In our recent State Goverment Election, the Liberal Party lost power. Unsurprisingly, given the state of the State economically, socially and the fact that ‘The People’ also voted in protest against the Federal Liberal Government’s unfair, unjust and backward policies.
Now I live in the safe Labor seat of Northcote. But I also volunteer and am a member of The Greens Party. Yes, I also have a veggie garden, worm farm and a compost bin. If I could, I would have chooks too, but I am too scared to ask the landlord. I recycle. I buy organic and I am a vegetarian.
Where I live, I believe that there is a growing number of informed, educated and non partisan members of the public. (Possibly also with veggie gardens, compost bins and some chooks!) These people think beyond our own personal interests. They try to think of ‘The Greater Good’ and how we can, as a society, be just, fair and move toward a lifestyle which is more sustainable. They might even be vegetarians – or at the very least try to eat less meat! They think before they consume.
The Labor Party basically knew they had the election in the bag – but just to be safe – in my opinion – they started a negative media campaign against The Greens – to try to guarantee there would not be too great a swing against them in the ‘Safe’ Labor Seats, such as mine.
So, when I received a personally addressed letter in the mail a week before election day, accusing The Greens of not being able to ‘fix’ an ongoing commuting problem in my electorate, I REALLY got annoyed.
They tried to bribe me with a guarantee that my commuting travel time – to and from work – would be cut by at least 5 minutes if I voted for them and not The Greens – who couldn’t apparently care less about how long it takes me to get to work in the morning or back home to my family.
My blood BOILING – I sat down at the computer and wrote a letter to my Local Member – telling it as I saw it – How DARE they try to BRIBE me?
Here is my letter –
“Dear Mr Feeney,
Thank-you for your letter received by post in today’s mail, highlighting your plans to fix the Chandler Highway Bridge.
While your plans are made with the best intentions, I would like to highlight that as a voter, this issue is not number 1 on my list of priorities.
I consider sufficient funding is allocated to the development of roads and infrastructure supporting car drivers. Vic Roads is a statutory body that received huge amounts of road funding and traffic congestion will remain a problem until funding is provided to other modes of transport.
I believe there needs to be greater investment into public transport and in supporting the provision of infrastructure that is safe and functional for alternative modes of transport, such as cycling.
I am VERY tired of hearing about every level of government prioritising one type of road user, the private car driver, over all other modes of transport as well as the environment and our cultural heritage.
I note that the Chandler Highway bridge was originally intended as a railway bridge and I would support the re-instatement of that rail line, to encourage those who need to travel from the northern suburbs to the southern and eastern suburbs (and vice versa) to use a more sustainable transport mode and allow for that choice to be available as a priority over the private car.
I also note that the bridge is heritage listed and would be interested in seeing how you plan to address the impacts a duplicate of the bridge will have on the heritage character.
Not only is the bridge of heritage significance but the Yarra River environs below it is covered with an ESO and is also of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage significance. I hope you are considering the impact of your proposed duplication on the natural environment of the Yarra River as well as the remaining areas of cultural heritage of the people of the Kulin Nation.
While your letter is aimed at my personal benefits and individualistic consumer choice as a car user, I would prefer my local MP considering the greater good and the relevant and important issues relating to the sustainability of our city.
Currently there is a very limited transport choice from north to south and east and it is my view that we should be progressive (like countries in Europe) in providing appropriate and sustainable transport options rather than focusing on private car users. The fact that our ancestors built a rail line where the Chandler bridge is, well over 100 years ago, is evidence of the foresight that they had. I would encourage you to also have such foresight.
I also believe its time for our government, at all levels, to be proactive in focusing on achieving environmental as well as social sustainability and be respectful of the last remaining areas of aboriginal cultural significance as well as environmental significance in our urbanised city.
This issue is well beyond whether I would like to wipe 5 minutes off my travel time. I would appreciate when you invest time, resources and postage for your letter writing to me, and other constituents, that you treat us as intelligent and informed individuals interested in improving our country as a whole.
Please do not try to convince me that you can benefit me personally on such a selfish consumer level single issue when there are so many more important issues we need to consider for our city and county’s sustainable future.
I am waiting for our politicians to show the level of foresight our ancestors had and start planning for a sustainable city and country as a whole.
The Greens had a swing of 4.2% in this “Safe” Labor seat on election day – 43.9% of the vote – 17,067 people voted for them.
Labor had a total of 21,805 people vote for them.
Yes, Labor won – but their campaigning and their policy making needs a REAL re-think.
We are NOT ill-informed. We want real policies. Real action to fix the REAL fundamental issues facing our society.
We are many. And we ARE watching. And we WILL hold you to account.