ANTHONY Craig is a city boy who became a country man.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) candidate for Calare is passionate about improving the lives and lot of people in rural and regional areas.
Born in the western Sydney suburb of Fairfield, Mr Craig became an ambulance officer, and later a registered nurse, whose job brought him to the Central West. He has spent 26 years living and working in the region.
"I've worked my way from Canowindra and Molong, right through Parkes on my way back to Lithgow, so, I've got a good understanding of how people live in rural areas, as well as in the towns,” he said.
The Lithgow resident was compelled to stand for Calare after becoming disillusioned with the major political parties.
"They promise the world but deliver nothing," Mr Craig said.
"When you look into a lot of issues you can see incompatibility between what they are saying and what they are doing."
As a result, Mr Craig joined the Democratic Labour Party two years ago.
"The DLP is a conservative party, not a socialist party. We are a balanced, moderate party whose core principles are pro family, pro worker, pro life, pro small business, pro manufacturer and proudly pro Australian," he said.
Mr Craig spent nine-and-a-half years working as a nurse in the correctional centres at Bathurst, Lithgow and Kirkconnell until he was retrenched when the NSW government closed the Kirkconnell facility.
That experience led him to the political arena.
"There is nothing like the first-hand experience of losing your job to spur you on," he said.
"I saw the look on my colleagues’ faces when they lost their jobs and I said, 'enough is enough'. That closure alone took $6-7 million out of the economies of Bathurst, Lithgow and Kirkconnell. And all that came from a party that professes to look after country people and local jobs."
Mr Craig believes strongly in equality of services for country people and is tired of being poor cousins to city folk.
When it comes to services such as the NBN, he says, “we get left out every time. The NBN is a good idea. We desperately need fast, reliable internet services to support our local businesses. We cannot grow our communities without it. The technology is there and we should be using it, not cutting corners."
But Mr Craig is mindful that services come at a cost.
"Like everything, it's a balancing act," he said in regard to the importance of the budget surplus.
"Governments shouldn't be out to make record profits or deficits. Neither really helps the country in the long term. We can't keep borrowing because we just end up having to pay for it, but we must ensure we can finance essential services such as hospitals, education, disability and aged cared services."
Also of concern to Mr Craig is the issue of coal seam gas (CSG) mining.
"There should be an immediate moratorium on all CSG mining until independent scientific research can irrefutably prove that CSG mining is entirely safe and harmless to the human population, and concludes that there is no risk of contamination to our ground water aquifers," he said.
Disturbed by the belief that the industry is being lead by foreign conglomerates, the candidate says "there are more questions than answers, when it come to CSG mining".
And Mr Craig is doubtful that when it comes to policies such as paid parental leave, anything will change.
"I don't have a great deal of faith in either of the major party's to deliver on these sort of promises," he said. "It's more like an old-fashioned bidding war.
"We need to help families, make sure either mothers or fathers are able to stay at home in the first 12 months of a child's life to bond, that's very important.
"But any scheme must be properly costed and properly funded. There needs to be a co-contribution form both tax payers and business."
Mr Craig is also aware funding new schemes is difficult when many in the community are already struggling.
"When it comes to Newstart payments and the pension we have to ensure that they are sufficient enough to keep people above the poverty level. These are the most vulnerable in our community and they need extra support. Certainly the CPI increases should always flow on."
The father of three is a supporter of the traditional view of marriage and does not support amending legislation to incorporate same-sex couples.
However, he says, the issue should not be determined by politicians.
"Let's put the notion of same-sex marriage to a referendum. Politicians shouldn't play around with an emotive issue - let the people decide. The reality is that if the majority of Australians want it, then so be it."
Another issue the DLP candidate is passionate about is the treatment of West Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian military. He queries Australia's involvement in what he describes as the genocide in West Papua.
"I will be calling for a royal commission into our foreign affairs and defence policies. We can go to war over oil but can't stop the genocide in our own backyard," he said.