Peoples’ voice emerging for #NewEnglandVotes: @tallawang reports on @AdamBlakester call to action

Independent candidate for New England Adam Blakester (centre) meets with volunteers and supporters at Inverell. Photo: supplied

I first met Adam Blakester (@AdamBlakester) about 12 years ago in Armidale. We chatted over a cup of coffee and discovered a series of common interests. Renewable energy and sustainability were among them, but they are only the tip of the iceberg.

As a regenerative farmer with almost 20 years under my belt in the foothills of the NSW Liverpool Range, I’m naturally drawn to ideas and concepts that will improve the quality of life for all of us.

My decision to settle here was inspired by a trip through the Liverpool Plains as a child and my father’s comment that this would be the best place to move to… he didn’t but I did.

As a region is has so much to offer: a good community, healthy soils, and good rain in spite of the current drought.

Penning on policy

My despair at the lack of interest shown by Barnaby Joyce in supporting and representing the electorate — and the lack of transparency shown by the current government — convinced me that there was a need for change. When Adam threw his hat in the ring as an Independent candidate for the electorate of New England, my partner Nicky and I resolved to support him in this endeavour.

Between now and the election I will be penning thoughts on policy and the campaign for No Fibs.

Climate is hottest topic

The policy platform is being constructed with the help of those in the New England willing to contribute. We have been running a poll on Adam’s campaign website since announcing his run on February 21, 2019.

One of the team collates the results weekly. In spite of the incumbent’s statements that Climate Change is elitist rubbish and of no interest to the electorate, it is the hottest topic in our surveys.

Next is environment, closely followed by water. Each week the pattern is very similar, only the wording differs.

The peoples’ voice

In this article I’ll address a critical topic that ranks very well in the policy feedback, but is felt by the team to be really important: ethics and transparency.

The importance was highlighted yet again when Josh Frydenberg couldn’t or wouldn’t disclose how much taxpayer money was being spent in promoting the LNP prior to the announcement of the election.

True electoral representation is ethical, transparent and above all inclusive.

Adam Blakester is on the record saying he’ll establish processes enabling our electorate to have a voice in their shared future. This will entail establishing regional policy and elector panels with experts, industry and community leaders to work with him on advancing these New England policy platform priorities.

He’ll also support the creation of Independent democracy structures for the electorate, as a Voices for New England (such as the electorate of Indi has), a New England Alliance of community organisations (such as Sydney has) and New England Policy Lab of researchers (such as Sydney University has created).

Strengthening of regional and place-based governance forums, advocacy and leadership are also priorities. This will support local councils, services and industries to collaborate on their shared strategic priorities and have a clearer and stronger voice with the Australian Government.

Change in culture

Adam is passionate about role-modelling a change of culture in parliament to be collaborative rather than combative, and to make decisions in the best interests of our electorate and the country (rather than person, party or vested interests).

PODCAST: Charlie Caruso interviews Adam Blakester

He vigorously supports holding to account every individual who owes a responsibility to the Australian people, be they politicians, public servants and contractors.

The integrity and effectiveness of the Australian Government, including the parliament, is of central importance. This affects the progress and delivery of all of its work and responsibilities. Adam wants to:-

  • Ensure that the findings and recommendations of recent and current Royal Commissions are fully and effectively implemented.
  • Establish a federal integrity and anti-corruption commission, including retrospective powers to pursue matters which are reasonably likely to be of a criminal nature.
  • Reform media laws and regulations to increase the diversity and accessibility of credible and independent sources of information and content.
  • Pursue reforms of political donation and electorate laws to ensure transparency and place stringent caps on corporate and organisational donations.
  • Pursue the design and adoption of an Australian Genuine Progress Indicator
  • Support the adoption of an Open Government platform to enable participatory democracy, transparency and accountability.
  • Support the professional independence, performance and accountability of the Australian Public Service including strengthening of whistleblower protections and enable the provision of fair and fearless advice.
  • Initiate an investigation of the merits for a Bill of Rights.
  • Investigate the effectiveness and efficiency of political government in Australia, particularly with a view to assessing the merits and support for regional governance for water and essential services (water, health, education, transport, infrastructure).

Sit back and enjoy the ride…

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