Who do we want to be as a country?
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least! As Adam Bandt points out, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has prompted some Tough but necessary conversations in this country: the transition to a republic, the urgent need for Treaty, and so much more.
By Adam Bandt
What an interesting couple of weeks we’ve had. Losing parliament to the death of the Queen meant we couldn’t progress some important issues, like action on political corruption with an ICAC bill, introducing our paid parental leave plan, and starting work on our transition authority to support coal and gas workers moving into other sectors.
All this coverage and all this time off parliament (don’t worry, I’m still working at the electorate office!) has got me thinking about who we want to be as a country and, in particular, listening to First Nations voices. Having our head of state chosen for us – especially a wealthy king living on the other side of the world – seems pretty bizarre in the year 2022.
I’m heartened to see so much support for transitioning to a republic. And we must first take the opportunity to start to right the wrongs of colonisation by making a Treaty with First Nations people. This should be a moment for energy and action. I really hope we don’t let it slide.
The next step in climate legislation
I’ve been spending this past little while preparing to fight new coal and gas projects when the safeguard mechanism legislation comes before the parliament. It will probably come as no surprise that this scheme, which was first designed by Tony Abbott and reanimated by the Albanese Labor government, stands to offer financial benefit to polluters without any real requirement for them to cut pollution.
But don’t take it from me: even the company who modelled Labor’s 43 percent target is blowing the whistle on it. We’re ready to fight – every tonne of coal and gas that stays in the ground reduces disastrous climate impacts, and it’s worth fighting for. There can be no new coal and gas mines if we’re to have a chance of stopping climate collapse.
Addressing the cost of living
If you’re renting or paying off a mortgage, you’re probably feeling the pinch with all these rate rises.
We’re pushing for a rent freeze, and we also know inflation continues to rise – and it’s rising even more rapidly for essentials like groceries and medicine.
It’s absolutely unconscionable that while most of the country is struggling, the Labor party are persisting with their stage 3 tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy: the top 1 percent get as much as the bottom 65 percent combined!
Earlier in the month in parliament, Brisbane MP Stephen Bates asked the treasurer to explain how these cuts were good for the economy, and the treasurer wasn’t able to offer a single answer. While Labor claims they “can’t afford” to lift the abysmal rate of Jobseeker, Austudy and the pensions, they’re handing out $244 billion to billionaires and the wealthy.
Labor is dismantling Australia’s progressive tax system and spending hundreds of billions on the wealthy when it should be getting dental into Medicare, making childcare free and building affordable housing.
Victoria prepares to go to the polls again
If you’re in Victoria, we’re heading into election season! Some candidates are announced, and some will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Victorian Labor government has recently signed off on gas drilling exploration at the 12 Apostles, and only a strong Greens presence will be able to hold them accountable. Sign up here to volunteer and join the movement.
Yours in the fight for climate and economic justice,
Hero image: Julian Meehan.
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