One week to go!

If you have already voted in Kooyong, I hope you voted for me and the other good candidates. My How-to-Vote- card explains my preference recommendations related to what I see as the key issues, effective global warming action being my foremost concern.

For the 75% of voters in Kooyong who will share the ‘democracy sausage’ on 18 May at your booth of choice, my commentary on the state of play follows.

Smartvote – who should you vote for in Kooyong?

I’ve had very positive feedback about smartvote Australia, an interactive platform built in partnership with The Age and the Australian National University to sharpen the focus on policies, better inform voters, and lift faltering public trust in politics. The system, smartvote Australia, asks 35 questions about your views on social issues, taxation, immigration, the environment, foreign affairs and the budget. Go on, have ago, and see which Kooyong candidate you are matched with. Take the smartvote test on The Age website

The Smiling delivery man:
Who would have thought that a smiling face claiming ‘delivering for Kooyong’ on super-signs blanketing our suburbs refers to multiple bits of unconvincing paper being put in our letterboxes, and the splatter of pork barrelling? So much for the party’s confidence in a ‘very safe’ seat!

Of greater concern though is the Liberal preoccupation with Money! Money! Money! Perhaps the ABBA anthem will be Morrison’s entrance theme song at the belated launch on Sunday night. Of course the budget is important, but we are not ‘back in black’, and ten-year predictions are not much more than wishful thinking. This simplistic one-dimensional approach overshadows the Liberal’s critical missing policy: energy and climate. It is ironic that Kooyong’s Josh Frydenberg was minister for energy and the environment but, having failed to deliver, abdicated to become Treasurer. We now have ministers for energy and the environment (who are they, you say?) completely missing in action. That is serious backsliding.

With international reports on the seriousness of our global warming (see in the blogs on this site: Attenborough et al, biodiversity extinction, and others), it is interesting that the conservative UK government, and now the Irish Government, have listened to their people and the science, and declared a national climate emergency. Meanwhile our no-policy conservative ministers Morrison, Frydenberg, Price and Taylor are in denial, having made last minute and seriously questionable decisions to approve Adani and other mining adventures.

Labor’s confused messages:
While attempting to claim higher moral ground on climate change, Labor is still mired in its ambivalence. Where does it really stand on Adani? Jana Stewart, Labor’s Kooyong candidate says she personally opposes it, but Bill Shorten is still wobbling and, in the meantime, is proposing highly destructive fracking in the Northern Territory. Perhaps he doesn’t realise that fracked gas is a fossil fuel?

Oliver Yates – Independent
Many people I speak with ask about Oliver and his policies. They wonder how a long-time member of the Liberal party can be so committed to effective climate change action and other social matters. He demonstrates a clear and rational approach to the economics of climate change action and energy, the environment, and social issues. Importantly, he has had extensive experience in those areas. Ask him yourself if you want more details.

Conversation at St Hilary’s
Wednesday night 8 May saw a packed house forum at St Hilary’s, Kew. The themes: were Australia’s foreign policy, Australian aid, peace and prosperity in our region, equality, climate change, asylum seekers and refugees. These themes are very relevant to my key campaign issues and I was pleased to be introduced at question time and able to play a minor role.

The forum, Global impact and Australia’s role, was organised by Campaign for Australian Aid, World Vision and Micah. Oliver Yates, Julian Burnside and Jana Stewart spoke. Josh Frydenberg was invited but was a no-show, and did not send a video, or a representative.

The three candidates presented often similar views on the key issues, but there were differences, and it is encouraging that Labor has now announced a significant increase in foreign aid. But I found Oliver Yates to be the one most across what needed to be done to remedy what was seen a comprehensive failure by the current government, and the depth of his relevant experience gave credibility to his answers. This was a very informed and committed audience, meeting in the heart of conservative Kooyong, determined to see a change of government.

Boroondara Council’s partisan involvement in the election

I have not, so far, suffered but Boroondara Council’s ill-informed, nitpicking and intimidating behaviour towards on candidate is more than a little disturbing. As a town planner I am well aware of the relevant regulations for sign on footpaths. However, failure to act in a timely manner on illegal corner signs which are on council land and dangerously block sightlines is a serious concern. Officer’s claims that permits are needed where, in fact, Council does not have jurisdiction, are also a concern. This partisan activity by some councillors and officers will have long-term implications for Council. Council needs to be independent of party-political matters.

Voting in the Senate

Your vote for the Senate is very important, but I offer no specific recommendations.   However, I urge you to do your research to make sure that your vote for climate change action, transparency, and other key policies will enable good government to thrive.  The Guardian Newspaper has provided a helpful article to understand the minor parties.    The rest to up to you!