On Thursday night I was one of many Senate Candidate hopefuls who attended a forum hosted by GetUp at Adelaide Uni.
GetUp is an independent, grass-roots community advocacy organisation which aims to build a more progressive Australia by giving everyday Australians the opportunity to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues.
I had two minutes to ‘sell’ my 'product' and I wanted to share some of those words with you. I have also included additional commentary which I did not have time to articulate on the night.
Here's an excerpt.
To truly represent the views of South Australians, I have taken to the road less travelled.
In the past weeks, I have driven more than 15,000km and have traversed about half of our beautiful state.
I have listened to those whom I hope to represent in the Senate.
People spoke to me about:
· business challenges
· their concerns around foreign ownership of our arable land
· the threat this could cause to our food and water security
· and they shared their concerns about our economy and our nation’s significant debt.
What I would bring to the Senate would not be a law degree or an economics degree but rather life lessons learned from:
· working for a living in grassroots public service
· being a mother
· being an industry lobbyist
· and having recent and relevant experience at negotiating with those on all sides of government
It is impossible to cover off in 2 minutes what I have learned and achieved in a few weeks by listening intently, however I can offer a snapshot:
· Emergency Services Volunteers and their ‘day job’ employers would support measures in the form of tax concessions, so they are not out of pocket when they volunteer.
· The National Rural Women’s Coalition is advocating for RURAL PROOFING – a process of checking the effect that all policies and programs could have on rural communities.
· For the wild-harvest sector of the Seafood Industry, maintenance of the fuel levy rebate is vitally important to profitability and continued viability.
· Beekeepers, Martin & Lorraine Gilbert shared their passion and their concern for their industry. A report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation from last year estimated the value of pollination services from honey bees at $1.7 billion in Australia.
· The Psychologists Association, mindful of mental health and wellbeing are seeking to reinstate the Better Access program sessions for Psychological Services
· Rates of Centrelink Income support need to be increased to lift recipients out of poverty.
· We must continue to support innovations that improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.
· Most are appalled at both the Government’s and the coalition’s policy in processing asylum seekers.
· Resoundingly though, I heard over and over again – without our environment there is no economy
While some candidates have made token visits, flying in and flying out of regional centres, making comments about roads and other matters, we have been driving those roads, stopping along the way to discuss the issues that concern the people of South Australia.
While most candidates are city-centric and some only have one platform, we have been talking to the people who produce a significant part of the state’s income, be that from harvesting the land or harvesting the sea. We have been listening.
With the sheer magnitude of the issues I have learned about I feel like the ‘shadow representative for everything!”
So…if elected to the Senate, I pledge to be just and to put our State, its people and more broadly, all Australians at the centre of everything I do.
A vote for our unendorsed group, in Group L, above the line on the Senate Ballot Paper is the Logical choice.