There has been a mushrooming of community based ‘voices’ groups around the country, most of whom have climate action as a priority platform. These include the ‘Voices for Monash’ group that recently advertised for a candidate and now has one. Many of these candidates – mostly, but not all, women – are being financially supported by Climate 200 * helping to overcome many of the disadvantages that all independent candidates face. Most of these candidates have strong platforms on climate change and/or renewable energy.
ABC journalist Rio Davis noted, “Voices for Monash has picked a candidate to run in this year’s Federal election. Phillip Island lawyer Deb Leonard will run in the seat of Monash on a platform of climate change action, establishing an independent corruption agency and promoting inclusive governance.”
For a number of reasons there has been a collapse in support for the LNP in the polls and the election will be called within three months. The Omicron strain of the Covid pandemic has certainly ‘thrown a spanner in the (political) works’ with a rapid spike in infections, an increasing death toll, overwhelmed testing facilities and health workers, and shortages in chemists and supermarkets. Until now, the nation has been sympathetic to our politician’s attempts to follow ‘best science’ but the decision in NSW, with Federal government support; to ‘let it rip’ has lost much of that.
The Climate 200 organisation is only supporting independent candidates in coalition held seats. Besides climate, other issues of concern include integrity of parliament and women’s issues. Many of their candidates also have strong ‘liberal’ credentials (in the true sense of the word) and have support from the centre and conservative side of politics. The support from Climate 200 is mainly financial, but includes legal and political advice.
There are a number of ‘wild cards’ in this election including how influential the Murdoch factor will be, and the effect of Clive Palmer’s advertising campaign. I suspect that they lose as many votes as they gain, especially in their association with the anti-vaxxers. Also a disastrous performance by the Liberal Party may lead to a long awaited split, if two or more of their safe seats fall to the climate independents or voices candidates.
In Monash it is difficult to predict at this early stage how Deb Leonard will go. The burgeoning publicity associated with the high profile candidates popping up across the country, and the good work of independent MPs Helen Haines and Zali Steggall, must be in her favour. Further the current sitting member’s stance on vaccination is controversial and probably disadvantageous. Also at the last State election the seat of Bass, part of Monash, returned an ALP member, making for a very interesting ballot. Perhaps this will be the climate election we have been waiting for?
*I am a financial supporter of this organisation.