Greens gear up for Fed Election
- Fabian Di Lizia
- Thursday, 3 January 2013
Ahead of this year’s Federal election, the Greens have preselected Hall Greenland and Dianne Hiles for the seats of Grayndler and Sydney respectively.
The members were elected in rank-and-file ballots. Mr Greenland faces a difficult task in Grayndler against current Labor Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese has been the incumbent since 1996 and won almost double the Greens’ primary vote at the 2010 election.
Mr Greenland, who describes himself as an “urban environmentalist”, was the first editor for City Hub and won a Walkley Award. Locally, he is campaigning to stop the O’Farrell Government’s $13 billion Westconnex Motorway plan. He also pledges to ensure action on climate change and improve government spending on education, mental health and social welfare.
In spite of the difficulties in winning an inner city Labor stronghold like Grayndler, Mr Greenland is optimistic.
“Adam Bandt, the Federal Greens MP for Melbourne, has certainly shown the remarkable things one Greens MP can achieve … Greens members and supporters are inspired to work hard as they know what could be achieved with even more Greens MPs,” he says.
But Mr Albanese says he is aware of the concerns of the large number of local progressive voters.
“I expect the Greens party will poll strongly again. However, I feel the Gillard Labor Government has delivered a lot of important progressive reforms,” he says.
Mr Albanese says he will campaign strongly for a fairer funding model for schools, action on climate change and disability sector reform. Locally, Mr Albanese confirms he is partaking in a detailed analysis of a second Sydney airport site at Wilton.
The Liberal Party office did not return calls regarding a candidate for Grayndler and at this stage may not have a candidate in the offing.
As City Hub revealed in 2012, the Liberals will field Sean O’Connor for the seat of Sydney, who will face Labor Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek and Ms Hiles from the Greens. Mr O’Connor was contacted for comment but did not return calls.
Ms Hiles is a chartered management accountant and IT project manager. Ms Hiles describes herself as a refugee advocate and said Labor is failing to address inequities in Sydney. Ms Hiles is concerned Labor has shirked human rights responsibilities in government.
“I feel really passionate that Labor locks up [refugee] children and the Coalition does not care. I believe all children should be able to achieve their full potential,” she says.
Nonetheless, Ms Plibersek says Labor is working hard to address local inequities, as evidenced by their policy record.
“Federally, Labor has already delivered historic increases to the pension and student income support, introduced paid parental leave and put a price on carbon pollution for future generations. Next Labor will fund the Gonski education reforms [and] build a National Disability Insurance Scheme,” she says.
In light of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s agreement with independent crossbenchers to form government, a Federal election must be held prior to November 30, 2013.
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