Public transport versus east-west link tollroad issue in Melbourne electorates reports @takvera

By John Englart 30 August 2013 The Victorian Government is proceeding with the East-West link tunnel tollroad which would connect up the Eastern Freeway and Alexandra Parade to Citylink severely impacting Royal Park and Moonee Ponds Creek. It is an $8 billion project with high impacts on the seat of Melbourne, but also traffic and environmental impacts in Wills. It comes at a time when several rail infrastructure projects need to be built to upgrade and renew the ailing public transport network to cope with Melbourne’s booming population. Population boom: why we need Doncaster rail, Mernda ext, + more PT, not east-west link @Vic_Premier #trainsnottolls http://t.co/GFqDBDRF7t — Frere Tak (@takvera) […]

Ford Closure and economic transition an issue in Wills reports @takvera

By John Englart 27 August 2013 In May Ford Australia announced closure in 2016 of its car manufacturing plants at Broadmeadows and Geelong which will result in the loss of about 1200 jobs when production stops. Car manufacturers have been subsidised by government handouts to entice them to continue manufacturing in Australia. In 2012 the Federal Government gave $34 million to Ford for production until “at least the end of 2016”. General Motors is also feeling the economic pinch in South Australia. The loss of manufacturing and economic transition are not new to the residents of Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Manufacturing of whitegoods and the clothing industry has been taken offshore […]

Most candidates in NBN-connected Wills reckon Labor got it right: @takvera interviews

By John Englart 27 August 2013 The Wills suburb of Brunswick was the first metropolitan pilot site for Labor’s NBN in 2011. The world is changing rapidly with large movements of digital information, requiring faster internet speeds to deliver content to meet our needs (see Steve Jenkins and Lachlan Hinds article on Why is fast, reliable Internet so appealing?. Kelvin Thomson and Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held a successful launch at the completion of the pilot project at Brunswick neighbourhood House a few weeks ago. It was wonderful to have @AlboMP @KelvinThomsonMP @Jane_GarrettMP Visit BNH today & switch on more homes to #NBN. — Brunswick NH (@Brunswick_NH) July 24, […]

Food and agriculture debated by Labor and Greens in Wills: @takvera reports

By John Englart 25 August 2013 Discussing Food and agriculture policy may seem a little bit incongruent in an inner urban electorate, but the forum held in Wills at the Coburg Farmers market on Saturday highlights that city people are concerned with farming and agricultural practices that affect everyone from farmers to city consumers. The public forum was organised by Transition Coburg, initially with sitting Labor member Kelvin Thomson, Liberal candidate Shilpa Hegde and Greens candidate Tim Read. Shilpa Hegde withdrew with no reason given and Margarita Windisch from the Socialist Alliance was added. Questions followed short presentations. About 70 people attended the forum, quite a large number given the […]

If threatened species could vote … Wills candidates discuss biodiversity with @takvera

By John Englart 23 August 2013 Environment and biodiversity have hardly rated a mention in this election campaign. But the election is being held on September 7, Threatened Species Day, with World Wildlife Fund Australia launching a series of television ads on the impact of climate change on the environment. Even many common plants and animals are facing dramatic biodiversity decline as a result of climate change. But environmentalist Margaret Blakers argues in The Guardian, we do have time to turn it around if there is political will. Australia is grossly underfunding biodiversity conservation. The carbon pricing package that Julia Gillard negotiated with the Greens and independents included the establishment of a $1 […]

Wills candidates agree on climate but differ on urgency and the coal menace, reports @takvera

By John Englart 22 August 2013 On a cold and rainy Monday evening in Wills, in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs, voters gathered at the concert hall in Coburg Town Hall to hear what candidates had to say on climate and sustainability issues. The hall was full with about 140 people in attendance. Climate Action Moreland, a local community group active on climate issues, started organising the event in July, and other community groups endorsed it.  The date was set before Prime Minister Kevin Rudd named the election date. All the candidates who had declared their intention to stand were invited. Come the night, Kelvin Thomson, the sitting Labor MP, Tim […]

Equal Love and gay marriage law reform: Wills candidates talk to @takvera

By John Englart 18 August 2013 Gay marriage law reform, equal love, is about ending a disrciminatory practice presently enshrined in law. It would be something so easy to do and to move on to much bigger issues. Yet it lingers as an issue at another Federal election. This week Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promised that if re-elected, he would introduce a bill on the issue within 100 days and allow Labor party members a conscience vote. Tony Abbott this week labelled gay marriage as “the fashion of the moment” in a radio interview. He has refused so far to similarly allow a conscience vote on the issue by the […]

The Greens face in Wills: @takvera interview

By  John Englart 17 August 2013 The Greens achieved 20 per cent of the vote in Wills in 2010, four percent less than the Liberal Party. They are hoping to improve on this result this time, although it may be a tough ask given the national mood and the polarisation of the electorate. Dr Tim Read joined the Greens two years ago after noticing the work of former medical practitioner and Victorian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale, who has been a strong influence on a Senate Committee on anti-biotic resistance and what the government doing about it (see Australia’s failure to act on antibiotics resistance risk lives). While such reports fly under […]

The ballot draw ritual: @takvera reports Wills

By John Englart 16 August 2013 At the declaration of nominations in Wills (See Seat profile), Dean O’Callaghan, running as a Save the Planet independent, drew the top spot on the ballot paper. Greens candidate Tim Read took second position, with Liberal and Labor candidates at the bottom of the ticket. Kelvin Thomson, the sitting Labor member, has a comfortable margin in this electorate, so the real battle is between the Liberal Party and the Greens for second and third place. Tim Read in second spot will benefit from any donkey vote flowing down the ballot paper, which will help in the battle for second place in Wills. I had […]

Economy, education and climate are key issues, says Wills Labor MP Kelvin Thomson

14 August 2013 Wills Labor MP Kelvin Thomson identifies economic stability, education and climate change as key issues and outlines his background as a defender of the local environment, in an interview with Wills citizen journalist John Englart. Kelvin has been the member for Wills (See Seat profile) in Melbourne’s north since 1996. He has a legal background, has served in many shadow portfolios and as parliamentary secretary for trade, and is now parliamentary secretary for schools. He is said to be an effective politician in his portfolio areas and has been a dedicated local member. As the local MP, in 2000 he wrote a basic pro-forma character reference for a local businessman, […]