The Australian Greens have been leading the political discussion since we started. Thanks to people like you, the future is bright – but there’s still a whole lot left to do.
BY ADAM BANDT
Leader of the Australian Greens
t is a pleasure and a privilege to welcome you to this final edition of Green Magazine for the year: a look back at 2022, a period that has been a monumental year for progressive change, but one that also represents an incredible milestone for the Victorian Greens. Over the past 30 years, the Greens have become the most powerful insurgent force in Australian politics.
The Australian Greens have been leading the political discussion since we started. When I was elected to Parliament in 2010, Labor and Liberal were blocking Greens’ bills that would have legalised marriage equality. But we kept fighting for change. Working both inside and outside parliament, alongside community groups and grassroots campaigns, we passed marriage equality in 2017.
The Greens continue to be proud of our long track record of being the strongest advocates for LGBTIQA+ rights at all levels of parliament, and were the only party to oppose the Liberals’ hateful Religious Discrimination Bill, seeing it knocked off the federal agenda ahead of this year’s election.
For years, both the Labor and the Liberal parties fought against the need for an ICAC – now, we’ve pushed both to support an anti-corruption watchdog. Now that it's on the parliament’s legislative agenda, the Greens are pushing the Labor government to ensure their model for a NACC has the teeth necessary to stop corruption.
When the Greens first said that we needed to stop opening new coal mines, the old parties were in uproar. Now, the majority of Australians back the Greens’ plan for no new coal mines, and Labor is forced to hide their support for more fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are inarguably on their way out. The Greens are leading the way past coal and gas – with our new Queensland Senator Penny Allman-Payne introducing the National Energy Transition Authority Bill in September, expanding upon our election plan to support coal and gas communities with the upcoming change. It’s now before a Senate committee that will report to parliament early next year.
here are always new fights. We’re currently hard at work pushing the government to put dental and mental health into Medicare. When in minority government, we secured government funded dental care for kids, now we’ve got to finish the job. There is no good reason why you can go to the hospital for a broken bone without paying a cent, but need to take out a loan to fix a chipped tooth.
The Greens have led the charge on these and countless other policies that are now considered mainstream. The major parties are constantly playing catch-up – because they’re listening to their big corporate donors, not to people like you.
“The Greens have led the charge on countless policies that are now considered mainstream.”
Other Green parties around the world have been learning from our victories, learning about how we’re able to craft progressive policy that works, build a campaign movement behind us, and get legislation passed that makes people’s everyday lives a bit easier.
Since we started, we’ve grown from small beginnings to a significant movement and parliamentary party. We have Greens ministers in the ACT Government, and it’s no coincidence that the ACT is leading the rest of the country on clean energy!
After this year’s federal election, our huge Party Room now has a record 16 MPs, nine of whom are women. I’m thrilled to be working with all of them, including Senator Mehreen Faruqi as Deputy Leader and the rest of our outstanding leadership team.
In the spirit of these unprecedented times we helped create, we got a swing towards us in a change of government election. Now we have momentum and we are working hard to make change happen for the almost two million people who voted for us.
s you read this, energised campaigns are keeping the momentum going in local branches and for state elections across the country. At time of writing, the Greens are campaigning strongly in the Victorian state election, with thousands of excited volunteers working to put more Greens in lower house seats, like Gabrielle de Vietri in Richmond and Campbell Gome in Northcote, as well as re-electing Ellen Sandell in Melbourne, Tim Read in Brunswick, and Sam Hibbins in Prahran.
Already, people are knocking on doors in New South Wales, aiming to turf out the tired and crooked Liberal NSW Government and put the Greens into balance of power. I’m excited - the winds of change are sweeping across the country.
After the election, the need for the Greens is more visible than ever. Despite the country being ravaged by climate-fuelled floods, the Labor government is doubling down on their support of the 114 new coal and gas projects in the pipeline. While the storm clouds of recession are circling, Labor is failing to undertake cost of living reforms that we know we need, because they won’t take on the big corporations.
“I’m excited – the winds of change are sweeping across the country.”
Under Labor’s first budget, wages go backwards and then flatline, unemployment rises, rents keep skyrocketing, and bills will too. The government continues to refuse to raise JobSeeker – abandoning the most vulnerable among us in their first budget and leaving three million Australians in poverty – all during a cost of living crisis that is only set to worsen in the year ahead. Meanwhile, measures like putting dental and mental health into Medicare are missing, and cost of living measures on childcare, housing, and health are being delayed to 2024. These could be funded with the $254 billion funding Labor is spending on its stage three tax cuts.
The budget also includes at least $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, including $1.9 billion to expand the gas industry. Meanwhile, in the middle of a gas boom, the government’s failed oil and gas tax is receiving $450 million less than expected.
If Labor and the Liberals stop working together, and the government instead decides to work with the Greens and in the interests of everyday people, we can pass real reforms to political donations, and stop the millions of dark and dirty money flowing into the major parties. When corporations can’t buy politicians, we can get some good stuff done that benefits people’s daily lives.
Together, the Parliament and the people can finally deliver justice for First Nations people, including real progress on truth and treaty in this Parliament. Senator Lidia Thorpe has already made headway here, with Labor committing to funding in October’s budget.
hatever you were able to do to help fight for a better future over these last 30 years, thank you. Whether you hung a sign on your fence, knocked on doors, chipped into a campaign, or talked to your neighbours about progressive politics: every little bit helped get this country closer to a kinder, fairer future.
Thanks to you, we’ve achieved so much – but we can’t stop here. The future is bright, but there’s a whole lot left to do. We have the right people to get us there, and we’re just getting started.
Yours in hope,