Richmond will go Green, says Brown
GREENS founder Bob Brown says the Federal seat of Richmond is "naturally Green" and will inevitably fall his party's way - if not this election then the next.
With the latest polling indicating Greens candidate Dawn Walker is just 1500 votes behind Labor incumbent Justine Elliott, the former Senator joined Ms Walker in Ballina this morning to "tip the balance" in the Greens favour.
"I think this election is going to have some upsets, and some of those upsets are going to have the title Green above them," Dr Brown said.
"This seat of Richmond is naturally Green, it's about lifestyle, it is about a high level of concern for the environment, and it's about people looking to the future, for their children and their grandchildren."
Mr Brown said Dawn Walker would be a "great complement" to safe Melbourne Greens MP Adam Bandt, and a second Greens MP in the Lower House would be a "very powerful addition" for the party. Several other inner Melbourne seats are also within the Greens grasp.
Ms Walker said Greens research indicated many voters in Richmond were disengaged by the election, which favoured the minor party.
"They're feeling pretty jaded from the whole politics as usual," she said.
"But when you actually ask them about the issues, they're very clear."
"When we go to towns like Ballina, Murwillumbah and Tweed, they're seeing that their hospitals aren't being adequately funded, we're seeing our TAFE colleges in the case of Murwillumbah shut down… or down-sized in Ballina."
She said voters could also see the economic benefits of the pursuit of clean energy "with the rigour that's required", and with proper investment into renewable energy would come local jobs.
Dr Brown said the Richmond electorate could also become home to "innovative industries" in the clean energy and other forward-thinking sectors thanks to its lifestyle benefits.
"The fact is people are looking for lifestyle advantage these days and this place has got it," he said.
The Greens are also making education a big issue at this election. Dr Brown said Australia was lagging badly in education funding and the fact only 35% of Australian were tertiary educated compared to 50% in countries like Japan and Germany was ominous.
"Successive Labor and Liberal governments have done the wrong thing by education," Dr Brown said.
The Greens would raise tax rates on corporations, and apply a 50% tax to individual incomes over $1 million, and channel those revenues into education, health and renewable energy.
"We've got (Prime Minister) Malcolm (Turnbull) talking about innovation, well it comes out of education, that gives people the chance to be innovators," he said.
"Get that right and the jobs and the innovation will come (but) you won't get innovation without education."