Jo Faith, Newtown
Over the years sitting in Byron Council meetings I was astounded by the presentation of photos depicting ecological degradation, neglect, and in-depth questions by a young man named Matthew O’Reilly. Matthew had a nickname ‘Cleva,’ which had been given to him by First Nations peoples during a period of in his life when he was travelling Australia.
This nickname was not lost on me. I watched Matthew present his concerns with photos and extremely well researched knowledge, which addressed ecological rights and wilful and destructive Anthropocentric behaviour. He sought an answer from Council, indeed he touched the soul of many present who were also affected by the facts that had been presented. The questions lingered in the air, never addressed by Power.
I was so impressed by Matthew. One could tell that he was not attracted to power but to over all service to the rights of nature and human rights. As the years passed I got to know Matthew and was aware that he was passionate, earnest, honest and an extremely caring young man. He also took the time to deeply research issues. I attended CABS meetings and his leadership, organisational skills and ability to listen further comforted and impressed me. Like most folks with a passionate green soul I am aware that he has, over the years, suffered from the ‘barbs’ of those lacking a deep green soul. So be it. Great spirits always shine.
The planet is in dire distress and climate change presents many challenges to future generations. These challenges are now very apparent in Byron Bay with the loss of nature, uncaring development resulting in structural homelessness for many sentient beings. We live in a dominant political culture that changes legal environmental guidelines to aid power and development.
To the future generations I look and wish to inform the Byron community that Matthew is standing in the upcoming Byron Council elections. He is more than qualified for the job and will be a great asset to voters seeking integrity and care from their Greens representatives. He comes highly recommended as a person who has done the deep spade work for community, and I know he projects great vision.
As a Sydney Elder who was active in forming the Greens Party decades ago; with over 50 years of activism for RIGHTS (sentient and ecological) I count myself as very fortunate in meeting and admiring the active values practised by Matthew who also displays independent thinking. Younger people will find resonance with his leadership. Your vote will be honoured.