By Melanie Sjoberg
MELBOURNE — With Victoria likely to go to the polls before the year is out, the Green Alliance has announced that it will stand two candidates in order to offer a real alternative to voters disillusioned with the major parties and their big-business policies.
Lalitha Chelliah will contest the seat of Brunswick against sitting Labor minister Tom Roper. Chelliah, 40 years old and of Indian origin, was an organiser with the Australian Nurses Federation during the 1986 nurses' strike. She has been involved in the Brunswick and Northcote councils' Alternative Environment Strategy and belongs to a local environment group.
Brunswick is an inner-city "safe" Labor seat, with a large migrant and low-income population. It also has the lowest ratio of car ownership in the city and hence will be severely affected by any deterioration of the public transport system. Roper is notorious for his appalling handling of the 1989-90 tram dispute.
Chelliah's campaign will focus on urban environmental issues, particularly the defence and upgrading of public transport. Other key issues will be housing, health and concerns of migrant women.
Also running for the Green Alliance will be David Mizon in Altona. A plant operator at the Altona Petrochemical Complex, he is a delegate for the National Union of Workers and is active around urban environmental issues in the Altona Hazardous Materials Action Group. These issues will be at the heart of Mizon's campaign.
Situated near Melbourne's industrial heartland, Altona residents are forced to live in close proximity to toxic wastes, chemical spills and fires. Companies operating in the complex are attempting, in conjunction with the local council, to alter planning regulations to allow them to make major changes to the plants without full consultation with the community.
At the same time, proposals to develop the Docklands in the west have gone through a token process of community involvement without developers providing adequate information on the nature of the industries to be established.
Mizon will also focus on the extremely high unemployment in the area.
The Green Alliance campaigns can be contacted on 329 1277.