Early Childhood Australia is partnering with Thrive by Five and Community Connections Solutions Australia to co-host the online Federal Election 2022 Candidates Forum on Monday 2 May at 7:00 pm AEST.

Join us as we meet with key election candidates to remind our decision-makers why Early Learning Matters this election.

Candidates with early childhood portfolio responsibility will be asked to share their policies and plans to support Australian children.

  • The Hon Stuart Robert MP, Acting Minister for Education and Youth
  • The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Shadow Minister for Youth
  • NSW Senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson for Education
  • NSW Senate Candidate, Jane Caro AM, Reason Party

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask political leaders questions about the issues that are important to them.

The forum will be facilitated by ECA’s CEO, Sam Page, and live-streamed to a registered audience, and through ECA’s Facebook page.

Register now for this free online event!

Register Here

Candidate Biographies

Hon Stuart Robert MP, Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Member for Fadden

Hon Stuart Robert MPStuart Robert has been the Federal Member for the northern Gold Coast seat of Fadden since November 2007.

In March 2021, Stuart was appointed Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business. In this role, Stuart is working to continue Australia’s economic recovery through protecting jobs, connecting Australians with work and building a workforce with the right skill set to secure our future prosperity.

He has a particular focus on increasing workforce participation for women, ensuring there is an environment for small and family business to thrive, and building a care workforce to support our veterans, our childcare centres, provide services for people with disability and our aged care sector.

He is a long-term resident of the Gold Coast and is married with three school-aged sons, who he loves spending time with while enjoying local Gold Coast attractions.

Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Shadow Minister Early Childhood Education, Member for Kingston

Hon Amanda Rishworth MPIn 2007 Amanda was elected as the Member for Kingston at 29 years of age.

Amanda is a member of Federal Labor’s Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development and Shadow Minister for Youth.

Amanda graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology Honours from Flinders University and a Masters Degree in Psychology from Adelaide University. After graduating, Amanda practised as a psychologist working with General Practitioners in the delivery of mental health care to the community.

Amanda lives in Hallett Cove with her husband Tim and their two young sons, Percy and Oscar.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens Spokesperson, Senator for NSW

Senator Mehreen Faruqi AustralianDr Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens’ senator for New South Wales. She is a civil and environmental engineer and life-long activist for social and environmental justice. In 2013, she joined NSW State Parliament, becoming the first Muslim woman to sit in an Australian parliament. In 2018, Mehreen became Australia’s first Muslim senator. She has been a passionate advocate against racism and misogyny.

Since emigrating from Pakistan in 1992 and completing her doctorate at the University of New South Wales, Mehreen has worked in leadership positions for local government, consulting firms and as an academic in Australia and internationally. This includes her roles as Manager of Environment and Services for Mosman Council, Manager of Natural Resources and Catchments for Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies (UNSW) and an Associate Professor in Business and Sustainability (AGSM, UNSW).

Since joining the federal senate in August 2018, Mehreen has been an outspoken advocate for public education, social housing and animal welfare. She continued her work calling out discrimination in her first speech, condemning the “legitimisation, normalisation and encouragement” of hate in politics and the media. She is the Australian Greens’ spokesperson for education and lifelong learning, housing, animal welfare, local government, gun control and industry.

Jane Caro AM, NSW Senate Candidate

Senate Candidate Jane Caro AMJane Caro AM is a Walkley Award winning Australian columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator. She spent 35 years as an award-winning copywriter and 7 years teaching Advertising Creative in the School of Communication Arts at Western Sydney University.

Caro is a well-known activist for many causes; particularly feminism, public education, the plight of older women, urgent action on climate change, our treatment of refugees, Indigenous Australians and anyone who is routinely excluded, marginalized or unjustly treated. She has expressed her activism for decades via her columns, frequent appearances in the media and her books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Caro is married and has two daughters and two grandchildren. She and her husband split their time between Sydney and their cattle property in the Upper Hunter. Twenty years ago, conscious of the carbon emissions they would be creating, they planted 100 acres of hardwood eucalypts as a carbon sink. It is estimated their plantation absorbs 620 tonnes of carbon annually.

Previously she served on the boards of The Song Company, Bell Shakespeare and is currently on the board of The Public Education Foundation. Jane is standing for the Reason Australia party.

  • Federal Election 2022 Candidates Forum