vote independently and help solve climate change

Support for NSW’s range of independent candidates has come from the usual suspects: climate scientists, integrity activists, and tired middle-aged people (my people). But when a member of the military tells you to vote for Zali Steggall, Kylea Tink and Allegraspender, it grabs my attention.

And not just any military. In the midst of a fuel safety conference in Sydney yesterday, retired chief of the Australian Defense Force, Admiral Chris Barrie, lifted the safety catch and recounted the current state of federal policy.

Still headed at 76, the Vietnam veteran urged listeners to vote for independent candidates, saying this was the most important election of his life.

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“I think voters across Australia need to take responsibility for how they cast their vote. If the next Parliament fails to tackle climate change effectively, we will not have the opportunity to recover from this dire situation in 2025.

“Furthermore, the legacy we leave to future generations of Australians will be ugly and there is no one we can blame for it but ourselves.”

Speaking at the Smart Energy Council’s Emergency Fuel Summit in Sydney, the retired Admiral said climate change is our greatest threat.

“We believe climate change is now the greatest threat to Australia’s future and security,” said Barrie.

“Managing climate change is a very important security issue. It is in this context that I would say that the government’s primary responsibility is towards the safety of the people, ”she said.

Speaking at the conference, Allegraspender, the independent candidate for Sydney’s Wentworth, said that because 90% of Australia’s fuel was imported, we only had “a few days” of refueling. The war in Ukraine and the recent changes in the Pacific have made us very vulnerable, he said.

After that invigorating match, he was at the Sydney Cricket Ground for Sky News’s “people’s forum” with his liberal opponent, Dave Sharma, holding the seat by a 1.3% margin.

The forum, in which both candidates answered questions from a select audience of “undecided voters”, was fascinating. I don’t know if Sky News checked the questions or if Wentworth’s voters were unusually perceptive, but the standard was way above the usual fussy about development (a state issue) or immigration (codified racism).

Dave Sharma and Allegraspender (image: supplied)

A question about the two candidates’ adoption of solar panels and electric vehicles (EVs) yielded insights into their personal lives. Neither of them has solar panels: Sharma because she lives in a row house and spends because his apartment has “layer problems”.

Sharma said he has a government-supplied car and a 125cc Vespa; spender said he has a hybrid car, not an EV, because he doesn’t have a garage to put the charger in. With 60% of Wentworth residents living in condominiums, access to chargers is a major obstacle to electric vehicle adoption, she said.

In fact, Wentworth has the most Tesla and Range Rovers in the country, Sharma said, in news that won’t surprise anyone who has tried driving along New South Head Road during school retreat.

Another good question came from a woman named Michelle, who pointed out that with two competent and moderate candidates, it is a shame that only one of them made it into Parliament. You are right – in so many constituencies, we have a Hobson choice between 1) Union officer and friend of Bill and 2) Hack from the party that never had a real job – just vote for the least offensive. But here in Wentworth, they have two highly educated candidates who have had proper jobs and really seem to have something to contribute.

The third candidate, Labor’s Tim Murray, is also an absolutely decent neighborhood who is fluent in Mandarin, works as an investment analyst, and campaigns for affordable housing and public education.

As befits the occasion, the two candidates were very polite to each other, the knives only came out when someone asked the spendthrift what part of the politics he would have supported in case of suspension of Parliament.

“I haven’t made a decision,” he said. “It depends on what happens at the negotiating table [on] the day.”

“I am open to working with both sides of the government.”

This infuriated Sharma, who visibly stiffened. “If you are not honest with the electorate now and you tell them which party you will support, I think you are dishonest with them. I think you owe the audience to tell them, ”he snapped.

Asked about Zali Steggall’s comment that it would have been easier to support a liberal party without Scott Morrison at the helm, Spender tactfully replied: “I’ve never met Scott Morrison, I’ve never had anything to do with him.”

Which reminded me of Gareth Evans’ joke about why people immediately disliked Bronwyn Bishop – because he “saved time”.

There are four weeks and one day to election day, which means we are approaching the mid-campaign crisis. Those women in teal shirts are great, but it might be time for the campaigns to become a man and bring in Admiral Barrie, ordering us, “Vote for the independents, or whatever.” Yes yes sir.

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Peter Fray

Peter Fray
Chief Editor

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