“To nominate today has been a big decision. I have been an activist for 30 years. Like Zoe Daniels, the Voices candidate for Goldstein, I never aspired to be a politician. I spoke with Zoe last week, and we both agree it’s time for people who care about our country’s future to step up and be counted.
As some of you may know, I have been an aged care advocate for the past 6 years. What some of you may not know is that I have been a climate activist since 1992 –when my university lecturer shocked all his undergraduate students with his grave predictions unless serious action was taken. It is unforgiveable that all political parties – including the Greens – who know the evidence and understand the science to have chosen to politicise climate action.
I’m sure it’s clear to everyone here today that our political system is broken. The 2 party system of dumb and dumber has played games with our grandchildren’s futures. Our current government is the worst government we have had in my lifetime – and we must do everything we can to make sure it goes into the dust bin of history. This election will be won on preferences. I hope all independents agree to give preferences to each other and put Liberals last.
I joined Voices of Mornington Peninsula (VMP) in February last year after Michael Stephens invited me to a meeting. I declined subsequent invitations to be on the board because I wanted to be involved in the Vote Greg Hunt Out campaign – which obviously was very successful.
At the Balnaring and Dromana meetings, I spoke in favour of having a candidate because I believe that is the best way to engage everyone on the peninsula in democracy. Without a candidate, I think we will be able to engage those who are already politically engaged (like those of us here today). But the challenge is to also engage those who are currently disengaged. I think we need a candidate to do this.
Last night, I spoke with Jarrod Troutbeck. He helped me to galvanise my thinking about why I am nominating to be the Voices candidate. Although helping to grow Voices is a part of this decision. The major reason is to get into the room with the grown ups. After having been a feminist activist for climate, indigenous, refugees, mental health and most recently aged care, I want a seat at the table where I can influence decisions.
Many think we don’t have time to get a campaign up and running. So I will leave you with an anecdote from the last federal election. During the campaign, I had a meeting with Fiona Patten about aged care. The following day, she phoned to ask me if I would be Reason’s candidate for Cooper. I agreed on the condition that I wrote Reason Party’s aged care policies. For 3 weeks, I worked day and night campaigning, engaging with the community and attending community forums. I loved the community engagement. But what I loved the most was debating policies with ALP, Liberals, Greens, Socialists and United Australia Party.
If we decide today not to have a candidate, I will be VMP’s community engagement co-ordinator with bells on. I will do my best to engage as many people as possible in our organisation. If you decide to have me as your candidate I will give the election a red hot go starting tomorrow with a strategy meeting on my deck, the same place where I first became involved in VMP.”
Speech to members of Voices of Mornington Peninsula