People expect which ever party is in power, Labor or LNP, to manage the economy and ensure that there are jobs for Queenslanders, now and in the future.
But if Labor is to seriously consider winning the upcoming state election it also needs to address environmental issues like:
- Climate change and coal mining
- Protecting our koala population
- Conserving the Barrier Reef, and the coastal wetlands of Moreton Bay.
As a Labor member it’s been pretty disappointing these past few years to witness the State Government supporting major projects that are environmentally harmful.
Projects like the Adani coal mine which could open up a huge new coal basin and make a significant contribution to global warming.
And locally, projects like the Toondah Harbour project proposed by Walker Corporation which would involve major dredging in areas of Moreton Bay which are supposed to be protected because they are environmentally important.
The Toondah Harbour project still has to get a final go ahead decision from the Palaszczuk State Labor Government. Environmental assessment has been held up for more than a year by the Federal Government.
The never-ending postponements are evidence enough that this controversial project is being opposed for good reasons by environmentalists and many in the local community.
The Labor Party’s support for environmentally harmful projects has caused people to leave the party and voters to consider other options.
But what options are there?
Public confidence in politicians is at an all time low – people are extremely dissatisfied with the major parties at state and federal levels, as well as our local councillors.
Old school methods where politicians make cosy deals with special interest groups have made the public very cynical.
The LNP was soundly rejected by voters in early 2015 and is now facing an identity crisis with the resurgence of populism and personality parties which have no serious policy making capacity.
The Greens struggle to get more than 10% of the vote and independents lack the money and manpower to get elected.
But there are other ways to deal with concerns about the environment. It has been very encouraging to see rank and file branch members working within the Labor Party to push for a change in direction on major environmental issues.
Changing Labor policies on the environment
One of the Labor party’s strengths is its policy making process. Issues can be debated seriously through branch meetings, discussed at conferences and may ultimately get adopted as part of a policy platform which elected officials are expected to implement.
As an example, I recently worked with many others within Labor’s policy making process to to ensure that Koala protection is made evident in future South East Queensland regional planning
Politicians at all levels of government need to be finding and using better ways to engage with the people they represent.
This might even include radical ideas – like listening to what people want their governments to do, or not do.
And then trying to build bipartisan consensus on the way forward.
Callen Sorensen – Karklis
Callen is an active member of the Australian Fabians Society, ALP, Crime Stoppers, Meals on Wheels and is a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person with a strong commitment to community. Callen has worked in the retail, IT and market research sectors and is currently a student at Griffith University.