Hey, I’m River Clarke (they/them)! I’m your Greens Senate #2 candidate for WA at this Federal election.
It’s rapidly becoming apparent that the current systems are not fit for purpose; a climate crisis is looming, our beautiful natural wonders are being destroyed , and our vulnerable communities haven’t got the support they need, made worse by the COVID-19 crisis. The rich continue to get richer while the rest of us are left to tough it out.
I was born and raised in WA; I spent my early childhood in Fremantle, where my connection continues through family and friends. My family then moved down to Denmark, and I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by national parks. Here I learnt about the threats to our local biodiversity, protecting old growth native forests and understanding their value to First Nations Peoples.
While experiencing the many benefits of growing up on WA’s beautiful south coast, I was very aware of the challenges. From volunteering with local groups to rehabilitate native land, to trying to find work in the small town, I was faced with the lack of access to resources and opportunity so far from the city.
I also experienced the struggles of growing up as a queer and non-binary person in a country town with its lack of diversity, looking for a space I could safely explore who I was.
Moving to the city just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult. Like many of my peers, it was hard to find affordable and suitable housing; balancing casual employment and uni studies only adds to the complexity. The rental market across Western Australia is brutal, and it’s the most vulnerable people that are struggling the most. I have friends in the LGBTQIA+ community in unsafe living conditions because of their sexuality or gender identity, but the state of the rental market is such that they can’t find anywhere else to live. We need safe and affordable housing for everyone. To be such a wealthy country, and not even be able to provide for our own community is an absolute disgrace. We have the resources; we just need a government with the political will to build more houses and implement better renters’ rights. The Greens have a plan to build 1 millions affordable, sustainable homes right across Australia to ensure everyone has a safe room over their head and to tackle the housing crisis head on.
My involvement LGTBQIA+ activism in Perth has shown me how critical it is to make sure the basic needs of our vulnerable communities are being met. Expanding Medicare to include mental health services is an important step in the right direction to address the over-representation of LGBTQIA+ youth in depression and anxiety statistics, but the work doesn’t end there.That’s why we’ll expand medicare to include mental health and dental care, ensuring that we’re looking after our communities.
We’re at a critical turning point as a nation and as a planet - it’s the make-or-break for the climate crisis, meanwhile corporations are actively eroding our rights across the board so they can make billions of dollars at the expense of millions of everyday Australians.
Like most young people, I’m tired of waiting for our government to pull its head out of the sand. We need positive change across Australia, we need it now and we can achieve it with your help! I look forward to meeting you across the campaign, as we build a future for people and planet. Get in touch!