It appears as though the coming local elections in Victoria will give voters plenty of opportunities to ‘vote climate’. I am aware of a number of a number of climate and climate emergency candidates standing for office outside of Gippsland and in four of the six Gippsland shires. In East Gippsland the situation is both pleasing and favourable. When I stood in the last local election in 2016 I was the lone ‘climate emergency’ candidate amongst a long list of 39.
Since then the local EGCAN (East Gippsland Climate Action Network) has been very active, as have been a number of similar groups across Gippsland. This time in East Gippsland there are only 21 candidates, greatly increasing the chances of a candidate being elected. Of those candidates 6 of them are members of EGCAN, including one of the founders and former mayor Mendy Urie, climate emergency organiser Sally Kendall and Tom Crook, who was the co-ordinator during the student strike last year.
Other EGCAN members standing include Dr Jane Greacen, Jeremy Schroeder, Kim Dutton (as Animal Justice Party candidate) and Akarna Bowers (as a Green in the Wellington shire). Regular readers will be aware of my preference for independents rather than party candidates.
The other chance advantage is that three of the EGCAN candidates (Mendy, Jane and Tom) are at the top of the ballot paper and though the percentage for the donkey vote remains a mystery, this must be some help. This also puts some the candidates in the middle of the ballot paper, like Sally, at a disadvantage. Hopefully the preferences of these candidates will be well co-ordinated and tight.
Statistically, with about a third of the candidates in East Gippsland as climate emergency supporters, they should win three seats. However winning one seat will be an achievement, two a bonus and a third bordering on a miracle.
Elsewhere in Gippsland, in Bass Coast there are at least two candidates opposing the sitting councillors who both voted against the climate emergency declaration. Also in Latrobe City former candidate in the last Federal election Antoinette Holm (ALP) has, in online tweets, declared for the climate emergency. I am not aware of what is happening in either Baw Baw Shire or South Gippsland but assume that there are some activists, or sympathisers, standing as candidates. Perhaps they have organised a comprehensive candidate survey on climate for all candidates, as has been done by EGCAN.
Wherever you live I urge you to ‘vote climate’ by casting your vote in favour of climate emergency candidates.