarama, near where Tim was born in Waverley, to raise their kids. Tim continues to work as an analyst specialising in Australian mining and commodities. He is the President of the Tamarama Surf Lifesaving Club where he has introduced a new program for indigenous nippers and a safe swim outreach to migrants who haven’t had the opportunity to learn to swim.
    During his time in Asia, Tim saw first-hand the impact that pollution can have on children’s health so is very committed to tackling climate change and energy policy: one that will lower emissions and lower prices through the development of an economy based on renewable energy and the jobs of the future. You should meet Tim and have a chat. If you did, you’d be as impressed as I am.

  2. Boaz Magal says:

    Surprise surprise that Jwire’s first question regards Israel before education, health and housing cost. Surprise surprise that Jwire fails to ask a question about climate change. Surprise surprise that Tim stands firm behind his support of Israel but object a unilateral support to a Palestinian state. Surprise surprise that Tim doesn’t mention climate change and the environment. Is he married to coal too?
    Just like Sharma he hasn’t lived here for decades just like Sharma (at least he lives in the area), he will keep it to middle of the road politics, forbid he will rock the boat. Nothing is new under the Bondi sun.

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