The Renewable Energy Party is now defunct unless some how it can be revived by a last minute miracle. I feel both relief and sadness at the prospect. Relief because as both secretary and returning officer to the party the work was beginning to look overwhelming – a daunting workload on the shoulders of few. Sadness because I have been looking for a political party of this type to challenge the status quo – mainly of the conservative parties – for many years. It is no secret that I assumed the positions of management by default in a last ditch effort to save the organisation. This was an effort I felt obliged to make and note that it almost succeeded.
The main platform of the REP in 2016 for 100% renewable energy by 2030 will probably be achieved around that time regardless of the political reaction if the predictions of futurist Tony Seba are anywhere near the mark. So what is the purpose of a political party of this kind? A difference of some years can be made between governments that plan for the future and readily promote and adopt and adapt to what that future is most likely to be and those that react adversely to each and every change. Our current federal government, firmly in the pocket of the fossil fuel industries, is a clear stand-out of reaction and negation.
There are a number of requirements for a single issue party like the REP to be successful. It must be a party of the centre and its policies should appeal across the political spectrum. Conversely policies of the sort that are anathema to one side of politics or the other should be avoided. Examples include nuclear energy solutions which are toxic to the left and animal liberation the same for the right especially in rural areas. As well there has to be a certain amount of luck which starts a snowball effect in publicity, membership and active workers.
Unfortunately the REP never came anywhere near it with the 2016 election called immediately after the party was registered and whose candidates entered the political arena with mostly unrealistic optimism. They all performed dismally (including yours truly) losing their deposits and from which the organisation never recovered. A small group of us (3) made the effort to salvage the party – as we now know unsuccessfully. A similar event overtook the Climate Coalition in, and after, the 2007 election making our effort an example of history repeating itself.
I had hopes that a revitalised REP would pursue a short term strategy of challenging the climate denialists in their seats by providing high profile conservative opponents to the likes of Abbott, Kelly, Joyce, Frydenberg and other pro-coal reactionaries in the conservative parties. The aim being not necessarily to win these seats but rather to help the incumbents lose them or at least make their seats threatened and unsafe. Such actions may help accelerate the process of necessary change. Consequently I will probably do my ‘two bobs worth’ supporting a climate independent or two in Victoria. But keep firmly in mind achieving 100% renewable energy is just the first step in combatting global warming.