In 2015 we have the opportunity to reset NSW politics. To create a clean economy, a fair and inclusive society and to remove the corrupting influence of money politics.
In the inner west we will be campaigning to keep our communities diverse, our housing affordable, to transition to 100% renewables and to build a 21st century public transport system.
At this election we have a real choice between:
Meet the Greens candidates
With the creation of the new seat of Newtown, when residents go to the polls on 28 March 2015 they will have the opportunity to elect the Greens candidate Jenny Leong, a human rights activist and former president of the University Sydney postgraduate association.
Learnt more about Jenny and support the Greens for Newtown campaign by visiting the Jenny Leong for Newtown website (local campaigns, media and upcoming events are posted here), volunteering, making a donation (the Greens only take donations for individuals, not businesses) or following the campaign on Facebook.
In Summer Hill, the former seat known as Marrickville, the Greens candidate is experienced Greens Councillor Max Phillips. Max has a strong track record of defending the interests of residents of the Inner West, fighting off bad developments, exposing dodgy dealings and campaigning for greater transparency in government. Read about Clr Phillips media releases and campaigns on this site, or follow the Max Phillips for Summer Hill campaign on Facebook.
Max Phillips protesting at Baxter Detention Centre in 2003.
There are reports that the Australian Government is handing back Tamil asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan government. The asylum seekers apparently left refugee camps in India and may have been intercepted by the Australian Navy near Christmas Island. The reports suggest a mid-ocean transfer of the asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan government may occur. If this is true, then the government is committing a crime and in severe breach of the Refugee Convention. It is truly shocking to think that a country like Australia would hand people fleeing persecution back over to the very people carrying out the persecution! Would Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison have handed back Jewish people fleeing Germany back to the Nazis? The answer has to be, yes, quite possibly they would.
Furthermore, Minister Morrison wants to have a new test that if there is only a 50% chance of torture, then the Australian Government will take a punt and return the asylum seeker a high chance of torture. Unbelievable!
For many years I was a refugee activist. I was a key member of the Refugee Action Coalition of NSW for many years. I camped and protested outside the infamous Baxter Detention Centre in the South Australian desert. I worked for Greens Senator Kerry Nettle as her adviser and campaigner on immigration and asylum seekers for many years.
I’ve met newly arrived West Papuans refugees on Christmas Island. I’ve seen the inside of the stainless steel, suicide proof “management cells” of Villawood Detention Centre. I’ve protested at Sydney Airport trying to stop people being deported to danger.
After years of campaigning, public opinion softened towards asylum seekers to the point that when the Rudd Government was elected things improved somewhat. Off-shore detention on Nauru was closed down, Temporary Protection Visas were abolished and the detention centres started to empty.
When the Gillard Labor Government started to ramp up the rhetoric and notch up the cruelty, I deliberately tuned out. I admired those stalwarts activists like Ian Rintoul and Mark Goudkamp who indefatigably kept going month after month, and year after year. I was glad that Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was a strong voice for humanity and common sense, in an otherwise toxic political spiral. But I could not bare to listen to the debate once again descend into a chest beating exercise on who could be the cruellest and most hard-hearted towards refugees – with xenophobia and racism always just under the surface. While I was aware what was happening, I did not follow it in detail because I’d seen it all before and it was too depressing to witness it all being repeated. Instead I concentrated on climate change issues and fighting coal seam gas and coal mining.
When a freshly resurrected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd re-introduced the PNG solution in a last minute attempt to look tough to voters, I was sickened. But Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and the extreme Liberal Party have managed to trump even Kevin Rudd in their callous pursuit of political gain over humanity, morality and legal obligations.
My Grandmother, Edith Phillips, was a Austrian Jew studying medicine in Vienna when the Anschluss occurred and the Nazi’s took over. She had to escape the Nazi threat and was lucky enough to be smuggled out of Nazi Austria, via Italy, by an pharmacist from Western Australia. She arrived by boat and made a new life in Australia. There are many similar stories in the family histories of many Australians.
The United Nations Refugee Convention and Protocol were drafted and signed by many nations around the world to ensure that people in need, just like my grandmother, would be treated fairly and given protection from fear, persecution, torture or death. The protocol explicitly states that a government can not discriminate against people by their mode of arrival, yet successive Australian governments (Labor and Liberal) have made laws to purposefully discriminate against those who arrive by boat.
For the ideologues and psychopaths that run the modern Liberal Party, the Refugee Convention is just an annoying inconvenience to get around while the exploit latent xenophobia for electoral gain. While it is a terrible act to discriminate against boat arrivals, to detain them almost without hope, and delay their assessment, it is altogether another level of crudity to actually hand back asylum seekers to the authorities that are likely to persecute them.
If this is indeed occurring, then it is a criminal act. The ‘operational silence’ from the government does nothing to make it less criminal. If Abbott and his ministers actually carry it through, then they have proven themselves devoid of humanity and unfit for public office.
However, on this policy, Bill Shorten’s Labor Party is hardly much of an alternative. Ever since the Tampa episode of August 2011, the Labor Party’s failure to stand up for basic humanity has allowed the extremists and psychopaths in the Liberal Party to drive the public debate into a very, very dark place.
As Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said on QandA this week, “we need to remember that offering people protection is a sign of strength, it’s not a sign of weakness.” Australians are not naturally mean-hearted, but we need leaders across the political spectrum who choose to bring out the best in us, rather than exploit the worst.
Photo: Is Petersham Park safe from the WestConnex motorway?
Marrickville Greens – media release
Greens candidate for Summer Hill, Max Phillips said today the announcement that Ashfield Park would not be used as a portal for the WestConnex motorway was a great win for local people power and common sense. He called on the NSW Government to make a commitment to protect other parks in the Inner West from the motorway.
“It is fantastic news that Ashfield Park will be protected and it is a great win for people power and common sense,” said Councillor Max Phillips.
“The Greens call on the state government to grant other parks in the path of the WestConnex motorway the same protection as Ashfield Park. In particular, the government should commit to protecting Petersham Park, Camperdown Park, Camdenville Park, and Tempe Reserve and Wetlands.
“The Inner West has the lowest rates of open space in Australia, so what we do have is precious and should be protected.
“The Greens oppose the WestConnex motorway and believe transport funding should go towards public transport options to relieve traffic congestion in the long term.”
Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916
Greens Summer Hill Election Committee
Max Phillips, a Councillor on Marrickville Council for the past six years, has been preselected as the Greens candidate for the electorate of Summer Hill for the 2015 State Election. Max Phillips has lived in the Inner West all his life and currently lives in Ashfield with his partner Claire and two young daughters. He works in state parliament, mostly on the campaign to oppose coal seam gas, and was previously an advisor to former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown.
Greens Returning Officer Bev Lloyd said: “A grassroots membership preselection process involving a postal ballot of all Greens members living in the electorate as well as two candidate forums has preselected Max Phillips to be the Greens candidate for the seat of Summer Hill at the 2015 state election.
“Summer Hill is a new electorate created after a 2013 redistribution abolished the electorate of Marrickville and created the electorates of Newtown and Summer Hill. While it is nominally a Labor seat, demographic change and the retirement of Carmel Tebbutt means it will be a genuine contest between the Greens and Labor,” she said.
Councillor Max Phillips said: “I’m honoured to be the Greens candidate for Summer Hill and plan to run a vigorous and high-profile campaign.
“I will campaign for clean politics. People are sick of the corruption, the lobbying, the donations, the favours for mates and the snouts in the trough. It’s simply not acceptable and the Greens will offer a package of reforms to clean up politics and smash corruption.
“The Greens stand for clean energy – we need to move to renewable energy such as solar and wind, and away from dirty coal and coal seam gas. As the father of two beautiful young daughters, I am serious and committed about switching to clean energy to save the climate and their future.
“While the Inner West is a great place to live, we have real issues with housing affordability, childcare availability, public transport and road congestion, and bad developments affecting the character of our neighbourhoods. My fellow Greens and I have a strong record representing the community on these issues and taking on vested interests.
“I will offer the voters of Summer Hill a genuine and credible option to the broken and corrupt politics of Labor and the Liberals,” he said.
Candidate Max Phillips 0419 444 916
Returning Officer Bev Lloyd 0402 433 538
Photo of Max Phillips can be downloaded here