You’d think Trent Zimmerman and Craig Kelly would have very little in common. After all Zimmerman gives the impression of being urbane and reasonably intelligent, while Craig Kelly seems to be as silly as a two-bob watch. However, they do have much in common and are very similar people if you look at how they behave as parliamentarians. This, of course, is to the exclusion of the stupidity of Craig Kelly in which he denies climate change, promotes hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin as prophylaxis and treatment for Covid-19, and now seems to be anti-vaccination in his attitude1-5. These wacky outbursts from Kelly have caused him to ‘resign’ from the Liberal Party, which may see the end of his political ‘career’. Unlike Kelly, Zimmerman doesn’t open his mouth without putting his brain, such as it is, into gear. Indeed, he says very little that causes offence to his party hierarchy.
The promotional blurb on Zimmerman’s Liberal Party page, in part, says
“Trent has a proven record of working with residents, small business, schools, sporting and other local organisations to improve the North Sydney community. Locally, Trent Zimmerman is working to:
- support the many local community organisations that make our area a great place to live;
- ensure a strong economy provides local residents with more opportunities to get ahead; and
- protect our local environment and harbour foreshores.
Trent was elected as Member for North Sydney at a by-election in December 2015. He has lived on the lower north shore for over 15 years and he was a North Sydney Councillor between 2004 and 2012.
He is passionate supporting (sic) small businesses, especially in the digital and ICT sectors, and believes North Sydney has a competitive advantage and great opportunity to become Sydney’s centre for innovation. Following his election he established the North Sydney Innovation Network to promote the region in the innovation sector6.
All this drivel is designed to appease the punters and make them think that Zimmerman cares about them. He supports local organisations insofar as they look favourably upon him and should his electoral margins become more slender, that they will accept the occasional barrel of pork. This has already happened with North Sydney Pool. The Female Facilities and Water Safety grants program was designed to remove barriers to women participating in sport “in our regions”. The grant program was part of a closed, non-competitive process, the clear sign of a slush fund for delivering barrels of pork. The fact that North Sydney could be considered ‘in the regions’ is laughable7.
A strong economy does provide local residents with opportunities to get ahead, but this should be extended to everyone, not just the wealthy. Currently it isn’t. Pandemic aside, wages have been stagnant for the last decade, and the government has been handing out taxpayer-funded largesse to big business in the vain hope that it will trickle-down to those whose wages have been stagnant for so long. The government has known for many years that this trickle-down story is a lie8,9, but it suits their agenda of laundering taxpayer funds via the businesses of their donors into political donations.
Zimmerman says he wants to protect the local environment and harbour foreshores, seemingly unaware that the local environment is dependent on the world’s environment, the climate of which is changing more rapidly than even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had previously predicted, and the harbour foreshores will be submerged as sea level rises, as his government ignores the consequences of climate change. In reality, the Liberal Party will only protect the foreshore until enough money can be deposited in their election fund to make it clear that a particular part of the foreshore was not worth ‘protecting’
Like Kelly, Zimmerman believes what Scott Morrison would have you believe; that if you have a go, you get a go. This is of course, unless you depend on ‘welfare’ payments or Sunday or public holiday penalty rates, or if you want a university degree, or unless you go to a public school, or are in the arts during a pandemic, or unless you want vocational education at a TAFE. Zimmerman’s (with Kelly’s) voting record is in the Appendix10,11.
Like Kelly, Zimmerman believes in protecting the environment unless big irrigators want more water from the Murray-Darling Basin, but doesn’t want to transition too fast to renewables, doesn’t want to prevent extinctions of Australian plants and animals, and doesn’t want the barrier reef to be protected, or want government action on climate change to be urgent.
So, while Kelly has been dumped from the Liberal Party for his idiocy, and presumably will also be dumped from his seat of Hughes, there is little to differentiate Kelly and Zimmerman, apart from Zimmerman’s lack of such spruiking for hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, and not getting vaccinated. Other than that, he still toes the Liberal Party line. He is perfectly accepting of the corruption, misogyny, lack of action on climate change, slush funds, ministerial (and prime ministerial) incompetence, lack of ministerial accountability, the constant spin, and the constant lying.
Below is the voting record of Trent Zimmerman; which legislation he voted for, and which he voted against. You might notice that most of these are marked with an asterisk. Those are where Trent Zimmerman voted the same way as Craig Kelly.
Trent Zimmerman voted for:
A citizenship test*
To abolish the Family Court of Australia*
A same-sex marriage plebiscite*
An Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC)*
Banning mobiles and other devices in immigration detention
Decreasing availability of welfare payments*
Drug testing welfare recipients*
Getting rid of Sunday and public holiday penalty rates*
Greater control over items brought into immigration detention centres*
Increasing eligibility requirements for Australian citizenship*
Increasing scrutiny of unions*
Increasing state and territory environmental approval powers*
Increasing the initial tax rate for working holiday makers to 19%*
Increasing the Medicare Levy to pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme*
Making more water from Murray-Darling Basin available to use*
Political interference in research funding*
Privatising government services*
Putting welfare payments onto restricted debit cards (known as cashless debit cards)*
Reducing the corporate tax rate*
Senate electoral reform*
Stopping people who arrive by boat from ever coming to Australia*
Strengthening gun control laws*
Temporary Exclusion Orders*
The Coalition’s new schools funding policy (“Gonski 2.0”)*
Tighter means testing of family payments*
Increasing the cost of humanities degrees*10,11
Increasing funding for university education*
A fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy
A Royal Commission into Violence and Abuse against People with Disability*
Assisting the Arts sector through the coronavirus pandemic
Creating a federal Anti-Corruption Commission*
Doctor-initiated medical transfers for asylum seekers*
Encouraging Australian-based industry*
Government action on animal & plant extinctions*
Implementing refugee and protection conventions
Increasing Aboriginal land rights*
Increasing access to the JobKeeper Payment
Increasing consumer protections*
Increasing funding for legal aid*
Increasing funding for vocational education*
Increasing government support for the dairy industry*
Increasing housing affordability*
Increasing investment in renewable energy
Increasing penalties for breach of data*
Increasing restrictions on gambling*
Increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management*
Increasing the diversity of media ownership*
Increasing trade unions’ powers in the workplace*
Increasing transparency of big business by making information public*
Making the cashless debit card program voluntary*
Parliament continuing to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic*
Protecting Australian sovereignty in trade agreements*
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef*
Requiring every native title claimant to sign land use agreements*
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)*
Treating government action on climate change as a matter of urgency*10,11