I'm thrilled to be the SA Greens' lead Senate candidate at the next Federal Election - and hopefully join Sarah in the Senate!
Why I am running for the Greens in the Senate – and how I’d like to do it
When I told friends and family I had decided to run for the Senate, a number asked me why would you do something like that? So, here’s why:
1. Action on climate change
I read the 2018 ICCC report on climate change and it changed my head. It tells us that we are the last generation who can prevent catastrophic global warming. I want to be able to look future generations in the eye and say I did everything I could.
I was - and am - frustrated with the state of politics in Australia.
The failure to act on climate change is top of my list - it’s why I’m running - but so is continuing workplace and economic injustice, and the failure to face up to the legacy of our colonial history, or gender and sexuality discrimination.
The most recent surveys tell us that 80% of Australians believe in climate change and want to see action on it.
A small group of mostly men have stopped this action to date. They have fostered doubt. They have backed corporate fossil fuel interests. They have not told the truth, and they are corrupt. They pervert our politics.
They are the same people who have not addressed gender, economic or First Nations justice. They stand in the way of equality and freedom from violence, regardless of your gender or sexuality.
I think a lot of Australians want to see action on these things.
2. I want to make a contribution
Six years after resigning from my university job, my life is full and I love it. My parents died in recent years and my kids are fully into their lives. I have energy, and now time, for something more – something that is politically useful.
My parent’s politics were a long way from mine, from an early age. But while my parents would not necessarily vote for me, they had strong views about paying attention to politics. In our house, it was your responsibility to be part of it. They often said people get the government they deserve, so pay attention. For me, now, that means running for the senate.
Of course there are many other ways to contribute - planting trees, growing food, voting, researching, teaching, protesting, raising kids and caring for others. The senate is just one way, but it is one I can do.
3. I want us to make different choices.
For me politics is all about choice. We are a rich country. But 1% of Australians now own more than the bottom 70%.
We can afford to do many things – not all things, but many things. We have to use our resources to narrow inequality and address our climate crisis. There are not many elections left before it will be too late to stop catastrophic global warming and more ferocious fires, to secure our water supply, and to prevent more plants and animals becoming extinct.
Like many, I want our country to make some choices that make our planet better for the long haul, that protect our future and improve people’s lives.
As we come out of a COVID recession, we should be focussing on a green recovery, including:
- growing renewables (not fostering gas)
- decarbonising our economy and transport
- greening our country
- fixing our education, child- and aged-care systems
- securing manufacturing and key supply chains
- improving the conditions of work.
I was born into a lucky generation that experienced free university education, affordable housing and decent, secure work. Very few of the young people in my life have access to these three things. Many young people go into an insecure labour market, with a sizeable HECS debt, knowing that it will be a long time before they can buy a house.
So free university education is priority for me, as is more secure work and fairer working conditions, and changes in housing and tax policy that make it easier and cheaper for young people to afford housing.
We need to tell the truth about our colonial past, to have a treaty with First Nations and listen to First Nation voices.
So why the Greens?
Because they are a party that:
- has been on the right side of history on climate & the environment - for decades
- will fight against inequality, and for LGBTQI+ and First Nations justice
- will not give in to fear and will stand up for human rights
- defends truth in politics, does not take corporate donations, and is not in anyone’s pocket - eg that of the fossil fuel industry.
How do I intend doing politics?
I know from my experience that political change is not won by great research – we’ve got plenty of that. And it’s not won by a fabulous senator, no matter how good.
It’s won through a movement of grassroots activism in combination with a strong, cohesive parliamentary team, informed by able and truthful communication.
I don’t know anyone who likes the way our politics is done. It’s nasty, attacking, factional and judgemental. It is often personal and untruthful.
I also know from my experience that life is short and it should be fun, not fearful, hateful or sour. Even politics.
So my number one priority while running for the senate is to have fun. I figure that will help us win, and it will draw people to our cause. But the truth is that these are secondary to the simple hope of enjoying myself.
I’d like to do my politics with an open-heart – that is, to act more out of love than hate - love for our planet, love for our natural world, and love for us - a bunch of battling, imperfect humans - who have done so much to damage to the planet, and each other - and now must do so much to heal it.
So, my politics comes from my heart. I want to work on solutions with people of good heart and shared values – where they exist.
I am a builder. And I believe we make positive change when we take people with us - through good ideas, talking, evidence, humour, respect and love.
That is what I am hoping to help do.
I grew up on a mallee farm at Lameroo in SA. I have worked in many jobs, from shearing sheds to the Reserve Bank, and as a mother and carer. I'm an Emeritus Professor at UniSA and worked in universities for more than 30 years. In 2006 I founded the Centre for Work + Life at UniSA and led a team of researchers studying how work affects Australian men, women and children and the households and communities in which we live.
I have actively campaigned for workers’ rights, for women, for faster action on climate change and against the ‘disposal’ of nuclear waste in South Australia.