Working with the community


Another year of politics has brought another year of capitulations to the hard-right backbench by Malcolm Turnbull.

By Adam Bandt

Another year of politics has brought another year of capitulations to the hard-right backbench by Malcolm Turnbull. Bill Shorten has been just as disappointing, and is in lock-step with the government on the climate-destroying Adani mine and locking up and torturing people seeking asylum. For another year, The Greens have been the only party willing to stand up for refugees and for strong, decisive action on dangerous global warming.

Here's an overview of what else we've achieved:

With the Melbourne community, we:

Fought for and saved the Ryan's Reserve netball courts that were poised to be replaced with high-rise developments. This valuable piece of open space is used by more than 2000 players and with a shortage of spaces for women's sport, was too important to be destroyed by greedy developers. The community ran a powerful grassroots campaign forcing the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, to reverse his unpopular decision. Congratulations to everyone involved who proved that people power prevails over dirty, developer donation politics!

Have continued to push for a medically supervised injecting facility to be trialled in North Richmond. We know we can save lives by treating drug overdoses as a health issue, not a law and order issue. We've held a community forum, a public vigil and distributed placards across the electorate to call on Daniel Andrews and Richard Wynne to step aside and do what experts are recommending and what residents want - a trial for supervised injecting - to try and stop deaths from drug overdoses.

Have opposed the Victorian Labor government's plans for a mass sell off of public housing estates in Ascot Vale, Flemington and parts of North Melbourne. The plan would lead to high density private development on public land, that won't meet community needs and would result in the forced eviction of vulnerable people in the community. We're working closely with local groups to resist this blatant land grab.

With the rise of Trump and One Nation, it's more important than ever to stand with the Muslim community in Melbourne to say no to racism. In the wake of Trump's Muslim visa ban, we convened a major community meeting, ran doorknocks urging constituents to sign a petition opposing racism and worked with legal centres to get Melbourne constituents information on their rights.

Stronger communities

We've delivered $150,000 in grants to support community projects across Melbourne, including funding to:

  • Help the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association commission a new mural at its North Richmond offices. The mural celebrates Vietnamese culture with a representation of the animals of the zodiac.
  • Build a fully fitted-out canteen for Debney’s Park in Flemington. Now, sports clubs like Newmarket Phoenix FC will now have access to brand new food and drink facilities on match days, with profits going back into the clubs.
  • Delivered a soundproofing divider for Kensington Neighbourhood House in the house's classroom, so that the team can run more music, teaching, and community programs.

Our constituent liaison team has continued to advocate on behalf of over 500 Melbourne constituents on many issues relating to Centrelink, housing and immigration. This year, we've helped hundreds of people who:

  • are homeless or who need public housing
  • are facing visa cancellations or refusals
  • were issued a Centrelink 'robodebt' notice, many of which we helped contest and review.

We've also welcomed 17,000 new voters to our electorate with surveys and introductory letters.

In collaboration with the party and other Greens offices we've formed the inaugural Greens community campaigning fellowship, a program that brings together 24 people from diverse communities across the inner city to build the knowledge, relationships, skills, and confidence needed for participants to win their own issue-based campaigns.

In early 2017, after years of tireless campaigning by the community and by Greens at a local, state and Federal level, Hazelwood closed down. This win for pollution and our planet is important, but, due to poor planning by state and federal governments, Hazelwood's closure has left the community in the lurch and facing an uncertain future. The government has been asleep at the wheel when it should have been supporting the people in the Latrobe Valley through this transition.

That's why we've launched the national beyond coal tour, where I will be travelling to every coal-fired power station and visiting coal communities in every state that will be affected by the energy transition. So far, we've visited three states where we've met with local community leaders and held public meetings where hundreds of locals have joined us to discuss The Greens' vision for an energy transition that leaves no-one behind.

We've also been working hard alongside our friends in the Climate movement to Stop the giant Adani Coal Mine. We have kicked our field campaign into gear by mobilising over 100 people to door-knock in Greens/Labor marginal seats, ramping up the pressure on Bill Shorten and Labor to review the mine's environmental approvals. We'll continue to run doorknocks and have conversations with voters until the Adani mine is stopped, once and for all.

The Greens were the first party that promised to legislate in order to protect penalty rates. In Parliament this year, we have fought and will keep fighting to reverse Malcolm Turnbull's cruel decision to cut penalty rates for vulnerable workers. We've also introduced legislation to stop unfair wage deals and prevent franchise exploitation, as well as a bill to tackle aircraft noise in inner Melbourne and to give communities more rights dealing with aircraft operators.

In the media, we've voiced our opposition to the construction of taxpayer funded new coal-fired power stations, spoken out against claims that renewable energy kills people and pushed back against Peter Dutton's continuous attempts to demonise refugees.

This work is just a snapshot of the many things we've achieved this year in the name of a fairer, cleaner society. I am proud to be able to continue to represent the wonderful Melbourne community and I will work hard to continue to advance Greens values and to stand up for what matters.