I am currently the publican at the Fern Tree Tavern in Hobart. As a small business owner, I have lived the challenges of juggling customers, staff, suppliers, taxes and more. Hospitality during COVID was hard, but also such a privilege as our tavern became a much-needed part of the community as we navigated a COVID winter together.
Prior to coming back to Hobart, I worked nationally and internationally on climate and energy issues – with a particular lens on economic and community transitions. It was an opportunity to start a Tasmanian branch of the Australia Institute that bought me back. Delving back into local economic, social, and environmental issues reminded me how many opportunities we have here and how many are wasted thanks to a corrupted and toxic political system and class.
I had a 5 - year stint in the world of state and federal politics from 2008 to 2012. It was this time, seeing politics closeup that started me thinking that we needed a new system.
Our current party system requires a bond to exist between the politician and their party. The primary bond should exist between voter and elected representative. A local MP should at the very least live in the community they represent. Today it’s seen as normal for parties to drop people into electorates with deep bonds to the party and little to none to the community they wish to represent in our parliament.
I wanted to work directly on and in our democracy. I wanted to start something with the potential to transform how we govern ourselves. I realised I, like most other Australians had abrogated responsibility for governance to a small and ever diminishing group of people – and those people were failing.
We need all of us to have agency over the political decisions that determine how we live. It’s the only way we can make the most of our opportunities and navigate our way out of the big challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and growing economic inequality.