The Time Has Come To Vote Independent North Canberra
My name is Andrew Woodman and I am running as an Independent for the North Canberra electorate of Fenner (formerly ‘Fraser’) in the 2016 Federal Election. While this electorate has been a comfortable Labor seat since 1974, the seat need not remain a Labor seat anymore. The social conscience of the contemporary Canberra community extends beyond what incumbent Andrew Leigh has offered so far, and it is exciting to think about the potential of what the North Canberra and Jervis Bay region can grow into if we further embrace the qualities reflected in our community.
Thanks to the hearts and smarts of the people who live here, we have seen a growing discourse towards the greatest challenges of our times; climate change, people movement, an acceptance of diversity, mediocrity in parliament, as well as Australia’s lack of leadership on the international stage. These five realities will greatly influence the future of our world.
While a number of local Greens MPs have tried to show some leadership on climate change, the reality is that to avoid the worst impacts on climate change, the evidence from scientists around the world shows that we need to move towards zero fossil fuel use much faster than what was proposed in the Paris climate agreement. It does not help our cause that the Australian Labor Party’s Mr Leigh feels he has the luxury of focusing on the extent to which the Liberal Party of Australia ‘dithers’ on climate change, when Mr Leigh clearly does so himself. Crucially, in creating a low carbon society, the solutions to such climate change risks in fact provide the most significant development and investment opportunity the world has ever seen. These solutions are centred on genuine sustainability and quality of life, not on the unsustainable approaches that have led to the current situation.
When it comes to people movement, on top of the fact that there are already a countless number of climate change refugees in the world today, there are of course a phenomenal number of people displaced by world conflicts. Two months ago I watched on with pride as more than 1500 people packed out Llewellyn Hall, right in the heart of Canberra, to hear the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, speak with immense insight on the nature of Australia’s inability to demonstrate leadership on this fundamental 21st challenge century. It is truly unhelpful, that in a city so on the pulse of the extent to which our country lacks contemporary leadership, that, as with climate change, the people of North Canberra are represented by an MP who has not been able to represent such foresight and heart in relation to people movement. This is even more surprising given that, as with climate change, a number of local labor MPs have shown a greater willingness to at least bring forward some creative solutions to the region’s assistance to refugees, such as the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV). Why should Canberra’s ‘hearts and smarts’, be undermined at the Federal level.
Certainly, when it comes to the acceptance of diversity, the North Canberra region is in many respects at the forefront of societal progress. This is as evident in the events held and spaces created, on either side of Lake Burley Griffin, during recent years, as it is in some of the territory’s recent legislative enactments. While discussion of the possibility of a Bill of Rights has never gained firm traction at the Federal level in this country, the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT), as well as the The Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013 (ACT), have hinted at the level of contemporary leadership and foresight that the region has been willing to explore. Nevertheless, the overall potential of this legislation has been affected by poor drafting (in the case of the Marriage Equality Act), or, in the case of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT), a limited ability to more fundamentally uphold the people it was most designed to support and protect. As the preamble of the Human Rights Act so crucially reminds us, “although human rights belong to all individuals, they have special significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples—the first owners of this land, members of its most enduring cultures, and individuals for whom the issue of rights protection has great and continuing importance”. The outrageous spike in the already high indigenous prison rates in this region epitomises the fundamental inability of the leaders in this region, over the last 12 years, to make genuine progress on what the Human Rights Act set out to uphold.
North Canberra and Jervis Bay need a representative at the Federal Level with the ability to better represent the contemporary aspirations of this awesome community, our desire for a genuinely sustainable, prosperous and progressive Australia. Someone with a more proactive approach, someone not held back by ‘Major Party Politics’. There is simply no need to retain the incumbent Minister, particularly given the extent to which he has focused on ‘feeling accomplished’ through dovetailing off the relative successes and actions of local labor party politics and campaigning, at the expense of innovative, creative policy output at the federal level, and where this electorate and country need it most.
Overarchingly, the lack of contemporary leadership at the Federal level, from successive Australian governments, and on both the domestic and international stage, is such that it is imperative for a new generation of leaders to step into the breach. That the Greens have focused too much on being a ‘Party of Protest’ and have failed to provide sufficient strategic direction and principles to be genuinely viewed as a viable alternative, has heightened the necessity for new blood.
For a country so proud of our ANZAC tradition, our multiculturalism and mateship, thanks to the overall ineptitude of the political decisions and dynamics of the past 15 years, including a lack of foresight, Australia has become a country predicated on fear and ‘standstill politics’; a country defined by a style of politics that is rapidly losing the faith of the people of our electorate, young and old. Whether it be the significant mediocrity that has occurred in relation to enterprise bargaining agreements in Canberra, or the significant misuse of defence spending, when we could achieve so much more through spending so much less, there are simply a whole gamut of issues for which recent Australian Governments have failed to connect many dots. The wellbeing of our society and future depends on a fresh approach.
Vote Independent this 2nd July North Canberra and Jervis Bay. Canberra can be the leader that Australia can be.
Authorised by Andrew Woodman (Independent Candidate for Fenner)
(You can of course find out more about my policy platform at http://www.andrewwoodman.com. Thankyou for the wonderful engagement so far!).
Authorised by Andrew Woodman
14 Arthaldo Court, Nicholls 2913