At the moment the most frequent question I am asked is whether I am running for parliament again and when I reply in the negative am usually asked why. The short answer is that in terms of attracting attention and thus votes my attempts have all been failures. The best result in all seven election I contested was just over 3% and in consequence forfeiting my deposit of between $400 and $1000 each time.
For all but one of these elections I ran as a climate independent. This meant support from friends both physically and financially but otherwise it was a ‘one-man’ show – working long hours, striving for media appearances and speaking at meetings sometimes travelling long distances to do so. The exception was standing in the last Federal Election as a candidate for the Renewable Energy Party (REP). This conferred two small advantages – the stress of collecting more than 100 signatures when nominating as an independent was avoided and the party name and logo appeared on the ballot paper. But basically I still ran as an independent and shouldered most of the stress with no support from the party. Failing to garner any media attention all the REP candidates lost their deposits and after a period of inactivity was deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.
But failure doesn’t enter the personal equation. Despite all the setbacks I remain as determined as ever to continue my climate change activism. Also there are many ways of looking at the cumulative effect of the campaigns. Whilst I could only garner 1 vote in every 50 voters regularly the publicity I received locally on each occasion was substantial – in an otherwise ultra-conservative media which was (and is) most reluctant to mention the words climate change, global warming or climate emergency.
So now in the political field I have adopted different tactics. My blog continues, explaining, expanding, polemicizing and repeating all things climate and with various solutions. The blog now attracts about 700 visitors per month and with one or two popular posts over 1000. My home page has not changed since 2012 and it repeats the simple slogan – vote climate vote solar – I adopted around 2008 for electioneering purposes.
My efforts now in the political arena are twofold. First encouraging local political candidates to accept the consensus on climate science and the need for urgent action. Second supporting the newly formed Independents for Climate Action Now (ICAN). The chance of ICAN getting a candidate up in the Senate in the three states they have put up candidates is very slim indeed. But it is vital that the party continues to function beyond the election to grow and become more widely known. And it is vital that all elections from now on are climate elections as we rapidly move towards the climate emergency.