Pollies in the spotlight
CBD residents last month heard first-hand what their parliamentary representatives have so far achieved and what their future priorities were.
Speaking at Residents 3000’s monthly forum on July 5 were local MHR Adam Bandt, MLA Ellen Sandell and MLC Fiona Patten.
Residents 3000 runs monthly forums and intends to check in again with the parliamentarians next year to monitor progress.
In speaking order, they said:
Ms Sandell said she had been instrumental in “forcing Labor to act” on dying with dignity legislation, political donations, extra funding for Parks Victoria and public housing.
She said there was more work needed on heritage issues, Victoria’s reliance on coal for its electricity needed to be reduced and more investment in public transport was required rather than more toll roads.
Ms Sandell also pledged to reform the voting system for City of Melbourne elections, saying aspects of the current system “undermined our democracy”.
She said everything she did was designed to “put people before profits”.
Ms Patten said she had learned to “play well with others” during her first parliamentary term – during which she had changed the name of her party from the Sex Party to the Reason Party.
She said she had worked collaboratively with all parties to achieve outcomes – and also claiming credit for the dying with dignity legislation.
“Sometimes you have to put the perfect away to achieve the good,” she said.
She said the Uniting Church needed to be called to account for demolishing the Princess Mary Club building in Lonsdale St to make way for an office tower.
Also among her achievements, she said, were protecting staff and patients at an East Melbourne abortion clinic from protesters, legalising Uber and the establishment of a safe injecting room in Richmond.
For the future, she pledged to work harder for mental health services (and thereby helping prevent homelessness), advocate for the removal of tax free status for charities (like the Uniting Church) and push for a spending cap on election campaigns.
Mr Bandt talked about climate change and took partial credit for the establishment of the Financial Services Royal Commission.
He said he was also instrumental in establishing marriage equality and in stopping the federal government from charging people more to visit a GP, increasing university fees and cutting unemployment benefits.
Mr Bandt said the Commonwealth needed an anti-corruption watchdog, a federal cities policy and a federal transport policy.
He said with public transport infrastructure it was “kind of, a case of build it and they will come”.
He said the nation needed a domestic recycling industry as well as a mind-shift about housing. He said people needed to think of housing in the same way they thought about other infrastructure.
He held up the example of Finland where, he said, there was no homelessness because people who wanted a house were given one.
Questions from the floor included the subjects of short-term residential rentals and homelessness.