The last year in politics, locally and across the globe, has reminded us that Greens values are needed more urgently than ever.
By Senator Janet Rice
Onwards and upwards
The last year in politics, locally and across the globe, has reminded us that Greens values are needed more urgently than ever. Donald Trump, the far-right's persistence, climate change, growing inequality, war and famine, and displaced people seeking asylum.
Yet in Australia our government lacks the spine to act on these challenges and instead they govern for their big business mates.
We've had some challenges in 2017, but it's important to focus on the enormous positives and great results that we've achieved this year, ensuring we're well placed for 2018 and the upcoming federal election – whenever that may be!
The Greens continue to be a consistent voice for equality in the parliament and I remain hopeful that we'll soon achieve marriage equality.
We got rid of the Abbott thought-bubble of a plebiscite on marriage once and we're gearing up to do it again.
Our Greens members and elected reps at all levels of government, across Australia, are clear voices for equality, part of a movement that won't be held back by right-wing dinosaurs in the major parties. I'm hoping that by the time you read this, we'll have had a free vote in parliament and all LGBTIQ people are able to say 'I do' to the person they love.
As LGBTIQ spokesperson federally, I'm also focused on addressing persistent discrimination and inequality that exists beyond marriage. I work closely with trans, gender diverse and non-binary people and their communities, and I'm hopeful we can achieve important reforms like removing barriers to young people who wish to access hormone treatments.
I'm also committed to being a voice for intersex people in Australia and advocating for PrEP medication being made available to eradicate HIV transmission among LGBTIQ people.
In my work on transport, I'm working with communities on the ground to stand up against massive private toll roads that will do nothing to solve congestion, will increase emissions and will put pressure on people already struggling to make ends meet.
Kudos to all of you who are fighting the major campaigns against WestConnex, the West Gate Tunnel toll road and other mega-roads. We take inspiration from the campaigns that fought off East West Link in Melbourne and Roe 8 in Western Australia.
I want to help build a zero carbon transport future for Australia – that means federal investment in public transport that's not just piecemeal, federal funds for bikes, stringent emissions standards and an ambitious target for electric vehicles. Together we can push this government to act on all of this!
I want to see our precious forests protected – in that area of our work, I'm making sure the Greens are bringing a vision to our parliament that sees our native forests valued for their inherent beauty, wildlife habitat and carbon storage values, as well as their great potential to boost regional tourism.
I'm determined to make sure our broken logging laws, known as 'Regional Forest Agreements', are not rolled over by the Turnbull government.
It's vital that our forests, and the animals that call them home, aren't driven extinct. Our children and grandchildren won't forgive us!
It might be frustrating with our current government and a weak Labor opposition, but slowly and surely we are kicking goals. I extend my sincere thanks to my colleagues in the federal party room, with special mentions to Scott and Larissa – your hard work, friendship and legacy will not be forgotten, and I thank you both from the bottom of my heart.
Finally, I'd like to save my biggest thanks to you, our Greens members, supporters and volunteers! We couldn't do it without you and we wouldn't have Greens voices in our nation's Parliament working towards a fairer, more sustainable society without the time, effort and support you contribute.