Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Wellbeing Manifesto & conscience votes

Starting this blog to enter my thoughts and observations on the environment, living sustainably and breathing some life into Australian democracy.

I attend the launch of the Wellbeing manifesto in Melbourne tonight. It was an inspiring event - highlighting the need to guiding principles in society and better democracy. I commented that every vote in the Australian Parliament should be a conscience vote, and we should get to vote on referendums for substantive issues like going to war or policies such as mandatory detention of asylum seekers (see the letter I have written on this in the next post).

Currently, major party policies are created in the back room by apparatchiks with little or no member participation. They are trotted out to buy votes during elections and to score political points. Then we vote for an MP who never knows what his electorate wants and can't represent us anyway because they have to vote along party lines ...

The ALP moves to the right to try and gain economic credibility, the Howard Government moves to the left by handing out cash to buy votes in marginal seats.

Where is the vision and leadership we so desperately need?. We run out of Bass Straight oil in 3 years. World oil production has just, or very soon will, peak, yet we are still building freeways.

I ran as the Greens candidate for Kooyong in the 2004 and 2001 Federal Elections and the 2002 Victorian State Election. Our success in 2002 was rewarded by repeated attacks and smears by the likes of John Howard, John Anderson and Peter Costello. Despite all this, the Green vote increased 2% to 14%, putting Kooyong in the top 10 Green seats in Australia.

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Gandhi.

Good on Petro Georgiou for pushing his two private members bills on ending mandatory detention of asylum seekers. Let's hope they get tabled and voted on in parliament.

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