The ACT is proof of what we’ve been saying all along: when Greens are in government, anything is possible. And with the ACT election coming up next month, it’s more important than ever to ensure they stay there.
By Clancy Barnard
A city 100% powered by clean, renewable electricity. Light rail. The strongest animal welfare laws in the country. Pill testing. Urban wetlands. Justice reinvestment. An Integrity Commission with teeth. A ban on developer donations.
These are just a handful of the outcomes the Greens have achieved over the past four years, both via our parliamentary agreement with Labor, and while holding ministerial positions in the ACT government.
Yet these achievements go further than policy changes. Twelve years of Greens in the balance of power has changed the nature of policy debate in the ACT. The Overton window has moved in our direction. The Canberra Liberals are trying to out-green the Greens, claiming that they will plant a million trees and invest in cycling infrastructure. Meanwhile, ACT Labor has made major announcements on climate action, mental health, and food waste recycling – all initiatives previously proposed by the Greens.
This is quite the contrast from the state of federal politics, where the old parties seem intent on collectively destroying our planet, increasing inequality, and furthering the neoliberal corporatisation of our democracy.
What explains this difference? To me, it’s refreshingly simple. We’ve proven that people love Greens policies, and the old parties are cottoning on – albeit in a very narrow sense.
The exciting thing is that this gives our team the chance to think bigger – stepping back from the day-to-day of campaigning to ask ourselves: “is this radical enough?” Starting this conversation has led to groundbreaking new initiatives, such as our ‘pay artists’ package.
It’s an inspiring thing to see our small, committed Greens team in the ACT, with a staff 1/10th of the size of Labor and Liberals, proudly putting out more policy, with more detail, than the old parties combined.
We Greens have so many big ideas, and no fear of making them bigger. When the Liberals talk about planting trees, we talk about protecting and restoring ecosystems. When Labor talks about subsidies for rooftop solar, we talk about using the transition to a zero-emissions economy to create a more just and equal society.
Some of our initiatives I’m particularly proud of include ending homelessness, implementing neighbourhood democracy that lets locals decide on investment for their community, and establishing an urban biodiversity sanctuary.
I am so proud that our party continues to be at the vanguard of implementing progressive politics in Australia. We know, and we’re proud that what we do here in Canberra makes a difference to the lives of those in our community, and proves what is possible to the rest of the country.
Clancy Barnard is the ACT Greens Campaign Manager.
Hero image: via Pixabay.