Bentleigh – Liberals: Asher Judah


Image supplied

Liberal candidate, Asher Judah

Asher Judah grew up and lives in Bentleigh with his wife Mary and their three girls. He spent almost all the big moments in his life here, so he believes he is well suited to represent the community.

Mr Judah took an interest in politics when he was 12 and joined the Liberal party at 17. When he was studying at Deakin University, he joined the liberal club and wrote for the Deakin university magazine.

“I’ve been very political for over 20 years,” he said.

He believes the community’s safety is the top priority in Bentleigh. He claimed that criminal offences in the area grew by 70 per cent in the last four years (according to the Crime Statistics Agency). Mr Judah also claimed that the category ‘crimes against the person’ had increased by 77 per cent.

UniPollWatch fact-checked Mr Judah’s claims using the Crime Statistics Agency (CSA). If you only use the numbers for the suburb of Bentleigh Mr Judah’s claims are correct. But the electorate of Bentleigh is also made up of the suburbs of Bentleigh East, Hampton East, McKinnon, Moorabbin and Ormond. In some of these post codes the increase in recorded crimes is significantly less and in some cases stagnant.

UniPollWatch (on the advice of the CSA) downloaded the ‘recorded offences’ numbers for the above suburbs. Our calculations showed a 23 per cent increase in the total number of crimes between 2014 and 2018 (end of June) and ‘crimes against the person’ increased 26 per cent in the electorate.

Mr Judah was contacted and asked to comment, he declined. UniPollWatch is not saying that the candidate is lying, but by only using the figures for the Bentleigh suburb, the picture presented of the crime increase is incorrect for the full electorate.

The candidate said he does a lot of surveys through door knocking, talking to people in the street, and via phone calls. Based on this, he is confident that safety is the issue that residents worry about the most.

He believes that the increase in criminal offences is due to police cuts.

“The state government cut police funding in 2015, and less visibility for police means more opportunities for crime,” he said.

The Liberal party has made the After Dark Safety Plan and the Safe City Cameras Program centrepieces in the Bentleigh campaign.

The Oakleigh candidate took drug dealing as an example to explain the CCTV cameras project. According to Mr Judah, drug dealing is regular and unpredictable in Bentleigh and shop owners badly want these cameras to prevent thefts.

“This is their businesses and I want to protect them”, he said.

Mr Judah ensured that the cameras would be used for identifying criminals and that residents’ privacy would be respected.

He said the CCTV videos “won’t be available online” and “will be with the appropriate authorities, with proper safeguards in place.”

“In addition to our $400,000 CCTV program, we’ve got $350,000 for lighting, which will add lights on different streets and carparks around Bentleig”, said Mr Judah.

The lights will be added in priority dark spots including streets, public parks, and carparks.

Asher Judah believes this will offer residents “a sense of confidence” when they are outside at night.

“That is a problem for late night workers, shoppers, it’s a problem for joggers in the morning and in the evening and the lighting will improve their safety”, he said.

Mr Judah is concerned about the long-term development of Australia. He thinks big cities like Sydney and Melbourne have an issue with overpopulation. He strongly denied that this is caused by too many immigrants and points out that his mother is a German migrant and his father was born in India.

However, to change the situation in Australia’s big cities, he believes Australia should slow down the pace of immigration and build more infrastructure.

“I’m not saying less people, but if you want to have high immigration rates you need to match it with the management component of society,” he said.

Mr Judah said the liberal party supports reforms to the disclosure of political donations so the rules meet community expectations. But he also pointed out that the community needs to recognise that donations are part of the political system and that donations allow people to support the values of day.