Fair societies do better. Inequality makes us sicker and sadder, fuels crime and corrodes trust in each other and in democracy. Greater equality makes us happier, healthier, safer and more secure.
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As a TAFE and university teacher, I know education’s transformative power. Education is a foundational building block in every person’s life, and in a fair society. The Greens will increase funding for our public schools and TAFE, childcare and kindergartens. We will ensure funding is transparent and needs based, and get politics out of our school funding so kids don’t have to wait for a election for the funding they need.
Our health system is under pressure, from hospitals to community health centres and mental health services, with negative impacts on dedicated health professionals. The Greens will invest in hospitals, community health, mental health and preventative health. We’ll ban junk food advertising on children’s tv, make medical abortions more accessible and address the scourge of problem housing.
Men’s violence against women and children
There have been huge improvements in government responses to men’s violence against women and children in the recent years. But sexual assaults, sexual harassment, family violence and other violence continue with debilitating and at times deadly results. All my life, I’ve worked against men’s violence, and I’ll continue to do that as an MP. I’ll push for a new approach to sexual harassment and other violence against women, fair compensation for survivors of institutional child abuse, equal wages for women and fair funding for women-dominated industries and an end to demeaning portrayals of women and girls in advertising.
The invasion of Aboriginal land is the founding injustice of this state, and a scarring piece of unfinished business. I acknowledge the tenacity and strength of culture that has allowed Aboriginal people in Victoria to survive despite the violence and injustice they face. The Greens are proud that our parliamentary team includes Lidia Thorpe MP, the first Aboriginal woman in the Victorian parliament, and with her, we will work for Clan-based treaty conversations in Victoria.
Australia and Melbourne are home to the oldest continuing culture of all time. Since 1788 and European colonisation, we’ve seen the racism of the dispossession of Aboriginal people and the white Australia policy.
Our history as a nation is also built on the stories of immigrants from across the globe. Our strength is in our diversity. Now the proud achievements of Australian multiculturalism are under attack. Melbourne is lucky to be one of the most diverse places in Australia, and we will continue to make our city a place of respect, acceptance and welcome. I’ll work for an end to discriminatory policing and imprisonment, strong implementation of anti-discrimination policies, job creating for communities facing employment discrimination and stand with communities against the revival of the racist right.
At a time when crime rates are going down, bloating prisons are a sign of inequality. Prisoners are overwhelming the product of violence, discrimination and injustice, and Indigenous people. For example, more than10% of the abuse survivors interviewed in private sessions by Child Abuse Royal Commision were in prison – experiencing childhood violence is a path to prison for thousands.
Prisons steal money that should be going to schools and hospitals and tackling injustice, which would in turn bring down crime rates.
The Greens will invest in genuine crime prevention and justice rather than allow scapegoating of Aboriginal and Muslim people, the poor and the young. We will bring prisons back in to public hands, invest in real rehabilitation, stop young people being sent to adult prisons and strengthen human rights protections in prisons.
A clean, fair economy is a powerful engine for a better life and a better state. But too often, our leaders act as if a dirty unfair economy, where people and the environment are raw materials for the benefit of the powerful few, is inevitable.
We can change that. As groundbreaking economist Kate Raworth puts it, ‘Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet’. This is the raison d’être of the Greens, at the heart of our social, environmental and economic policies.
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Renewable energy and replacing dirty coal
We plan to create Victoria’s clean economy, with at least 90% renewable by 2030. The Greens continue to stand up with communities fighting against new and expanded coal mines. The Greens will keep fighting for a fair and just transition beyond coal, supporting communities through the retirement of coal plants. We will oppose the Victorian Labor Government’s ‘open for business’ policy on coal. We will guarantee people with solar panels are paid a fair price for the energy they feed back into the grid. We will take action on the climate change emergency with a Solar Bank to make renewable energy and storage more affordable locally and invest in large-scale energy efficiency.
We need to invest in the economy of the future to create jobs that will last. We’ve helped create and secure long-term manufacturing jobs by supporting investment in clean industries building trams, trains and wind turnbines here in Victoria. Australia depends on innovation and research, and here in Melbourne we have some of the best researchers in the world. But the old parties repeatedly threaten funds when setting budgets. This is short-sighted. Research needs secure, long-term public support to create jobs now and into the future.
We also support better wages and more jobs for carers, teachers, health professionals and environmental protectors. Investing in fairness will strengthen our economy, improve our health and wellbeing. We support investment in clean agriculture and regulation that protects organic businesses against competition with dirty large-scale corporations.
The city we love is at its best when we all know we belong. Right now, though, housing costs are prohibitive, public transport is unreliable and crowded, powerful developers are distorting our neighbourhoods and public housing is under threat. The Andrews is letting powerful companies like Transurban dictate transport policy, while Victorians foot the bill. The Greens will champion large-scale housing programs and policies that prioritise secure, affordable homes over landlord profits. We’ll introduce minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties and make sure your landlord can’t kick you out for no reason. We will oppose Labor’s plan to sell 80 per cent of our public housing land to private developers. We will invest in more trams, to ease overcrowding, intall high-speed signalling so we can run more trains more often, develop a bike plan with dollars attached, and install local electric vehicle charging stations.
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Rivers and creeks and green spaces
Our rivers, creeks and green spaces are our city’s life blood and lungs, but are neglected by government and struggle to thrive. We’ll aim to make the Yarra swimmable and support the return of more wildlife to the Merri Creek.
Melbourne’s artists make this a great city to live in. But artists struggle to find places to live, create, to share their art.
Without a resilient environment for us and future generations, life will be bleak. The other parties act as if the environment is an optional extra in public policy; we know it should be at the heart of everything we do. Without addressing climate change, life will increasingly be harsh, hot and frightening. The other parties act as if it can be put on the to do list for down the track. The Greens will stand up for ambitious, fit-for-the-future infrastructure and climate change policy, and create the Great Forest National Park to stop Labor’s logging in Victoria’s forests.
We have the riches we need to solve our social and environmental problems. Our problem is this wealth is concentrated in the hands of the powerful few. Mainstream politicians allow these people to block positive change for the common good to benefit themselves. Planning is distorted by political donations, that corrode public confidence, and leave Victorians to pay the bill for expensive roads that steal money from public transport. The Greens will stop corrosive political donations, and clear the way for tough laws on problem pokies, city planning in the interests of the public, and public transport that delivers for the community.