Today I have resigned from the NSW Greens and will sit as an independent member of parliament in the NSW Upper House.
This is a critical decade for climate action and reversing the decline of the natural systems that make the planet liveable. More than ever we need to build political consensus to provide for a safe and healthy future for all.
The challenges in the Greens reflect a broader issue of hyper-partisanship, intolerance and aggression in our political discourse and within our political parties.
The rise of progressive independents is in part driven by the evidence that political parties in Australia seem incapable of working together to deliver better outcomes for the community and respond to the growing ecological crisis.
I wish those who remain in the Greens well in their efforts to reform the organisation so it can live up to the promise of a party that can genuinely do politics differently.
But I want to use the next four years to work on the issues, not internal reform.
Last month’s state election returned the Berejiklian Coalition Government and could put the Shooters and Fishers Party and One Nation in the box seat to decide on legislation in the Legislative Council.
We cannot afford another four years of environmental degradation and inaction on climate change.
I’ve got a lot of criticism of the Coalition Government, particularly their poor environmental record and their failure to legislate for real climate action, but an ideological opposition to working with any one side of politics is pointless when it manifestly fails to deliver outcomes and will ultimately empower the Shooters and Fishers and One Nation.
I am committed to working constructively in the next parliament, with all members, to build consensus for positive reforms. I especially look forward to continuing to work with the community, activists and campaigners across the state to build a better NSW.
With the changes to the Premier’s Cabinet since the election and a promise to prioritise environment and social reform, these are the five areas of reform I think are necessary and achievable and what I will focus on as an independent in the next parliament:
- Build political consensus for a long-term climate action framework that can reduce our state’s emissions to zero as soon as possible and phase out coal and gas in an orderly but expedited way.
- Implement democratic reforms to restore public faith in the political system, improve government accountability and transparency, and stop the undue influence of vested interests on government decision-making.
- Turn our waste crisis into an opportunity - making our economy a circular one, reducing waste, promoting recycling and reuse and starting by phasing out damaging single-use plastics.
- Improve the health of our marine environment through reducing pollution and exploitation and improving water quality and marine habitats.
- Develop a wellbeing approach to the NSW Budget that restores our place as citizens, not customers, and puts the wellbeing of people and the planet at the centre of Government decision-making.