Late 2012 my wife and I had our first child, Owen, at St George Hospital. He was a big boy at 4.5kgs which made for a trial of a birth but we loved him all the more for it. Being a parent took my instinct of “wanting the world to be a better place” to a whole new level.
To put that in context, 3 years ago when we married we committed to putting a solar PV system on our roof, not for financial gain but to “make a difference” to our carbon footprint. We then downsized our 4WD to a 4 cylinder sedan. We also recently replaced our failing electric hot water system with a solar hot water system. Everything we can do to get our carbon footprint down as low as possible in the battle against global warming – the added benefit being our bills came down dramatically too. So we were doing these things largely before Owen came along, it’s not a dramatic change in that respect.
A little before Owen’s first birthday came the 2013 Federal election and the more I read about the Liberal Party’s policies and the past behaviour of Tony Abbott, the more scared for my son I became. It really seemed like the Liberal party wanted to undo years of Australian progress towards equality and fairness, and sure enough, 9 months later all my fears and many more seem realised. At a state level the record isn’t much better as the ICAC has highlighted, with rampant conflicts of interest brushed under the carpet and “jobs for your mates” and privatisation at every turn here in NSW.
I’ve voted Green for years and their combination of pragmatism and idealism vs corporate interest is something I happily stand for so I joined the Greens almost straight after the federal election to help in any way I could to combat this negative, fear mongering mentality that is increasingly pervading our press. Fear of change, fear of immigrants and refugees, fear of wind turbines, the list goes on and on. Then there’s all the business going on that doesn’t get reported by the mainstream press. A little bit of digging and you find out what we really need to be scared of: Trans-pacific partnerships that allow overseas corporations to overrule Australian laws, the “americanisation” of our education and medical industries. The list of corporate donations and the correlations to opinions in the party room that disagree with public sentiment. The US being allowed increasing military access to our shores. Those were the things that truly scared me, not the things more easily found in the papers.
Next years election is a chance for the people of NSW to confront a multitude of planning, education, health, conflict of interest and electricity problems that have occurred while the conservative, corporate driven Liberal party have had the helm.
So this year I made the commitment to run as a candidate in my home electorate of Kogarah for the NSW 2015 election, to listen to the people living around me, represent them and their views as best I can, fight tooth and nail against inequality and fear-mongering and generally get amongst this democratic process we have in our lucky country. If we take it for granted, it certainly seems to fade away.
NB: The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of St George Greens.