Sunday, 31 August 2008

Gift Newcastle Post Office to the City

Newcastle Greens
31 August 2008

The NSW or Federal Government should buy the former Newcastle Post Office building and give it to the Newcastle community, Newcastle Greens said today.

Newcastle councillor and Ward 3 candidate Keith Parsons said: "The University has apparently expressed interest in the building. This kind of use would reinforce The University’s and Council's strategies to move more university facilities into the CBD, and strengthen ties between them."

The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate for Newcastle, Cr Michael Osborne said that another alternative was the community-based Newcastle Reserve Heritage Trust, which manages the Lock Up, a cultural centre and museum in the 1860s former Police Station in Hunter Street, adjacent to the old Post Office.

"They were unsuccessful tenderers for the Post Office in 2002 and would have plenty of innovative and appropriate ideas for its future," Cr Osborne said.

Cr Parsons, who chairs Newcastle Council's Strategic Heritage Committee, said "The NSW Government has been responsible for protecting the Post Office since they added it to the State Heritage Register in 2000."

"They have been particularly reluctant to force the owners to maintain and redevelop the building. Council approved the owners’ plans in 2006. Consequently, this heritage icon has been allowed to deteriorate at an increasing rate."

Cr Parsons, who represents Newcastle Council on the Art Gallery's Board and its Acquisition Committee, rejected as "financially irresponsible" calls for the Council to purchase the building for an art gallery or library, at an estimated cost (for acquisition alone) of $10 million.

"The Greens support long overdue extensions to both the Art Gallery and Library, but the logical place is on Council-owned land behind the existing institutions in Laman Street, in the cultural heart of the city, rather than at the Post Office," Cr Parsons said.

"This would allow for the existing buildings to be refurbished and integrated with the new additions. It makes good design and economic sense," added Cr Parsons.

Cr Osborne said: "The recently announced CBD Task Force led by the Coordinator General should recommend that the NSW and/or the Federal government buy the Post Office and transfer it to an appropriate entity (such as the University of Newcastle or the Newcastle Historic Reserve Trust) with adequate funding for refurbishment."

Friday, 29 August 2008

Power privatisation

After promising no "plan B", and promising that any further efforts to change the power industry will go through parliament, Costa and Iemma have decided to do a quick, sneaky, and grubby backroom attack by using regulation to privatise the electricity retail (Integral Energy, Energy Australia) and sell off new land to be used for future power generators.

As mentioned earlier we’ll be asking voters in the council election to send both Newcastle Labor and Sydney Labor a message that selling off public assets and doing grubby deals with vested interests in the big end of town just aren’t acceptable anymore.

See more here.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

More quotable quotes

"Labor campaign director Harry Criticos said there was 'not a lot of agreed policy' between the ALP and Cr Buman...".

Cr Buman said that his deal with Labor was "a great opportunity to ensure fewer Greens on the council".

From "Buman, Labor to swap votes" in the The Newcastle Herald, 26 August 2008, page 3.

Who funded Buman in the 2007 Federal election?

Who funded Tate in the 2007 State election?

Who funded Tate and Buman in the last Council election?

Labor preference sell-out supports power sell-off

Newcastle Greens
28 August 2008

Labor’s Newcastle council team is preferencing an electricity privatisation advocate, despite overwhelming opposition in both the general community and among Newcastle Labor voters to the Iemma/Costa power sell-off plan, according to The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate, Michael Osborne.

Cr Osborne said that this would now be a factor in local Greens decisions about Greens’ preference recommendations in the Newcastle council election.

“At the very moment that some of their local Labor parliamentary colleagues are courageously declaring that they would cross the floor of the NSW parliament to back party policy in defiance of the Iemma/Costa sell-off, Newcastle Labor’s council team is selling-out its principles and selling-off its preferences to a candidate who supports electricity privatisation,” Cr Osborne said.

Newcastle Labor has decided to preference Cr Aaron Buman, who has spoken in favour of electricity privatisation during Newcastle Council debates on the issue.

“Newcastle Labor has chosen to preference Cr Buman over Greens councillors, who have been strong and consistent advocates for keeping power in the hands of the people.

“Earlier this year, Newcastle Greens decided not to preference any candidate in the next NSW state election who supports, either by public statement or parliamentary vote, the privatisation of the state’s electricity industry.

“It’s disappointing for us and for Greens supporters. When this local Labor team was first preselected, we were looking forward to working with a team of fresh faces who claimed to have progressive views on a whole range of social and environmental issues.

“But in preferencing Cr Buman they have sold out on everything they claim to stand for, and voters need to realise that – just like the Iemma/Costa government – the Newcastle Labor team can’t be trusted.

“Cr Buman doesn’t want Greens on the council because we’re not at the beck and call of the big end of town; Newcastle Labor doesn’t want us, because we prod their conscience, and make them accountable.

“We’ll be asking voters in the council election to send both Newcastle Labor and NSW Labor a message that selling off public assets and doing grubby deals with vested interests in the big end of town just aren’t acceptable anymore.”

[Note: Newcastle Greens does not accept donations from developers, or from any corporations or organisations]

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Power without purpose: selling off NSW’s future

The Greens unequivocally oppose the privatisation of the state’s electricity industry. Treasurer Michael Costa is pushing ahead with his plan without a mandate, without support from his own party and without good reason.

The Greens have been actively campaigning to counter the propaganda coming from the Iemma government and warning the voters of the devastating impacts on employment, the economy, household budgets and the environment.

The Iemma government has failed to persuade the overwhelming majority of the people of NSW who remain resolutely opposed. Treasurer Costa’s only support comes from the banking sector which stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for financial services and the very large commercial and industrial consumers.

One of the reasons the business lobby is so keen on destroying public ownership is that they want to make sure it is households and not industry and commerce that bear the lion’s share of inevitable price rises. As emissions trading pushes up the costs of generation, privately owned retailers would do little to protect small consumers who are less likely to change suppliers. A privatised power industry would look after the big end of town. Household electricity bills would soar putting yet more pressure on low and middle income budgets.

It is not only domestic finances that would suffer. Selling off the retailers and the generators would deny the state an income of about $1 billion a year. Even if the sale nets $8 billion, which is wildly optimistic, and the proceeds are invested at 8% annual interest, after allowing for inflation the state’s coffers would be $600 million a year worse off. That’s a lot less money for public schools, hospitals, transport and housing. Selling off the family silver that is working hard for the state is an exceptionally poor deal for the people of NSW.

While the Iemma government makes much of its promise to protect workers in the electricity industry, their job security guarantee last for only three years. After that, employees are at the mercy of their new owners. This is not only bad news for power station employees and the retail call centre staff. It means that this state would lose a big part of its skilled workforce in energy generation and sales and would forgo hundreds of training places. The Iemma government is making the skills crisis worse.

The electricity industry is responsible for 37% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Private owners would want to sell more to make more profits. That would mean more coal burnt and more CO2 poured into the atmosphere. If NSW is serious about playing its part in the international effort to save the climate, then selling off the electricity industry would make the job much harder.

The lights will not go out in NSW if the power is kept in public ownership. The state will not go bankrupt and there will be more money for education and health, not less.

Selling off the electricity industry would be a really bad mistake. The Greens, unions, most of the environment movement and the overwhelming majority of the Labor party membership oppose it for good reasons.

This is a serious issue for the Newcastle and Hunter community.

The Green on Newcastle Council have stood up for Newcastle and the Hunter and successfully moved that the Council oppose the privatisation of our electricity industry. This Newcastle Council resolution was sent to Iemma and Costa, all the Hunter Councils and Hunter Members of Parliament.

The Newcastle Greens also decided not recommend preferences to any candidate in the next NSW state election who supports (either by public statement or parliamentary vote) the privatisation of the NSW electricity industry.

The Greens unequivocally oppose the privatisation of the state’s electricity industry.

If Morris Iemma and Michael Costa defy their party, public opinion and common sense, and privatise power, it will be all of us and our children who will pay the price.

Who is funding the campaigns?

Newcastle Greens
27 August 2008

The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate for Newcastle, Cr Michael Osborne, today called on other groups and candidates in the Newcastle council election to publicly disclose the sources of their campaign funding before election day.

“Well before 13 September, I will issue to the media, and post on my campaign blog (at Michael Osborne's Blog), an up-to-date statement of all the sources of our Newcastle council election campaign, so voters can see for themselves where The Greens’ money is coming from,” Cr Osborne said.

“The Greens have nothing to hide about our campaign funding, and we believe the best way to allow voters to make an informed choice and to avoid a Wollongong-style scandal in Newcastle is for other candidates to make a similar commitment,” he said.

Under current state electoral disclosure laws, voters and the media won’t know where campaign funding has come from until months after the election.

“Some groups (such as the Newcastle Labor team) claim that they are not accepting developer donations.

“Newcastle voters might wonder about this when the same team swaps preferences with a developer-friendly candidate (Aaron Buman) who has publicly stated that his campaign aims to get rid of Greens councillors, who have actively campaigned for political donation reform for many years.

“Spin it as they might, Labor’s preference swap with Aaron Buman makes Labor a partner in a campaign to prevent the election of candidates of the only party that has consistently opposed developer donations. This raises serious questions about Newcastle Labor’s credibility and integrity,” Cr Osborne said.

“Voters are entitled to ask whether this really is a new-look Labor team committed to reforming the electoral donations system, or just another Iemma-style, developer-dressed wolf disguised in local sheep’s clothing.

“Recent media revelations have exposed Labor council candidates in Sydney who have campaigned on a ‘no developer donations’ platform, only to receive money filtered through sources financed by developers.”

Cr Osborne said that the community was also buzzing with rumours about who was bankrolling the campaigns of various Independent candidates.

“People are asking where the money is coming from for both Lord Mayor John Tate’s and Cr Buman’s campaigns.

“People vote Independent in the often mistaken belief that the person they’re voting for really is independent of outside influences. Electoral disclosures – lodged long after election day - often tell a different story.

“Voters deserve to have this information before they vote,” Cr Osborne said.

In the previous (2004) council elections, local media revealed that developer money was behind the failed Hunter Citizens campaign in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

“When voters realised who was bankrolling it, the Hunter Citizens campaign collapsed. But the electoral success of independent candidates would not have been lost on those behind the Hunter Citizens campaign.

“Where is this developer money going in this election?” Cr Osborne asked.

“Have these developers now discovered a more effective way of concealing their influence, by filtering their money through local developer-friendly candidates who campaign under the ‘Independent’ label?”

[Note: Newcastle Greens does not accept donations from developers, or from any corporations or organisations]

For further information or comment, contact Michael Osborne on 0439 442 984.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Hunter Water asked to come clean

Newcastle Council passed the following resolution last Tuesday night...
Noting that:
a. Council is obliged to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers (Local Government Act 1993, Section 232)

b. There has been concern in the community about the cost to Council residents from the proposed Tillegra Dam

c. There has been media speculation about the cost to Council residents from the proposed Tillegra Dam (see articles attached from The Australian newspaper and The Newcastle Herald newspaper)

Newcastle City Council:

i. Calls for Hunter Water Corporation to outline to the community the full cost to Council residents from the proposed Tillegra Dam, including the impost on new housing development

ii. Calls for Hunter Water Corporation to place together on public exhibition the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal pricing determination and the Environmental Assessment Report so that the community can comment on, not only the environmental impacts from the proposed dam, but the social and economic impacts for Council residents.

Councillor Tate voted against calling on Hunter Water to be open and transparent about the cost to residents from the proposed Tillegra dam.

Missing in action?

One of the few remaining Council meetings of this term of Newcastle City Council was held on Tuesday 26 August 2008.

And, yet again, where was Councillor Buman?

Monday, 25 August 2008

Newcastle Alliance forum

Newcastle needs generational change with genuine leadership not dithering, bickering and excuses.

Newcastle needs new leadership in tackling the challenge of climate change with significant initiatives and real outcomes.

Newcastle needs new leadership to change the Council to be focussed on serving members of the community rather than ignoring them.

And Newcastle needs new leadership to address the state of our City’s infrastructure and the rundown areas within our City.

I have the experience and skills to lead the Council, to make the necessary changes and to make our City a safe and secure place to live for all residents.

Climate change is the greatest economic and environmental challenge of our time. Climate change will impact on our lifestyles, on our biodiversity and on all aspects of life.

There are 142,000 people in Newcastle and every one of them will be affected by the climate crisis.

Some scientists are predicting very large increases in the sea level. If this happens, many family homes will go under.

Will the coal companies, who are making massive profits, be made to pay for the relocation costs or pay to raise the houses?

  • 1200 families who live in Stockton
  • 900 families who live in Carrington and
  • 1400 families who live in the Maryville/Wickham area

Newcastle City Council has an important role to play in, not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but in managing the impacts of climate change for our community.

  • As Lord Mayor, I will ensure Newcastle Council proactively develops a Climate Change Strategy in its first year, in full consultation with the community and with expert advice.
  • This Strategy will include Newcastle Council establishing a community Green Power program, that involves Council bulk purchasing cheaper green energy from electricity providers and selling it on to residents at an affordable rate. This scheme has already been piloted in Victoria. Good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will move for a significant increase in Council’s budget for cycleways from less than 0.1% of the budget to 1%. Our City needs a network of connected cycleways separated from the road traffic, where Newcastle families can cycle in safety. Good for families and good for the environment.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will support the community to adapt to climate change with Newcastle Council providing
  • interest-free loans for installing solar panels
  • a fund to encourage and subsidise the take-up of solar hot water systems
  • investigating rate reductions for maintaining significant trees
  • a free or cheap bicycle hire system, (like the one recently introduced in Paris)
  • supporting community based initiatives like local vegetable buying co-ops, community markets and the use of public land to grow food
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand up for the community – whether it is about the Sydney Labor government taking away community involvement in planning, under-funding public transport or building out our harbour.
  • As Lord Mayor, I will continue to stand with the community for appropriate development to move our City forward and against inappropriate development that over-shadows, is too big and bulky and is not in keeping with the heritage of our City.

Newcastle Council needs to show leadership and take the initiative with climate change.

Council needs to adopt the ultimate objective of full carbon neutrality for all Council activities, including offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions.

Council needs to adopt annual carbon reduction targets and reduce Council’s own greenhouse gas emissions in line with them.

Council needs to reduce the size of it’s vehicle fleet to the minimum required and shift the fleet to vehicles with at least 7 Star Greenhouse Rating, according to the Federal Government’s Green Vehicle Guide.

And Council needs to shift its purchase of electricity for its own operations from fossil fuel sources to Green Power from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro.

Council can lead many initiatives for its community to tackle the challenge of climate change.

As Lord Mayor I will show real leadership about this serious threat to our community.

The time to act on climate change is now.

It’s time for generational change

It’s time for new leadership

It’s time to vote green.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Newcastle Greens Team Tackles Climate Change

Newcastle Greens
24 August 2008

“The Greens plan to make Newcastle a leader - locally, regionally, nationally and internationally - in tackling the challenge of climate change. There’s never been a more important time to vote Green!” Lord Mayoral candidate Councillor Michael Osborne said.

“Greens councillors will move to ensure Newcastle Council proactively develops a Climate Change Strategy in its first year in full consultation with the community and with expert advice. In the remaining weeks of the campaign the Greens’ team will announce climate change polices to deal with Council's own operations. Today we're outlining a plan for community initiatives that can start now!" said Councillor Michael Osborne.

“A community Green Power program is a key feature of the Strategy. This involves Council bulk purchasing cheaper green energy from electricity providers and selling it on to residents at an affordable rate. This scheme has already been piloted in Victoria.

“Interest-free loans for installing solar panels, a fund to encourage and subsidise the take-up of solar hot water systems, investigating rate reductions for maintaining significant trees, a free or cheap bicycle hire system, (like the one recently introduced in Paris) … all these are ways Council can help the community take positive steps to reduce climate change.

“A significant increase in Council’s budget for cycleways from less than 0.1% of the budget to 1% is a top Greens’ priority. A network of safe, connected cycleways throughout the city is urgently needed if the city is to be serious about tackling fossil fuel-driven climate change.

“Council support for community based initiatives advocated by organisations like ‘Transition Towns’, local vegetable buying co-ops, community markets and the use of public land to grow food will reduce our carbon footprint and build resilience in the community.

“Council also has a role to play as a voice for the community, lobbying other spheres of government to adopt policies to tackle climate change, including:

  • Continuing Council's opposition to the expansion of Newcastle coal export facilities;
  • Lifting the minimum standards for water and energy savings required under BASIX;
  • Significantly increasing investment in public transport infrastructure and services, including local initiatives such as expanding free bus services;
  • Redirecting spending on major dams (a significant contributor to human-caused methane emissions) into climate-friendly strategies such as increasing water recycling, doubling the rainwater tank rebate, and water-efficient washing machine rebates available.

“Council can lead many initiatives for its community to tackle the challenge of climate change. As mayor I plan to show real leadership about this serious threat to our community,” said Cr Michael Osborne.

Contact: Greens Lord Mayoral and Ward 1 candidate Cr Michael Osborne 0439 442984

The Newcastle Green Team


MICHAEL OSBORNE [0439 442 984 or 4940 8149]
Lord Mayoral candidate and No. 1 candidate for Ward 1

A long-time Newcastle resident, Michael has been a Greens councillor since 2004 and Deputy Lord Mayor in 2005. He has brought to Council his experience as a consulting environmental engineer specialising in water management, and his local and international management experience. He was instrumental in establishing the Green Corridor, a major local climate change initiative. If re-elected, Michael pledges to continue to support a dynamic and ecologically sustainable city.

THERESE DOYLE [0434 257 892]
No. 1 candidate for Ward 2

Therese is an education policy consultant who has lived in Newcastle for the past eight years. Therese was a Greens councillor and Deputy Mayor of Concord Council (in Sydney), during the 1990s. In those capacities, she worked tirelessly to make sure residents' concerns were dealt with and that council was transparent and accountable. If elected, Therese will continue to pursue these priorities on Newcastle Council .

KEITH PARSONS [0408 446 022 or 4926-5301]
No. 1 candidate for Ward 3

A long-time Newcastle resident, Keith has been a Ward 3 Greens Councillor since 2004 and was Deputy Lord Mayor, in 2004-5. On Council, he has been effective in developing and implementing Greens initiatives on sustainable planning, preserving heritage, flood control, transport, and arts and cultural development. If re-elected Keith pledges to continue to act on such issues and other residents' concerns.

GEORGIE HUXTABLE [0408 344 548 or 4969-1312]]
No. 1 candidate for Ward 4

Georgie is a doctor who works in medical education at the University of Newcastle. A resident of Newcastle since 1985, Georgie is committed to promoting a healthy and sustainable environment for present and future Novocastrians. She has a particular interest in climate change and its social and health impacts. If elected, she will work for Newcastle's transition to a resilient, carbon-free, environmentally sustainable community.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Climate Torch Relay

For six weeks during August and September, the GetUp Climate Torch Relay will tour right across Australia, with the community calling on our leaders to halve Australia’s greenhouse pollution by 2020.

I was due to address the Newcastle leg of the relay at Newcastle's Civic Park on Friday 22 August 2008 at noon. Alas, the train that was delivering the torch from Gosford to Newcastle was seriously delayed and the Newcastle relay had to be cancelled.

But the torch did eventually arrive and travelled on Sunday in my Prius to the proposed Tillegra Dam site on the Williams River.

More information can be found at The Wilderness Society website and the Save the Williams River website.

On the campaign trail

Me and Therese Doyle (Ward 2 Greens candidate) meeting people on a cold Saturday morning in The Junction...

Monday, 18 August 2008

Net-savvy Greens set sites on council elections

Newcastle Greens
18 August 2008

Greens candidates in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are taking their campaign to cyberspace in social networking sites and candidates’ blogs – and they say councils need to switch on, too.

“For a long time, The Greens have led the way – both locally and nationally – in using the internet to communicate with voters and citizens – and we see this election campaign as an opportunity to continue to tap into the power of new communication technology,” The Greens Newcastle Lord Mayoral candidate, Councillor Michael Osborne, said today.

Cr Osborne said that despite comments to the contrary in the local media, local Greens candidates are very much on the internet in this election.

“I was the first Newcastle councillor to actively participate in social networking sites and blogging,” Cr Osborne said.

“I have nearly 400 Facebook friends, and I’ve maintained a series of blogs over the years, both as a local Greens candidate over several elections, and as a Newcastle Greens councillor.

“The net is an excellent way to do politics differently, and to communicate with voters who don’t necessarily access mainstream media, including many young people,” he said.

“Each lead candidate on Greens tickets for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils will be maintaining a candidate blog.

Cr Osborne said that – if elected – Greens councillors would work to improve the use of the internet as a means of communication and consultation in their councils.

“The internet has great potential for local democracy and participation,” he said.

“Councils should be engaging more actively with this medium, and expanding things like online consultation through websites (including online forums), and webcasting council meetings and other key council events,” he said.

All No.1 Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Greens candidates will be maintaining candidates’ blogs by next week. Those already active are:

For further information or comment, contact: Michael Osborne on 0439 442 984

Mayfield Community forum

A well-run meeting of candidates and the community was held at Mayfield on Monday night 18 August 2008.

The executive of the forum had compiled a number of questions for the candidates to answer.

1 Forums: How does the candidate view Community Forums (Mayfield in particular)?

2 Environment: How does the candidate propose to deal with environmental contamination in all its forms, e.g. noise, dust, visual, in suburbs like Mayfield that interface between residential and industrial.

3 Community health: There is considerable concern about developments such as the proposed expansion of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Mayfield East, and the reported forced acquisition of homes for a car park for a greatly enlarged restaurant. Bringing the 'obesity epidemic' into this question, should we continually support ventures such as this? How highly do you rate the ideas of local food production and urban greening as viable alternatives for a sustainable future?

4 Campaign finance: How is your campaign financed? In particular, is your Election Campaign financed developers or the liquor industry, whether directly or indirectly?

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Newcastle solar business

On 14 August 2008, I joined Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, as part of the Pollies for Small Business program, at the premises Solar Newcastle and its Director Adam Dalby and the Hunter Business Chamber CEO Peter Shinnick.

Solar Newcastle is a locally owned and operated business, that installs solar panels for residential and commercial customers.

The visit was opportune, particularly since the federal government slashed the solar rebate. By means testing the rooftop solar rebate the federal government injured the solar industry at a time when it should be encouraging its growth.

The Hunter is at a fork in the road - governments can choose to support renewables like solar which are reliable, clean and limitless or remain stuck in the dirty, polluting coal age. With its abundant sunshine the Hunter has enormous potential to harness solar energy, moving it away from a reliance on coal.

The slashing of the solar rebate was like a hit and run for the solar industry which comprises many small businesses. Families in Newcastle whose income is over $100,000 who are keen to do their bit for the planet are being discouraged from installing solar panels.

The Greens are calling for national feed-in laws to give certainty for solar businesses, households wanting to install solar panels and commercial investors.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


The Telegraph reported on 12 August 2008 about the shenanigans happening in the local Newcastle media regarding the Newcastle Council elections.

Taking climate change seriously

Newcastle Greens
12 August 2008

Tackling climate change at the local level will be a key focus for the Newcastle Greens team announced today for the Newcastle Council election on 13 September.

Georgie Huxtable, a doctor who tutors in medicine at the University of Newcastle, has now joined the Greens’ previously announced candidates for Lord Mayor (Cr Michael Osborne) and for Wards one, two and three (Michael Osborne, Therese Doyle and Keith Parsons).

Ms Huxtable is aiming to fill the position vacated by The Greens’ popular former councillor for Ward 4, Cassandra Arnold, who recently resigned from council for health reasons.

“I’m very excited at the prospect of representing Ward 4 residents. I’m passionate about meeting the challenge of climate change, and the issues at the forefront in Ward 4 - such as flooding, pollution, wetlands management, urban development, water, vegetation, waste and biodiversity - are all related to climate change, and all have flow-on effects on human health and well-being,” Ms Huxtable said.

Eight other candidates will support the No.1 candidates, making up full Greens tickets for all four city wards (see below for details).

The Greens Lord Mayoral candidate, Cr Michael Osborne, said he felt honoured to be part of a team with such enormous talent and experience.

“All our lead candidates have tertiary qualifications and experience in areas related to local government issues,” he said.

Newcastle has had continuous local Greens representation on the city council since 1991. At the 2004 election, The Greens won a seat in each of the city’s four wards for the first time, giving it equal representation to both Labor and the Tate Independents.

“Now, more than ever, our city needs Greens on the council,” Cr Osborne said.

“This team presents Newcastle voters with candidates capable of seriously tackling key issues, such as climate change; planning, transport, social issues, and city governance.

“We’ll be releasing further policy and position statements on these and other policy areas during the campaign,” Cr Osborne said.

“We’re fully aware of the challenge of maintaining our current level of representation on the council, especially given our limited resources, compared to the other main players.

“Unlike other groups, we don’t accept donations from developers and other vested interests. We rely on our members and supporters in the local community, who volunteer their time and talents because they want our city to have a sustainable future.”

Newcastle was the first city in Australia to elect a Green to its city council (in 1991). Since then, Newcastle Greens have contested every Newcastle council election (i.e., 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2004), and have been continuously represented on the council, winning seats in every council ward.

“As always, we’ll be offering positive and creative ideas for tackling the city’s key issues, and to show how local action by Newcastle Council can help to solve big challenges like climate change and social injustice,” Cr Osborne said.

Each Greens candidate heading a ticket will maintain an active campaign blog, recording their campaign activity, releasing policy and position statements, and commenting on key campaign issues.

Monday, 11 August 2008


I attended a forum on Homelessness in the Hunter organised by Newcastle Young Labor at the Newcastle Trades Hall tonight.

Speakers included Andrew Scholfield and Elise Briggs from the Salvation Army, Robert Coombs State MP for Swansea and Tanya Plibersek Federal MP (Minister for Housing & Minister for the Status of Women).

The event was well-attended, though the only local government representatives or condidates to attend were myself and Councillor Keith Parsons.

The event was advertised as:
This forum will provide the general public with the opportunity to contribute to a Homelessness Plan for Newcastle.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

After a very good outline of the local situation from Andrew Schofield and Elise Briggs, the audience was given a badgering, "we're doing lots" from the State MP and a heartfelt outline from the Federal MP, a few questions were taken before the event dissolved.

No opportunity for anyone to contribute to a Homelessness Plan for Newcastle.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Wallsend Winter Fair

What a great day at the Wallsend Winter Fair!

Here is the Newcastle Green Team in front of the Greens Stall at the Fair.

Me, Therese Doyle (Ward 2 Greens candidate), Keith Parsons (Ward 3 Greens candidate) and Georgie Huxtable (Ward 4 Greens candidate.

And the combined Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Green Teams together at the Wallsend Winter Fair.

Georgie Huxtable (Newcastle Ward 4 Greens candidate), Hannah Gissane (Lake Mac North Ward Greens candidate), Therese Doyle (Newcastle Ward 2 Greens candidate), Me, Phillipa Parsons (Lake Mac East Ward Greens Candidate), Keith Parsons (Newcastle Ward 3 Greens candidate) and Suzanne Pritchard (Lake Mac West Ward Greens candidate and Greens Mayoral candidate)