Welcome to my new monthly Victorian eNewsletter. 30 June 2021 marked the 100th day in my new role. It has been a steep learning curve and there is much to report.
Firstly, a little bit about me. I have 20 years' experience in regulatory affairs, notably working at the anti-money laundering regulator and financial intelligence unit, AUSTRAC, from 2006-2014 and in the mutual banking sector from 2018-2020.
I have three gorgeous kids and one shaggy dog. Originally from Brisbane, I moved to Melbourne in 1999 and consider myself a proud Victorian.
I am especially passionate about ending corruption in Australia, resuscitating Australian democracy, re-engaging citizens in the political process, and stopping the destruction of our beautiful landscapes and habitats through overdevelopment. I am also an active musician and speak semi-fluent German.
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary European Studies (BA) from Griffith University, a Master of Public Policy & Governance (MPPG) from Deakin University, and am mid-way through my candidature for a Master of Arts in Political & International Studies (MA) at the University of New England.
There have been some big administrative changes in Victoria.
Following member feedback over the last two years, and with a vision to maximising membership growth and involvement, we have consolidated our Victorian branches into eight regions, mirroring the Upper House Regions in the Victorian Parliament (i.e., Southern Metropolitan, Eastern Victoria, etc).
Our old local government area (LGA) branch structure is therefore now merged into the new regional structure. To discover your regional branch, click here.
Branches are the lifeblood of Sustainable Australia Party. They primarily exist to:
- Bring together like-minded people
- Organise public events including local markets, community festivals and letterbox distribution (particularly around major overdevelopment sites)
- Grow local membership
- Contest Local, State, and Federal elections
Clifford Hayes MP news
In Parliament and the community our State Upper House member for Southern Metropolitan Region, Clifford Hayes MP, has been leading the fight to protect our suburbs, crack down on foreign ownership in Victoria, and protect our open space and ‘green wedges’.
Recently, Parliament passed Clifford’s motion to establish an Inquiry into Victoria’s Planning and Heritage system. This is a huge step towards protecting heritage buildings, natural habitats, and ecosystems from wanton destruction by unscrupulous property developers, egged on by the State Government and foreign property speculators. Clifford has also moved a motion in Parliament to limit foreign investment in Victoria.
Earlier this year, Clifford championed the cause of Westernport residents and the area’s precious ecosystems in Parliament, to stop AGL’s proposed new gas terminal, and won! The proposal was rejected by the Planning Minister.
Clifford has also spoken out against the Elsternwick Towers project, failures in Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, and called for political donations from property developers to be banned, as well as calling for more funding for anti-corruption bodies. Clifford continues to call the State Government to account for its massive over-spend on ‘Victoria’s Big Build’, its environmental impacts, and concern that Victoria is fast becoming a ‘Concrete State’.
As I write this, Clifford is actively championing the plight of Heatherton residents whose local green spaces are under threat from the Big Build.
Moving forward, we are particularly encouraging first-Sunday-of-the-month letterboxing and social meetup events. These can be hosted by branch organisers, or any member approved by the Party. We have upcoming events in Malvern (Southern Metropolitan), Geelong (Western Victoria) and Bairnsdale (Eastern Victoria). Please go to our events page for more details and to RSVP.
These events are a great opportunity to meet fellow members, discuss the issues of the day, as well as get some exercise while spreading the word about the Party.
If you would like to host an event in your area on the first Sunday of the month (3-5 pm), please comment on your branch page (or reply to this email) and we will be in touch.
We also welcome questions or suggestions for other types of events, especially public-facing events like local markets and festivals that permit political parties. You can post these in the comments section on your branch page. We encourage you to click ‘follow reactions' to receive an email when any member comments on your branch page.
Richard Belcher is our State Organiser. His day-to-day activities are primarily focused on Southern Metropolitan Region to compliment the work of our sitting Member of Parliament. He is also a key contributor to the development of our branches, member engagement and activation. Richard is available to provide advice and logistical support to members keen to host an event in their region.
I would like to take the opportunity to briefly comment on our political messaging strategy.
In all promotional material, we introduce SAP as an independent community movement from the political centre that supports a science and evidence-based approach to policy, not a left or right-wing ideology.
SAP has adopted three key messages for all campaigns at Local, State, and Federal levels:
- Protect our environment
- Stop overdevelopment
- Stop corruption
Some of you may be aware of our origins as Sustainable Population Party (SPP), with its singular focus on sustainable population. SPP evolved into SAP, and whilst we do bring population into our campaigning within our key messages, the Party’s outlook and strategy has necessarily grown, bringing with that increased membership and broader electoral appeal.
A more detailed communication about messaging and electoral strategy with be sent to members by HQ in coming weeks.
To stay registered in Victoria, we must retain at least 500 members. As of July 2021, we have only around 600 who responded to the recent VEC audit. To them, I say a heartfelt thank you for your ongoing involvement and for enabling us to continue to contest State and Local elections. I would like to see Victorian membership grow to over 1,000 by next year’s (November) State election. Growing our party membership is vital to strengthening our voice in politics, winning media coverage, and spreading our message.
Next month I will outline a plan to achieve this with your help.
To our non-member supporters aligned to our values, I offer encouragement to join our ranks today.
Membership is inexpensive, with a joining fee of only $22/$11.
Our Facebook page currently has 28,626 followers nationally. Let’s get that over 30,000! Like, share, tell your friends via the link at the bottom of this email. Ultimately, imagine what we might achieve with 30,000 Party members…
With a Federal election looming, and the State election in November 2022, now is the perfect time to get involved!
Become a candidate
Speaking of these upcoming elections, candidate applications have started to arrive in response to a recent call for expressions of interest. Please keep them coming. You can find information about becoming a candidate here.
If you have any questions about any of these issues, please get in touch via the Contact link.
Stephen Tighe BA MPPG
State Administrator - Victoria
Sustainable Australia Party