The Greens today announced that they will not direct preferences to any party in the seat of Charlton, held by Labor’s Greg Combet, and would ask Greens voters to resolve the dilemma of picking who was the “best of the worst” themselves when indicating their preferences on 21 August.
Making the announcement today, The Greens Charlton candidate Ian McKenzie said that local Greens members who determined the decision had too many concerns about the failure of both of the big parties to deal with key national policy issues, and about their local candidates in Charlton.
“Greens voters will be only too conscious of the failures of both of the old parties in key policy areas such as energy and climate change.
Local Greens members have been concerned about Mr Combet’s leading role in pushing speculative carbon capture technology to maintain the Hunter’s coal dependency, his close involvement in the Rudd Labor government’s flawed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), and his current role in spruiking the Gillard government’s inaction on climate change.
“Given Labor’s hopeless record on climate change, it was always going to be difficult for Greens members and voters to preference Mr Combet, who is the Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,” Mr McKenzie said.
“Australia and Charlton voters deserve a government Minister and local member capable of seeing through the dirty lie of so-called “clean coal” technology with the courage and foresight to advocate the managed shift away from coal and toward a renewable energy economy. A government with sufficient understanding of the challenge of climate change to know that Labor’s current policy of deferring a workable carbon tax or emissions trading scheme will ultimately make action more expensive and destabilising.
“Unfortunately, the Liberals offer no real choice in these key global and national policy areas, and – like Mr Combet – the Liberal candidate for Charlton doesn’t live in the electorate, and seems to be unknown in the Charlton community,” Mr McKenzie said.
“Locally, Greens members and voters have been unimpressed by Mr Combet’s public support for removing Newcastle’s rail line, which would be against the interests of his Charlton constituents, and would exacerbate the local contribution to climate change.
“If Mr Combet actually lived in the Charlton electorate, he might better appreciate the problem this would cause for Charlton workers and residents travelling to Newcastle, who would be forced to change to buses, or to use their cars instead, adding further greenhouse gas pollution.
“Since federal elections require voters to number every box on the ballot paper for their vote to count, Greens voters will face a real dilemma on polling day when – after voting 1 for me – they will then have to choose which of the old parties to put before the other,” Mr McKenzie said.
“I feel their pain, but when it comes to choosing the “best of the worst” in the case of Charlton, we’re asking our voters to make the distinction themselves,” Mr McKenzie said.
Ian McKenzie, Greens Candidate for Charlton 0414 682 001
Lake Macquarie Greens