Rebooting our democracy

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By Steph Hodgins-May, Federal Greens candidate for Melbourne Ports

Recently I was joined by over 200 locals at the launch of my Steph for Melbourne Ports campaign at the St Kilda Bowls Club. This month I’ve decided to share with you what I shared with them.

My great-great grandfather was a farmer. He was also the Federal Minister for Works and Railways, representing the Country Party in the 1924 Bruce Government, and later the Page Government. In 1934 he quit politics rather than be dictated to by the Victorian Country Party. They had become too radical in his view, and I believe he saw what we are still seeing today. Major parties abandoning their interests in all but the corporates and vested interests of a few.

Over 80 years later I’m as convinced as he was that we can make a difference, and one of those courses is through politics. I am as convinced as any of you that the time has come for us to see through the political games of the big players and their media cohorts, and take action to redirect our country and bring everyone along within it.

I stand before you with empty hands, without allegiance to special interests and without a master dictating my words and deeds. I stand here with the belief however, that when compassion and empathy rule over greed and fear, when people and not profit, when the environment and not the economy, characterise our political discourse, we can solve our growing humanitarian and environmental problems.

We are surely witnessing a paradigm shift, as the planet itself begins to display the widespread negative feedback of changing land, weather and oceans from global warming that we have known about since I was a kid.

I’m angry that nothing has been done when we have known so much.

I’m seeing a financial system where the most radical risk taking and unsustainable stock markets underpin an economy that instead of conserving and husbanding our collective resources, is burning everything in a fire sale designed to maintain growth and profits. Oh for a conservative approach!

I’m angry at a Prime Minister that is all talk and no action. And an opposition leader that is more focused on criticising the Greens than carving out a plan for our future.

Anyway, we’ve heard a lot about innovation lately and we can only assume that the government is working as hard as possible to snuff out any such dangerous stuff.

Innovation is a defined as a new idea or more effective device or process. Well Liberal and Labor Party, how about it?

What about some real action on global warming?

If innovation meant no idea instead of new idea, it would describe both parties on economic management. Running in small circles, neither will challenge the corporates who so generously fund them.

Science – How does gutting the CSIRO spell innovation?

Housing- We can’t seem to get past the collective idea that it’s a publicly funded business investment portfolio rather than a place for people to live.

Foreign affairs – the major parties’ inhumanity to people seeking asylum is not innovation. It is repression.

Can either party innovate their way to recognising that our foreign aid budget is not an ATM from which to draw money for domestic pursuits?

What we need is a lot of innovation – not the keep it in on a leash, confine it to a lab, and suffocate it should it bring welcome change type of innovation – but a real change and it’s the Greens and myself that promise you this if you help me in this election.

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