I’ve been saving ungrouped Independent Tiffany Harrison for last, because she’s in my home region of Northern Metropolitan, and also because I wanted a nice, bracing dose of left-wing goodness (or even left-wing loopiness, I’m not pre-judging here, except about the left-wing bit) before diving back into my parade of right wing political parties.
As it happens, Ms Harrison is really only technically an independent. She is a member of Save the Planet, and is representing them as a candidate, although they are not registered as a party in this election. If I recall correctly, this is the second election in which they have run candidates as independents – they seem to be having difficulties reaching their minimum requirement of 500 members.
Because Ms Harrison’s own FaceBook page states that she is running as a Save the Planet candidate, I think it’s appropriate to look at this party’s policies as a representation of what she believes and will stand for.
Save the Planet’s home page informs me that:
Save the Planet is a new political party and community campaign focused on reversing global warming, creating a safe climate and providing real leadership in the climate emergency.
On their home page and FAQ page they state quite clearly that they “will not be distracted by issues unrelated to the building of a safe-climate-restoring economy, done at emergency speed”. While they acknowledge that the Greens and Socialist Alliance have some good policies, Save the Planet views them as too distracted by social policies that ‘dilute’ their focus on the climate emergency.
The purpose of the Save the Planet Party is to campaign so effectively on our core goals that we make it a political necessity for all other major parties including the Greens to lift their environmental policies and performance to match our position. It then will be possible to build a safe-climate-restoring economy in Australia at emergency speed. We can do this through public education and using political leverage at elections.
Further down, they add:
We have deliberately restricted Save the Planet’s policies to a limited focus around key issues on climate change with the hope that we can attract wide support for emergency speed action to restore a safe climate. All candidates have agreed to our purpose and goals which include the creation of a world that is environmentally and socially sustainable and working to eliminate high levels of inequality. Candidates also have to pass a good character test which includes not being racist or sexist. In the context of these constraints, on any other policy issue, a Save the Planet candidate is effectively an independent and you would need to ask their personal views.
So, essentially, we have a party that makes no bones about being a single issue party, because they view that issue as the paramount emergency of our time. But… without actually having concrete policies on other issues, they do actually have some very definite ideas about how candidates should think and behave. I am also interested to note that they are also encouraging people to work from within the major parties, and particularly the Greens, to push for a safe climate policy. While Save the Planet’s founders feel that they, personally, have taken the ‘reform from within’ strategy as far as they can, they acknowledge that it is still a useful one. This is far more pragmatism than I would have expected from a group that manifestly leans left.
(As a known leftie, I’m not knocking the left side of politics here. But, as a movement, we do have a tendency to let our ideals get in the way of actually achieving something. I’d say the right of politics has the opposite problem – pragmatism getting in the way of ideals. But I could be wrong.)
They also have a page about preferential voting, and explain in several different places how voting for a small party does not, in fact waste your vote (including a link to this gorgeous cartoon on the subject). This is useful information – and yes, it’s also something that small parties need to make sure people understand!
Let’s have a look at how the other parties have preferenced Ms Harrison.