The Vote in Gippsland

The East Gippsland and Wellington Climate Action Networks* (EGCAN and WELCAN) have just released a climate scorecard for the Gippsland electorate. The scorecard noted that it “has been made clear by the United Nations and the latest IPCC report there is still a chance to keep global heating under 1.5°C. The troubling message is that many countries, with Australia a named offender, are just not doing enough” and that “climate action is clearly in the minds of residents in Gippsland – 61% of people in Gippsland believe greater action on climate change will strengthen the Australian economy.”

“Our Climate Scorecard shows where the candidates’ parties stand on key questions in this election. We included integrity issues because of the clear link between failures in governance and failures in climate policy. Scores are based on Party policies from their websites and information from Lighter Footprints. The scorecard rates candidates on five key climate policy areas and two policies related to government integrity. Each policy has been scored as GOOD, FAIR or POOR based on the candidates’ published policies.”

The scorecard also notes that the “groups do not endorse any party or candidate.” However a brief look at the scorecard (above) shows that those wanting to vote climate in Gippsland have very little choice. The Greens candidate is outstanding and the ALP ticks a few boxes but the other four candidates are either tied to coal, in climate change denying parties, or both. Darren Chester, the sitting member, is a moderate within the Nationals – a party like the Liberals and is also a ‘split waiting to happen’. Chatting recently to some Labour voters they repeated the fairly strong gossip that Darren would make a great Independent. At the other end of the spectrum is the “a vote for Darren is a vote for Barnaby” school with which I have strong sympathies.

The scorecard also has an explanation of how preferences work but in this electorate for climate voters once your preference reaches the ALP it will stop there. Recently I told someone my conundrum was not who to vote for, but who to put last – whether the party of the coal billionaire or one of the climate deniers. This means I will probably end up putting the incumbent number 3. I still hope for a strong swing against him and for the Greens to poll close to 10%. But it is in Monash and elsewhere that the chance for major change lies.

*contact EGCAN here and WELCAN here