What exciting times we live in. Never has there been a better time to be politically engaged than now. This election is like no other. With the problems of the world bearing down on us, now is the time to make your voice heard.
For the previous decade Australia has been afflicted with one of the most unethical and entitled Liberal-Nationals government in modern political history.
To name just a few instances, think sports rorts giving public funds to LNP marginal seats, coal barons dictating public policy, and the chilling allegations of rapes in parliament and alleyways covered up by the highest levels of political office.
These worst aspects of human behaviour should have no place in our parliaments. These self-entitled sociopaths and bullies holding public office should be held accountable.
An existential threat of human-caused global warming
More than this, we face the existential threat of human-caused global warming. To think that we could end all of human history in the space of as little as 200 years of burning fossil fuels, is difficult to comprehend.
It is cognitive dissonance on the grandest scale. But the science is irrefutable. It is the same science that says smoking causes cancer, that allows us to fly across the world at a whim and is shooting humans into space at a scale that will soon dwarf all previously. But to overheat our planet with all this ‘progress’ to the point of no return would mean the greatest loss of what humanity is capable of – the beauty and wonderment that we contribute to this planet we call home.
The mad men in power
In contrast to the mad men in power, humans are capable of the most extraordinary things. The music that we create, the artwork, the novels and stories which transport us to other worlds and possibilities – all these will be wiped from the world if the planet goes beyond 2°C warming. That is what is at stake. There can be no better reason to fight for our survival than fighting for the things we love and the beauty which is humankind.
This is why I’m voting Greens 1 this election. Here is a party and a movement that cares for people and the planet. The Greens have the strongest climate action policies with a target of 75 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. That is the only credible figure that puts us on track for a potentially surviveable warming scenario of 1.5°C. Humans have already heated the planet by ~1.2°C and according to Scott Morrison, Australia is ‘becoming hard to live in’.
A price on carbon
I’m voting Greens 1 – and not other parties or independents – because the Greens have the longest track record on climate action. In the Gillard-Brown term, the Greens secured a price on carbon which reduced emissions and taxed pollution so that the funds could be diverted to the most vulnerable in our society. The Greens established the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which funded billions of dollars of clean energy innovation and renewable power projects. All this was trashed by the climate wrecking Liberals-Nationals led by Tony Abbott.
In his wake he left coal fondling Scott Morrison and a front bench left wanting for integrity.
Unlike the Liberal-Lite teal independents, the Greens have a consistent, costed and transparent policy platform ranging from denticare into Medicare, ending student university debts and taxing billionaires their fair share, even those who might use some of their money for funding political ‘non-party’ election campaigns.
The Greens don’t accept corporate donations, have never accepted fossil fuel donations and are purely funded by grassroots individuals who believe change is possible and necessary.
Standing up for people and the planet
The Greens are a social movement formed off the back of the Franklin Dam protest in Tasmania and have a proud political history of standing up for people and the planet. I would know: I was standing on the front lines at Bentley along with thousands of others and my Greens colleagues fighting to protect our land and water from invasive coal seam gas mining. It’s a toxic industry brought to us by successive Labor and Liberal National governments who still fund their campaigns with fossil fuel donations and give $21m taxpayers money to fossil fuel companies to frack the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory.
This fossil fool mafia must stop and it’s the Greens who have been shouting this all the way.
So while there’s an opportunity in some seats to vote for Liberal-Lite teals where there’s no Greens, that is not the case here in Page. Where you have the choice of a lapdog to the Libs that is Hogan or Labor’s Patrick Deegan, the Greens have the standout representative of this generation – Kashmir Miller.
Miller is a young woman born and bred to this region who will fight for our community, people and the planet. Unlike the alternatives, the Greens are not governed by faceless back-door political operators or wealthy billionaires or coal barons or developers intent on expanding their property portfolios.
A grassroots party
The Greens are a grassroots party of people who care: we want social and affordable housing for our most vulnerable, an anti-corruption body with teeth, and real, urgent action on climate change that lasts more than a teal-inspired election cycle. Fundamentally, the Greens have a costed and achievable plan to achieve 75 per cent emissions reduction by 2030. Others might pretend to and make such promises in an election campaign, but can they deliver?
Let’s be honest about this, elections also mean money. We all know the saying, follow the money – and it couldn’t be more revealing.
While the Liberals, Nationals and Labor fund their campaigns with fossil fuels, the Greens do not. When a number 1 vote on a ballot paper means a financial return to the party (or the ‘non-party’ as some might claim) it’s important to ask, who does this money return to? Hopefully not to wealthy investors, coal barons or property developers in the form of kickbacks and approvals that their influence buys.
Be discerning with your vote
So this election, be discerning with your vote, of your preferences and the ideas and people it represents.
Don’t be fooled by some Liberal-Lite teals pretending to be something other than just a new branding of progressive Liberals. We’ve experienced them before, and after politics – whatever the outcome – they often go back to their mansions and property portfolios where they can insulate themselves from the worst impacts of climate change and the rapidly growing divide between rich and poor.
While some of the teals have been open about their intent to form government with the Liberals, others are refusing to rule it out. What’s that mean for more backroom deals, pork barrelling and a race to the bottom in order to achieve political power?
What we don’t need this election is just a change in branding and a lighter shade of blue. What we need is real action in addressing inequality, ending fossil fuels and stamping out corruption that has become endemic in our political system. This is what the Greens represent and why I will be voting Greens 1 this election.
Prepoll has begun. Get to the hustings!
Adam Guise is a Councillor on Lismore City Council.
Adam has studied Politics, Law and Teaching at SCU and was a Lock the Gate Regional Coordinator in the Gasfield Free campaign. Adam was the Greens candidate for Lismore in the 2015 State Election and had just been elected for the second time to Lismore City Council.