Since I was old enough to learn about sharing, I’ve been staunchly left wing, and as a youngster campaigned for Bob Hawke (in support of his anti nuclear platform) in the 1984 federal election. Two weeks after he took office, we were selling uranium to the French. I was 14, and after crying myself to sleep for two weeks (I felt I had betrayed people by campaigning for him, I took these things very seriously back then), I gave up all interest in politics. I had felt that I could work for positive change, but a feeling of helplessness overcame me.
Fast forward to early 2003. I had just met the lovely bloke whom I would later marry, and there was an election coming up. I remained disillusioned, but still felt passionately that our democratic right to vote was also a serious responsibility. I asked Mark who he thought I should vote for in the election, and he suggested that the Greens were a good option.
This was around the time that my interest in animal welfare was becoming an interest in animal rights, so I asked Mark about the Greens animal welfare policy. He didn’t know, but looked it up for me and emailed me a link. I read the policy, and agreed with most of it, so I took a look at their other policies, and wondered why I had spent so long having a love/hate relationship with the labour party. I felt like I had found a party of forward thinking, rational, intelligent and passionate people, whose values were very close to my own.
I voted Green.
A few weeks later, Mark and I were discussing an anti war rally. I was planning to attend, and Mark mentioned that “Kerry will be speaking”. At this stage I hadn’t met his family, so I didn’t know that he had two sisters, one of whom is a Greens Senator for NSW. He was SURE that he had mentioned this to me, but “My sister is a Senator” is the kind of thing that a girl remembers. Honestly.
So now we’re married, and Kerry is my senator-in-law. And I’ve joined the Greens and am an active member. I am secretary of our local group, and was part of the Media group during the Andrew Wilkie Campaign for the 2004 Federal Election. We forced the Prime Minister to preferences in his own seat. Bennelong is now considered to be a marginal seat.
I’ve come to know Kerry in this time, and can honestly say that she is an inspiration. Lovely in person, passionate, committed, and compassionate, Kerry has been a beacon of hope in dark times – when the coalition took control of the senate, Kerry maintained her positive attitude saying – “now we have an opportunity to make a real difference”.
I used to be cynical about politicians, to the point that I gave up even reading the newspapers, but joining the Greens, and meeting the candidates has convinced me that they are everything that good politicians should be, and I get a little cross when I hear people say “all politicians are….”. No, they are not. Some of them work really hard, in difficult circumstances, for the betterment of all, not just the people who will re-elect them.
I haven’t met Bob Brown, but I have met Kerry, and I can say that she’s tops. And she knits too…..