6 December 2019

ACT Greens opt for experience in lead candidates for 2020 election

| Ian Bushnell
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The lead ACT Greens team for 2020 (from left): Jo Clay, Rebecca Vassarotti, Shane Rattenbury, Johnathan Davis, Emma Davidson and Andrew Braddock. Photos: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

The ACT Greens will take a recycled team of lead candidates into next year’s Legislative Assembly elections, with only one not having previous poll experience.

In what will be a tough campaign for the Greens, who will lose Caroline Le Couteur to retirement in Murrumbidgee, they will see that experience and recognition factor as a plus.

Andrew Braddock (Yerrabi), Emma Davidson (Murrumbidgee) and Johnathan Davis (Brindabella) were all unsuccessful at the May Federal election, although Greens leader Shane Rattenbury says if their performance was replicated at the ACT level under the Hare-Clark system they would be in the Assembly after October next year.

All three were candidates in 2016, as was community advocate Rebecca Vassarotti, who will join Mr Rattenbury on the ballot in Kurrajong.

Making her election debut will be lawyer, small businesswoman and climate activist Jo Clay, who will run in Ginninderra.

Climate change hovers as the big picture issue for the Greens, but Mr Rattenbury says the Greens can deliver at the local level on issues such as transport, housing and social justice.

They will campaign on their record in the Assembly and the way they have pulled the government in the ”right direction” on issues such as light rail, climate action, justice reinvestment and the Integrity Commission.

“We’ve brought so many policies forward that are now the reality in Canberra,” he said, saying a vote for the Green was a vote for creativity and community-minded policies.

Mr Rattenbury conceded that Labor would probably be glad to be rid of them and govern alone but the last time that happened in 2004-08 the party was punished at the ballot box.

He would not rule out working with the Liberals but said Labor was the more likely option with Alistair Coe as Liberal leader.

But if the Greens were in a kingmaker position they would negotiate in good faith with both parties.

Shane Rattenbury: A vote for the Greens was a vote for creativity and community-minded policies.

Ms Davidson is Deputy CEO at Women’s Centre for Health Matters, Convenor of the Women’s Electoral Lobby, and a community volunteer in Woden community.

Murrumbidgee will be hard fought with the major parties seeing it as vulnerable but she hopes to benefit from the foundation laid by Ms Le Couteur.

Ms Davidson believes Canberra is not as livable as it could be.

“Our city is under stress as the population grows and the climate changes, and that means we need to invest in the right infrastructure for fairer, greener communities, like schools, healthcare, public transport, sports and arts facilities, and safe, secure, sustainable and affordable housing. That’s why we need Greens to pull governments in the right direction,” she said.

Mr Braddock is an environmental engineer, public servant and community advocate in Gungahlin Community Council and his local school board.

“Climate change scares the hell out of me. I’m proud of what the ACT Greens have already achieved, but there’s so much more to do. A vote for the Liberals is a vote for service cuts and climate denial. A vote for Labor is a vote for more of the same. A vote for the Greens is a vote for a real alternative, to pull the other parties in the right direction,” he said.

Ms Clay, who is also founder of The Carbon Diet and CEO of secure shredding service Send and Shred, said Australia was burning.

“It’s time to tackle the climate crisis with everything we’ve got, and only a Green government will do it right, do it fast, and do it fairly,” she said.

Real estate salesperson Mr Davis says Tuggeranong believes it is being left behind and needs stronger representation.

“I am hearing a desperate need for more effective representation. I can champion strong progressive outcomes as part of a Greens team and fight for a better outcome for the people of Tuggeranong,” he said.

Ms Vassarotti works with organisations responding to housing and homelessness, gambling reform, drug and alcohol issues, gender equity and health.

“I’m passionate about our local community, about fairness, and about bringing people together to make sure this beautiful city remains livable as it gets hotter and drier,” she said. “While we are small, Canberra can prove to the country and the world how to create a sustainable, connected and generous city.”

Mr Rattenbury said the Greens were focused on the long game. “Those decisions we’ve taken have really rippled through the way government has shaped up in Canberra since we first won balance of power in 2008,” he said.

The party will announce its full team of candidates next year.

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Protecting the habitat of a critically endangered species before it is bulldozed and flattened into local extinction by developers is not a priority for this group of “Greens”, once a conservation party, which has horse traded its ideals, its principles and its supporters for a tram.

Matthew Wright4:42 pm 09 Dec 19

The Tram is awesome and will protect so much more habitat. As the process of building roads, building cars, acquiring raw resources for cars, exploring for, extracting, processing distributing processing again and distributing again for final fueling to cars which belch local pollution is so much more polluting than trams which last 50 years longer than cars and have a much smaller environmental footprint for moving people. The tram is , no no is the solution to endangered species.

Yes the Greens do have an interest in climate change, but strangely seem to be very quiet on some other ‘green’ issues.

Why have they not been vocal on protecting the Golden Sun Moth in Yarralumla?

What are their views on the pink-tailed worm-lizard in Coombs?

Surely there must be someone in the Greens who cares about our environment and will follow their conscience to speak out?

And I’m a bit surprised to see Mr Rattenbury leading the Greens. In this age of equal representation and quotas, considering the deficit of women leading our political parties, it would have seemed a safe bet the Greens would “put their money where their mouth is” and swap him for a woman.

Perhaps its a sign of the classic “do what we say, not what we do” attitude?

How can Mr Rattenbury say they can deliver on public transport when they’ve played such an instrumental role in the new Bus network disaster.

They had multiple chances to redirect the government and improve the design before and after the implementation, but continually supported the Transport Minister instead.

I’m claiming Mr Rattenbury as ‘misleading’ on this election promise.

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