As the Federal election pre-poll voting opens tomorrow (April 29), I want to tell you why I’m supporting Oliver Yates. I’ve run two ‘Meet Oliver’ sessions for friends and neighbours, organised leafletting all 93 areas by volunteers, leafletted some myself, worn my Oliver Yates teal (Independent) T-shirt and I’ll be giving out how-to-vote cards this week and next at the polling site. As you can see, I’m committed to voting out Josh Frydenberg, the current member, Treasurer, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and former Minister for the Environment, despite needing a 13% swing to unseat him.
I’m a committed environmentalist. Real Climate Action is the main issue in this election.
As President of an environmental friends group, as a former university Business Professor, some of whose research was into environmental performance and as a committed individual environmentalist, I’ve been extremely frustrated with, and depressed by, the lack of application and action by the federal government of evidence-based science on climate change.
And the Labor Party is little better, still not prepared to say ‘No’ to a new coal mine and with only a limited target for reducing carbon emissions.
Lack of Integrity by both major Parties
The many examples of lack of integrity and ethical behaviour by many members of the Federal government – a new example seems to occur each day – mean I’m desperate to get them out. I’m particularly keen to get Josh Frydenberg out too. As Minister for the Environment he favoured mining companies over the environment. As Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, he has failed dismally to provide leadership for this country. Instead he has focussed on the wellbeing of large companies, those on high incomes and partisan government supporters.
But Labor won’t be much better. Even a competent government like the Victorian Andrews government has hidden or failed to act on many scandals involving their own parliamentarians. And the Greens, while having good environmental policies, are riven with internal conflict, especially over gender equity.
The need for individual citizens to get actively involved in politics
I’ve never been actively involved in any political campaign. I’ve never been a member of a political party. But it’s clear from political outcomes in the US, the UK, Philippines, Italy, Brazil, Hungary and more, not to mention the increasing role of the military in elections in many countries, that, unless individual citizens stand up, speak out about the evidence on issues, call out fake news and emotional arguments, so-called ‘populism’ will run us over, because they are certainly actively involved.
So, when Oliver Yates, former CEO of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and a businessperson with years of international business experience, announced he was standing as an Independent for Kooyong, I thought, ‘That’s exactly the type of person I want. He has great experience in large-scale clean energy and required climate change action, great business experience, he’s a person with integrity, prepared to stand up and speak out against those who oppose climate change and an Independent, not locked in to any party platform.’
Restore Political Integrity by voting Independent
Politics in this country is broken. The major parties are focussed on who can give away the most money to the most people. The emergency for real climate action is hardly mentioned by either one.
The two-party system is receiving less and less first preferences – now down to 70% and sure to decline significantly this election, as minor parties and Independents are elected in frustration at the self-centredness of the majors.
What we need – the country needs – is strong independents like Oliver Yates, like Tony Windsor, Andrew Wilkie, Rob Oakeshott, Cathy McGowan, Kerryn Phelps, Zali Steggall, Fiona Patten and more. People with integrity, people prepared to weigh up issues on the evidence, people prepared to speak honestly, people prepared to address difficult issues.
If parliament had a dozen or more Independents like this – reasonable people, intelligent people, people not beholden to a party – perhaps the country would regain its trust in the political process.
Get Frydenberg and the Liberals out. Get Oliver and Independents in. Restore balance and integrity and get action on climate change. We can do it! It’s up to us!