Hard on the heels of the federal election, the Northern Territory goes to the polls again on August 27 for its Territory election.
After the national attention on treatment of kids in detention, the Country Liberal Party's approval rating is at an historic low. This means all six NT Greens candidates have a chance to make a difference this election, including a strong chance to unseat NT Chief Minister Adam Giles in Braitling.
The Greens candidate for Braitling, Dalton Dupuy, says the current NT government, led by Adam Giles, “has been covering up these offences and is unfit to lead”.
“There is no justifiable reason to torture and abuse children in the care of the state,” he says. “The brutality demonstrated and approved by the Territory government shows they have no moral compass and means they have to go.”
Tear it down
The Greens argue that the mismanagement of justice from the Giles government calls for a total overhaul of the system and replacement with culturally appropriate services.
“To move forward on this issue, governments need to work with Aboriginal people,” says Vincent Forrester, Greens candidate for Namatjira. “We need justice reinvestment, with proper funding going to all the programs that are helping keep Aboriginal people out of jail. The government has been stripping that funding. Organisations need it back, and more. We need to stop the abuse. There are better ways than locking people up.”
“We won the right to vote. And if the federal government won’t dismiss Adam Giles and his party, we can use that right to do it ourselves this election,” he says.
Micro-grids not methane
The other issue facing the Territory, as in so many other places around Australia, is the threat of fracking.
"Under the CLP and Labor, 85% of the Territory has been approved for fracking exploration. The CLP wants to drill 50,000 bores, frack each up to 10 times, using 11-34 million litres of water per frack. This could seriously deplete and contaminate our water supply. We want to preserve clean, healthy water for our children and grandchildren. That means no fracking," says Dalton Dupuy, Greens Candidate for Braitling.
By contrast, the Greens want to reinvigorate the home solar subsidy and rebates, giving homeowners the power to generate their own electricity and take control of their environmental responsibilities.
"The solar industry is built on proven technologies,” says Hayden Bray, the Greens candidate for the Palmerston seat of Drysdale. “Micro-grids with solar concentrator arrays already power a few of the larger remote NT communities. The Greens want to deliver environmentally clean and sustainable energy projects to all Territorians."
On the ground
The Territory campaign is in full swing, but the distances to cover are vast. The electorate of Namatjira alone would take in all of Victoria and most of the area up to Sydney. Most voters in this electorate are Indigenous people from at least 17 different language groups. Mostly without mobile phone reception or letterboxes, the best way for our candidate, Vincent Forrester, to reach people is by driving over 3,000km worth of bumpy, remote bush tracks and packing his swag!
We’re running fantastic candidates from the South of the Territory to the Top End; we’ve got two great campaign managers and around 50 volunteers who’ve already put in hundreds of hours driving to remote communities, talking with voters, running stalls at community markets and translating radio messages into Indigenous languages. We’ve got anti-fracking placards in language that we’re putting up from Alice to Kakadu and beyond.
It’s been a long campaign when you factor in the Federal election too, but we’re nearing the finish line.
What you can do
If you live in the Territory or even if you’re just visiting, we’d love for you to get involved. Volunteer today!
If not, think about everyone you know who does live in the Territory — everyone’s got someone, whether it’s a cousin or a childhood friend or that guy you met on holidays who’s now just a Facebook friend. Tell them to vote Greens on August 27 for the sake of our precious environment and our precious children.
And if you genuinely don’t know anyone living up north, you can always pitch in to help fund our campaign team, our community outreach work or our Bush Caravan.