I have just been nominated as the endorsed candidate for the Renewable Energy Party in the Federal seat of Gippsland. It is my intention to keep the campaign over the next month separate from this blog. I will post my press releases and other information on my election campaign here. What follows is a general appraisal of the election so far and some specific comments on parties and policies.
It goes without saying that of the major parties the Greens have by far and away the best policies on climate and renewable energy. The ALP have some fair policies but appear reluctant to push the issue because of ‘wedge’ politics – being caught between the Lib/Nats just waiting to launch a scare campaign on the new ‘great big tax’ and the Greens pushing for much more action on the matter. The Lib/Nats have no effective climate or renewables policies and their record over the last 3 years on these matters has been shameful. Their current Direct Action program was previously described by Malcolm Turnbull as a ‘fig leaf’ to cover for ‘no action’. There have been numerous other criticisms of Direct Action including that it is both expensive and ineffective. The Lib/Nats also have a strong rump of ‘climate deniers’ in their midst who appear to have tied the Prime Minister’s hands on implementing any useful policies.
Thus we have a situation where neither of the major parities want climate change or renewable energy to be major campaign issues. Though trying much harder to make climate change an issue there are also problems with the Greens. Farmers often, perhaps unthinkingly, associate this party with the Animal Liberation movement as I have been reliably informed by a farmer in our local ‘Lock the Gate’ movement. Again, rightly or wrongly, they are considered to be on the ‘left’ of politics and therefore with limited appeal in rural electorates. Furthermore their policies on climate and renewables are often lost or submerged in the everyday political process when they should have top priority at all times. I have often been called a ‘closet’ green and a ‘green independent’ in previous elections but reject these attempts at ‘pigeonholing’ as I have always been aiming to get votes from across the political spectrum. Farmers and country people have the most to lose from harsh climate change and, somewhat paradoxically, much to gain from serious mitigation policies.
Climate change is a paramount problem for us all, regardless of race, gender, age, religion or economic status. It affects us all now and is getting progressively worse. It follows that we should, as soon as possible, have a bipartisan and very serious approach from all our elected officials on climate and renewables. The regressive factors of the adversarial system, of a near monopoly in the mainstream media (combined with scientific illiteracy) and big money from vested interests in politics must be overcome. Perhaps on July 2 we will make a small step in the right direction.