River Clarke: It’s time for politics to reflect the true diversity of Australia

OPINION

It’s time for politics to reflect the true diversity of Australia. The current government has been a disappointment, run by people out of touch with regular folk. This election gives our community the chance to regain hope and demand real change.

I’m the Greens second Senate candidate, supporting Senator Dorinda Cox. I joined the Greens because it’s always been the best party to inspire hope in politics.

The Greens supported marriage equality before the major parties would even talk about it, we were the only party to vote against Morrison’s hateful Religious Discrimination Bill; and we’ve fought for the rights of the young, disabled, diverse, low-income and First Nations people for decades – inside and outside parliament. The Morrison government has shown us that the struggle for equality is far from over. We need the Greens in the balance of power to keep fighting that fight and achieve meaningful change.

The queer community is still disproportionately affected by poverty, healthcare costs, homelessness and insecure work. The Greens’ policies for equality and a good life benefit everyone, but they’re especially important for anyone marginalised by the current government.

In the balance of power with Labor, the Greens will push to get mental healthcare and dentistry into Medicare, make TAFE and University free, wipe student debt, end insecure work, make buying and renting a home affordable, and take much needed action on the climate crisis. Our plan for climate action is necessary to tackle the climate crisis – personally, I’m over living through once-in-a-century climate events every few months.

As a queer and trans candidate, I know that this election will define our right to exist in safety. This year the Morrison government made a last minute attempt to debate the proposed Religious Discrimination Bill, which would enshrine the right to abuse LGBTQIA+ people, women, First Nations and disabled people in law.

We need the Greens in the balance of power to protect the rights of queer and trans people, who must always have the right to live, learn and work without fear of discrimination.

Senator Janet Rice, Australian Greens spokesperson for LGBTIQA+ issues, has been campaigning for increased protections for trans students and employees, $15 million per year in gender affirming healthcare, and our ‘Making Schools Safer’ program for queer and trans kids.

If the major parties continue to debate the Religious Discrimination Bill after this election, which they have both indicated in some capacity, the harm to our community will be real and potentially devastating.

WA currently boasts two Greens in Federal politics – disabled Senator Jordon Steele-John and First Nations Senator Dorinda Cox. Both Jordon and Dorinda are leading the way for diversity in Australian politics, and they’ve restored hope to many through their actions as politicians.

By voting 1 Greens, you can help us kick out this hate-filled Morrison government. If we are successful in being in balance of power with a future Labor government, we can act on the important issues, drive progress and return a bit of hope to politics.

River Clarke will appear with Senators Dorinda Cox and Janet Rice for An Evening of Solidarity at 399 Bar on Wednesday, 27th April at 6:00pm.

 


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