There are some strange ideas about ‘public services’ out there these days. More and more people seem to have the attitude that our public transport, public hospitals, and state schools are for the poor – often with the implication that people who use them are freeloading. Somehow, money spent on public services is seen as less worth-while than money spent to support private enterprise: we have tax breaks for private health cover and government funds channeled into private schools. Governments spend heavily on private freeways for private cars saying this generates jobs, but trams and trains are somehow seen as financial burdens that obstructs the traffic – even if tens of thousands use them to get to work.
Who says this stuff? You read it in the Murdoch press. I hear it from some of my medical colleagues. You hear it all the time from the Liberal MPs currently in charge in Canberra and even occasionally from the Liberals snoozing in Spring St.
But I don’t hear much of this around Brunswick and Coburg. People I meet here, like my neighbours or parents at the local primary school, have very different attitudes. They value public services and want them to be good enough for everyone to use. In Brunswick, the nicest way to get into town is on the tram (if you can fit) or by train (if you haven’t missed it). People ride bikes on the road because, well, we’ve a right to be there too. We want to send our kids to the good local public schools, and we don’t feel the need for fancy food in a private hospital if we’re sick. The people I meet know that we’re in this together. That’s not just about our city and our streets either – I hear it about global issues too, like climate change where people want to act, not look the other way.
The people I meet know many of the solutions are right in front of us, but are being ignored by the old parties. They’re not going to fall for the scare campaigns by Abbott and his cronies, or the ALP that just won’t listen to what we’re saying. They know we need a new kind of politics that puts people first.
That’s why the Greens are coming up fast in Brunswick, and in neighbouring suburbs of Northcote, Melbourne, and Richmond, to name just a few. These are progressive neighbourhoods and more and more people want their vote to show that.
I stood for the Greens in the federal election last year because I believe in good quality public services and I want real action on climate change and the environment. And since we have to put up with conservatives in Canberra for two more years, the best place to act is here in Victoria this spring.
The state election is on 29 November and all the Greens need is a 3.5% swing to win Brunswick. So your vote matters, and that means what you care about matters.
Our campaign is running on small donations so you won’t be seeing me on TV. Instead I hope to meet and talk to voters, one to one, in the street, at front doors and at meetings.
I believe Greens’ policies best reflect the values of the people in Brunswick. If you agree, sign up to get in touch with our campaign. And keep an eye on this blog!