The Westerner

Electoral candidates to offer green options

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Source: Lee Oliver

Green electoral candidates Di Clark, Howard Nielsen and Bruce Hallett will offer voters an environmental alternative at the state election.

Green electoral candidates Di Clark, Howard Nielsen and Bruce Hallett will offer voters an environmental alternative at the state election.

Some familiar faces with 25 years combined experience on the campaign trail are leading the Greens to the ballot box at the upcoming Queensland election.

Between them Samford Village’s Howard Nielsen, Bunya’s Bruce Hallett and Mt Nebo’s Di Clark have represented the party at 12 elections at both state and national level.

The Greens’ candidate for Ferny Grove at this month’s state election, Mr Nielsen is pushing for improved public transport, including bikeways “right across the electorate”, as well as maintaining the integrity of Samford Valley.

“What we’ve been pushing is this whole idea of Samford as a green lung to the rest of north-west Brisbane, so that people can enjoy the environment here,” he said.

Mr Nielsen said the Greens are also championing a “more collaborative approach” to governance.

“The other thing is it’s really about having the community really properly engage in decisions that are made by government,” he said.

“In the past we think it’s been pretty passive by government, with decisions made elsewhere, they tell us about it and then people respond, which is not a good way to do things.”

Ms Clark says her role as the Greens’ candidate for Pine Rivers will help grow the party’s presence in the region.

“The chances of getting elected in Pine Rivers this time are reasonably slim, but the idea is to give the opportunity to people to vote Green, to send a really clear message to the Government,” she said.

“Throughout the state more than 10 per cent of people vote Green, and because of the system (of government) we have with just the one house, they have no representation in Parliament.

“The Greens’ big push is try and get proportionate representation happening in Parliament, and that’s why the Greens are fielding candidates in all seats so that all people across Queensland have an opportunity to choose to vote Green.”

Ms Clark listed coal seam gas mining and the protection of waterways as major issues, along with the danger of the Great Barrier Reef losing its world heritage status.

Candidate for Everton, Bruce Hallett, believes the presence of the Greens makes the major parties “try and change their environmental policies to try and win over voters”.

“The Greens being there influences the two major parties,” he said.

“(Queensland Premier) Anna Bligh announced just before the last election there was going to be a cross-river rail link.

“That was mainly due to trying to get the Greens’ votes, because the Greens people have been pushing for public transport for years and years and years.”

Mr Nielsen said he was confident the Greens would fare well when voters visit local polling booths on 24 March.

“In Ferny Grove we’ve jumped quite a few per cent in the last couple of elections,” he said, pointing to the Greens’ 4.8 per cent gain at the last federal election and a gain of 2.43 per cent at the previous state ballot.

“At this moment with people a little but uncertain about which of the two bigger parties they might support, we think the Greens are a really good option for people.”


   
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