In November 2007, three out of every twenty people in this area voted for the Greens. About seven voted for the Nationals and nine for Justine Elliot. One topic that featured predominantly in that election was the Kyoto Protocol. That international agreement was an attempt to get developed countries like Australia, to emit less carbon dioxide and lead the way to a cleaner world without global warming.
Less than one year later, in September 2008, we went to the polls to elect a local council. Five out of every twenty people, that’s 7,181 of us, voted Green. Two out of twenty voted Liberal, with the rest lining up behind their favourite independents.
Visualise twenty people from the latest gathering you attended. If you concentrate, you can probably imagine the five of them who might vote Green, the slightly larger number who still support the current government and the same number who would prefer to go back to the days when we had never heard of climate change and could enthusiastically dig up and burn anything we wanted without worrying about getting soot on the neighbour’s washing.
In one year, the Greens at your dinner table have almost doubled. It’s almost a pity things are changing so fast. It hardly gives us time to work out what’s going to happen next.
One thing that’s already on the calendar is that next month, the Federal Parliament resumes in Canberra. On a two party preferred basis, this government won by 671,636 votes. That is 5.4 percent of the almost 13 million voters at last November’s election. One person in any random group of twenty cast a deciding vote. If 335,818 voters across Australia change their vote, the nation would be split right down the middle, fifty fifty, even Stevens.
In the lead up to that federal election, 500,000 people marched in the streets of Melbourne to protest against WorkChoices – an obviously unpopular government policy. Looking at the numbers we have just seen, that is clearly enough to unseat the government.
Next month, before Federal Parliament resumes, hundreds of thousands of Australians will march to protest this government’s deeply unpopular and pathetic stance on global warming. We each emit more carbon than any other people on the planet and our government has told the world that the best Australians can do is reduce our emissions by five percent.
Look around your twenty friends and identify the dozen or so who think this is outrageous. Talk to them and find out which three or four are prepared to march in the street. Convince one of them to join you in marching on Canberra. When parliament opens on February 3rd we want it to be perfectly clear that there are more than 335,818 voters who will switch sides on this issue.
It should be easy. After all, there are now one million Greens.
Giovanni is the founder of the Ebono Institute www.ebono.org