Reflecting on the recent win for federal Labor, local MP, Justine Elliot, says that without a doubt, Australians wanted change.
‘This election was very much about getting rid of Scott Morrison, without a doubt.
‘In Richmond, we saw a whole range of candidates. Having ten candidates means you see a whole diversity of views there. We also saw throughout the country a swing towards some of the [Independent] Teals and the Greens.’
The Nationals were down by around 14,000 votes nationally, and while the party polled well locally with Kimberly Hone, Mrs Elliot says the Nationals Party is in decline. People wanted all of those cuts and chaos, which we saw before the election, to end. That’s what people were telling me all the time.’
With Mandy Nolan as the local Greens candidate, her party was up by almost 5,000 votes from the 2019 election in Richmond.
Was that a sign that people are sending an environmental message to whoever is in power?
Mrs Elliot replied, ‘I think that reflected the community’s view that they, one: wanted to get rid of the Morrison government; but two, they wanted stronger action on climate change, which is something that I talked about throughout the campaign, something that we are now initiating’.
‘We’ve lost government over this. We fought very hard last time, we fought a lot of different parties – the Greens voted against the carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2009, and cost us a decade of inaction.’
Mrs Elliot feels that the plan that Labor took to the election was perfect in the sense of delivering a whole suite of measures.
Renewable energy superpower
‘We can be a renewable energy superpower, but it needs government investment. We’re committed to that, plus all those other policies that we have, such as reforming the grid, electric vehicles, the community batteries or solar banks – you need to have all of that in place – but you need to have a government that the electorate believes when it invests in the move to renewables, and then it’s done in a really responsible way.’
Mrs Elliot says that in moving to renewables, it’s important to remember to keep power prices down and grow new jobs.
‘The other thing was when we first announced our policy, it had such broad support from environmental groups, but also the Business Council, because business want this, they want certainty and a direction.
‘We all know business and the market has been moving towards renewables.
‘What they needed was government policy that supported that as well, to have confidence to invest in it.
‘It was good to see the support right across the country, and there’s no doubt that people, for a long time, have wanted action on climate change. And this is something that I would say Labor has been very much on the front foot with for a very, very long time. It’s one of the many issues that they have wanted addressed.’