There are times when I am very glad not to be an Australian citizen, and right now is one of these times. The more I learn about the candidates for the July 2nd Federal Election, the more relieved I am that I’m not forced to choose between them.
It is a constant source of despair for me that the only party representing my environmental values, and the only party which I believe is acting for the long-term good of the planet (The Greens), also support attitudes and policies which I find utterly indigestible and as such I would not consider voting for them. On the other hand the Liberals’ climate policies, or should I say lack of climate policies, are so totally at odds with their international obligations and fly completely in the face of the wishes of the Australian public. According to a poll, 87% of Australians want the Government to do act more strongly on climate change and yet the Government is ignoring them. Last week Josh Frydenberg, as part of a panel, faced an audience of 550 in Box Hill Town Hall, calling for strong climate action. Although acknowledging the urgency of the situation he was the only one who refused to pledge to support clean energy and cut pollution,whilst announcing continued support for the disastrous Carmichael coalmine in Queensland. I find the arrogance astounding and bemusing. I simply cannot understand how the Liberals think they can win an election whilst ignoring 87% of the electorate.
So, as a non-voter, I find myself in quite a fortunate position. I am not forced to choose the best of a bad bunch, but I can take part in the democratic process. I have attended protests, signed petitions and written to candidates. And I would urge others to do likewise. If you don’t know where to begin, then check out the Australian Conservation Foundation’s website by following this link. Their campaign is based on the notion that at this time all politicians are taking more notice of what the people are saying and you can make a difference by contacting any of them. It is a bipartisan campaign – they are not targeting a political party, nor are they suggesting who you vote for. So, please, if you want to see strong climate action further up the agenda, if you want to protect the Great Barrier reef, if you want to assist our neighbours in the Pacific Islands who are vulnerable to sea level rises or if you want to see a rapid transition to clean renewable energy then sign the ACF pledge and email your local candidate. Before July 2nd.