Australia

Australia Street: How the nation feels about the country, politics and immigration

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Australia Street is an SBS News digital video series filmed in the diverse, marginal Sydney seat of Banks in the run-up to the 2019 federal election. It is also an opportunity for you to have your say about Australian politics.

Australia Street is filmed in the seat of Banks in Sydney’s south-west, home to roughly 155,000 people and one of Australia’s most culturally diverse areas.

It was the Australian Labor Party's for more than 40 years, until 2013 when the seat was won by Liberal candidate, and now Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, David Coleman. It is now held by the Liberal Party on a margin of 1.4 per cent.

Only 56.3 per cent of people who live in Banks were born in Australia. The second most common country of birth is China (11 per cent), followed by Nepal (2 per cent), Hong Kong, Vietnam and New Zealand.  The electorate is also home to many people whose parents were born in Lebanon, Greece and England.

About 50 per cent only speak English at home. Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Greek and Nepali are the most common languages.

More than 15 million Australians are enrolled to vote in the 2019 federal election. These are some of their stories and concerns ahead of polling day.

Meet Isabella and Engelbert

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WATCH: This is Isabella and Engelbert.
WATCH: This is Isabella and Engelbert.
 

This is Isabella and Engelbert. The couple came to Australia from a small town on the border of Italy and Austria in the 1960s with a plan to stay in the country for a couple of years. Fifty years later, they’re still here with two children who have started their own families.  Isabella and Engelbert say they will vote based on party policies, not the leader, in the upcoming federal election.

 

Meet Sarah

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WATCH: This is Sarah's story.
WATCH: This is Sarah's story.

Sarah is 22 and has lived in the seat of Banks with her parents and three siblings for most of her life. She works in marketing. She wants Australia to become a more progressive country. Sarah believes waste management needs to become a federal issue and says climate change will also be important to her this election.   

 

Meet Julian

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WATCH: This is Julian.
WATCH: This is Julian.

This is Julian. He’s a retired school principal. Julian moved to the suburb of Oatley in Banks in 1953. He has lived there ever since. He was an alderman with Hurstville Council for a few years, and says he understands there are significant pressures on politicians to perform. He used to be a member of the Labor Party, but says he’s become a swing voter in recent years.

 

Meet Bennett

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WATCH: This is Bennett's story.
WATCH: This is Bennett's story.

Bennett is an analyst for a top financial institution in the city. He lives with his family in a unit in the seat of Banks. On the weekends he plays basketball with his mates - some of who have only recently moved to Australia. He says immigration policy will be an important issue for him in the upcoming election, and feels frustrated with the current state of Australian politics.

 

Meet Alex and Julia

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WATCH: This is Alex and Julia.
WATCH: This is Alex and Julia.

This is Alex and Julia. The mother and daughter duo have lived in the area their entire life. An average day for Julia includes caring for her elderly mother, attending board meetings for a domestic violence group, volunteering as a Girl Guide leader and keeping an eye on the kids - who are now, all adults. Her daughter Alex has just finished high school and will soon be heading to Canberra to start uni. This will be Alex’s first federal election. She hasn’t decided who she’ll vote for yet.

 

Meet Pauline

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WATCH: This is Pauline's story.
WATCH: This is Pauline's story.

Pauline is working mum with two young children. She came to Australia as a student from China and says she fell in love with the country’s friendly people, natural environment and lifestyle. She’s now working as a financial advisor and volunteers at the local school and church community in her spare time. She’s been an Australian citizen for five years and says she’s concerned about growing isolationist policies around the world.

 

Meet Grant

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WATCH: This is Grant.
WATCH: This is Grant.

This is Grant. He’s married with two children and works full-time as an industrial engineer. He’s just moved house, which is only a few metres from his first home. He has lived in the seat of Banks his whole life. He remembers the area when it didn’t have a major shopping centre or a high rise. Grant hasn’t decided who he will vote for yet, but energy policies will be important for him this election.

 

Meet Hardeep

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WATCH: This is Hardeep.
WATCH: This is Hardeep.

Hardeep is a retired clinical nurse. She moved to Australia from the UK in 1984 and has lived in the seat of Banks ever since. She likes to spend time with her friends, at her temple and at the local senior centre. Hardeep will be keeping an eye on what the parties are proposing to do for international students. She also hopes there will be plans to improve aged and health care services.

 

Meet Natalia

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WATCH: This is Natalia's story.
WATCH: This is Natalia's story.

This is Natalia. She migrated to Australia with her family after the fall of the Soviet Union. She was just 16 and remembers the joy of seeing a parrot for the first time. She’s now married with three children and volunteers for several not-for-profit organisations. Natalia is a passionate domestic violence prevention advocate. She moved to the area after fleeing an abusive relationship with her first husband. Policies on family support, as well as domestic violence prevention and assistance, will be important to her at the federal election.

 

Meet Ray

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WATCH: This is Raymond.
WATCH: This is Raymond.

This is Raymond. He's a uni student, works part-time and volunteers for a mental health organisation. Raymond lives in a unit with his family. He's grown up in the seat of Banks and says the area has become more vibrant over time with better buildings and public parks. Raymond has some concerns about Australian politics but believes passionate debates and different opinions are by-products of a healthy democracy. 

 

Australia Street is filmed in the multicultural and marginal Sydney seat of Banks in the run-up to the 2019 federal election. It is also an opportunity for you to have your say about Australian politics. 

What issues will be important to you this election? Have your say, by sending a 30-60 second video to australiastreet@sbs.com.au with your name and electorate. We will post a selection of your videos here, on the SBS News website.
 

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