I have joined many of my fellow citizens in paying less and less attention to the daily news. Political chat shows are also off my agenda. There is simply no substantial discussion of any of the things that I care about. The casual visitor from another planet might conclude from our media that things are going ok – and so its business as usual. Shark attacks, drug busts, murders, robberies and weddings.
We hear little or nothing about climate change, the Murray Darling basin, the Great Barrier Reef, the health, dignity and prosperity for our first peoples, the gross inadequacy of the dole and other welfare payments, the lack of investment in primary health care or mental health, the epidemics of obesity, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, the root causes of domestic violence and child abuse, racism and sexism, unfettered gambling and pay day lending, social media monopolies, the explosion of personal debt, the stagnation or decline in real wages, the lack equal pay for all, and the precarious hand to mouth existence for the younger generation- with no security in jobs or housing.
Both major parties are largely in agreement on their policies on all of the above. They confect and inflate minor differences, marketing themselves like two brands of soap powder colored slightly differently.
Enter the Greens who actually are talking about a better world -and are in genuine opposition to the two major parties.
And so in this episode I would like to introduce you to Hall Greenland , an Australian political activist. He studied history at the University of Sydney in the 1960s and was a president of the Labor Club.
As editor of the student newspaper Honi Soit he was highly critical of the war in Vietnam, and at a time when Australian politicians were fawning over LBJ, Honi Soit accused the US of war crimes.
Hall was one of the participants of the Australian Freedom Rides in 1965. The Freedom Riders were a group of University students, who took a bus around country NSW exposing racism towards the indigenous community.
During the 1970s he wrote for Rolling Stone and The Digger. He served on Leichhardt Council and is the recipient of a Walkley Award. In 2013 he was the Australian Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Grayndler, losing narrowly to Anthony Albanese.
He was instrumental in saving Callan Park in the inner suburbs of Sydney from rapacious development and he is the author of a biography of Nick Origlass.
He was a founding member of NSW Greens when it was launched in Sydney in 1984 at a public meeting in Glebe Town Hall. Up until recently Hall was the co convenor of the NSW Greens.
Our conversation covers the early history of the Greens, and the ongoing policy debates in the party. I revisit the theme of episode 2- is democracy dead? And can politicians be held accountable to party members.
We dream a little about utopia, joy and a deliberative grassroots democracy.
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