Cecile van der Burgh puts the environment on the agenda. Photo: Justin McManusFederal Election 2013 coverageHave your say at YourViewElection Live with Stephanie Peatling
There are no national parks in the seat of Melbourne, yet the issue is set to dominate the agenda at a candidates’ forum in the electorate on Wednesday.
Local resident and co-founder of the Victorian Child and Nature Connection, Cecile van der Burgh, 35, asked what the candidates plan to do about the future security of national parks through the Citizens’ Agenda, a social media-based research project.
The question has received more than 500 votes and, assuming it finishes in the top three, will be put to the six candidates at the Wheeler Centre.
Ms van der Burgh said she had been frustrated the environment had featured so little in the election campaign. ”Normally the media and the political parties drive what’s happening in the lead-up to the election, but the Citizens’ Agenda provides an avenue for citizens to pose questions on issues that they care about,” she said.
Questions about the environment dominate, while education, innovation and culture also feature. Close to 4500 Melburnians voted on more than 180 questions posted on the OurSay website.
Greens MP Adam Bandt, who holds the seat by a 6 per cent margin, said people in the electorate have expressed concern about the absence of debate on the environment and climate change. ”There’s a general dismay about the state of political debate and the fact that this election campaign doesn’t seem to be about discussing the big issues.”
The seat of Melbourne is one of 10 key electorates targeted by the Citizens’ Agenda, which is run by online forum OurSay and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism.
The town-hall style event, moderated by Age editor-in-chief Andrew Holden, gives voters the opportunity to question candidates on issues that matter to them.
Jim Savage was surprised by the popularity of his question on whether the candidates think the GST should be increased.
”I put that question up because in the seat of Melbourne everyone campaigns on very social issues that candidates seem to have pre-prepared answers for,” he said. ”They’re not used to being confronted on taxation issues, which are just as important.”
Mr Bandt will be joined at the booked-out event by five other candidates also vying for the seat: Sean Armistead (Liberal), Cath Bowtell (Labor), Michael Bayliss (Stable Population), Royston Wilding (Secular Party) and James Mangisi (Sex Party).
Go to oursay杭州夜生活/electorate-of-melbourne
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.