I live in Canberra, by far the best city in Australia. With the exception of South Australia and the Northern Territory I have lived in every state of Australia, and also New Zealand, so I reckon I ought to know.
I was born in Melbourne, grew up on the South Coast of NSW, and moved to Canberra when I finished high school. But then I moved, and moved, and moved… finally settling back in Canberra permanently in 2004.
Australia’s capital has taken a long time to come into its own, yet I’m so happy that everyone who doesn’t live in Canberra thinks it’s a boring place full of dreary public servants. We don’t want everyone moving here and changing our ‘Canberra bubble’!
Those of us who reside here know what an incredible place it is to live, work and raise a family. Canberra differs to the rest of the country because we have the Australian Public Service here. This means that a very large proportion of Canberrans are educated, and I reckon the high saturation of public servants makes us more moderate, tolerant and broad-minded than many other parts of Australia. We look more ‘outward’ at the rest of the country than ‘inward’ at ourselves, because so many of us go to work every day providing a service to the Australian community to make their lives better.
People outside of Canberra don’t see how hard we work and how much we put into our professional public service careers, which is a shame. When I was in the public service I saw first-hand how hard my colleagues worked. I still do. Most truly care and are very proud of what they do.
I spent 12 years in the Australian Public Service after moving back to Canberra, working in a central department. I was close enough to the action to feel the buzz from Parliament House, but far enough away to know that the contribution I made really didn’t have a lot of impact in the world.
I struggled with the way the government was starting to behave more like Big Brother, in that public servants were having their employment threatened if they spoke out against the government. I had no compunction in telling everyone around me how much I thought Tony Abbott was a great big misogynist. I also convinced myself that I was being apolitical, because I though Kevin Rudd was nasty as well.
I decided to leave the public service in 2016 to pursue a personal project that had been bubbling away in my mind for a couple of years, which was to set up a Canberra Nippers club for Canberra kids, to teach them surf lifesaving/water safety and survival skills. I got this off the ground, built a team of volunteers, and won three awards, which I am incredibly proud of.
But what it taught me was that I could make a change in the world. No matter how small your contribution to society is, as long as you do your bit to make the world a better place, that’s all that matters. It also gave me the confidence to use my voice and demand that it be heard, after years of being told my voice didn’t matter or wasn’t of any value to anyone.
I decided to start standing up for my beliefs by getting involved in politics, just so I could have more of a direct line into political decision making. Having political arguments on social media just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. Aside from really annoying my friends, it was a futile exercise.
My opportunity to get involved came a few weeks back when I read an article on Anthony Pesec, an Independent candidate who is running for the Senate in May.
He had me at climate change and renewable energy.
I knew straight away that I wanted to do everything I could to help him beat Zed Seselja, who’s been an ACT senator for the Liberal Party since 2013.
I reached out to Anthony on LinkedIn and offered my time as a volunteer to help him campaign, and this is where I am now!
I have never been a member of a major political party (though I did sign up online for Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party earlier this year), and I have never been involved in politics. But I do not believe that this should ever preclude anyone from getting involved.
It shouldn’t just be for career politicians or heads of corporations (or those who pander to racists to get their vote). Our Parliament needs representation from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds.
I am angry at how our elected representative in Canberra treats us like idiots. He campaigned against marriage equality (then abstained from the vote after the ACT overwhelmingly voted yes); he voted against the ACT Government bill on euthanasia; he did not stand up to stop cuts to the public service, and he was a ‘numbers man’ for Peter Dutton during the attempt to overthrow Malcolm Turnbull last year.
My read of Zed Seselja is that he doesn’t care what Canberrans want and need, he’s only interested in furthering his political career. Like his mentors Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton and Eric Abetz, he is a climate change denier. In my opinion, Canberrans deserve so much better.
We only have the two Senate seats in Canberra. Traditionally one goes to Labor, and the other to the Liberals. For the first time in ACT history, we have the chance to elect an Independent!
Anthony Pesec – I have discovered – is a really great guy. He has a strong business background in renewable energy, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is.
He wants to put climate change and renewable energy at the forefront of the Australian political dialogue. He wants to be our voice in stopping public service job cuts that damage the Canberra economy but really hurt Canberra families. He wants to make sure small businesses are represented, and also be an advocate in parliament for those who face discrimination.
But what I really like about Anthony is his authenticity, sincerity, and knowing he is a ‘real’ person who genuinely wants to cut through all the nonsense in politics. I would not give up my free time to help someone who I did not think was genuine about their commitment to climate change and renewable energy.
The government is jumping on the bandwagon now in an effort to convince voters that they are ready to tackle climate change, but as soon as the election is over, I suspect they’ll go back home and hug their lumps of coal.
Rise of independence
All over Australia, we are seeing voters turn to Independents to break the infuriating politicking that has worsened while we’ve had a revolving door of prime ministers. The electorate is being ignored as our politicians are too concerned with muckraking to embarrass their opponents and score cheap points.
The rise of the intelligent, compassionate, mature and capable Independent is giving us a real opportunity to send a strong message to both major parties that we have had enough. If we seize the chance to bring in this political revolution, we can make our voices louder and get the government to really listen to us.
So please take the time to get to know Anthony Pesec. You can read about him on his website, you can donate your time or money to support his campaign. Anthony is getting out around Canberra every day (I should know, as I have been helping him hand out flyers at bus stops).
Please don’t just vote Liberal because you always have. Anthony is a credible and authentic individual who is determined to make sure that Canberra’s voice is heard in parliament.
Vote 1 Anthony Pesec!