By Philippa Clark, Greens Candidate for Oatley, NSW 2015.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.”
That’s one of my favourite quotes, and it’s especially relevant in this current political environment, when policy lasts only as long as the next opinion poll and promises have got all the staying power of wrapping paper on Christmas morning.
Growing up, I was always interested in the political process. I soon realised that neither the Labor Party or the Coalition represented my values. As a Christian, I’m passionate about social justice and looking after our natural environment. It was clear to me that in Parliament, the Greens were the only party standing up for what matters.
I joined the Greens because I’m concerned about what the future will look like for young people. The longer the old parties delay finding meaningful policy solutions to climate change and social inequality, the greater the cost to our planet and our economy in years to come. It will be my generation who bear the burden. Our government has its priorities wrong – there is no need for a budget surplus on a dead planet! But it wasn’t just the environment – the Liberal Party’s attacks on refugees, higher education, social security and public transport, accompanied by weak or no opposition from Labor, inspired me to take action.
My passion for advocating on behalf of young people led me to participate in the NSW Youth Parliament for two years, including as Minister for Mental Health. As a result, mental health is one of the issues that I would really like to see addressed in NSW. Nobody is untouched by mental illness, and it’s critical that young people can have free and convenient access to support services, no matter whether they are in rural or urban areas.
Another issue particularly close to my heart is home education. As someone who was taught at home by my parents, I recognise the benefits of home education and believe it should be a viable alternative to the school system for any family that wants to go down that path.
I’ve been active in several elections and issues-based campaigns, including last year when I worked with Greens MLC David Shoebridge to oppose planning legislation that would have scrapped the community’s right to have a say on 80% of proposed developments.
I’ve lived, worked and played in the electorate of Oatley for 18 years. This area deserves more peak hour train services, not less; strong environmental protections to govern the biodiversity we find in our bush and wetlands; and a democracy free from corruption. The Greens are committed to delivering all that and more. Together, we can secure a strong and sustainable future for generations to come.