Tired and angry: why we need Julian Burnside in Parliament

Australian Greens

Political leaders are treating Australians – and our environment, climate and humanitarian interests – with disrespect and disdain. That’s why we need more Green voices in the Parliament – and who better to fight for our future than Greens candidate for Kooyong, Julian Burnside?

By Alycia Gawthorne

I doubt I’m the only one who was thrilled to hear long-standing human rights advocate Julian Burnside was running for Parliament.

It was enough to make me quit my job so I could come on board to help out with the campaign. It might sound like a drastic decision, but I am so excited thinking about the change Julian would make in Parliament as a Greens MP.

Like many, I’ve known Julian as the fierce human rights lawyer who isn’t afraid to tell it how it is and call out both major parties for their indefensible treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. Having spent the past few weeks getting to know Julian as a person, I’ve learnt he’s also a person of profound integrity and humility, who genuinely wants to do right by the community.

What’s been most refreshing to discover about Julian while working as his communications manager for the Kooyong campaign is his willingness to learn from those who have different viewpoints and lived experiences to his. This is a man whom, for decades, made his living arguing his point, and at 69 years of age (sorry, Julian!) is still open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

This is exactly the quality that’s lacking in our current government. A government that pays far more attention to the corporations lining their party coffers at the expense of the very people they were elected to serve.

I came on board to work with Julian as the Greens candidate for Kooyong because I am tired and I am angry. I’m tired of the level of disdain and disrespect our so-called political leaders have shown for us and for future generations in failing to act on climate change. I am angry that the policies of the two major parties are inflicting very real and serious harm on people in detention.

There’s no denying the fight for Kooyong will be an uphill battle. The Liberals and their predecessors have held the seat since it was established. Unseating a sitting treasurer is no mean feat. But I am hopeful.

I am hopeful because I know I’m not alone in my anger. I’m hopeful because I believe in Julian and what he stands for. But perhaps most importantly, I am hopeful because I know the Liberals are scared. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be funnelling $1 million in a desperate attempt to save Josh Frydenberg from defeat.

We’re in with a real chance of electing Kooyong’s first ever Greens MP, but it’ll take many of us to make it happen together. If you’re feeling as excited as I am, please consider chipping in to Julian’s campaign so we can make it happen: burnside.greens.org.au

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