Here at home, we endured our third hottest year on record, and Queensland and New South Wales recorded 2017 as their hottest year ever. We saw our national politics turn into a circus over citizenship, the old parties continued their cruelty towards the men they’ve locked up on Manus and the government unnecessarily put LGBTIQ+ Australians through months of divisive and harmful debate through the marriage equality postal survey. In the Greens, we lost two giants from our Federal Parliamentary team in Scott and Larissa.
But it would be wrong to chalk 2017 up as a year we should all just forget.
2017 saw the Greens be praised as the only party with integrity, following Scott and Larissa’s decisions to resign quickly after they learnt news of their citizenship status. Jordon-Steele John and Andrew Bartlett, two incredible campaigners, joined our Parliamentary Team -- with Jordon as the youngest Senator ever elected! Victoria elected its first ever Aboriginal woman -- our very own Greens MP Lidia Thorpe, and Michael Berkman became the first Greens MP elected to the Queensland Parliament. And we achieved some fantastic policy wins from Labor State Governments in the process: from Vic Labor delivering a raft of progressive changes including major rental rights in the hope of keeping Northcote, and Qld Labor back-flipping on the Adani NAIF funding when they discovered they could lose their Deputy Premier.
And -- after years of campaigning led by so many members of the LGBTIQ+ community -- in 2017 we finally achieved marriage equality in Australia!
Looking forward to 2018, we have state elections coming up in South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. And we could be going to a by-election in Batman and potentially the whole Federal Election too. Throughout these election campaigns, and in Parliaments and communities across the country, the Greens will continue our fight for a cleaner, fairer and smarter future for everyone.
We’ve already hit the ground running, helping to kick off a national conversation about listening to First Nations people and changing the date of Australia Day.
But we have so much more to do.
We must fix our democracy, starting with establishing a National ICAC and banning political donations from big corporations. We must hold the government to account in the Senate by continuing to block their bad legislation that would make inequality even worse, like giving massive tax cuts to the big end of town while so many families are struggling to put meals on the table; and we must continue our campaign to see the rapid transition from dirty coal to clean renewables, starting with stopping the Adani coal mine.
I look forward to working with members and supporters around the country to take the power back from big corporations and vested interests and in doing so, end the growing inequality and vast environmental destruction that threatens to destroy everything we value as a community.
Over coming months, I’ll be sharing more of our plans to campaign on these big issues but until then, I hope everyone has managed a rest and some downtime over the holiday period -- 2018 is going to be massive and to keep up these wins we’re going to need you.