Making your Climate Election Vote Count or a Plea for Climate Independents

The fact that increasingly large numbers of Australians are voting at pre-polling stations has prompted me to write this now rather than the week before polling day. What follows is a very brief ‘how to vote’ guide for the person concerned with climate change and the climate emergency. My apologies to those (most?) who have already made up their mind but I am often asked for advice and have already been asked this time.

I recently commented on the failure of the Lib/Nats climate performance over the last six years and Labour are again demonstrating (as they did in the last state election) that although they say they accept the science they haven’t quite worked out the consequences. Of the major parties the Greens offer the best policies though there are problems of priority and accepting the climate emergency.

In the lower house where there is a need to assess each of your candidates my suggestion is to ask the Simon Holmes à Court question “Do you accept the scientific consensus on human caused global warming?” I have already emailed this question to the Candidates Forum to be held in Bairnsdale on May 14. In many, even most cases, the answers will already be obvious in what the candidates, or their parties, say or don’t say. If you have further doubts about Independents ask them to explain the greenhouse effect and what they would do to help reduce our carbon emissions.

There are a large number of ‘Climate Independents’ around the country from high flyers like Oliver Yates in Kooyong to the  unknown Ray Kingston (at least in Gippsland) in the seat of Mallee. Labour is still on the nose, especially after Bill Shorten’s blunder on CSG in Queensland. But as I have said previously they are still a ‘country mile’ ahead of the Lib/Nats so as a general rule vote climate independent if you can find one, then preference to Greens and Labor.

In Gippsland two candidates – Labor and the Greens – have said yes to the Holmes à Court question. If you cannot find an Independent good on the climate change question I suggest you vote Green and preference the ALP or vice versa. It should be noted that the Greens candidate in Gippsland, Deb Foskey, is the only candidate so far in either the Monash or Gippsland electorates to have signed the climate emergency declaration.

In the Senate there is only one genuine climate party – Independents for Climate Action Now (ICAN) – of which I am a member. ICAN was only registered the day before the official campaign was declared and it is the only climate party on the Senate ticket in Victoria, NSW and Queensland (although there is another ‘dummy’ party with climate in their name on the Victorian ballot paper). ICAN recognises the urgency of climate action and supports the climate emergency. But they face a huge uphill battle for public recognition and I urge you to consider giving them your first preference.