Any minute we’ll have a date for the Australian federal election.
Which means any minute we’ll know the exact day when we can take strong and meaningful action on the climate emergency.
Every election is so important, but when it comes to the climate emergency and actually acting in time to prevent runaway climate chaos, this election really, really matters. This piece is for Australian folks wondering how to make their vote as impactful as possible.
- Quick note to all the folks who are about to come at me and say “stick to permaculture and leave politics out of it”. Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out :-)….. The only reason I got into permaculture is because it’s about so much more than gardening. It’s based on three ethics – earth care, people care and fair share and a dozen principles that can be applied to everything from landscape management, economics, education, health and wellbeing, tools and technology, governance and the built environment. It’s a holistic design framework used to re-design a better world, not just your garden. I use it as a framework for proactive, progressive activism and for gardening/farming. So you’ll often hear me talk politics, because it’s very much part of permaculture.
Anyway – back to politics.
Here are my top 4 points to make this election really count for people and planet.
- Vote. Some people choose not to vote or to do a “dummy vote” because they think it doesn’t matter. But for goddess sake, Vote. And check to make sure you’re enrolled to vote. We all know it’s not perfect, but we live in a relatively functional democracy, which we can shape to be what we want.
- Check who your current member is and how they have been voting. Get to know who your current local member is and their track record on what they vote for. You can do this over at www.theyvoteforyou.org.au. Don’t like what you see when it comes to their stance on effective climate action? Vote. Them. Out. There’s no wriggle room here, doesn’t matter if you think they might be ok’ish cause they fund your local footy club. Local footy clubs mean sh#t when climate chaos is running rife and flooding/burning (take your pick) said footy field/club down.
- Remember your options. If you haven’t already, you can drop the old story that you have to choose between only the Liberal or Labor party. We’re well beyond that now. These two parties have slowly but surely “blended” far too much for my liking. And while Labor is definitely better than the Liberal party, when it comes to effective climate action they’re still far from where we need to be, taking big money from fossil fuel companies and approving new coal mines on the reg. We cannot rely on either of them to lead us to climate justice and safety in the swift timeframe that is urgently required. Want to learn more about how insanely uncool the Australian political donation system is? Watch The Big Deal.
We have other options and we need to vote for them.
Two clear alternatives:
- The Greens are an obvious and well-established choice. Despite the efforts of mainstream media and the Liberal and Labor governments, they’re still here and they’re still offering some of the best leadership towards a climate just and safe world. And where they have had power (like in the ACT) they’ve done some darn good work. You can learn about their election policies here.
- The community minded independents. For the first time ever in Australian politics we have a coordinated movement of progressive Independents standing across the country with a shared focus on climate action, gender equality and corruption (as in stopping it). You can learn about them all over at ittakes3.com.au.
It Takes Three is a campaign being run to highlight that if we manage to vote just three of them into power (based on our current government) at this upcoming election then they’re likely to hold the balance of power and start to get some real changes made. Don’t know about you, but I reckon we should vote all of them in (plus current Independent Andrew Wilkie).
Despite what Sky After Dark* would have you believe, these independents are NOT part of a pseudo party and answer to no one but the community. That they work together to support each other shows that these are candidates willing to collaborate for the public good. This is enormously exciting and shows a new type of politics emerging in Australia which is coming from the people, for the people. I am deeply excited and heartened by this. The origins of this new type of politics has its roots in Indi and Warringah and has community and integrity as its backbone. I really encourage you to read Australia reMADE’s two blogs on the origins here and here to deepen your understanding.
These people are our people. Intelligent, passionate, brave people who are running for politics for us, for our ecosystems, for our kid’s kid’s kid’s futures, for a fair and just society and definitely not for personal power trips.Some of the progressive Independents for us to vote for – Image from It Takes Three
4. Preferences count.
And if you can’t bring yourself to vote for a Green or an Independent, vote below the line and fill in all your preferences and place an Independent or a Greens person second and the Liberals and Nationals last. Preferences are powerful. Here’s an overview on how to vote with preferences from the last Federal election.
The pragmatist in me needs to acknowledge that it’s unlikely we’ll get a Green/Independent government (my personal dream). I get it – Australia isn’t “there” yet. But you know what is incredibly possible – voting in a *minority* Labor government with progressive Independents/The Greens holding the balance of power. From where I sit, THIS is very possible and this is where we will see quicker, genuine change towards climate justice and safety. But just to be clear, I still advocate for voting for one of these progressive Independents or a member of The Greens as your number one choice.
The pragmatist in me also needs to say that this election won’t fix everything – even if we get the most progressive government in history. Climate action needs to come from top down, bottom up and sideways (basically every direction). Think grassroots community initiatives, politics, industry, the arts and media to name just a few things. This is also multi-generational work, we’re not going to solve everything in our short lifetimes – but we can have a bloody good crack at it, making sure the next crew we hand the baton onto are in a better position than we are…
Folks, there has never been a better time to embrace the power of the collective and to remind politicians that they’re only there because we put them there.
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*I can’t bring myself to link to the article that Sky News did about The Independents on their program Sky After Dark with Peta Credlin. It’s complete misinformation and dangerous.
Big thanks to Dr Millie Rooney for helping me with this blog – you can follow her work here.