Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the Sydney Candidates Forum where Labor's Tanya Plibersek, the Greens' Matt Thompson, and I, told a packed room of locals our visions for the future.
We covered climate change, corruption, and housing issues, as well as various questions from the floor.
Read on to hear my thoughts...
I, am an engineer. I solve problems for a living. It doesn’t really matter what sort of problem it is, once you understand it, you can narrow down your options to find a solution.
There is one particular problem, that we’ve known about for over 30 years… they taught us all in school. This particular problem bothers me, not because we don’t know the solution, but because our leaders are failing to act on it.
Its climate change… global warming... caused by the greenhouse effect.
Scientists are generally very cautious with their words, they speak of things in terms of statistical significance, and expected outcomes. When they start to use words like catastrophic and irreversible damage, we have a problem.
Many fear acting to save the climate will cost jobs, and destroy our economy, but there is one simple fact to remember.
The world will decarbonise.
It has to.
Today the Science Party announced its updated energy policy.
- An end to subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
- A cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme.
- And a target for 800% renewable energy.
Right now something like 25% of Australia’s exports are coal and gas, going to places like Japan and China. Places that are committing to transitioning away from fossil fuels.
Soon, whether we like it or not, these exports are going to disappear.
We in the Science Party have a vision for the future. We think Science and Technology have let us do some pretty great things in the past, and we can use these tools to do some greater things in the future.
With Australia’s resources, we are in prime position to become a superpower in energy.
We have enough space, sun, and wind to generate the power, and the best research scientists to develop the technology.
What we need, is a government thinking about the future.
- Building the infrastructure to transmit and store power,
- Converting it to hydrogen, to be shipped overseas,
- Supporting companies that are solving today’s problems.
- And providing jobs for the thousands of people they will employ.
We need good government.
In February we all witnessed the fish kills in the Murray Darling, and immediately recognised that something was wrong.
Not being great at geography, I pulled up a map to get a feel for where the issue was. I thought the Murray Darling was some river down south, but it covers nearly the entirety of NSW! This is not an issue isolated to one small part of the country.
“Politics, Not Science” - That was the headline that caught my attention.
Again and again we hear about political maneuvers trumping evidence. The architects of the Murray Darling plan claim the plan was sound, but recent events prove that not to be the case.
We continue to get bad outcomes from our current leaders, with questionable decisions like spending 100 million dollars on a postal survey we didn’t need to have, and 400 million for the unknown great barrier reef foundation.
You begin to ask what politicians’ real motivations are.
We need to understand these perverse incentives, and get rid of them.
We need a federal ICAC, with teeth, to ensure that our leaders really are acting in our best interests. With the power to hold public hearings, and make findings of corruption in the highest levels of government.
And we need to know who is donating to political parties.
There are millions of dollars donated to the major parties every year by corporations. Corporations, who must always act in the best interest of shareholders.
Almost by definition, these companies expect something in return for their donation.
That’s why we want to abolish corporate political donations of all sorts, and have real-time reporting of donations above $1000. To ensure there is the transparency that we need in government.
When we can trust our leaders we can strive toward a better future.
We’ll build more homes, and remove the capital gains tax discount to ensure people can afford to find a place to live.
We will double the funding for scientific research. For every dollar spent on research we get about 3:1 return on investment in the economy, so by doubling research spending, we would double the resulting revenue.
We’ll help Australia to manufacture more stuff. We export a lot of rocks to other countries, but they aren’t using them to decorate their gardens. They have realised, that if you take our rocks and crack them open, money falls out. We should be adding more value to our resources, with high-tech industry based in Australia.
We’ll implement a bill of rights. To protect our freedoms from being eroded by the continuous creep of national security legislation.
We will build better public transport. To ensure all parts of the city have affordable, efficient access to employment and services.
And we’ll build a new city, designed for livability, to reduce the strain on Sydney and Melbourne, and act as a hub for innovation.
We at the Science Party are real people. People who want to make a difference.
We live and work with you in the community, and volunteer our time to think about policies that will help make Australia a better place. We don’t accept donations from corporations, so when you vote for us, you know where we stand.
My name is Aaron Hammond, and I’m your Science Party candidate for Sydney.