Here are profiles for each candidate running in the 2022 federal election for the seat of Groom. They appear in alphabetical order and include a description of who each candidate is, what they believe, and our sources for this information. Please note that we have provided all candidates with an opportunity to review and edit our summaries but they are not necessarily authorised or endorsed by individual candidates.
Grant Abraham was born and raised in Toowoomba. He has worked as a mechanic, and spent over 25 years in youth justice, child safety, corrections, and the Queensland Police force.
Grant argues for the provision of strong, independent representation for Groom and helping the, "underdog Australians doing it tough", rather than supporting big corporations and unions. He believes in freedom from government interference with a particular focus on COVID restrictions and red tape for small business.
Grant Abraham for Groom - Pauline Hanson's One Nation. Facebook
Pauline Hanson's One Nation websute (nd). Grant Abraham (Groom)
A Highfields local who attended Centenary Heights State High, Gen Allpass is a teacher's assistant and former CEO of a Toowoomba-based charity. She was the winner of the 2018 Social Justice Award and has received recognition for her womens' advocacy work, including work with marginalised women and refugees. She has also worked with First Nations communities.
Gen argues for social justice, gender equality and social change. She also believes in getting the best outcomes for our region, which she argues has been "left behind, taken for granted, and not wholly represented".
Gen Allpass - Labor for Groom. Facebook
McCormack, K. (2021). Everything you need to know about Labor candidate Gen Allpass. The Chronicle, June 6, 2021
Queensland Labor (2022). Gen Allpass, Our People
Melissa Bannister has spent 33 of her 34 years in Groom. She grew up here, went to school here and has worked in the community here all her life. Melissa says what happens in Groom is personal to her because of her deep-seeded roots. With all of her immediate family and lifelong friends living in Toowoomba, she says the future of Groom matters to her because the people in Groom matter to her.
As a healthcare worker for the past six years, Melissa is new to the political arena and says she plans to bring integrity, compassion and common sense to Parliament. She is proud to stand as a candidate for the UAP as their policies, particularly their recently released economic policies, will always put Australians and their interests first. Melissa says her decision to run for the UAP was easy as with them as she is free to have conscience votes when it comes to issues that matter to the community. She believes it is important we protect the values held so dear by the people of Groom and states that a vote for her is a strong conservative option.
Melissa stands for protecting the rights of our farmers, ensuring a strong economic future by addressing the $1.4 trillion in debt enabling us to invest in much-needed infrastructure like roads and hospitals, supporting small business, increasing the aged care pension, returning manufacturing and the processing of minerals to Australia, and protecting the great Australian dream of owning a home.
Melissa says she is running on a platform of addressing local issues and being a representative that takes the time to listen and act. If elected she won't be afraid to put pressure on the state and local government to act when there's an issue.
Melissa Bannister, UAP Groom, Facebook.
Return email from Melissa Bannister, April 10, 2022.
Mickey Berry is a local whose family all live in Groom. Mickey is 23 years old, works in hospitality and customer service, and is studying wildlife conservation and management. Mickey has been involved in local climate action and racial justice protests, and was also a local Youth Leader for their local youth group. Mickey is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, as a nonbinary person, themselves.
Mickey believes that we need climate action to happen now, not be pushed into the future. That means no new coal or gas projects, and a plan for jobs and resilience in our communities as we urgently transition to a cleaner economy within the next decade. Mickey also believes we need to secure an affordable future for our community. We need affordable public housing, better rights for renters, and more bulk-billed healthcare, including placing dental services into Medicare. Right now, people like Mickey - young people, people living in rural and regional areas, people who might not have a lot of money - feel powerless because they are ignored by government. But Mickey believes that together, we are powerful and aims to make our government act on climate change and properly fund public services, acknowledging that the community is struggling with the cost of living.
Mickey wants to ensure the voices in Groom are heard, and to implement changes that make life better for all of us.
Return email from Mickey Berry on April 6, 2022.
Born in Southport, Queensland, Garth Hamilton moved some time ago to Toowoomba to join his Toowoomba-born wife. He was elected to office as the outcome of the 2020 Groom bye election, triggered by the resignation of the Hon. Dr John McVeigh. Hamilton has served on joint statutory, standing and policy committees. He held the position of Vice-Chair of the LNP South West Region from 2017-2019. He was also Campaign Manager for the LNP North Toowoomba in the 2017 State Election. Hamilton has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) with over 15 years' experience in resource companies, construction, and the racing industry.
Hamilton agrees with rewards for character and hard work. He believes in western civilisation, which he says is "the greatest source of good known to man". Hamilton believes that the LNP is delivering for our region, citing infrastructure projects such as the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, and the Inland Rail.
Garth Hamilton MP, Federal Member for Groom webpage (nd). About Garth.
Parliament of Australia (2022). Garth Hamilton MP, Member for Groom. Senators and Members.
Parilament of Australia (2022). Hansard. Parliamentary Business.
Suzie Holt settled in Toowoomba almost 30 years ago and has worked as a social worker. She and her husband have raised their children and established a successful medical business, while performing volunteer work in the community in mental health and suicide prevention, support for schools, the arts and entertainment in our region.
In January 2020 Suzie founded Voices of Groom, in response to her and others perceiving a lack of true local representation in federal politics. She is particularly concerned about vested interests and partisan politics, influencing politicians more than community wellbeing and scientific facts. In October 2021 she decided to run for the federal election, and was endorsed by the Voices of Groom candidate forum.
Suzie argues that for a democracy to thrive in Groom we need a federal member of parliament with vision, integrity and authenticity who represents and values our whole community. She will push for a federal integrity commission and, having spent a year listening to the people of Groom, is committed to working collaboratively with local and state government for the betterment of the whole community.
Suzie believes that Groom can become a national leader in Australia's future and a region of choice with,
Return text from Suzie for Groom team, April 26
S.Holt (nd). Suzie Holt 4 Groom webpage
Suzie Holt 4 Groom. Facebook
Ryan Otto is a 25 year-old farmer and former High School Maths and Science teacher who has been active in the anti-COVID19 mandates movement in the electorate of Groom. Ryan's policy platform will be informed by local polling of the community.
Ryan believes in freedom, individual responsibility, environmentalism and animal rights. Issues that resonate with Ryan include support for small business and small business ownership, through the prevention of monopolisation of local industries and the obligations associated with COVID19 mandates.
Ryan is concerned about the possible environmental impacts of the Inland Rail and argues for freely available education programs that address issues of economic and environmenal sustainability with a particulare focus on "on-demand consumption" culture, enabled by wasteful industrial and transport systems.
Federation Party (nd). Ryan Otto: The House of Representatives, Federation Party Website.
Gillespie, T. (2022). Final candidate in Groom revealed. The Chronicle, 25 April, 2022.
Kirstie Smolenski has lived in the region for over 30 years, first moving to the area to work as a Registered Nurse. She has since managed the family construction/sales business while raising her five children. During this time, Kirstie has been an active member of the community, organising annual charity events, major school fundraisers, and founding social enterprise groups such as #tlcfortrc, which now has 7000 members all supporting local businesses.
Kirstie is determined to bring genuine, local representation to the seat of Groom, attracting the funding, recognition and economic growth the region deserves - namely, a new Toowoomba Hospital and fast passenger rail to Brisbane. She believes major party politics to be destructive, and that the new member for Groom must have a proven track record of working hard in the community, for the community. She is also a champion for integrity, action on climate change, housing accessibility and equality.
Kirstie Smolenski for Groom (nd). Facebook
Return written comments from Kirstie Smolenski, April 2022
Smolenski, K. (nd). Kirstie Smolenski: Independent for Groom website