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Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Transforming Australia’s Parliament to act on climate

A rising tsunami of teal independents is transforming our democracy representing special interests to a participatory democracy of community representatives

As noted in my many posts to Climate Sentinel News, it is becoming increasingly evident that humanity on our only planet faces near term extinction if we don’t manage to stop and reverse the global warming process we have started through our profligate burning of fossil fuels. Their emissions are preventing the Earth from radiating away excess solar energy. This imbalance between incoming and outgoing heat energy causes the world to grow warmer. Unfortunately the problem is global and can only be solved on a global scale through the cooperation of governments – which makes it unavoidably political.

The difficulty of solution is only compounded by the fact that the unimaginably rich global fossil fuel industry has been fighting for decades to disrupt and stop effective actions against global warming/climate change to protect their sources of income from the burning of fossil fuels causing the emissions. Even the supposedly most ‘democratic’ governments have been corrupted so they represent the patrons and special interests (mostly fossil fuel industry related) who support and fund major political parties. This influence is so strong that I have been deeply pessimistic that our governments would ever be able to work effectively to combat climate change and stop our progress along the runaway warming road to extinction.

However, the results of Australia’s May 21 Federal Election provide evidence that Australia has begun to transform its government into one truly representing the substantial majority of voters who want action on climate change to be prioritized above any other issue. Finally there is scope for some genuine optimism that our government(s) will actually work seriously to resolve the climate issues.

I explain my reasons for optimism in the presentation I’m launching here, “The Teal Tsunami started in Indi“, as a place holder for Part 2 of my intended 4 part series, “Emergence and proliferation of pro-climate community voices“; and what I hope is an approachable summary of the whole ‘Teal Tsunami’ project the explores the transformation..

As suggested by this post’s featured image above, the presentation explores why the “Voice for Indi” community action group emerged in the Victorian federal electorate of Indi, and how it proceeded in the 2013 election to amaze everyone by replacing the hard line Liberal Party incumbent, Sophie Mirabella, with a climate friendly ‘community independent’, Cathy McGowan.

McGowan’s 2013 win was even more amazing considering that Mirabella had held the ‘safe’ Liberal seat since 2001 (4 terms).

In the presentation I observe that Cathy’s win in Indi represents the epicenter that triggered the spreading and growing ripples of political change I am calling the Teal Tsunami that are in the process of fundamentally transforming the nature of Australian democracy.

In addition to summarizing the facts of what happened in Indi, I also try to present an approachable summary of the four part Teal Tsunami project:

  • Part 1 – The rising tide of the teal tsunami
    Documents the rise of community independent seats in this century.
  • Part 2 – It started in Indi (published here)
    Details the roles of different kinds of knowledge in the emergence of the Voice for Indi community action group and its role in the election of their selected and endorsed candidate, Cathy McGowan
  • Part 3 – The transforming crescendo of Teal Voices spreads
    Follows the spread and evolution of the knowledge base assembled by Voice for Indi through subsequent elections
  • Part 4 – Theoretical foundations for the analysis
    Analyzes the Teal Tsunami against the theory of complex adaptive organizational systems developed by William Hall and Susu Nousala to test the theory and make some predictions about the future evolution of the tsunami

About the Presentation

How to get the most out of it

The presentation is published as an hypertext in PDF format. It was drafted using MS PowerPoint and converted to Adobe’s PDF format that preserved all of the internal and external linking capabilities used in the original draft. Scrolling up or down to read the document.

For readers unfamiliar with the hypertext concept, some instructions about how to use the links in the documenet may be useful:

  1. The document has a basically linear structure of numbered pages containing text and/or graphics.
  2. Links in the text are underlined.
    • Sometimes graphical objects also serve as links (these will generally be identified in the text)
  3. Moving the arrow cursor to either kind of these links will turn the cursor into a pointing finger and display the name of the link.
  4. Clicking the link will take you to another document – generally on the open web – that relates to the text whose link you clicked. How you return to the main document depends on the destination of the link.
    • For a page on the web, close that page
    • For a PDF document on the web, close the document, then close by blank web page that opened the document
  5. The numbered objects in the image on page 23 (Knowledge flows in the founding and early success of Voice 4 Indi) in the hypertext are linked to other pages that provide more detail on the object. To return to page 23, hold the [ALT] key on your keyboard and click [<]

Some background

I’m a population and evolutionary biologist by training, and worked for the last 17½ years of my professional career as an engineering knowledge management systems analyst and designer for Tenix Defence that was for part of the time Australia’s larges defence engineering contractor, as I solved its real-world problems in knowledge management, together with a trio of remarkable PhD students and other collaborators, I began studying how it worked as a complex living system and assembling this knowledge into a theoretical understanding of knowledge-based organizational systems (publications of this work are accessible via my personal web site Evolutionary Biology of Species and Organizations – see List of Publications and Essays and Sketches.

On ‘retiring’ in 2007 I began working full-time on a study of the coevolution of humans and our technologies I summarized in a series of presentations in 2015 under the title “Human Origins, Cognitive Technologies, and Futures“. The book itself was never finished because its chilling conclusion was that no-one would be left to read the book because the damages to Earth’s climate caused by our new technologies would soon doom us to near-term mass extinction.

From around 2015 it was clear that effective political action would be needed if we were to have any hope of solving the climate emergency, and I explored several approaches. In the 1980’s when my Australian wife and I returned to Australia, she worked several years for the Liberal Party’s Victorian Secretariat including being a member of one of the Party’s policy committees and we took part in a variety of Party activities as the Fraser and Hamer governments gave way to their ‘drier’ right-wing extremists. Both of us worked for Tenix from 1990 and were far too busy for politics.

However, in 2015 when the Liberal Party was clearly the problem I joined the Greens and my wife joined the Labor Party as active members hoping to change things. Where our local branches were concerned we were both welcomed to participate in both branches, where it became clear for their various reasons that neither was going to be able to act effectively against climate change. Together with several progressive friends we then tried to establish a local Extinction Rebellion group to push for climate action until it became clear that the organization lacked the know-how for making the required political changes. Several of us (along with others) then formed Vote Climate One to see if we could facilitate electing the right people to change the existing parties from within towards effective climate action.

In following and reading the ‘news’ for our Climate Sentinel News it has become apparent that Voice for Indi has assembled and is actively propagating the necessary know-how to revolutionize our political system so that members of our local communities concerned to fight climate change are able to transform our Parliament from a ‘democracy’ of the special interests to one in which community members can actually participate in the democracy so it represents their needs and wants rather than the special interests, many of whom are not even people or citizens of the country.

Voices for Indi is already broadcasting its know-how via the Community Independents Project, but this needs to be advertised even more widely to all of Australia and the world, as I am hoping to do via this publication.

Any help my readers can offer to further circulate the work will be greatly appreciated. I am also open to any comments or suggestions readers may wish to make via this post, or other avenues.

The featured image is of Slide 23 from my presentation “The Teal Tsunami started in Indi”, introduced by this post. The diagram is a map of the flows of knowledge surrounding the emergence of Voice for Indi. This small community action group comprising 12 people determined what the citizens of the electoral district of Indi wanted from its MP in Federal Parliament. When the Voice determined that their sitting member wasn’t concerned to achieve these results, they selected, campaigned for, and elected their own candidate — replacing the 4 term incumbent candidate from the dominant Liberal Party in one of the ‘safest’ Liberal seats in the country. The map is used to explain how this was done.

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Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Emergence and proliferation of pro-climate community voices: Part 1 – The rising tide of the teal tsunami

Introduction

The results of the 21 May 2022 federal election looks like the beginning of a fundamental revolution in the way politics is done in Australia. Not only has our Parliament shifted from close to a decade of domination by the conservative and reactionary Liberal and National Party Coalition to a more progressive Labor government, but the whole nature of Parliament may be changing. What has been a ‘representative’ democracy dominated by political parties primarily representing the parties’ donors and special interests, may be shifting towards a ‘participatory’ democracy based on independent parliamentarians selected by local communities, and who negotiate with, are endorsed by, and actively represent those communities. Most of the new ‘community independents’ are economically conservative like liberals (generally designated by blue), but more like the Greens in their humanitarian and environmental interests. Hence their designaton as ‘teals’.

In a series of posts I will explore the genesis of the revolution I am calling the ‘Teal Tsunami’: considering the historical circumstances of its origins; the sources, nature, and evolution of the knowledge accounting for the successful election of their candidates; and a theoretical framework for understanding the underlying dynamics of knowledge-based community action groups.

The historical extent of this tsunami so far is illustrated in the following two images showing time lines of particular lower house electorates.

Fig. 1. Early emergence of Community Representation. Pale blue is the term in office of a Coalition MP. Dark blue is the member’s term as Prime Minister. Teal is a climate friendly independent. Light red is a Labor MP’s term in office. Dark red is the Labor Member’s term as Prime Minister. Pink is the term of Julia Gillard’s miinority government.
Fig. 2. First major wave of the growing tsunami of community led government. All teal incumbents held their seats in the 2022 Federal election; while their number more than doubled by teals defeating key Liberals. Beyond this another independent (Dai Le in Fowler), and three Greens won additional House Liberal seats in metro Brisbane to the returned Green, Adam Bandt from Melbourne, Finally, Greens gained an additional Senate seat (in the ACT) to the ones they already held.

The first major wave (Fig. 2) of the rising tide of the tsunami in the 2022 election just passed removed a significant fraction of then then present and future leadership of the Liberal Party from what had been some of the previously ‘safest’ seats in the Liberal heartland. As I will argue and demonstrate in the series, this success is fueled by a shared body of knowledge developed, tested, and proven by the first generation of teals Cathy McGowan, Helen Haines, Allegra Spender, and even earlier prototypical community independents, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, and Andrew Wilkie (Figs. 1 & 2). (Note: the roles of shared knowledge and election funding facilitating this result will be detailed in subsequent Parts of this review)

The following Google Sheet details all the teal candidates (elected and otherwise) who ran for the 2022 election and whose campaign funding was assisted by seed and matching funds from the Climate200 organization. All the elected candidates are shaded in teal blue.

Fig. 3. Teal Candidates in the 21 May Election for the Australian Parliament. (Click this link to download a the full legible Google Sheet presenting the data.)

NOTES

  1. Result and Quota counts are final as at 01/07/2022.
  2. Column B links to Wikipedia or Linkedin entries for the person concerned. Where no link is provided, basic biographical info is derived from other sources.
  3. Column C links to the last archived version before the 21 May election of Climate200‘s website (see the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine). The pre-election material was removed soon after the election.
  4. Column D links to the ‘voices for …’ site nominating or supporting the named candidate. In some cases no voices organization was operating in the electorate. In a few, there was more than one.Column I summarizes the voting. For all seats, bold face is used for the candidate(s) elected, and italic type designates the teal independent.
  5. Column I summarizes the voting. For all seats, bold face is used for the candidate(s) elected, and italic type designates the teal independent.

Almost all the teals, whether elected or not, are remarkable women.

That this Teal Revolution is well and truly under way is shown by the fact that the number of climate friendly community independents sitting in Parliament more than doubled in this year’s election at the expense of the Coalition who had controlled government for some 9 years. The teal’s result combined with Labor’s win against the Liberals was a clear signal that voters generally wanted a change to move the pendulum enough to flip many marginal seats. Even given the general swing, the teals decimated leaders’ heartland seats that Labor could never have touched (and turned several more of the seats from safe to marginal).

Where the lower house of Parliament is concerned, Labor won two more seats than the required 75 to form government in its own right, while losing some votes overall (-0.7%). The Coalition was cut by 19 from 77 seats (a majority) to 58 by Liberal losses to Labor, Greens and independents. Only 4 of the remaining Liberal seats were won on first preferences (Barker, Cook – Morrison’s seat, Farrar, and Mitchel; Nationals won 2 seats by first preferences; and QLD LNP won 1. Essentially, the entire Liberal Party is now ‘marginal’. Also, with the elimination of most ‘moderate’ Liberals, Peter Dutton, probably the most hated Liberal still in Parliament, emerged as Leader of the gravely wounded Opposition. This has interesting implications for the next election! By contrast, Labor managed to win 8 seats on first preferences.

The “Cross Bench” more than doubled. The Greens only increased their total national vote by 1.6% but gained 3 new seats in Queensland’s heartland, for a total of 4. Ten of the independent candidates who were elected were assisted by Climate 200 and have promised to prioritize climate action are classified here as ‘teals’ (socially progressive but economically conservative, designated by italicized names). Six “independents” were reelected: Katter, Lambie, Wilkie, Sharkie, Steggal, Haines  (4 teals are italicized) – Seven independents were newly elected:  Li, Scamps, Tink, Spender, Daniel, Ryan, Chaney (6 are teals). Three more teals (Alex Dyson – WANNON Vic, Caz Heise – COWPER NSW, and Nicolette Boele – BRADFIELD NSW) finished second on first preferences where incumbents failed to gain a majority. Excepting Andrew Wilkie, an ex-intelligence officer reelected for the 5th time, all teals are mothers – several from  health professions,  a majority have postgraduate qualifications in their professions and are CEO’s, Directors, or Managers of significant enterprises. Mothers would be used to unruly children & cleaning toilets ! – (Labor’s Dr Anne Ali has similar qualities: PhD, Professor at Edith Cowan Uni, researching radicalization, violent extremism and counter terrorism. / mother of 2).

Figure 4. Teal Candidates and their teams celebrating election wins in Sydney’s Liberal Party heartland. Still captured from the celebration video (click the picture and scroll down to see it) prepared for the Community Independents’ Project Conference, 5-7 August 2022. See also my article Teal First Speeches in Parliament in Climate Sentinel News and Celebrating doing democracy differently by Millie Rooney in Australia Remade.

The present article focuses on events leading up to the 2013 Australian Federal Election, especially as it culminated in the emergence of the Voice 4 Indi community action group and their selection, endorsement, and election of one of their founding members, Cathy McGowan in NW Victorian electorate of Indi, one of the safest rural Liberal Party electorates in Australia. As will be detailed in Part 2, Cathy was reelected for two terms, and successfully passed on the community independent baton, to Helen Haines, who was also returned for a second term in this year’s election.

In many ways, McGowan was the prototypical teal. She and the evolving Voice 4 Indi group passed on their successfully tested and re-tested working knowledge to support most of the subsequently established “Voices for ..” community action groups. The body of practical knowledge covers how to involve large communities in the selection, funding, and guidance of candidates and then how to help their endorsed candidates win their elections.

Part 2 of this series will explore how this knowledge emerged in the formation of the Voice 4 Indi community action group and its candidate, Cathy McGowan’s election and reelection to Parliament.

Part 3 will then explore how the successful paradigm established by the Indi group facilitated the establishment of more ‘Voices of ….’ groups whose endorsed candidates have gone on to win several more seats in Parliament – decimating the Liberal Party ranks of present and likely future leadership. This is probably only a foretaste of a much greater revolutionary wave to come with the next federal election.

In Part 4, I will present a theoretical framework for understanding the transformative revolution the teals are making towards replacing government representing political parties’ special interests and patrons, with a ‘participatory democracy’ of government. This is where no party has a majority and government decisions require involvement and assent from ‘community independents’ reflecting the thoughtful wants of the groups they are endorsed by and represent. In the last election, several of the losing Liberals wailed that having independents in the balance of power was a recipe for chaos and catastrophe. Countering this is the fact that the Gillard Minority Government was one of the most successful governments in Australian history measured by the amount of legislation passed in a term or the number of bills passed (see Hung Parliament: Chaos vs Independent Thinking).

Tsunami Warning! The ocean has receded and the teal tide is now rising at an accelerating rate

A desiccating Liberal Party ran into trouble under Howard and temporarily lost control of government

Time-lines of several electorates (Figs 1 & 2) highlight the growing importance of community independents in the in the changing nature of the Australian Parliament in the 21st Century. The story begins with the Liberal/National Coalition Government under PM John Howard becoming increasingly ‘dry‘, as Thatcherite economics, business and their special-interest donors were prioritized ahead of improving the lives of ordinary citizens (to say nothing of how this has been egged on by the growing power of the Murdoch media and their friends). The Sydney Morning Herald’s, 2021 Explainer, Who’s who in the Liberals’ left, right and centre factions? that to me provides evidence for a progressively growing shift in the Party from community representation to factional dogmatism.

Citizens’ concerns over the retreat from humanism and community representation in Coalition government under John Howard probably led to the 24 November 2007 election giving Labor a Parliamentary majority under Kevin Rudd.

Driving the point home that Australians were fed up with Drys and John Howard: Howard was defeated in his own seat of Bennelong by the well known and respected ABC journalist, Maxine McKew. She joined the Labor Party in 2006 after retiring from the ABC and was living with her long-time partner, Bob Hogg, National Secretary of the Labor party from 1988-93.

While in Parliament, McKew was a totally loyal follower of he Labor Party line. In retrospect, it would seem that her election was due more to the fact that she was a credible alternative to Howard for those voters tired of the dry conservatism of the Coalition, than a foretaste of a revolution to come. She lost in the 2013 Election because she offered the electorate nothing more than a rubber stamp for a chaotically under-performing Labor Government under Kevin Rudd. Bennelong was returned to the Liberals in the 21 August 2013 election through McKew’s loss to the well known tennis professional, John Alexander who presented a much milder and human brand of Liberalism than Howard had done.

The first ‘greenish’ community independents are elected

Also in the years before the 2010 election, and giving a foretaste of what was to come in 2013, three already established and socially progressive politicians were elected at different times to Federal Parliament as independent MPs: Tony Windsor (10/11/2001 – 05/08/2013) and Rob Oakeshott (06/09/2008 – 05/08/213) from safe National Party regions in mid-northern NSW, and Andrew Wilkie (21/08/2010 – ) from marginal and mostly urban southern Tasmania.

Tony Windsor‘s political career began in NSW state politics, where he initially intended to run for the National Party representing Tamworth. However, he was dropped by the NP and was elected to the seat as an independent, which he held from 1991 to 2001, when he ran as an independent for the federal electorate of New England, which he held from 2001 until his retirement for health reasons in 2013. In 2016 he re-contested the seat against Barnaby Joyce, but Joyce won comfortably.

Rob Oakeshott also began his political career in NSW state politics as an NP representative in 1996. While in the NP he held several ministerial portfolios, but split from the party as an independent in 2002 over his increasing dissatisfaction with the NP’s social conservatism. Nevertheless, Rob won the 2003 state election with 70% of the primary vote, showing that the community was clearly happy with how he represented them! He retained the seat in 2010 almost as easily. In 2008 Oakeshott resigned his state seat and ran for the Federal seat of Lyne, winning around two-thirds of the primary vote, which he retained in the 2010 election. He retired before the 2013 election. In 2016 he ran for Cowper (which included part of Lyne in a redistribution), and turned the seat marginal although he did not win. He ran again, unsuccessfully, in the 2019 election.

Andrew Wilkie started his professional career as an Army officer, becoming an intelligence officer in the Office of National Assessment. In 2003, in the lead-up to the Iraq War, he resigned from the ONA because he was concerned with the humanitarian consequences of going to war and disagreed with Howard’s push to join the invasion. He stood as a Greens candidate for Bennelong, running against the PM, John Howard in the 2004 Election – achieving nearly 17% of the primary vote. In the 2007 election he stood at second on the Greens Senate ticket for Tasmania, behind Bob Brown, where the Greens failed to win the second quota required to achieve Wilkie’s election. He resigned from the Greens in 2008, citing their lack of professionalism. He then ran in 2010 as an independent in the state seat of Dennison of Hobart, where he narrowly lost; and then in the 2010 federal election for the federal seat of Dennison (same boundaries) where he narrowly won on distribution of preferences.

In a 2010 interview by the ABC, Hobart Mercury columnist Greg Barns described Wilkie’s political situation:

Mr Barns says Mr Wilkie’s public and private battles with some of the institutions he is involved with do not reflect a difficult character, but show that he is a true independent.

“I know Andrew Wilkie very well. I’ve known him now for three or four years and talked policy with him,” he said.

“He’s a deep thinker, he’s a person of great integrity, and I think people of that sort of integrity, it’s not surprising that they might move from an organisation to an organisation.

“I think that’s what that shows about Wilkie – not that he’s a difficult character, simply that he is a person of integrity and he’s finally I think found his natural home, which is to be a true independent.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20100829044014/http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/26/2994143.htm

Wilkie was reelected in each subsequent election where today he still represents the community in the Division of Clark (renamed & slightly redistributed Denison).

Labor takes power in its own right (temporarily)

Despite winning a clear majority of seats in the 2007 election, over the term in Parliament Labor then failed to convince the electorate that they were any better than the Coalition.

Following Wikipedia’s summary, Rudd’s 2007 government ratified the Kyoto Protocol, offered a Parliamentary apology to the “Stolen Generation” and organized the somewhat farcical Australia 2020 Summit (of the 962 recommendations of the summit, only 9 would be adopted). In economic policy, his government re-regulated the labor market by rescinding the Howard government‘s dryish Workchoices reforms and responded to the Global Financial Crisis with a large (and successful) stimulus spending program. Rudd also dismantled the three pillars of the Howard government’s inhumane asylum seeker processing system – offshore processing, temporary protection visas, and turning back unauthorized boats at sea.

Tony Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as the Liberal Party’s Leader of the Opposition in a spill on 1 December 2009. This gave him the maximum opportunity over the following years to give effect to his dogmas and represent his special interests by continuously attacking climate science and all things Labor both on the floor of Parliament and in the press.

Also, on the Labor side, Rudd’s autocratic, abrasive and chaotic leadership style, especially where the Government’s responses to climate issues were concerned, eventually led to a spill motion in the Labor Caucus. Rudd resigned before the spill vote and called for a vote on the leadership. His deputy, Julia Gillard was elected on 24 June 2010 (she received 71 votes to Rudd’s 31). She called an early Federal election for 21 August 2010. This resulted in a ‘hung’ Parliament where Labor and the Coalition each won only 72 seats – 4 short of the 76 required for a clear majority. Gillard was able to marshal pledges of support on supply from the cross-bench (3 independents and one Green) that allowed her to form a stable government. (Note that Philip Chubb’s book – available inexpensively in Kindle, Power Failure: The Inside Story of Climate Politics Under Rudd and Gillard, comprehensively explores this period in history, that will not be detailed here.)

The roles of three independents introduced above, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, and Andrew Wilkie, in the Gillard minority government represent the first ripple of what has become the ‘teal tsunami’.

The first pro-climate (i.e., ‘teal’) independents show what teals can do in the Gillard-led minority government

Following Labor’s win in the 2007 election under Kevin Rudd, the resulting Government was dogged by Rudd’s ego and chaotic leadership, confounded by party factionalism, culminating in movement towards a spill, leading to Rudd’s resignation on 24 June 2010 hours before the vote was scheduled (see Wikipedia). This gave Julia Gillard leadership for a period leading up to the 2010 federal election, which she called early for 21 August 2010. Labor lost several seats, and the Coalition regained several. Each side won 72 seats in the lower house, 4 short of a majority. The election and its results are detailed in Sims & Wanna (eds, – 2012), Julia 2010 — The caretaker election.

One Green (Adam Bandt) and three community independents, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, and Andrew Wilkie pledged support for Labor. While the Coalition led by Tony Abbott was only able to obtain two pledges, allowing Labor to form a minority government.

As detailed in my Climate Sentinel News article, Hung Parliament: Chaos vs Independent Thinking, this supposedly hung Parliament, was arguably the first (most legislation passed per unit of time) or second (percentage of legislation passed) most successful Parliament in Australian history in terms of formulating and passing legislation. Led by a woman, all successful Government legislation was developed and negotiated in collaboration with the three independents and one Green — something to think about!

Representative vs Participatory Democracy

There are a vast number of ways large social institutions such as nations can be managed. Most people would hope that their nation is governed in ways they can guide and that will benefit them, their families and acquaintances. Basically, most of us hope our governments are ‘democratic’. There are many different versions of ‘democracy’, and many different ways citizens can be involved in democratic processes. It is beyond me to sensibly explore this diversity, but I strongly recommend reading Wikipedia’s article, Democracy, for a practical survey of the possible forms of democracy.

Australia, from its foundation as an independent country was established as a ‘representative’ democracy with a parliamentary form of government.

Whether this was intended from the outset or not, most representative democracies end up being governed by members of a small number of political parties (usually two main blocks or coalitions) that battle for overall power. In Australia since the end of WWII, this has been between an increasingly dogmatic socially conservative coalition of rural and urban interests giving priority to free markets, economic management (i.e., the Liberal/National Coalition); and a more progressive or even dogmatically socialistic Labor Party or coalition giving priority to providing a better life for unionized workers and ordinary citizens.

To me, the net effect of such party-based ‘representative’ government provides less than ideal outcomes for ordinary citizens, whichever block is in government. This is because would-be representatives of the different parties must compete within their districts to be elected. To win, a competitor must build a substantial campaign organization and expend substantial resources on marketing to win enough votes from eligible voters to be elected. In general, to have much chance of being elected, a candidate requires requires the endorsement of a major party and its support in the form of organizational skills and funding for marketing,

To get this endorsement the candidate must show a high degree of loyalty to the party line, rather than his/her electorate. Almost inevitably, the political party ends up representing what its main financial donors and special (e.g., wealthy capitalists and corporations on the ‘conservative’ side; labor unions and major employers on the ‘progressive’ side) and what they rather than what the general citizens want. Voters thus end up being treated like a market to be harvested for votes that may then be sold to the special interests.

In other words, to win a party listens to its patrons and markets the patrons’ desires to the community; rather than listening to the community and working to achieve what the community wants. Inevitably, to be supported on a continuing basis, party-sponsored MPs must follow the discipline of their parties in the same way that the parties need to follow the ‘disciplines’ demanded by their sponsors.

On the other hand, participatory democracy works to achieve a system whereby citizens have a direct role in selecting and supporting candidates, and in guiding their actions and decisions when once selected. This is much harder to achieve in that there are few if any paradigms to follow that are proven to work, or that don’t quickly degenerate to autocracy or party politics.

Fig. 5. Comparison of ‘representative’ democracy and ‘participatory democracy as used in this article.

World history suggests that party politics is the default condition / dominant paradigm for representative democracy. As summarized below, the rise of the teals in Australia represents what I think is the beginning of a fundamental revolution or “paradigm shift” in the nature of Australian politics and Government from political party-driven “representative democracy” to what its practitioners in local community action groups (usually known as “Voices of …”) call “participatory democracy“.

The revolution is being driven by the emergence, evolution, and proliferation of a new type of self-sustaining community action group focused on achieving political representation for its members and associates. These action groups, often known as “Voices of …” the particular constituency they represent. By comparison, even though political parties are normally based on local branches to “get out the vote” for their endorsed candidates, they often have little or no effective role in candidate selection or in setting the candidate’s parliamentary agenda. The following graphic based on my own observations summarizes the differences between the two social systems.

Fig. 6. Characteristics of two different social organizations focused on electing representatives: political parties and community-based “voices of …” organizations

Part 2, takes up the story with the NE Victorian electorate of Indi, where the first self-declared community independent Cathy McGowan replaced the Liberal incumbent, Sophie Mirabella in the 2013 Federal Election, as Tony Abbott’s Liberal led Coalition replaced the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd government.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Teal First Speeches in Parliament

A flock of teal independents has landed in Parliament. Their ‘first speeches’ show why their community independent movement is so important.

Introduction

This article here is an extract from a major essay I am currently writing on the origins, emergence and evolution of the ‘teal tsunami’ and the growth of the body of knowledge enabling and generated by the revolution. A preliminary version of the essay will be published in parts on Climate Sentinel News as they are finished. Discussion and commentary on them will be greatly appreciated as this will help me improve the final product to be formally published.

For several years I have been hopelessly pessimistic about the capacity of our governments to solve the existential problems the human species faces as we slide down the road to runaway global warming leading to an unsurvivable Hothouse Earth. However, after attending the Community Independents Project Convention, ‘Empowered Communities – Next Steps‘ and listening to these ladies describe their life histories and intentions going into Parliament, I am optimistic that they will help transform our government into a capable instrument for organizing appropriate responses to the dangers ahead.

The image featured in this post is from a blog by someone else who attended the CIP Convention and draws the same very optimistic conclusions I have. Begin with the video linked from the blog to share some of the excitement this transformation in bringing:

Community Independents Project Convention Video:
It isn’t a (political) party. It’s a celebration and affirmation of a revolutionary new kind of politics

By Millie Rooney, (undated) in Australia Remade

Celebrating doing democracy differently

I’ve spent the whole weekend attending an online work-related convention and I should be feeling resentful about being trapped inside at my computer. But the crazy thing is, I’m more excited to be at my desk on a Monday morning than I have been for weeks!

I was at Empowered Communities: Next Steps, the Community Independents Convention and I’m still buzzing.

The event was an opportunity for “community campaigners, ‘voices for’ and community groups, peak bodies, community independent MPs, candidates seeking what next and all those interested in community engagement and grassroots democracy” to share their experiences and ideas, to celebrate what has been achieved and to think about the next steps.

And GOSH it was interesting! There was a full range of fascinating sessions from those in Parliament, to those who’d only just engaged in capital-P politics for the first time, to those who’ve been playing with campaign ideas for years.

I’ve tried to distill some of what I think were the most interesting lessons to come out of the convention, but first, I want to talk about the vibe…

Read the complete article….

As will be demonstrated in subsequent parts of this project, evidence from the Parliamentary performances of early teal MPs and their precursors is that once elected, they continue working for what their electorates tell them they want. Because they don’t forget or ignore their electors, they seem to keep getting reelected for as long as they want to stay in the job.

Political parties representing special interests take note:

I would argue that the election of a flock of teal independents to our parliamentary lower house represents a fundamental revolution in the nature of the Australian political system (the Senate will be discussed elsewhere). The transformation is from ‘representative’ democracy mainly representing special interests, to one of ‘participatory’ democracy, where communities of voters genuinely select and guide work of their preferred representatives. The ladies embodying this transformation come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from affluent urban electorates to comparatively hard scrabble rural communities. A common factor is that most of these transformed electorates were considered to be Liberal Party heartlands. Let the teals tell you in their own words in their ‘First Speeches’ on entry to Parliament why they ran and what they are intending to do.

As you listen to these speeches, you might consider what this tells you about the Liberal Party they are demolishing…. The Labor Party is likely to be next — especially if they don’t begin to rapidly progress actions to stop and reverse global warming.

Every one of these teal independents’ speeches is worth listening to in its entirety (20-30 min each). These women as truly remarkable: Each is caring, motivated, intelligent, wise, capable and responsible — and practiced in networking, listening, negotiating and managing. Together, they represent a fundamentally transformative revolution in Australian politics.

However, to gain a flavor without spending a whole day, each of the First Speech links below starts with a point in each speech focusing on something that tells an important story about the teal tsunami or the new MP. Dot points below jump to other significant topics in each speech.

PRECURSORS

Tony Windsor, elected 2001

First speech not found

Valedictory 26/06/2013
(no video, link only)

Rob Oakeshott, elected 2008

First speech not found

Valedictory 27/06/2013 28m (link includes transcript)

Andrew Wilkie, elected 2010

First speech transcript

Still in office

TEAL INDEPENDENTS (lower house only)

i.e., community independents who have specifically prioritized climate action in their Parliamentary agendas

Kathy McGowan

INDI, elected 2013, returned 2016, succeeded by teal Helen Haines in 2019

First Speech in Parliament
2/12/2013
Rebekha Sharkie

MAYO, elected 2016, reelected 2018, returned 2019, and returned again in 2022

First Speech in Parliament
19/09/2016
Kerryn Phelps

WENTWORTH, elected 20/10/2018, succeeded by Dave Sharma 2019

First Speech in Parliament
26/11/2018
Helen Haines,

INDI, elected 2019, returned 2022

First Speech in Parliament
01/08/2019
Zali Steggall

WARRINGA, elected 2019, returned 2022

First Speech in Parliament
24/07/2019
Allegra Spender

WENTWORTH, elected 2022, replacing Dave Sharma

First Speech in Parliament
02/08/2022
Monique Ryan

KOOYONG, elected 2022

First Speech in Parliament
28/07/2022
Zoe Daniel

GOLDSTEIN, elected 2022

First Speech in Parliament
01/08/2022
Sophie Scamps

MACKELLAR, elected 2022

First Speech in Parliament
01/08/2022
Kylea Tink

NORTH SYDNEY, elected 2022

First Speech in Parliament
28/07/2022
Kate Chaney

CURTIN, elected 2022

First Speech in Parliament
28/07/2022

In one sense, all of these speeches are mundane statements of what each of these new MPs is bringing to Parliament, i.e., they should be totally boring like the shopping lists they are. But listened to in detail, they are definitely not boring to anyone like me, concerned with the future of our planet, society, and communities. These people are extraordinary, in heritage, in experience, in community involvement, and in prior achievements. There is every reason to think they will do even more in the future than they have up to this point. To hear such people talking about how they will help shape our futures is optimistically exciting…..

I can even hope that Australia’s transformation in politics will spread to other ‘democratic’ nations around the world where control is held by political parties representing special interests rather than their communities of voters such that we can work collectively to address the only issue that really matters — climate change.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Climate emergency! The one election issue that matters

Today’s Breakthrough Institute report shows we are tipping climate thresholds like dominoes as we slide down runaway warming’s road to Hell

Featured Image: Cover picture from the emailed announcement received 17/05/2022 of Breakthrough Institute’s new publication “Climate Dominoes“, by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop. This report summarizes the vast array of evidence showing that the climate emergency we currently face is truly existential as we progressively trip over important thresholds increasing the rate of warming as we slide down the road to a global mass extinction event in Earth’s “Hothouse” Hell.

Where the current election is concerned, stopping the warming and managing the associated climate emergency are genuinely the only issues that matter. If we fail to stop the warming we started as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, there will soon be no humans left to be concerned about anything. Making the economy the most important election issue without putting climate repair as the absolute first priority only ensures there will soon be no economy at all.

[Climate Dominoes] should be read and acted on by governments and their advisors, by the financial communities of the world, and by scientists, engineers, social scientists and philosophers. Precautionary action is needed now to avoid, to the extent possible, further tipping points being triggered.

This is a code red situation. No government is taking it seriously enough. We must urgently seek productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed.

From the Forward by Prof. Sir David King, Fellow of the Royal Society

Good leaders are guided by physical reality, not belief and dogma; and history has proved that science is our best tool for understanding that reality

Climate Dominoes encapsulates the body of Earth and climate science that our would-be Parliamentary leaders and members should consider as Australia progresses through time into evermore threatening climatic future …. A future that will be determined by the laws of physics and biology; irrespective of whatever fables, faith, belief, dogma and a miasma of self-serving humbug, bulldust, misrepresentation, and outright lies made by a bevy of puppet politicians representing super-wealthy vested interests.

Who would you prefer to have in government to represent you in the current climate emergency? — ranting puppets of narcissistic special interests (e.g., fossil fuel multi-billionaires) trying to make you believe in fairy tales about how good life is now and how much better their magic future will be for you while they squeeze the last cent of profit out of killing the world? … Or the alternative: qualified, ethical, independent thinkers and doers from your own community who understand how science works in order to see and understand the actual reality you live in……. Which kind of candidate would you trust to manage the real and growing climate emergency you can see and feel around you seriously look at the reality around you? E.g. increasing heatwaves, raging wildfires, dust storms, windstorms, floods, pandemics, dying reefs and forests, eroding shore lines, etc….

Following is the text of the Climate Dominoes’s overview that describes the main thesis of the work, and its absolute relevance to our upcoming election in Australia and the would-be leaders we are electing. Other than some added emphasis (in italics) and parenthetical comments, I have not changed the text. It is here because I completely agree with it, and so readers will understand that many scientists besides myself also see the same dangers. Superscript numbers refer to references that can be found at the end of the published document.

OVERVIEW: WHEN TIPPING POINTS COLLIDE

As global heating reduces the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice each northern summer, heat-reflecting ice is replaced by heat-absorbing dark ocean water, adding energy to the Arctic system, and driving more melting. This is a “positive feedback”, a self-reinforcing change. Examples abound in the climate system. On Greenland, for example, warming is reducing the height of the ice, and this lower elevation means it will melt more, because the temperature is higher at lower altitudes.

Sixteen years ago, James Hansen warned that: “The problem that we face now is that many [climate] feedbacks that came into play slowly in the past, driven by slowly changing forcings, will come into play rapidly now, at the pace of our human-made forcings, tempered a few decades by the oceans thermal response time.” ” 4

Those feedbacks can drive non-linear (or abrupt) change that is difficult to forecast. That happened to Arctic sea-ice in the summer of 2007, when a collapse in the ice extent led one experienced glaciologist to exclaim that it was melting “100 years ahead of schedule”;5 actually, the scientific understanding was 100 years behind reality! The same thing is happening in Antarctica now, according to the new observations of the Thwaites Glacier.

A group of eminent scientists point to “biosphere tipping points which can trigger abrupt carbon release back to the atmosphere… permafrost across the Arctic is beginning to irreversibly thaw and release carbon dioxide and methane… the boreal forest in the subarctic is increasingly vulnerable”. [Note: Working directly with the satellite record, I have made an extensive study of rapidly growing frequency, size and ferocity of wildfires in the Siberian Arctic that totally validates this point.] They say that other tipping points could be triggered at low levels of global warming with “a cluster of abrupt shifts between 1.5 °C and 2°C…” 6

Positive feedbacks, with or without abrupt change, can drive a system past its tipping point, which is a critical threshold at which small change causes a larger, more critical change to be initiated, taking components of the Earth system from one state to a discreetly different state. In other words, the system has reached a point of fragility such that it will move to a different state due to its own internal dynamics, even if there is no further external forcing (such as additional warming). [Climate Sentinel News has a number of articles on tipping points.]

An overview from Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes describes a number of key aspects of tipping points:7

  • The implications of tipping points are not thoroughly quantified in the major IPCC analyses. [See my review of the limitations in the IPCC’s scientific methodology and publishing. Their work almost inevitably understates the magnitude of the climate emergency.]
  • Some tipping point changes are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.
  • We do not know exactly how close we are to a tipping point, or even whether we have already passed it. We also do not always know if the changes are reversible, and if so, on what timescales.
  • There are tipping points that while not yet triggered may already be fully committed to. For example, the warming required for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to permanently melt might have already been reached.
  • Climate models lack the mechanisms to robustly simulate many tipping points, and the interactions between tipping points that could lead to cascading impacts. Therefore our understanding of the risks is limited.
  • Since the risk is hard to quantify, global negotiations around climate change have not appropriately taken into account the risks of initiating tipping points, which is essentially a gamble on the future of the Earth’s climate.

Tipping may be irreversible on relevant time frames, such as the span of a few human generations. For example, ice sheets can disintegrate abruptly — and drive up sea levels — much faster than they can gain mass. So whilst sea levels could rise two or three metres this century — and rates as high as five metres per century have been recorded in the past — it could take thousands of years to reset the ice and get sea levels back down.

This is an example of hysteresis, or bifurcation of a system, where it may be more difficult, or impossible, to return to its previous state. Extinctions are an example of the latter. Carbon Brief explains: “In some cases, there is evidence that once the system has jumped to a different state, then if you remove the climate forcing, the climate system doesn’t just jump back to the original state – it stays in its changed state for some considerable time, or possibly even permanently.” 8

Major tipping points are interrelated and may cascade,9 as illustrated. Interactions between these climate systems could lower the critical temperature thresholds at which each tipping point is passed.10

For example, Earth is approaching a temperature range above which the photosynthesis rate is projected to decline, affecting the storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere (the “land sink”).11 This will accelerate the warming rate, trigger further sea-ice loss, more melting on Greenland and freshwater injection into the North Atlantic, helping to further slow the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), often known as the “Gulf Stream”. This in turn would change rainfall patterns over the Amazon and further weaken its carbon stores and Earth’s land sink. And so it goes on.

Physical interactions among the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, AMOC and the Amazon rainforest tend to destabilise the network of tipping elements. The polar sheets are often the initiators of these cascade events,12 with evidence that Greenland and West Antarctica have passed their tipping (see following sections).

In 2012, James Hansen warned of scientists’ fear about the Arctic and the cascading of tipping points triggered in the Arctic: “Our greatest concern is that loss of Arctic sea ice creates a grave threat of passing two other tipping points – the potential instability of the Greenland ice sheet and methane hydrates… These latter two tipping points would have consequences that are practically irreversible on time scales of relevance to humanity.” 13 [Note: there is even more to the methane story than just methane hydrates as discussed in my presentation on the Siberian wildfires linked above.]

Cascading events may in turn lead to a “Hothouse Earth” scenario, in which climate system feedbacks and their mutual interaction drive the Earth System climate to a “point of no return”, whereby further warming would become self-sustaining (that is, without further human-caused perturbations).14 This planetary threshold could exist at a temperature rise as low as 2°C, possibly even in the 1.5°C–2°C range.15

The problem, elaborated in a 2019 paper, “Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against”, is that time is close to running out: “We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent” (emphasis added).16

Likewise, former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King warns that: “What global leaders do in the next three to-five years will determine the future of humanity.”17

Tipping point analyst Prof. Tim Lenton says that the evidence from tipping points alone “suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute… If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization”.18 [As discussed in my IPCC presentation, linked above, few scientists will actually point out what should be emphasized is that they are actually discussing is a threat to the continued existence of the human species — i.e., near term human extinction]

Who is most qualified and likely to lead “productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed”? Our existing COALition Government of spin merchants, clowns, knaves and fools representing special interest, or an alliance government led by Labor kept focused on the climate emergency by Greens and a ‘teal’ flock of genuine community-based independent thinkers and doers forcing the career politicians to stay focused on the job of solving the climate crisis.

Just how extraordinary many of the teals are is documented in earlier articles in this series (click title to open link):

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present COALition government will govern in your interests rather than their patrons in the fossil fuel and related industries, then go with the flow and don’t concern yourself with the likely consequences of going down their fossil fueled road towards runaway global warming. On the other hand, if you think it is better to work for a sustainable future where your children and their children can hope for a happy future, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this effort.

Our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking; and our Traffic Light Voting System gives you easy to use factual evidence about where each candidate in your electorate ranks in relation to their commitment to prioritize action on the climate emergency. This should make it easier to decide your voting preferences before confronting a long ballot paper in the voting booth.

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Elect climate savvy teals to force climate action

A “teal” infested minority government may be our best path towards ensuring effective action to manage the climate crisis before it is too late to stop warming

Independent candidates pose a challenge to incumbents in several key seats. Joel Carrett/AAP / from the Article. / Dr Monique Ryan seems likely to take the heartland streets of Kooyong electorate from Liberal Treasurer and PM heir apparent, Josh Frydenberg.

by Kate Crowley, 16/05/2022 in The Conversation

No, Mr Morrison. Minority government need not create ‘chaos’ – it might finally drag Australia to a responsible climate policy: Labor might be leading in the national polls, but a hung parliament after the May 21 election remains a distinct possibility

So-called “teal” independents, whose blue conservatism is tinged with green concern for climate change, may well join Greens MP Adam Bandt and current independents on the lower house crossbench. Under that scenario, any minority government would need their support.

With the support of advocacy group Climate 200, the teals are campaigning on issues relevant to their electorates and raising funds locally. But high on their agendas is a strong, science-based response to the climate crisis.

A weekend report by Nine newspapers suggested most independents seeking a lower house seat would not strike a formal power-sharing deal with either the Coalition or Labor. This would leave a major party in minority government negotiating with the crossbench on every piece of legislation it wants to pass.

Almost all the 12 independents who were polled nominated climate change as a key priority they would seek progress on in any negotiations with a minority government.

Read the complete article….

Featured Image: Zoe Daniel rally. Diego Fedele/AAP image from the article,

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Hung Parliament: chaos vs independent thinking

Politicians threatened by community-based independents warn of CHAOS, but these thinking independents have ideals rather than ideologies.

Depending on how people vote, we may be headed towards a major revolution in the structure and functioning of our form of Parliamentary government.

Under 9+ years of LNP COALition government, major policies have been heavily influenced by special interest patrons and puppet masters in the fossil fuel and and development industries. As the climate emergency grows ever more stark, and the COALition offers little besides humbug, misrepresentation and blarny together with blatant lack of ethics towards solving the crisis an unprecedented number of well-established professionals and business owners/managers in local communities decided they could do better jobs as independents representing their communities than any of the political incumbents or nominees. A few of these independents are men, but most are emotionally mature and thoughtful women and mothers with practice juggling the responsibilities of managing important jobs together with preparing their children to face a seemingly dismal future.

Because many of these independents are progressive moderates, politically falling between Greens (adopting the color green) and small ‘l’ Liberals (normally adopting blue), they soon became characterized by the intermediate blue-green color ‘teal’ – henceforth termed ‘teal’ independents. According to many news reports and even incumbents, more than enough teals are running that even if only a few of them are elected in place of major party candidates, no party or currently existing COALition would be able to form government in its own right.

Today’s featured article looks at the teal phenomenon in depth, and explores just what kind of people have become teals and what has motivated them to put aside their comfortable and rewarding jobs in the community or business to run for a place in the cesspit of our current government.

As I write this and somewhat facetiously, the fact that on top of other qualifications I’ll discuss, many of the women have successfully raised (or nearly raised) families suggests they are not fazed by dealing with childishly irrational tantrums and cleaning out dirty dirty bathrooms.

In any event, if you still haven’t totally made up your mind how to vote next Saturday, read the featured article and what I write here, and think about what it might be like to have several of these capable people representing their communities in a Parliamentary balance of power. See also the caption of the Featured Image at the end of this post.

Zoe Daniel. Photograph by Mia Mala McDonald

by Margaret Simons, 04/2022 in The Monthly

Independents and the balance of power: The federal election may hinge on a new crossbench of professional women in wealthy inner-city seats and a rural revolt against the Nationals.

… [A] wave of credible local figures [are] running as independent candidates in the forthcoming federal election. Nearly all of them are taking on electorates normally regarded as safe for the government. Their cumulative impact, and the prospect that some of them might just win, is one of the things that will make the coming contest different. If neither the Coalition nor Labor win in their own right, newly elected independents and those of the existing crossbench who are re-elected will decide who forms government. “Foment” might be a better word for the phenomenon than “wave”, since it is a multiple bobbing up rather than a single, connected thing. There are different issues in each electorate, and a different ecosystem surrounding each candidate.

There is a new ecology surrounding this phenomenon. It includes grassroots community groups promoting political discussions in electorates. In some cases, that is all they do, but other groups actively seek out and endorse independent candidates. Hybrid political organisations are springing up as part of this ecology. There are groups such as Climate 200, founded and convened by entrepreneur and climate philanthropist Simon Holmes à Court, which is raising money and funding carefully picked “values aligned” candidates. Climate 200 has what might be described as nascent policies – on climate change, government integrity and women’s rights – but insists it is not, and will not become, a political party. Meanwhile, candidates in Tasmania have founded the Local Party, which is running candidates but has no policies, instead existing to promote participatory democracy.

So what’s going on? Is this a transitory thing born of particular circumstances, or is it a permanent change to Australian politics? And if the latter, what does it mean for the way we are governed? Is it a good thing, or a harbinger of instability?

Read the complete article – long but very thoughtful….

The ‘teal’ phenomenon

In this article I want to share some thoughts about this quandary from my studies of the electoral landscape as Editor of Climate Sentinel News. I am not a political scientist. My bias here comes from a lifetime study of evolution and change: of life as a whole, of human culture from our primate ancestry, and of the growth and evolution of knowledge and wisdom in human organizations. If you are an ‘undecided’ voter, how I answer the ‘how to vote’ quandary can be expressed in one short paragraph:

Where you have a choice between an established and known political devil versus a politically untested but demonstrably rational thinker and doer from your own community, which candidate will create the most chaos when faced with a growing emergency?

  • An established politician who you know will reliably try to enforce their party policy/dogma/beliefs and the desires of their largely unknown financial patrons on citizens, no matter what.
  • A rational thinker and doer who has demonstrated their capabilities for successful decision and action while working together with others in the existing chaos of their communities and families to successfully solve whatever problems that face them.

Which candidate will be more likely to help solve problems not precisely covered in party dogma?

However, before I begin my spiel, for an ‘op ed’ report on what I will have to say about the teals, I suggest you see consider how Sky News reports on a threatened Liberal candidate supported by the ‘special interests’ including Sky News’s own parent organization Murdoch Press. This “news” report clearly demonstrates how the COALition and their supporters are responding to the threats.

● Tyrone Clarke, 09/05/2022 in Sky News: Liberal MP Tim Wilson says Climate 200-backed independents are trying to ‘sneak Labor into government’ [also watch the embedded videos].

Contrast this with a more pro-teal article

● Amy Nethery, 03/05/2022, in The Conversation – Why teal independents are seeking Liberal voters and spooking Liberal MPs

Some history

Successful progressive independents are not unknown in recent Australian Parliaments, and have even played important roles in minority governments:

Frank Bongiorno & David Lee, 22/04/2022 in the Conversation: Could the 2022 election result in a hung parliament? History shows Australians have nothing to fear from it.

Whatever the case, it is entirely possible a hung parliament might provide the circuit-breaker for a parliament that needs to grapple with much needed national reforms.

Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in The Guardian: Will a hung parliament lead to ‘chaos’? What a Gillard v Morrison comparison reveals

Using records published by the parliament of Australia, it’s possible to see a summary of the number of bills introduced by the government and how many were passed by both houses. This excludes private member’s and senator’s bills. You can read more details about the methods below.

The data shows that despite having to negotiate with independents to pass legislation through the House of Representatives, Julia Gillard’s government has the second-highest percentage of passed legislation.

Lowest on the list are the Abbott, Turnbull-Morrison and Rudd governments – all of which involved governments having to make deals with Senates described as “hostile“ and “feral”.

The 2019 Morrison government has had notable struggles passing its own legislation, with the voter identification legislation lacking support, and its religious discrimination bill failing to move through the Senate. Another key policy, legislation to establish a federal anti-corruption body, was not introduced at all, with Morrison blaming a lack of support for the government’s preferred approach.

Gillard’s government also scores higher than Morrison’s when looking at the overall rate of legislation passed a day, an index I’ve previously described as “productivity in parliament”.

Last month Frydenberg warned in a media conference this was not the time to take a chance on “the chaos of a hung parliament”.

Similarly, when asked during an interview on Tuesday whether he would negotiate with independents, Morrison said he would not.

“This is a real question for the people who are voting at this election,” he told 3AW. “Voting for the independents is a vote for chaos.”

It should be noted that both of the above analyses do not count the number of bills lost to failed negotiations prior to the introduction of legislation.

However, in the context of minority governments, or governments that have a minority in the upper house, these indexes may give us an indication of which governments were better and worse in their negotiations with crossbenchers or the opposition.

Read the complete article….

See also ● Matthew Liddy, 08/09/2010 in ABC News: Labor’s minority government explained.

Julia Gillard’s government never had a majority in either the house or senate during its life time, but in terms of legislation passed during its lifetime it was the second most successful government in Australian history! It depended on all Labor members present and agreeing, plus ‘alliance’ agreements with the Green’s Adam Bandt, and three greenish independents: Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie was an intelligence officer in the Office of National Assessments who resigned because of his disagreement with the Government of the day’s joining the Iraq invasion. He is still in office as an independent today! Oakeshott and Windsor both represented rural NSW. Oakeshott was a National Party representative until he resigned to become an independent, and Windsor and a long-time independent for his areas in both NSW and Federal Parliaments. (see ● Sally Warhaft, Tony Windsor & Rob Oakeshott, 14/04/2015 in The Wheeler Centre – Fifth Estate: Independents Day: Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott). This year both Windsor and Oakeshott are key advisors to ‘Voices’ groups.

Some numbers

According to Vote Climate One’s Voting Guide approximately 100 of the than 1203 registered candidates for the lower house are ‘independents’ (i.e., don’t belong to any specified group or party), and of these approximately 30 by my count have been ranked as green-light for first preferences.

The numbers are a bit fuzzy, but most of these have been promoted by various electorate-based voices groups and/or part funded by Climate 200 as ‘teals’. None of us agree wholly agree on our first-preferences lists. Also, even within Vote Climate One there a few candidates we haven’t given the green light to, but that one of the other organizations would support for a first preference. In any event, the fact that there are 20-30 independents (+ more Greens, + a few other green minor parties running that may also be electable) is suggests we may see a totally new kind of government in less than a week!

As noted previously, around 90% of these green light independents are women, the majority of whom are also mothers of growing families with teenage children.

The general processional competence of these independents is also quite remarkable: 6 have medical or other doctoral qualifications and practical experience.

  • Sophie Scamps (Mackellar) Australian Athletics record holder and Gold Medalist World Junior Championships; GP Medicine, Sydney Uni; Masters with Hons from College of Surgeons – Dublin; Masters of Science – Oxford; Masters of Public Health, Uni NSW; mother of three teens.
  • Monique Ryan (Kooyong) Medical degree Uni Melb; pediatric training at Melbourne & Sydney; Director of Neurology, Royal Childrens Hospital, Melbourne); pediatric neurology at Boston Chldrens; Director of Neurology Royal Childrens, Melb – specialist in nerve and muscle disorders of childhood, and pioneering genetic therapies for these ailments; mother of three teen and young adult children
  • Caroline/Kaz Heise (Cowper) Registered Nurse; Director Nursing/Midwifery; Director Cancer Institute, Manager Mission Australia / cancer survivor / 2 adult children
  • Helen Haines (Incumbent, Indi) Nurse/Midwife, PhD Medical Science Uppsala Uni Sweden, Postdoctoral Fellow Karolinska Institute, Stockholm / other exec. positions; farmer, with 3 children
  • Sarah Russell (Flinders) Critical care nurse; BA, PhD University of Melbourne; Principal Researcher at Research Matters focused on public health, mental health, ethics and aged care. See also My successful advocacy.
  • Hanabeth Luke (Page) PhD in Environmental Science, Southern Cross Uni; main specializations – surfer, regenerative agriculture, impacts of fracking, coastal environment; two school children

All these women are products of and still are (or are again – after international experiences or training) associated with their local communities. All are clearly self-motivated thinkers and doers with years of experience working in the community to make life better for their communities. All have considered what the climate crisis means for their families and what the existing politicians are (not) doing to solve the crisis. Accepting that this is the only thing that really matters of their families are to have future – they have put their successful careers aside to run for Parliament, where they may actually be able to apply their skills to making government work to solve problems.

If you are still undecided who to vote for between teals, Greens, Greenish parties, and spin merchants of the fossil fuel industry trying to convince you that these ladies and their teal friends are evil lefty conspirators belonging to a secret political party funded by a hidden patron, a lot of their humbug and bull dust is built around two names: “Voices” and “Climate200”.

Voices

Basically, “Voices of …” are emergent and politically unaffiliated groups of people in local communities gathering around kitchen tables to discuss their concerns about the future and what our politicians are not doing about it – especially in terms of the climate emergency, sexism and sexual harassment, and the growing lack of ethics in government. Thanks to the model provided by the independent Kathy McGowan in Indi (Victoria) and perfected by her successor in Indi, Helen Haines and Kerryn Phelps (Wentworth – by election following Turnbull resignation) and Zali Steggall (Warringah – defeating ex PM Tony Abbott), many of the new flock of teals emerged from voices groups in several more ‘safe’ electorates held by the COALition.

Incidentally my colleagues and I published several academic papers on how such community organizations emerge and manage their growth and community actions:

The emergence of Voices groups would seem to fit this model very well – especially where the use of social networking technology is concerned.

Teal” independents Allegra Spender, Zoe Daniel, Kylea Tink, Sophie Scamps and Kate Chaney.Credit:Jessica Hromas, Elke Meitzel, Wolter Peeters, Nick Moir, Tony McDonough (from the article)

Royce Millar, 06/05/2022 in the Age

A secret party? Immoral? Explaining who the ‘teal’ independents really are

The independents, their backers and local supporters do, however, share resources and strategies across seats, not unlike an embryonic party – co-operation that has been encouraged by trailblazing former independent MP turned teal mentor, Cathy McGowan.

The teal movement started more than a decade ago with the founding of the Voices of Indi, a community organisation that helped McGowan take the Liberal-held Victorian seat of Indi in 2013 from its incumbent, Sophie Mirabella. This inspired others such as Zali Steggall, who successfully challenged former prime minister Tony Abbott for the Sydney seat of Warringah in 2019.

McGowan describes the current independent phenomenon as a movement. “There is definitely a thread there,” she says. “Community engagement, quality candidates and effective campaigns.”

As they argue that the teal movement is an undeclared party, their Liberal detractors point out that they also share policy priorities of climate, government integrity and gender equality – especially in wealthier urban electorates.

The urban independents insist this is simply because such issues are the high-order concerns in their communities, and one which the sitting conservative MPs are not adequately addressing. McGowan notes that in rural seats such as Indi, water, infrastructure, health and social services are more important.

In keeping with the Indi model, Voices groups have emerged wherever communities are frustrated enough to organise. Typically, Voices groups withdraw after choosing a candidate and a separate campaign group is formed. In reality, the two often overlap.

University of Sydney political scientist Anika Gauja says the allegation that the independents are a party makes no sense because their very point is that they are the antithesis of the major parties – top-down organisations in which members have to toe the line.

“The teal independents”, on the other hand, “have been backed by grassroots organisations that have chosen them”.

Read the complete article….

Climate 200

The second thing threatened COALition members are terrified by is that some of the teals are outspending them on campaign advertising. As noted in the article below, Jason Falinski claims that there is something “immoral” about the amount of money available to teals – completely ignoring the fact that huge amounts of untraceable funds flow into the COALitions coffers for every election.

Actually it is well publicized that the very wealthy Simon Holmes a’Court has put millions of dollars of his own money in play to draw matching funds from community sources. How and why he has done this publicized on the Climate200 web site as well as who the large donors are and the amounts donated – totaling around 1,400,000 plus a similar amount from Holmes a’Court himself. See also a summary of Holmes a’Court’s National Press Club talk on 16/02/2022 in F&P (Fundraising & Philanthropy), published 01/03/2022: David and Goliath – the Realities of Political Fundraising, where he compares what he is doing and his reasons compared to what the established political parties are doing.

Catherine Murphy’s Guardian article here, gives her take on what the COALition is screaming about.

● Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian: Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats.

From the article

Katherine Murphy, 23/04/2022 in the Guardian

Coalition scrimps on MPs as Climate 200-backed independents outspend them in key seats

… The Liberal MP Jason Falinski, who is being challenged in his northern beaches seat of Mackellar by Climate 200-backed Sophie Scamps, said the amount being spent by independents was “immoral”.

It is expected that Scamps will spend more than $1m trying to win the seat, with a combination of traditional and digital advertising.

Falinski suggested that the independents could instead be directing their financial resources to charity, giving the example of much-needed emergency accommodation for women fleeing domestic violence as one worthy cause.

“I just think it is an immoral use of money; we have real problems in the world and for these guys to be spending $2m against members of parliament, when, according to them, they agree with their member profiles, is just immoral.

“They agree with us on climate, they agree with us on equity for women, and they agree with us on integrity, but instead of helping us they are trying to knock us off.”

Scamps suggested Falinski was “plucking figures from out of the sky or from the depths of social media rumour mills”.

“Our campaign began two years ago with conversations at kitchen tables across the electorate to listen to the concerns of people who had been taken for granted for too long,” she said.

“We are immensely proud and humbled by the way it has grown into a campaign supported by over 900 eager volunteers including some who have left their jobs to volunteer full-time on the campaign, as well as 640 donors who have collectively donated $565,644 to date.

“Additionally, Climate 200 is matching those community donations to help level the playing field against the resources and advantages held by the major parties.”

Read the complete article….

You may also be interested to read ● RMIT FactLab, 12/05/2022: Online misinformation wars: the Goldstein electorate, where copious examples are given of the political blather and humbug posted on social media re the contest between Tim Wilson and Zoe Daniel.

How would teals respond to a hung parliament

This is the last major component of the bull dust, blather, misinformation and overall humbugging spewed by COALition members in fear of losing their once ‘safe’ seats to the teal tsunami. The next three articles cover this issue off quite well:

● Michelle Grattan, 20/04/2022 in the Guardian: Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Wilkie invites independent candidates to call him for a chat about approaching a hung parliament

Christopher Knaus, 12/05/2022 in The Guardian: What happens if there is a hung parliament: how would independents approach talks and what is non-negotiable?

● Michelle Grattan, 17/04/2013 in The Guardian’s View from the Hill: Looking Back on the Hung Parliament

Oakeshott says that the great lesson for him out of this parliament has been that “bipartisanship is the best and politically the only way to achieve long-standing reform”.

He admits that he’s had disproportionate power. “Because others stayed true to their party first, they’ve handed me more influence than any one MP should have”, he says, adding, “If they are going to hand it to me, I’ll take it and use it – and I have”.

From the article….

If you are still undecided how to vote in your electorate, but are concerned about action on climate change – you have nothing to fear from giving your first preferences to green light candidates

Think about this: Teals are practiced rational thinkers and doers. They understand science and are concerned enough about the futures of their families in a world being progressively heated by the continuing profligate burning of fossil fuels, and the integrity and ethics of a government continuing to promote the fossil fuel industry. Their ideas and ideals have driven them to set aside highly rewarding careers to run for Parliament where they might be able to actually fix things. Then there are the Greens Party nominees who are wedded to these ideal as a matter of party policy as well as (normally) by personal belief. And finally there are nominees of a few other minor parties also claiming to support climate action as a matter of policy.

Vote Climate One ranks all of the people fitting these categories as green light candidates that should be given your top preferences. We do not tell you how to rank such candidates in your electorate, but only that all green-light candidates should be numbered before numbering any of the red or orange light candidates.

Parties supporting the fossil fuel industries or other carbon emitting activities and/or lacking evidence of major activities to work towards zero emissions are marked with red lights. These should be numbered last.

Orange light candidates are those that have weak climate credentials theemselves or else are nominees of parties such as the Labor Party that are both relatively weak on climate and still beholden to support fossil fuel interests, but are potentially willing to support more effective actions in a green colored alliance.

A final thought: Teal independents are driven by ideals, thoughts and ethics; party members are driven by ideologies, beliefs and historical decisions;) populists and their believer followers are driving by narcissism, greed and hate (e.g., Clive Palmers United Australia Party, Pauleen Hanson’s One Nation Party and or other faith & humbug micro parties).

Who is most likely to solve the climate crisis to avoid the existential risk of runaway global warming?

Featured Image: Hung parliaments can provide very effective government. Julia Gillard’s ‘hung’ government was the second most successful government in Australia’s history, based on the objective measurements of the proportion of bills passed, and absolute most successful based on the number of bills passed per parliamentary sitting days. This was in the face of incredibly vicious misogyny bulling of PM Gillard by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, not helped by the poorly united and faction ridden Labor Party / Source: Nick Evershed, 05/05/2022 in the Guardian.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Kooyong: Testing importance of climate action to voters

Another affluent Liberal heartland seat will test the importance of climate action and ethics to conservative, thinking voters

Grab from Sky News video, 5/05/2022 – A ‘positive thing’ if independents are able to influence government in a hung parliament: ‘teal’ independent Dr Monique Ryan and Liberal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg addressing the question, ‘Why would a hung Parliament be a bad thing’?

Among a field of 11 candidates running in Kooyong, including the ‘born to rule’ incumbent Liberal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg who would be next PM after Scott Morrison, it seems likely that no one candidate will have a clear, majority. Preference flows will then decide the election.

However, it seems almost certain that the election will boil down to a choice between two radically different concepts of government. One side is represented by Josh Frydenberg and the LNP COALition who believe they are the natural rulers and certain seats belong to them “by right” and should not be at risk. The other side is represented by relatively apolitical independent thinkers and doers like Dr Monique Ryan, who are driven by their concerns about the future to work for voters in their electorates troubled by the climate emergency and Parliamentary ethics.

I have argued in other articles in this series that this election will be decided by the balance between these two kinds of voters.

Usually the most common types of voters are relatively apathetic and complacent ‘believers’ who are happy to follow without much thought whatever dogmas they have been taught to believe by the spin merchants of their rusted on tribal political parties. Because such believers often don’t actually think about their beliefs, they are easily roused to action and anger by charismatic leaders feeding and playing to these beliefs. Such voters are often found in good numbers on both the far right (e.g., as in Trumpist America) and far left of politics (e.g., as in authoritarian Russia and China) as well as various of dogma in between.

The other kind of voters are not so easily classified. These are largely self-motivated people who pay attention to reality and make their individual decisions in life based on evidence from that reality. They are often not particular visible politically because they are too busy running their own lives to spend a lot of time telling other people how they should live theirs. However, such independents can rise to importance in crises when novel solutions are required to solve critical problems.

Why Kooyong?

Kooyong has a high proportion of well educated and relatively affluent people used to making a living based on their own initiatives. Many have family backgrounds including Holocaust survivors and ‘refugees’ from various other repressive social origins who migrated to Australia looking for a better life. The early Liberal Party strongly supported individual advancement and development under people such as Menzies — founding PM of the Liberal Party from Kooyong; Malcolm Fraser — another PM who famously resigned from the Party in 2010 over the progressive hardening of policy; and Ian Mcphee — from the neighboring Goldstein electorate and Immigration Minister under Fraser and in the shadow cabinet under Hawke). Self motivated thinkers with immigrant backgrounds naturally affiliated strongly with the ideals of these Liberal leaders.

Drys vs Wets

Under Howard and subsequent Liberal leaders such as Tony Abbott and especially Scott Morrison, the humanist ‘wets’ were crowded out of Parliament by the economically rational ‘dries’ who focused almost wholly on the costs of everything as per Josh Frydenberg, rather than the values concerning their constituents. This radically changed the nature of the Liberal policy in most ways except for the party name…. Although Frydenberg’s application of dry economic policy might have offended the values of many this did not affect bottom lines and could be overlooked. What I think has not been overlooked are his offenses in other areas such as immigration, social welfare, the aged, the environment, and overall ethics of his fellow Parliamentarians.

It is the smell of the smoke from bushfires and other escalating environmental disasters, particularly, that has caused many voters to wake up, pay serious attention to the growing environmental evidence that we are sliding down the road into an existential climate emergency, and think seriously which issues really matter where the future of their families are concerned. In other words, to understand that if we fail to stop and reverse global warming, none of the other election issues really matter in the face of probable societal collapse and possible mass extinction of our species.

Vote Climate One’s assessment of the candidates

As explained on our website under the Traffic Light Voting head we are not associated with any political party and are focused on the single issue of replacing Parliamentary puppets representing fossil fuel and related special interests.

Led by Scotty from Marketing and the LNP COALition, these puppets are largely working to protect fossil fuel production and industries from being shut down to stop further greenhouse gas emissions. We seek to replace them with thoughtful Greens and ‘teal’ independents who are publicly committed to put action on the climate emergency at the tops of their Parliamentary agendas if elected. We designate these as ‘green light’ candidates. These should be preferenced first on your ballot paper.

Red light candidates that should be preferenced last on your ballot include all members of the LNP COALition because of their party discipline — even though a few of them would be climate realists if given a free vote. This also applies to Clive Palmer’s United Australia, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and many of the other ego driven minor parties spruiking for the fossil fuel industry.

The Australian Labor Party is designated with an orange light because (1) we consider their climate policy is weak because of their close associations with special interest patrons and industrial unions in the fossil fuel industry; but on the other hand, (2) they are far more likely to vote with the green lights than any of the red lights are in a hung Parliament. In other words preference the orange lights between the green lights and the red lights.

Vote Climate one has given three of the candidates the green light:

  1. Greens – Piers Mitchem: labor lawyer and anti-nuclear campaigner and an otherwise small profile. However, in prior elections the Greens have campaigned strongly in Kooyong, and in 2019 outpolled Labor to come second with high profile human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside, who received more than 20% of the total vote. Mitchem has a smaller profile, but Frydenberg seems to be a lot more on the nose than he was in 2019. Not insignificantly Mitchem is also supported by a strong and well organized local branch.
  2. Animal Justice – Rachel Nehmer: works in the travel industry and ran for Animal Justice in the 2019 election so has some continuity in the electorate and a strong policy on animal and human rights and the climate emergency, but otherwise with a small profile.
  3. Teal independent – Dr Monique Ryan: local girl, trained in top universities in the world, Monique resigned from her prestigious job as Director of the Neurology Department at Royal Melbourne Institute of technology to contest the election because she was concerned about the impact of the growing climate catastrophe on her family. Thanks to Climate 200 and many local donors her campaign is very well funded.

Dr Ryan clearly fits the mold of the seriously independent teal candidate that I have seen in other electorates with strong candidates, expressing the difference between the rationalist thinking teals and other independents drive by dogmatic beliefs or a lust for power.

I’m running for Kooyong because I’m worried that my children might not have the opportunities I’ve had, because our environment and economy might be blighted by the effect of man-made climate change. I can no longer look away from the incipient disaster of rising sea levels, warming of the land and loss of our flora and fauna. 

This government has had close to a decade to respond to the climate emergency and do what the Kooyong community wants – take real and immediate action on climate change for the sake of our children, our continent and the globe. If they won’t do that, then it’s time for others to step up and act where they won’t.

https://www.moniqueryan.com.au/about

The only orange light candidate is ● Labor’s Dr. Peter Lynch who is also a medical doctor (physician and geriatrician) with a strong platform on climate action. This is apparently the first time he has run for a parliamentary seat. Unfortunately, as a member of the Labor Party he is tied to the party, its dogmas, and its strong links to the fossil fuel industry through its association with unions representing workers in the industry and with FF industry patrons, Like the liberals they are supporting continuation of coal mining, fracking and other major natural gas development projects. If he was running as an independent, he would be a reasonable fit to be called a teal. Running for Labor he is a credible orange light candidate — certainly a better choice ad far as climate action is concerned than any of the red light crowd.

There are seven red light candidates:

  • Independent, Will Anderson seemingly a ‘ghost’ candidate lacking any trace on the internet.
  • Australian Values Party, David Connolly is a technology trade delegate to China with no obvious political experience. Australian Values is a pro business party running Senate candidates in 5 states with a weak climate policy promoting the use of offsets.
  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, Josh Coyne seems to be one of may ghost candidates for One Nation perhaps serving to draw some votes away from Josh Frydenberg.
  • Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, Michele Dale also seems to be a ghost with no trace except her listing as a candidate.
  • (Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, Scott Andrew Hardiman is a career public servant also with years of experience in customer service and securities industries. Thanks to Palmer and Craig Kelly’s promotion of fossil fuels and denials of science, UAP is amongst the very reddest of the red lights.
  • Liberal Democratic Party, Alexandra Thom is a worker in the manufacturing industry “running: to empower everyone to make their own choices and set their own goals. She says she will oppose legislative efforts that are increasingly divisive and restrict people’s freedoms. She sees efforts to decentralise education and promote freedom of speech as critical to this end. Liberal Democrats are unambiguously opposed to curbs on the fossil fuel industry: “No net-zero emissions target. This target is an absurd extension of climate alarmist ideology that will have grave effects on living standards for all Australians if it is pursued.
  • And finally, there is the Liberal Party’s present Treasurer and PM in waiting, Josh Frydenberg. Not only is he growing increasingly unpopular in Kooyong, but the other 6 right wingers will siphon away at least some preferences from right wing voters who have become dissatisfied with Frydenberg in particular.

In this mess, it is unlikely that any candidate will gain a majority to win on first preferences. I have no doubt that Frydenberg will gain the majority of red light votes, but by no means all given that far-right ‘believers’ are likely to preference more absolutist minor parties (e.g., One Nation, UAP, or LDP) before Frydenberg. Where green light votes are concerned the bulk will be split between the Green’s Mitchem and teal Ryan will be more even, but given the strength & logic of Ryan’s campaign so far she will be the most preferred candidate here. Given Labor’s constant vilification of the Greens, Ryan is also likely to get Labor’s second preference rather Mitchem.

To me, this looks like a landslide election going towards Dr Ryan. Already in the 2019 election Frydenberg required preferences to get over the 50% line, but even then only UAP voters gave Frydenberg a majority of their second preferences. Voters for all other candidates preferred the Green, Julian Burnside, before Frydenberg. This year Frydenberg seems to be starting even farther behind a clear majority, with most second preferences flowing towards Dr Ryan who seems to be well respected by almost everyone and no obvious liabilities — other than perhaps the fear that voting for an independent is a vote for chaotic government. (My next major article will detail my reasons for thinking this fear is a furphy put out by fossil fuel puppet politicians fearful of losing their jobs to climate rationalists – for now see: ● Explainer: what happens if the 2022 election results in a hung parliament?; ● Will a hung parliament lead to ‘chaos’? What a Gillard v Morrison comparison reveals.)

The trend in Kooyong started in the 2019 election when ex Lib independent Oliver Yates gained 9% of vote based on climate credentials. However, the Greens with their environmental credentials, best addressed the protest vote with Julian Burnside as a high profile human rights candidate.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg won 58.2 per cent of the primary vote in Kooyong at the 2016 election.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

by Richard Willingham, 31/01/2019 in ABC News

Should Josh Frydenberg be worried about losing Kooyong to independent Oliver Yates?

The former head of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation has quit the Liberal Party and is running as an independent against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at this year’s federal election.

A former Liberal Party member and son of former federal Liberal MP William Yates, Oliver Yates said the party’s attitude to climate change is reckless.

His challenge in Kooyong, which covers some of Melbourne’s most affluent eastern suburbs, will be focused on climate change

Read the complete article….

Kooyong – Federal Election 2019

by Anthony Green, 08/06/2019 on ABC News

Julian Burnside

The Greens (VIC)

Burnside is one of Victoria’s leading commercial law barristers, but is best known for his high profile work on human rights and refugee case. He has acted in high profile cases such as for the Maritime Union of Australia during the 1998 waterfront dispute, and against the Australian government during the 2001 Tampa affair. He famously cross examined John Laws and Alan Jones in the Australian Broadcasting Authority’s inquiry into the ‘ca

sh for comment’. In 2004 Burnside was awarded the Human Rights Law Award by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and has been given numerous other awards.

Burnside gained 21.2% of first preferences compared to Frydenberg’s 49.4%. After distribution of remaining preferences Frydenberg on the marginal 55.7%.

I anticipate that Frydenberg will lose even more support from Kooyong’s largely centrist, humanitarian, self-motivated and thinking doers who are not automatically tied to any party’s political dogmas. Frydenberg, as as a born-to rule Treasure and PM in waiting who seems to focus totally on the economy, knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing, as well as being a mouth-piece for Scotty from Marketing’s humbug, misrepresentation, and lies about climate and energy, Frydenberg is becoming even less attractive to the community of thinkers and doers. Even if Frydenberg is a genius with the economy, most thinking voters will understand that the economy is meaningless to a world that is collapsing socially as the planet continues to warm and become progressively uninhabitable by more people year on year.

By contrast, Ryan represents what is best in the electorate and ticks all the boxes.

by Chip Le Grand, 05/05/2022 in The Age

The treasurer v the doctor: Debate crystallises the Kooyong conundrum

Such is the confidence with which Ryan is laying siege to what was, not that long ago, considered a forever Liberal seat, she was prepared to swap policy barbs with the treasurer about Australia’s economy, relations with China and even tax reform.

Yet, … it was a woman in the audience who cut to the heart of this increasingly rancorous campaign with surgical precision.

“I see highly skilled professionals,” said Vanessa Daly, a Brazilian-born swim teacher and new Australian citizen preparing to vote in her first Australian election. “Dr Monique, a very amazing doctor, and Josh, treasurer of Australia.

“Isn’t the country and community better served if you both keep your current jobs?”

Frydenberg laughed that he would vote for that. Ryan’s answer revealed that, although she has a view on many political issues, she is driven by one.

“I had a job that I loved and that I was very, very good at, and I was very sad to leave it,” she said. “The reason why I left it is because I am a scientist and I looked at the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], which tells us that this planet is heading towards unprecedented stresses. We are heading towards a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures and beyond. That is the existential threat for us right now.

Read the complete article….
Kooyong is saturated with corflutes and placards of Josh Frydenberg and independent Monique Ryan, both vying for the blue ribbon Liberal seat once held by Robert Menzies. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP / from the article

by Calla Wahlquist, 06/05/2022 in the Guardian

Josh Frydenberg pleads with unhappy Liberal voters to stick by him as pressure in Kooyong grows: Treasurer is facing off against a popular independent but polling shows his biggest hurdle may be Scott Morrison

Josh Frydenberg is in trouble, and he knows it. Three weeks before polling day, billboards asking voters to “keep Josh” started appearing in his Melbourne electorate of Kooyong.

At a forum hosted by Sky News on Thursday, the treasurer said the billboards were a reminder to voters that if they like him they should vote for him, regardless of their frustrations with the broader Liberal party.

“People need to know that if they want to keep me as the local member but they may have an issue with something that the Liberal party has said or done, and they want to give us a kick for that, at the end of the day that may not leave me as the local member,” he says. “Which is, of course, not what I want.”

Read the complete article….
Morrison responds to Turnbull speech but won’t say if he will resign under hung parliament – Guardian Video

by Guardian Staff, 06/05/2022

Malcolm Turnbull says Australians are ‘voting with their feet’ to support teal independents in election: Former PM tells Washington Harvard Club the rise of the independents could mean the ‘capture’ of the Liberal party is thwarted by ‘direct democratic action’ in the 2022 federal election

Disgruntled Liberal voters are “voting with their feet” to support the so-called teal independents, because the influence of the party’s moderate wing at the federal level was “diminished and diminishing”, the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Describing the 2022 Australian election campaign in a speech to the Washington Harvard Club, Turnbull said the rise of the independents was “the most interesting part of the election” because “if more of these ‘teal’ independents win, it will mean the capture of the Liberal Party will be thwarted by direct, democratic action from voters. People power, you might say.”

Scott Morrison dead-batted questions about his predecessor on Friday, telling reporters in Perth he “[doesn’t] share his view” and claiming that independents in the balance of power would result in “chaos”.

Read the complete article….

Think of the future and use your vote wisely

If most voters consider the evidence and THINK before they vote, I have little doubt that the green light candidates will gain the majority of first preferences amongst themselves. Whether one of them will win the seat in the end depends on how you and other voters manage your remaining preferences. How the different players may try guide preferences of those who preferred them first may be critical in deciding the election.

Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System and its voting guides are designed to help people rank their preferences in such a way that if a green light candidate is given the first preference, and doesn’t win, the vote will still go to another green light climate friendly candidate as long as any remain in the running. Only if there are no more green or orange light candidates alive can the vote be given to a red light candidate.

Vote Climate One is also providing downloadable blank ballot formats so preferences can be decided at home, so the choices can easily be transferred to the formal ballot paper in the voting booth. Check the bottom of the your electorate’s page in the voting guide. (If you don’t find it now, check again in a couple of days as they are being progressively loaded into our system.)

See Climate Sentinel News‘s Corrupt leaders, casual media, gullible believers for a different and sometimes humorous take on how use preferential voting to make the kind of humongous political transition we need to make to cleanse the Parliamentary stable of its many years accumulation of bulldust.

In any event consider the following when you are thinking about your preferences. The IPCC tells us that this election is probably our last chance to change our current puppet government to one that will act in our behalf to resolve or at least mitigate the accelerating climate crisis.


We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. Like Georgia Steele, people hope for their children’s futures. Greta doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish.

Featured Image Boundaries of the Kooyong Electorate from Vote Climate One’s Kooyong Electorate page. Click candidate names for more details.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Nicholls: Can a super-safe Nat Party seat turn teal?

Safe Liberal seats may turn teal. Can the Teal Tsunami of self-motivated thinkers also swamp rusted-on believers in safe National Party seats?

Election signs for Nationals candidate Sam Birrell and independent candidate Rob Priestly beside the highway in the federal seat of Nicholls. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian (from the Article)

by Gabrielle Chan, 02/05/2022 in The Guardian

Nicholls might be a safe Coalition seat but alternatives will test the Barnaby Line: Voters have first-hand experience of a state independent MP who is closely aligned to federal candidate Rob Priestly.

The Goyder Line marks the line of reliable rainfall in South Australia. The Brisbane Line marks the apocryphal plan to abandon northern Australia during the second world war. The Barnaby Line, then, could mark the boundary of Barnaby Joyce’s appeal to rural voters.

It has long been assumed that Joyce is a Coalition plus in the regions and a minus in the cities, but his regional appeal may be changing in the southern states. If it is, that would mirror the challenges of all major parties, trying to straddle the divide between what voters want in the north compared with the desires in the south-east.

North of the Barnaby Line – in northern New South Wales and all but the south-eastern part of Queensland – the Nationals leader is considered a plus: bringing in more votes than he loses.

But is he a negative in the southern states, losing his MPs and candidates more votes than he attracts? This is a live question that the National party will be watching, particularly in the seat of Nicholls.

Read the complete article….

Editors comment: This is another article in a series exploring the possible electoral impact of a tsunami of teal independents who seem likely to hold the balance of power in a new kind of government in Australia: One forced to face and work with the reality of a rapidly changing world by a flock of independent, self-motivated thinkers and doers concerned above all else by the climate crisis and ethics to represent the people who elected them. Can government controlled by rational thinkers replace (or at least control) a government of complacent believers happy to follow the guidance of patrons in the fossil fuel industries who try to blind people with clouds of bulldust, humbug, misrepresentations and outright lies?

Our two green light candidates, Greens’ Ian Christoe and Fusion Party’s Andrea Otto were late registrants, but given green lights because of their parties’ policies.

Vote Climate One has ranked Rob Priestly in the red light category, but he rejects funding from the coal industry and there are definite hints of teal in his corflutes and statements on climate and energy.

A net zero emissions target is required to combat the effects of climate change and protect our trade exposed industries from carbon tariffs on our products. Reaching a net zero target by 2050 will be challenging – it requires immediate changes to energy and transport sectors to ensure our children don’t shoulder all the burden of this transition close to 2050. Although the Morrison government has committed to net zero, the lack of policy urgency suggests that they would prefer to leave the difficult work to a future government.

The transition to net zero emissions is happening regardless of who is in government, so the old arguments about should we take action or not are finished. The real question is what is the best way forward.

I support a 2030 target in line with the Business Council of Australia, which is a 46 to 50 percent reduction. As a business person and big energy user I know that energy assets last 50 plus years, so early action is important to avoid big price shocks later.

We need to make sure our region doesn’t wear all the costs associated with transition and get  none of the opportunities. Bioenergy from agricultural waste is a great example of an opportunity that we should be capitalising on in this region. Without some competition for the seat, investments will go to marginal seats elsewhere in the country. 

[Priestly’s statement of true independence]

All the funds for this campaign are from people who live, farm or do business in the seat of Nicholls. The exception to this is a couple of my family members living outside the electorate  who wish me well and want to donate. 

I am not taking any money from Climate 200 or GetUp. Unlike the Liberal and National parties, I’m not taking donations from coal, gambling or alcohol companies.  

Our donors are people who have skin in the game here. They’re mostly small business people who have seen the investment an independent can bring at a state level and individual people who want change in the tone of our politics. Many are farmers who are keen for better representation on water policy. 

I have decided not to engage in any preference deals. I’ll be asking supporters to vote 1 for me and then decide who they want second, third etc. If you really want someone else at 1, then put me at 2. Please remember to number all the boxes.

From https://www.robpriestly.com/about

Featured Image: Boundaries of the Nicholls Electorate from Vote Climate One’s Nicholls Electorate page. Click candidate names for more details.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Hughes: ‘safe’ COALition seat, interesting contest

Held by science denying, coal loving Lib turncoat funded by Clive Palmer, Craig Kelly, contested by 2 teals, a Green, One Nation and the Libs

Georgia Steele is one of the independent candidates running in Hughes.(ABC News – from the article)

by Amy Greenbank, 16/04/2022 in ABC News – Federal Election 2022 – Australia Votes

Liberal candidate for Hughes in a ‘sprint’ against independents and Craig Kelly

Jenny Ware is upbeat as she walks around a picturesque waterfront park in Como, in Sydney’s south.

She’s on a mission to introduce herself to as many people as possible, but knows her time is short. 

“Hi, I’m Jenny Ware. I’m the Liberal candidate for Hughes,” she tells a handful of parents and grandparents supervising kids in a bustling playground.

Her reception is mixed, but she’s not daunted.

Two pro-climate independents are also running and sense an opportunity.

“I think people are seeing the internal party machinations as a debacle, but I won’t ever be subjected to internal party politics, so it is a bit of a bonus I think,” independent candidate Linda Seymour said.

“After the last 12 years [of Craig Kelly] I think this electorate is ready for change.”

Another independent candidate, Georgia Steele, is hoping to stage a Zali Steggall-style upset and snatch a safe seat.

Read the complete article….

Editor’s comments

This is a very interesting contest to see how a reasonably affluent urban fringe electorate dominated by lower tier professionals and tradies with moderately high level of home ownership and commuting requirements respond to the choice between three fossil-fueled spin merchants given the ‘red light’ by Vote Climate One, three climate emergency realists given the ‘green light’, and an ‘orange light’ Labor nominee with little to offer but the party line.

In Hughes, I doubt that any candidate will achieve an outright majority in the election. Thus, how voters in this electorate manage their preferences may be critically important in determining whether the type of candidate they want is elected. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System is designed to help you rank candidates by Traffic Light categories so your intent to vote for a climate friendly government isn’t accidentally lost to a fossil fuel puppet.

There are three red light candidates. As summarized in the featured article, the Liberal candidate, Jenny Ware, suffered a major loss in campaigning time in an epic preselection battle between the Liberal Party federal executive and the local branch that was only settled with a High Court ruling. Ware was nominated to replace the once popular ex-Liberal incumbent, Craig Kelly, who moved to the extreme right and is seeking re-election as ‘leader’ of multi-billionaire coal miner Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. The third red-light candidate is Narelle Seymour, representing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, is completely unknown to Google or even One Nation’s web site as at 29/04/2022. If this was the USA, I would say Narelle Seymour is probably a bogus candidate whose name was put up to draw votes away from Linda Seymour who is a credible teal independent running for the seat.

The Labor Party, that held the seat for most of its history prior to Kelly’s election as a Liberal, is represented by Riley Campbell, who, as a relative unknown with no obvious qualifications, seems to be nominated as a place holder.

Then there are three green light candidates: ● Peter Thompson – the Green – who grew up on the beaches, waterways and National Parks of the Southerland Shire (similar to my own childhood in Southern California), a science teacher for 24 years, and a strong environmentalist for 20 years; and two teal independents: ● Linda Seymour – Also home grown in the electorate, an environmentalist and high-level professional architect and communicator with experience on a number of major Australian and overseas projects; and ● Georgia Steele, born in Southerland, high school and uni in Canberra, a high-powered corporate lawyer and litigator across 4 continents, ‘obsessed with politics’ from her time in Canberra, and settled down back in Southerland to raise a family.

I quote Georgia Steele’s well expressed reasons for running because these seem typical for most of the ‘teal’ independents I have studied:

A few years ago, I started waking up in the early hours of the morning, worrying. Worrying about my kids. Not about their current lives, but about their future. Worrying that it’s only so long that they will continue to have the same opportunities that I had when I was growing up. That all the driving, coaching, cooking, will all be for nought.

This is because, if something doesn’t change – and fast – the world they’ll be living in in their 40s, will be unrecognisable from the world that we live in now. The waterline of the beautiful Wonnie will be who knows how far up the hill and the Royal National Park will have been so badly hit with bushfires that there will be almost nothing left of it.

What really kills me about this, what keeps me up at night, what frustrates the hell out of me, is that it’s a fixable problem.

Humans have got this. Humans have already invented, manufactured and commercialised all of the technology that we need to get the planet back on track. Remember what it was like to be a world leader at something? [Editor’s emphasis]

In those early morning sleepless hours, I’d ask myself whether I was doing enough. I had banned single-use plastics from the house, I had put solar panels on the roof, I’d bought a hybrid car. I’d even become a vegetarian. But somehow, it really didn’t seem enough.

Then it dawned on me. The problem is a political one. It requires a political solution. I’m a litigator. What great qualifications for being a politician! I can write. I can argue. I can persuade. I can negotiate. I can compromise. I can do that job. And surely that would be doing enough?

So, I said goodbye to the law. I put aside my dream of writing the great Australian novel, and I’ve decided to run for office. Because things need to change, and quickly. In 30 or 40 years’ time, when my kids come to me and say “Mum, how the hell did we let it get this bad?” I’ll genuinely be able to tell them that I did everything I could. With any luck, we won’t have to have that conversation at all.

From Georgia Steele’s Blog, 24/11/2021, Why I’m Running for the Seat of Hughes

Pundits think the seat will return to the Libs. I think otherwise [See post-election note below]

The demographics of Hughes suggests that the electorate is well populated by smart, practical, largely self-made people who are good at thinking for themselves. Such people are not so likely to sheepishly follow either the party-line blather and humbug of the COALition’s fossil fuel puppet brigade or Clive Palmer’s puppet Craig Kelly anti-scientific and anti-climate fairy tales. Any one of the three green light candidates is better qualified and more likely to develop and negotiate rational and effective responses to the growing climate emergency (and many other fraught issues as well) than are any of the other candidates in this electorate.

If voters consider the evidence and THINK before they vote, I have little doubt that the green light trio will gain the majority of first preferences amongst themselves. Whether one of them will win the seat in the end depends on how voters manage their remaining preferences. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System and its voting guides are designed to help people rank their preferences in such a way that if a green light candidate is given the first preference, and doesn’t win, the vote will still go to another green light climate friendly candidate as long as any remain in the running. Only if there are no more green or orange light candidates alive can the vote be given to a red light candidate.

Vote Climate One is also providing downloadable blank ballot formats so preferences can be decided at home, so the choices can easily be transferred to the formal ballot paper in the voting booth.

See Climate Sentinel News‘s Corrupt leaders, casual media, gullible believers for a different and sometimes humorous take on how use preferential voting to make the kind of humongous political transition we need to make to cleanse the Parliamentary stable of its many years accumulation of bulldust.

In any event, the IPCC tells us that this election is probably our last chance to change our current puppet government to one that will act in our behalf to resolve or at least mitigate the accelerating climate crisis.

Post election note

The pundits were right – from ABC:


We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. Like Georgia Steele, people hope for their children’s futures. Greta doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish.

Featured Image: Boundaries of the Huges Electorate from Vote Climate One’s Hughes Electorate page. Click candidate names for more details.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.