The Day Howard Called the Election… the crew convened spontaneously at the office. dave looked over at me and wryly obseved that ‘you have that deer caught in the headlights look…’
For the dedicated Green team who have been working for such a long time preparing for these next few weeks, it was something of a relief to put a date in the diary and get started in earnest.
Now everything condenses down to one day in November. The media spin cycle goes into overdrive. The major parties go at each other with high melodrama. The advocacy groups and peak bodies give their all to grab a slice of the electorate’s shrinking attention span.
In a few short weeks, the ‘will of the people’ will be filtered through the complicated machinery of Australian-flavoured representative democracy. At last we’ll be able to gauge the nation’s collective answers to some big questions.
Such as: has the invasion of Iraq made the world a safer place? Are we willing to gamble our climate on the promise of clean coal and nuclear power? Should people be as disposable as any other business asset? Can we learn anything from the First Peoples? And why would a country rolling in such massive wealth be so discontented?
Many of these questions will only be asked obliquely by the media during the campaign, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Name calling and marginal seat polling minutiae may dominate the news cycle, but below the froth, the soul of the country itself is in question.
The Greens are uniquely positioned to take the lead this year, on climate change, social justice, international relations and sustainable economic development. We have been working on these issues for more than two decades, and we have a lot to offer.
It’s been an honour to have spent the last year working with the election team, as it grew from a sketch into a highly motivated and determined campaign outfit in the space of a few months. I’ve found it challenging, exciting and hugely rewarding.
It’s also been a humbling experience working closely with the Burmese community as they struggle for the most basic of democratic protections in their stricken country. It’s a sober reminder of the importance of defending and improving the democratic structures we do have here, not least so that we can support people in other parts of the world whose activism comes with such enormous personal risk.
So huge cheers to everyone who has got us this far. If you haven’t already, please ask how you can support the fifteen lower house candidates and the Senate team who are putting themselves on the frontline. Right now is when the extra effort and dollars really count. Six weeks, and we’ll see you at an election night party we’ll still be talking about for years to come.