ACT Greens in federal by-election


ACT Greens in federal by-election

By Gosta Lynga

CANBERRA — The ACT Greens are standing James Warden, environmentalist, historian of politics and writer, as their candidate in the March 25 by-election for the seat of Canberra, formerly held by environment minister Ros Kelly.

The Greens are enthusiastic about the by-election following their success in the ACT election on February 18, when Kerrie Tucker and Lucy Horodny won seats in the Legislative Assembly.

James Warden was there in 1981 when the Franklin campaign was fought, he was instrumental in founding the Tasmanian Greens, and in 1992 he helped to found the Australian Greens and the ACT Greens.

I asked James what he sees as the main thrust of his campaign. He intends to fight on three different issues: the environment, social equity and the atrocious style of the present government.

The Keating government seems unable to propose a forest industry plan that would save jobs without destroying forests. Timber workers don't want to destroy their forests; they are, however, concerned about their jobs, and rationalisation in their industry has cut their employment opportunities.

The Greens, together with most environmental organisations, propose plantation forestry as the best solution from the angles of job security and the environment.

James also regrets the government's unwillingness to tackle the greenhouse issue seriously. The voluntary code is by far too weak, he says. A carbon tax is inevitable if real effects are to be achieved.

"There must also be a quite different attitude to the organisation of transport. There must be much more research and development on alternative, more environmental, fuels than those offered by the mighty oil cartels."

In a society where the rich are getting ever richer and the poor have a deteriorating quality of life, James thinks that a guaranteed adequate income (GAI) should be introduced instead of the plethora of stigmatising support systems that exist at present for students, the unemployed, pensioners and handicapped people. The GAI should be a right for every citizen.

The style of the present government seems to be not to consult with the community on issues of importance. The worst examples are the opening of old-growth forests to woodchipping and the construction of a third runway at Sydney airport. In both cases thousands of people have tried to make their opinions clear, but Keating and his government decide and the House of Representatives mechanically ratifies the decisions.

To help the ACT Greens in the by-election, call (06) 247 6305.

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