On Saturday 19 March The Greens launched their 2016 election campaign for the federal seats of Barton and Banks to a crowd of curious voters from both electorates. Greens supporters enjoyed a gourmet BBQ lunch at Smith Park in Kingsgrove which was provided by the St. George and Marrickville Greens local groups. They chatted with MP’s and heard about the current growth and successes of the green movement.
- Brent Heber, The Greens candidate for Barton
- Philippa Clark, The Greens candidate for Banks
- Greens NSW Upper House MP David Shoebridge
- Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP
- 2016 Senate candidate Michael Osborne
Jenny Leong noted the new dynamism in the Banks and Barton campaigns and that this was symptomatic of the growth of The Greens in general and in the St George area in particular. She said that voters were disappointed with the lack of vision for sustainable and equitable planning which both major parties have shown, especially in their support of Westconnex and their failure to consider other options.
Michael Osborne spoke about The Greens vision of a fair and just Australia, where no one is left behind and all types of people are socially included.
Philippa Clark expanded on this vision, pointing out that everyone deserves to have a home, but that many young people are currently priced out of the housing market by both high rent and high house prices.
Her biggest concern, however, is global warming:
“We know that global warming is causing more dramatic weather events and heatwaves, so If you live near the river, expect more flooding. If you live near the bush, expect more fires. If you use electricity, expect more blackouts. And if you cracked open a cold beer at Christmas, you should know that it’s about to get more expensive as warmer weather makes it harder and harder to produce good beer here in Australia.”
Shouts of ‘we must DO something’ and ‘Oh no, not the beer!’ were heard from the audience in response to these comments, amid much laughter.
As the father of a young child, Brent Heber spoke about his concern for future generations, and that “to make a difference in the fight against climate change” was his reason for joining The Greens.
“That’s so often what brings us to The Greens, that absolute frustration that the old parties are doing so little to deal with our carbon pollution”.
He noted that climate change was only one threat, among many, to his son’s future.
“The Trans Pacific partnership: A great idea of the old parties to give control of our laws to American corporations” he said with much irony.
“Our rights to protest have mostly disappeared and the line between big business and our government is so blurred our international reputation is at stake.”
“Meanwhile my son’s education is on the chopping block, with cuts to TAFE and deregulation of university education. These are policies that entrench education only for those who can afford it.”
“Our public health system and transport systems are being systematically outsourced and privatized, with the support of both major parties. Public services are being made to turn a profit at our expense. Trains are being replaced with tollways, again, entrenching the idea that getting from A to B is only for those who can afford it.”
The speeches ended on a positive note, with the insight that “It comes down to us, here, today.”
This provided a clear call to action which the audience responded to with much applause and offers of help.
Greta Werner (for Brent Heber and Philippa Clarke): 0402035069
Brent Heber: 0406501192
Philippa Clarke: 0435609301