Sunday, August 25, 2013

Election 2013: Food and agriculture policy debated by Labor and Greens in Wills

From my election 2013 series - see my Wills 2013 seat reports at Nofibs.com.au


L to R: Kelvin Thomson (ALP), Tim Read (Greens), Margarita Windisch (Socialist Alliance)

Discussing Food and agriculture policy may seem a little bit incongruent in an inner urban electorate, but the forum held in Wills at the Coburg Farmers market on Saturday highlights that city people are concerned with farming and agricultural practices that affect everyone from farmers to city consumers.

The public forum was organised by Transition Coburg, initially with sitting Labor member Kelvin Thomson, Liberal candidate Shilpa Hegde and Greens candidate Tim Read. Shilpa Hegde withdrew from attending the forum with no reason given and Margarita Windisch from Socialist Alliance was added.

Friday, August 23, 2013

If threatened species could vote...Wills candidates discuss biodiversity

From my election 2013 series - see my Wills 2013 seat reports at Nofibs.com.au


Leadbeaters Possum is on the endangered list, presently being assessed for upgrading to critically endangered Photo: John Englart
Environment and biodiversity have hardly rated a mention by the mainstream media in this Federal election campaign. Bread and butter issues of economic stability and national leadership predominate. But the election is being held on September 7, threatened species day, with the World Wildlife Fund Australia launching a series of television ads on the impact of climate change on the environment.

Even many Common plants and animals are facing dramatic biodiversity decline from climate change. But as environmentalist Margaret Blakers argues in The Guardian, we do have time to turn it around if there is political will.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wills candidates agree on climate but differ on urgency and the coal menace

From my election 2013 series - see my Wills 2013 seat reports at Nofibs.com.au


Kelvin Thomson MP makes a point
On a cold and rainy Monday evening some of the voters in Wills, in Melbourne's inner northern suburbs gathered at the concert hall in Coburg Town Hall to hear what some of the candidates had to say on climate and sustainability issues. It was a reasonable turnout with a full hall with an estimated 140 people in attendance.

Climate Action Moreland, a local community group active on climate issues, started organising the event in July. Other community groups endorsed the candidate forum. The date was set, and then Rudd named the election date. All the candidates who had declared their intention to stand were invited to attend and speak.

Come the night, Kelvin Thomson, the sitting Labor MP, Tim Read (Greens), Margarita Windisch (Socialist Alliance) and Dean O'Callaghan (Independent associated with Save the Planet Party) all attended and spoke and answered questions from the audience.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Election 2013: Save the Planet Party launches climate emergency campaign

From my election 2013 series - see my Wills 2013 seat reports at Nofibs.com.au

A new party is emerging in Victoria at this election…well, nearly. The Save the Planet Party was proposed in March and formed in a matter of a few months this year to proclaim that there is a climate emergency and to advocate for rapid economic and social transition to ensure a safe future. It is a single-issue party focused on what we need to do to avoid the extreme consequences of climate change already in the pipeline and to avert even greater catastrophic consequences that may unfold over coming decades and centuries.

Even though the party has found over 500 registered electors and submitted their registration, it isn’t quite through the process mandated by the Australian Electoral Commission. So party candidates will not have the party name on the ballot paper this election. They will be regarded officially as independents. Candidates are likely to poll fairly low, but in at least two electorates their preferences may be crucial to the final result: the Labor marginal electorate of Corangamite and the seat of Melbourne held by the Greens.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Election 2013 called on Threatened Species Day – September 7

From my election 2013 series - original at Fawkner.org

The election has been called by Kevin Rudd at last for September 7th, one week before Julia Gillard's announced date. The campaign is on. September 7 also happens to be Threatened Species Day. It is perhaps significant as action on climate change, the future of clean energy programs and investment, and conservation and biodiversity programs are at risk.

Matted Flax lilly
Photo: Matted Flax lilly at Bababi Djinanang
One tends to think in the city that biodiversity is not a great concern, but here in Fawkner we have the Matted Flax-lily (Dianella amoena) at Bababi Djinanang native grassland. The species is nationally endangered although only listed as vulnerable in Victoria. We sometimes have platypus in Merri Creek and kangaroos that follow the creek down into the Fawkner grasslands.

These are wondrous sights to see in our urban environment along our creek nature reserves. Once degraded and used as little more than drains, many people have put incredible effort into re-vegetation and restoration of our creek environments, including Friends of Merri Creek and Merri Creek Management Committee.