Thursday, August 19, 2010


I know there are plenty of other tools out there, and that all tools necessarily oversimplify, but if you are genuinely befuddled, then you could do worse than try the SMH vote-a-matic.


Anonymous said...

Hey Byron,
Do you think you could tell us which party you think people should vote for if they really care about environmental issues?

byron smith said...

Hi Anon,
I think it's pretty clear on ecological issues. The Greens are hands down ahead of all other parties, on their history, their emphasis, their basic approach and their actual policies. I'm sure they are far from perfect (what would that even mean in a policy situation?), but if you're just thinking of that issue, voting would be relatively straightforward. Of course, there are other issues to consider (on which the Greens have policies which may or may not be the best way of pursuing justice and protecting the common good), and there is the weighing of various areas against each other. However, it's hard to think of too many other political areas that have a greater weight than whether we'll have a livable planet in decades and centuries to come. I'm not saying it's the only issue (there are indeed others of significance), simply that it is far more weighty than either of the major parties acknowledge.

Some examples: the Greens were the first party to mention climate change 14 years ago. They were laughed at in the Senate by the major parties when it was mentioned. The Greens are the only party (that I'm aware of) to have a public peak oil policy. The Greens have paid attention to the ALP's own review of climate change by Prof Garnaut, a review largely abandoned by the ALP and ridiculed by the Coalition. The Greens have raised and voted consistently on a wide variety of issues of ecological importance and have run campaigns all over Australia on local ecological issues. The Greens believe that endless economic growth is neither highly desirable nor ecologically possibly and so are the only party that acknowledges the reality of life on a finite planet. We could go on. I hope that helps.

byron smith said...

Here is one attempt to quantify the differences between the parties on this. None are perfect, but there are big differences.