Gary Morgan訪問,墨爾本市長候選人

Gary非常富有,擁有家傳企業包括澳洲最大最悠久的市場及民調機構 Roy Morgan Research,及金礦等。作為無名小卒,疫情間筆者冒味邀請,但Gary親切地邀請到他簡樸的家做訪問。離開時剛巧太太買餸回來,親自拿著大袋小袋,Gary禮貌地送筆者離開,然後再幫太太拿入屋。從華人眼中,出奇地貼地。

Gary家族與中國人甚有緣,太爺在墨爾本辦報起家,在白人主義年代編寫了幫礦工發聲,支持華人移民的《The Chinese Puzzle》文章(The Colonial Journals, Melbourne Monthly Magazine, May 1855)。兒子是內地信永中和會計師事務所的合夥人。

Gary曾經四次競選市長職位,每次也不是大熱之選但卻成功支持了其團隊成員當選區議員,最近兩次是Jackie Watts(見另外訪問)。「年輕人大多不認識我。」經營民調的Gary當然對自己的勝算瞭如指掌。Jackie已經當了八年區議員,兩人都已屆退休年齡,又只是議會內外的少數聲音,究竟他們還有什麼要爭取呢?對區內也是少數的香港人代表什麼?

遊客及留學生一向是墨爾本市內經濟命脈之一,澳中關係日益緊張加上疫情大力衝擊,前景不樂觀。雖然Gary不相信共產主義,亦覺得與澳洲市場經濟背道而馳,但他相信澳中關係應該更好,亦支持澳洲繼續與中國合作。Gary覺得今天僵局的形成是荒謬的(ridiculous ),雙方都欠缺信任,他視中國人是善良的(good people),最勤奮工作的民族,工作是生活的一大部分,是為了儲錢留給下一代。Gary主張修補關係,但他有留意到關於種族清洗的報導,並覺得非常不安。他建議在堅持澳洲己見的原則下,不要和中國作對抗,並以談判及溝通化解。

「無人願意被別國控制,無論是中國還是美國。」他反對殖民主義,鄰國之間應該互相合作,互相尊重對方文明,底線是互相公平對待。互貿是重建信任的起點,中國停止購買澳洲商品是荒謬的,澳洲也買入不少中國貨,包括他的採礦公司。教育出口也是重要元素,他歡迎中國人到澳洲留學,但這些留學生在澳洲必須認同我們的民主制度。如果中國人移民澳洲,Gary主張他們都成為澳洲公民,並放棄中國身分。

「我們澳洲不是一個渡假村。」筆者加口。

「正是!」

學位不足是墨爾本市的弱點,Gary相信疫情後巿中心會多了空置的大廈,他建議用作開辦中小學,並加入中文課程,鼓勵新移民與澳洲本地人一同受教育,加強共融。至於入藉英文試,Gary認為是必須的,新移民必須懂得用英語溝通。Gary歡迎大家保留或學習外語,他自己也學習拉丁文,但英語作為基礎溝通語言是不可能退讓的。雖然辦學是州政府管理的,但他主張墨爾本市council作出輔助。

至於香港問題,Gary覺得各方都應該理性行事,監禁示威者是瘋狂的,但香港人也要接受中國擁有主權的事實,唯一出路是雙方合作。如果香港人始終不能接受,移民英國或澳洲是可能出路,他當然建議及歡迎香港人選擇澳洲。

居住問題

Gary認為是時候停建細小蝸居,並認真處理空置問題。他的政綱是用空置單位做臨時居所,舒緩高密度公屋大廈。 他注意到有八個人擠進了一個公寓的荒謬情況,並認為必需改變現時高密度的設計,停止製造貧民大廈。雖然居住成本會增加,但相信疫情後樓價回落回自然調節。

「這些蝸居大廈根本不應該存在,最好拆咗佢活化重建。」

「我很有錢。我不需為錢擔憂。但我覺得重點是(在疫情之下)更應花錢,更要用得其所,幫助有需要的人,很多不同種族的人也活在貧困,過度擠迫的多層大廈之中。」

Gary留意到council連年盈餘,每年超過二千萬,所以支持減低rates,讓業主不如花錢在防疫方面。但疫情已經嚴重打擊Council的唯一收入,即是泊車及rates,下一個財政年度預計會減少七千五百萬,他主張鼓勵外資企業,遊客及留學生回歸。

無家可歸者

近年墨爾本市的露宿者數目上升一倍,Gary相信會再倍升。Gary若當選,願意以council的所有盈餘用作照顧露宿者,重點是花錢請受過專業訓練的社工去提供協助,製造工作丶社交機會,幫助他們尋回家人,讓他們重拾自尊。他認為多年來council做法不智,公幣沒有用得其所,其他候選人建議減低泊車費,不如用來幫助露宿者。與其拘捕露宿者,把他們困在情況惡劣的汽車酒店,甚至監禁,不如利用空置公寓給他們一個臨時居所。他認為今天吸毒人士的安全室(Safe injection room)做法愚昧,只得Richmond一個安全室又不足夠,並令到大量吸毒者在該區流連。而且選址靠近學校非常荒謬,他建議選址在醫院附近。

交通及環保

「當我們剛花了幾十億建地鐵的時候,(另一位候選人)Jennifer Yang卻主張減泊車費。」Gary-Watts團隊建議擴大免費電車區,向北延伸至墨爾本大學,向東延伸至MCG。「市中心擠爆了汽車,不如多建單車徑。」

墨爾本人愛咖啡,在市中心每天消耗成千上萬的即棄咖啡杯,疫情亦加劇了即棄餐具的使用。在環保方面,Gary的睇法是"睇餸食飯",在收支平衡的原則之下一定盡量做好回收。

疫後重振經濟

至於幫助市中心經濟從疫情後回復起來,Gary覺得墨爾本人始終較喜歡室內食肆,不該只准許室外經營。他的理念是我們必須學會與病毒共存,關鍵在於追蹤來源。在量體溫,做好顧客登記,載入手機追蹤程式,帶口罩,完善商店員工病毒檢查的大前提之下,他認為室內食肆是應該可以營業的。即使增加經營成本,他有信心佔了較大部分票源的商戶必會支持,「增加成本總好過被迫關門!」

能帶領市民成功與病毒共存才會帶來希望。

Gary相信做好病毒追蹤是重點,但他明白不少人擔心私隱問題,若當選他會努力爭取市民信任,包括防止數據落在他國手上。今天市民對州政府的信任度很低,但是我們必須互相合作走出困局。

後記:本訪問記錄了被訪者個人立場,並不代表筆者或本網誌。筆者支持多元聲音及意見,乃是選擇澳洲為家的主要原因。

後記之二:筆者為了照片更生動,主動提供了港式飲品及小吃。Gary大方同意拿來拍照,更會讓孫兒試食。

2020 墨爾本Council選舉系列:

  1. 《2020年Council 選舉》(包括候選人對筆者問卷回應)
  2. 《訪問香港人Raymond Lai,Manningham Council Waldau Ward 候選人》

我的網誌網址及其他文章的連結。歡迎分享連結,並請like and follow 我網誌的Facebook Page ,多謝支持。


Gary is rich, he owns the largest and longest running market research and opinion polling company Roy Morgan Research and mining companies. I’m a little known blogger migrated from Hong Kong 30 years ago whom requested for an interview. Gary had kindly accepted and welcomed me to meet at his home. When we finished, his wife just returned with bags of heavy groceries in her hands. Gary walked me out then helped her carrying the groceries in. At least in the eyes of Asians, he is an unbelievably humble person for his wealth.

Gary and his family has a long history with Chinese. His great grandfather penned The Chinese Puzzle published in 1855, advocating for diggers rights and Chinese migrants. His son is also a partner at the ShineWing accounting firm in China.

Gary had ran for the Lord Mayor four times, lately not as a favourite to win but had sponsored team members successfully elected as councillors. The latest being Jackie Watts who served two terms.

“The young people don’t know me.” Gary runs a pollster and certainly knows his chances, Jackie has served for 8 years, both of them have reached retirement age, so what are they still advocating for? What could that possibility represent for the Hong Kongers?

Tourists and overseas students have been a major source of income for the city. The pandemic and the worsening Australia-China relationship have sent the city economy to reach a rock bottom. Gary do not believe in communism, but he thinks our relationship with China can be better. He thinks the situation today is ridiculous and he supports a continuous working relationship. Gary thinks the Chinese are hard working and good people.

“Nobody wants to be controlled by another country, no matter it’s China or the USA.” He is anti-colonialism, and thinks it’s about mutual respects of each other’s civilisation. The bottom line is fairness, Australia standing firm of our ground and trading is essential to re-establish trust. Gary sees education can play a big part and he welcomes more Chinese overseas students, however these students must recognise our democracy. If they are to migrate to Australia, Gary believes they should become citizens and give up their Chinese citizenship.

I added “and we aren’t resort”.

“Absolutely!”

Gary sees a weakness in the lack of schools inside the city. He proposes the use of many vacant buildings to be new primary and secondary schools, with Chinese language classes in their curriculum. He believes by having the locals and new migrants at the same school will assist with their settlement, and harmony. Gary supports multiculturalism but is firm on English as the common language, new migrants must learn English.

For Hong Kong, Gary sees the issues and suggests both sides to work together sensibly. He thinks it isn’t wise to lock up the protestors but the Hong Kongers should also recognise the Chinese sovereignty. If the Hong Kongers disagrees, migration to the UK or Australia can be a way out and Gary encourages them choosing Australia of course.

Housing Issues

Gary believes we must stop building tiny apartments, and resolve the vacancy issues. His policy is to use vacant building as temporary housing, relieving the high density public housing. He has seen 8 people cramped into an apartment, thinks it’s time to redesign and stop creating a slum. The pandemic should readjust the market into building more liveable spaces.

“They shouldn’t be built in the first place (the high density buildings).”

“I’m rich, I don’t worry about money. I want to see how (rich) people spend the money, do things with it which can be helpful, we have a real problem with the homeless. We have poor migrants from different countries who are put into high rises which are unsafe, over crowded, not sensible.”

The city council has recorded surpluses of 20 million a year. Gary thinks the rates can be lower and the owners should rather spend on making their premises COVID safe. The pandemic will reduce the revenue by 75 million, Gary would encourage foreign companies, students and tourists to return to the city.

Homeless

The city homeless population has doubled in recent years, Gary believes it will double again. If elected, he will use all the surplus to provide care to the homeless. It is important to hire trained professional to provide assistance, create jobs and social programs, help them to find their family, and re-establish their pride. He thinks our council hasn’t been spending wisely, putting homeless in motels, cladding the Southbank buildings; a candidate has even suggested cutting the parking fees, these money should be spent on the homeless. The safe injection room in Richmond wasn’t well planned, there is only one and it has become a gathering spot for the addicts. It is also too close to the schools, they should be close to hospitals instead.

Traffic and Environment

“When we spent billions building the underground, (another candidate) Jennifer Yang suggests to reduce the parking fees.” Team Gary-Watts proposes to expand the free tram zone to Melbourne University and to the MCG.

Melbournians loves coffee, and we use tens of thousands of coffee cups everyday, the pandemic has also increased single use materials. On environment, Gary’s principle is to recycle as much as, and as soon as we can afford it.

Post-COVID Recovery

Gary believes Melbournians like indoor dining and we shouldn’t just allow for outdoor dining. He believes in living with COVID and the key lies in contact tracing. If we can make it COVID safe, enforcing contact tracing, checking temperatures, wearing masks, ensuring our workers are tested sufficiently, Gary supports for indoor dining. Despite the cost increases, he believes this will be supported by the merchants. “It’s certainly better than closing.”

There is hope if we can learn to coexist with the virus.

Gary understands the privacy concerns behind contact tracing. If elected he will re-establish this trust, by protecting our data privacy, and work together towards our recovery.

Published by Lok

Middle-aged entrepreneur who is always looking for inspirations to create. 中年有機, 好戲在後頭! 小弟一把年齡,驚覺中年先有機,生活無可避免改變,現在誠實面對 。每日繼續打拼,尋找靈感,堅持去創造。

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