The ACT Greens announced their full suite of Federal Election candidates earlier this week. Accountants, environmental scientists, and librarians join environmentalist Tim Hollo and Indigenous academic Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng. The Greens say they are opting for diversity to represent Canberra’s progressive community.
Accountant, artist, and small business owner Kathryn Savery will run as candidate for the seat of Bean (held by Labor MP David Smith).
Ms Savery is Chief Financial Officer with Project Lighting, and Treasurer of the ACT Greens, and owns an art gallery. She has been the National Finance Manager of NECA (the National Electrical and Communications Association), and treasurer for the Australian Institute of Social Affairs.
As an accountant, Ms Savery said she understood how to run a business, and how a vibrant economy that provided for all would be possible if the government managed resources efficiently and fairly.
“My career helping small- and large-scale businesses manage their financial affairs has shown me that better financial management would allow the government to achieve better outcomes for everyone.”
Ms Savery promised to campaign to tackle climate change by increasing public investment in renewable energy, technology, and infrastructure to make Australia a green manufacturing powerhouse while developing new sustainable jobs.
Volunteering in the 2020 ACT Election motivated Ms Savery to run in Bean. “It was an amazing campaign that demonstrated the level of community support for the Greens across the ACT.”
The Greens are Canberra’s fastest-growing political party. “We’ve had a real spike in our membership,” ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said after the October election. The number of Green MLAs tripled from two to six, and the party holds the balance of power for the fourth time – a world first. Membership has continued to increase after the election, Mr Rattenbury noted.
Due to the surge in membership since the 2020 ACT Election, the Greens plan to hold community events in every suburb in Canberra. The Greens have already participated in a series of community forums, stalls and door knocks. Ms Savery said the public response had been “overwhelming”; people are worried about climate change and political integrity.
“People in the south of Canberra remember the horrific bushfires that were on our doorstep, and want elected representatives willing to act on climate change.”
Ms Savery also believes the community resents corporate influence on the political system. She has asked people: ‘Why do you think we have such a deadlock when it comes to climate action?’ or ‘Why do you think 1 in 3 big corporations are allowed to pay no tax?’. People immediately raise corporate donations and the corporate capture of our political system.
Refugee advocate and environmental scientist Natasa Sojic will run as the Greens candidate for Fenner (held by Labor MP Dr Andrew Leigh).
Ms Sojic is resource recovery and waste procurement officer for the Canberra Region Joint Organisation, and a former engineer with Enviropacific, a specialist environmental service.
A passionate environmentalist, Ms Sojic has led projects removing soil and water contaminants, supporting local councils to divert waste from landfill, and increasing the demand for sustainable, compostable, and recycled material.
Ms Sojic believes the ACT deserves elected representatives with the independence and integrity to stand up for them.
“Elected representatives should be listening to people most impacted by their decisions, not the lobbyists and corporate donors that swarm into Canberra,” she said.
“I would be proud to represent this diverse and inclusive community, who like me wants a local MP who will vote in parliament to end offshore detention and provide greater support to new Australians.”
Ms Sojic also highlighted the support for the Greens political integrity platform. Canberrans overwhelmingly support the Greens’ plan to cap donations to political parties at $1,000 and establish an Independent Commission against Corruption, she said.
In her Fenner community, Ms Sojic plants trees, picks up litter, and is an active member of the Neighbourhood Watch.
Librarian and unionist James Cruz will join Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng on the Senate ticket, hoping to unseat Liberal’s Zed Seselja and Labor’s Katy Gallagher.
Mr Cruz ran as a Greens candidate in Maroubra, Sydney. A socialist, Mr Cruz believes politics in Australia must drastically change: the economy is driving climate change, while insecure and precarious work is leaving too many people worse off.
“We can only build a socially and economically just society by connecting with each other and developing a shared vision for our future,” he said.
Mr Cruz will work for better public services like publicly owned hospitals, housing and schools, and treaties and sovereignty for First Nations people.
“Growing up in public housing also showed me how critical it is that we have quality public services and welfare systems that meet everyone’s basic needs.”
He also believes that concerns with inequality and economic justice are on the rise.
“The pandemic has shown just how precarious we all are, and reminded people of the importance of universal public services and welfare systems that meet people’s basic needs.
“While JobKeeper delivered super profits to corporations that don’t pay any tax, the inequality crisis has deepened, particularly when it comes to housing and job insecurity. This has been made worse by the government’s disgraceful decision to cut the JobSeeker rate to back below the poverty line.
“I haven’t met anyone yet who disagrees when I suggest that the solution lies in making every corporation and billionaire pay tax, in order to raise the rate of Jobseeker, and make childcare, dental care, TAFE, and university free,” Mr Cruz said.