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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 March 2016
NEWS 2 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Liberals target Chisholm Federal Liberal candidate Julia Banks is on a mission: to end 20 years of Labor domination MICHAEL SWEET With reports the Turnbull government may fight a double dissolution election as early as July 2, Julia Banks (née Lolatgis), the Liberal Party candidate for Chisholm, is upbeat about her chances of prising the seat from Labor. “There’s a positive vibe and a desire for a fresh change and new energy” Speaking exclusively to Neos Kosmos this week, Ms Banks said while the contest with Labor's Stefanie Perri (currently Mayor of Monash) would be a "challenging battle", the feedback she was getting pointed to a resurgence of support for the Liberals under Malcolm Turnbull. "There's a positive vibe and a desire for a fresh change and new energy," said Ms Banks, who gained pre-selection last year after transferring her "real life experience and skills" as a senior business executive and lawyer to the political arena. "I'm not a career politician. I've been a working mum for over 20 years and experienced first hand the challenges of balancing home, children, work and community life." The Liberal candidate, who is of Greek descent, says her priorities include delivering on the government's commitment to individual enterprise, and particularly small business, childcare and aged care programs. Asked what issues were most likely to impact voters' decisions, Ms Banks said actions at a federal level translated directly to the local environment. Julia Banks, the Liberal candidate for Chisholm, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Box Hill this week. "People in Chisholm want in- vestment. They want growth and jobs and opportunities. They want to embrace innovation, new technology and small business development. It's those things that our government is supporting and Labor is stopping through their policies on curbing negative gearing and so on". Under pressure from within his own party and trailing in the polls, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's credentials as an alternative PM is also a key factor according to Ms Banks. "One thing I want the people of Chisholm to remember in this election year is that a vote for Labor's candidate Councillor Perri is a vote for Bill Shorten." On Monday she was joined by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Melbourne for an event on the eve of Interna- Proud of her Greek heritage: Ms Banks (née Lolatgis) with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival. tional Women's Day. To an audience of teenage students from Huntingtower School in Mount Waverley Ms Banks spoke of the pride she felt for her Greek heritage, and the obstacles the first generation of Greek migrants, particularly women, faced when they arrived in Australia. Denied education and made to concentrate on traditional maternal duties, her mother's experience, she said, became central to her own political outlook. "Mum's passion for making the world a better place for me is what drove me, underpinned by the value of education and financial independence," said Ms Banks. At the 2013 election the Liberal Party achieved a 4.2 per cent swing against the incumbent Member for Chisholm Anna Burke, who is retiring. CommBank can? Don’t bet your life on it Government launches inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s life insurance scandal After an ABC Four CornersFairfax investigation claimed this week that CommInsure - the life insurance arm of the Commonwealth Bank - encouraged doctors to redraft medical diagnoses to avoid payouts to sick and dying people, the Turnbull government has asked ASIC to investigate the matter. The victims' cases shown on Four Corners on Monday included that of Helen Polydoropoulos - an employee of CommInsure until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011. One of four million CommInsure policy holders, Ms Polydoropoulos was ‘ill-health retired’ from the bank and advised by its chief medical adviser, Dr Colin Johnston, to claim for "total and permanent disability". Despite the doctor's advice when it came to lodging her claim, it was rejected - on the basis that she was fit for work. Ms Polydoropoulos attempted to seek further guidance and clarification from Dr Johnston, who signed both her letter of medical retirement and the rejection letter from CommInsure, but to no avail. He refused to return her calls. After being contacted by Four Corners, the doctor said that he had acted "on the advice of specialists", and within days CommInsure had offered a settlement to Ms Polydoropoulos. Her story is typical of the Helen Polydoropoulos, who suffers from MS, was awarded a settlement by CommInsure only after Four Corners intervened. PHOTO: ABC FOUR CORNERS. way the company put profits before the wellbeing of those insured - until forced to radically revise its decisions in light of media scrutiny. Another victim whose story was told in the Four Corners program was that of 37-year-old IT worker Evan Pashalis. Mr Pashalis made a claim against his life insurance policy when diagnosed with terminal leukaemia in 2014. Even though two doctors found he was unlikely to live more than 12 months and a third gave him a 30 per cent chance of living a year, when Mr Pashalis lodged a terminal illness claim with CommInsure it was repeatedly rejected until the investigative program contacted the bank. "They figured, well, there might be a slight chance he survives, so why pay him?" Mr Pashalis told the ABC. Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said that the government is seeking an urgent report from the corporate regulator into the incidents raised by the investigation. Meanwhile Shadow Financial Services Minister Jim Chalmers said the government should consider a royal commission. "There are millions of Australians who are potentially impacted," he said. "No Australian should be treated in the despicable, appalling, inhumane way like those people featured in that program."
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