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New state seat of Newtown

The new state seat of Newtown is one of the most environmentally aware and socially progressive areas in NSW. During the 2013 federal election, the ABC Vote Compass survey of 1.5 million Australians found that Grayndler and Sydney, the federal electorates covering Newtown, had the most progressive constituencies in NSW.

Voters in this area are much more likely to agree with the Greens on issues such as stronger public health and education systems, marriage equality and strong action on climate change than anywhere else in the state. The 2011 state election results demonstrated that Greens policy on these issues resonates with the people of Marrickville, now part of the Newtown electorate. On the two-party preferred count, there was a difference of only 676 votes between the ALP and the Greens. The new seat of Newtown now has parts of the electorates of Heffron, Sydney and Marrickville that receive a strong Greens vote. When I stood as a candidate for Heffron in 2011 and 2012, the Greens primary vote in these areas was close to 30 per cent. Similarly in the area of Marrickville transferred to Newtown, the Greens received more than 42 per cent of the primary vote, 10 per cent higher than the ALP.

The Greens have consistently demonstrated their commitment to working with the local community on issues such as marriage equality, protecting public services such as TAFE, pushing to redirect the wasteful $11.5 billion being poured into the Westconnex toll road into effective and efficient public transport solutions, moving to 100 per cent renewable energy, ending coal seam gas mining and fighting for planning decisions to be made on the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development and with meaningful public participation. We will continue to do so in the future.

I’m proud of our tradition of grassroots decision-making and working closely with the community. This is why our membership surged during the 2013 federal election. The Greens preselection process for Newtown commences in February. As usual, this will be a democratic, grassroots process, where any member can nominate for preselection and all local members vote to select the final candidate. Among the hundreds of Greens members in Newtown, there are a whole range of talented and passionate Greens who would make great MPs and be strong advocates for their communities in parliament. This is an exciting time to join the Greens and actively participate in a political movement for change.

The defeat of the same-sex marriage bill and the moves to restrict women’s rights by the passing of foetal personhood (Zoe’s Law) in the lower house have both been at the hands of the Liberal and Labor MPs in state parliament in 2013. This has shown the Greens to be the only political voice in parliament to consistently stand up for social justice. We present a progressive alternative to the conservative coalition government, as well as the discredited NSW Labor party, who sadly seem to have abandoned their core values over recent years.

The next election in 2015 is a great opportunity for the people of Newtown to elect a representative who shares their values on issues of marriage equality, action on climate change, worker’s rights and investing in our public services like schools and hospitals.

Dr Mehreen Faruqi, Greens MLC.

Penny Sharpe, ALP MLC, will provide her comment on the new seat in our March issue.

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