GREENS A GO-GO! Richard Di Natale “hopeful & optimistic” his party can play meaningful role at election

FEDERAL ELECTION: The Greens held their official launch event for the May 18 election last week with a largely low-key affair in Canberra. True Crime News Weekly was seemingly the only media outlet in attendance at the event. Our correspondent, Chris Mordd Richards, with this exclusive report.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale, as well as Senators Rachel Siewert, Larissa Waters and Janet Rice were all in attendance to launch the federal campaign.

Canberra was chosen as the location for the launch due to the promising situation the ACT is in this election in the Senate and in the Seat of Canberra, with the Greens hopeful of picking up both seats on May 18.

Alongside the Greens hierarchy were candidates running in the ACT: Tim Hollo, Penny Kyburz, Emma Davidson, Andrew Braddock and Johnathan Davis.

100 of the party faithful were in attendance to hear them speak.

A local election expert True Crime News Weekly spoke to though – ANU political analyst James Frost – poured cold water on the Greens optimism, particularly in the Senate.

Based on the likely primary vote and preference flows, Frost concludes that “Zed [Seselja] is not dead” and the Liberals will likely retain one of the two Senate seats.

He says the Greens would have to increase their first preference vote by 50 per cent from 40,000 last election to at least 60,000 this election to stand a chance at the seat.

True Crime News Weekly spoke to Richard Di Natale briefly at the launch event and posed two key questions to him.

We asked the Greens leader what his response was to the Liberal preference deal struck with Clive Palmer, with the leader of the United Australia Party attempting to buy his way into Parliament (again) with tens of millions of dollars spent on political advertising. All while the Government has been forced to bail out workers from Palmer’s failed nickel refinery who he has left owing millions of dollars to.

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Di Natale said it was hardly a surprise a mining magnate like Palmer would sidle up to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Nationals coalition.

“They share the same interests,” Di Natale told True Crime News Weekly.

“The Liberal Party are basically the party of coal miners. They represent the coal industry.”

We then asked about the risk of certain minor party candidates to sitting Greens Senators up for re-election, in particular Larissa Waters in Queensland. Was it possible the Greens might lose as many seats as they might gain in this election?

In response, Di Natale suggested he was “hopeful and optimistic” that a prospective Labor government would work with a strong Greens party rather than cave in to the demands of Palmer, or other minor parties like One Nation.

During the 90-minute launch, many strong speeches were given as the Greens national campaign platform was laid out in full for the first time this election.

However, the standout by far was Senator Rachel Siewert, who spoke with fire and passion about health, education and social services.

Rachel spoke about new taxes on big corporations that are diverted into social security spending, raising Newstart & Youth Allowance by $75 a week, fully funding Medicare to include dental care. Free or low-cost access to all essential services, such childcare, mental health, disability services and aged care services. Fully funding public schools and free TAFE and University, as well as affordable and secure housing for all. Lastly treating drugs as a health issue not a law and order issue.

The other major policies announced by Janet Rice, Larissa Waters and Rachel Siewert was summed up by Larissa as “caring for people and caring for the planet rather than caring for corporate profits from donors“. The other specific standout policy announcements included (but were not limited to):

  • Transitioning out of coal and replacing it with renewables, a renewable export industry creating 180,000 new jobs, as well as 100% of all new vehicles sold being electric by 2030.
  • Establishing a Federal ICAC, banning corporate donations from mining, tobacco, alcohol, property developers, big pharma and gambling.
  • A $1,000 cap on donations per year [from a single entity], ending the revolving door of lobbyists in Parliament through a 5-year ban from working in the same industry you worked on in Parliament. All meetings with lobbyists publicly notified on a monthly basis.
  • Electricity, banking and the internet should be run as essential services, not run for profit. End privatisation of essential services. Establish a not for profit energy retailer, cap power prices, buy back essential electricity infrastructure and establish a not for profit bank to bring down prices.
  • Break up the big banks and cap executive pay, oppose the sell-off of the NBN and upgrade the NBN network to world class speeds.
  • Overhaul our environmental laws, tackle the waste crisis to make Australia a global leader in re-using and recycling products. Looking after our oceans, forests, rivers and reefs, by improving our network of marine parks, ending deforestation, saving the Great Barrier Reef, protecting the Murray Darling basin and stopping oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

Overall it is a long list of promises and hard to achieve outside of Government, even presuming the Green achieve balance of power in the Senate again. It is however refreshing to see long term vision applied to some of these issues rather than endless band-aid fixes that only get proposed at election time from the major two parties.

If the above is a vision you also share, then a vote for the Greens is right answer for you, although you probably already knew that before reading this article. Whether this vision the Greens have laid out is enough to increase their vote this election, when they have at best maintained it or even slipped slightly backwards at recent elections in the last few years, only time will tell.

Feature Image: Greens leader Richard Di Natale at the party’s election launch (Photo: Chris Mordd Richards)

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About Chris Mordd Richards 3 Articles
Chris Mordd Richards is an independent freelance student journalist, currently enrolled at the University of Canberra studying a Bachelor of Journalism. Chris has been writing and publishing regularly since 2016 for a variety of online news sites, including Independent Australia. Sine 2017, he has covered a number of events from Federal Parliament. You can follow him on Twitter at @Mordd_IndyMedia.

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