Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston

Co-publisher and editor-in-chief at No Fibs
Margo Kingston is a retired Australian journalist and climate change activist. She is best known for her stint as Phillip Adams’ ‘Canberra Babylon’ contributor and her work at The Sydney Morning Herald and #Webdiary. Since 2012, Kingston has been a citizen journalist, reporting and commenting on Australian politics via Twitter and No Fibs.
Margo Kingston

THANK YOU, CLAIRE. Hello everybody, my name’s Nicolette Boele and I am running to be Bradfield’s representative, your representative, in the Australian Parliament.

Before I launch into the speech proper, can I just take a moment to acknowledge that our health system – private, public, aged care and disability services – has been doing it tough for quite a while now. I am so very grateful and appreciative of all those who work in that system, and the work that they do for all of us.

I want to thank Voices of Bradfield for daring to dream that this safe seat is maybe not that safe. I want to thank all their members, supporters and volunteers. I also want to thank all the other Bradfielders and friends that have turned up today including the ones joining us virtually.

Thank you to First Australians past, present and emerging – for their custodianship of this spectacular country – for what they continue to show and teach me about the value and power of cultural connection with land, water and sky; and also about patience and resilience.

Finally, thank you to the rate payers of Ku-ring-gai who have funded the renovation of this most essential piece of civic infrastructure – the St Ives Community Centre where we are today.

It takes a village, people.

And speaking of the Village People, I remember being in this building, wearing fluoro. The year was 1986 and it was a Friday night Blue Light Disco. This building, or rather its predecessor, is a part of my local history from child to adult, as is every venue, shop, park and quite a few homes in Bradfield.

I was raised in Bradfield. I attended Gordon East Primary, Killara High and UTS Ku-ring-gai campus in Lindfield. And now I am raising my family here. I have lived in Bradfield 41 of my 51 years.

My parents, Dutch migrants, still live in the electorate (before you ask, I recently renounced my Dutch nationality to be eligible to run as your representative. I’m officially a citizen of only one country, Australia). Mum instilled in me her socially progressive values.

My father and late step-father a bio-medical engineer and Barker Old Boy, showed me what business with a purpose could contribute to the economy, communities and peoples’ lives. My parents, my children, my brothers and sisters and the people in this area have shaped me. In fact, my 19-year-old son votes for the first time in this federal election. He asked me, ‘what’s the point?’

And I was momentarily stumped.

Only momentarily though.

My answer is 2022 is the year for change, real change. All federal elections matter, and every vote at every federal election matters. But 2022 is a genuine turning-point.

And the reason I have decided to run is because I believe this to be true and I need to do what I can.

Our democracy is not well.

That malaise explains our inability to deal with climate change, our failures to deliver competent government, and our apparent willingness to tolerate disrespect and inequality.

I believe that the only way to restore confidence in democracy is to send genuine local representatives with important life experience to Canberra.

The people we send to Canberra to govern on our behalf should reflect our values and priorities in their decision making for the nation. We should have confidence that no undue influence – from self-interest, party line or corporate donors – interferes with planning for the national interest.

I have strongly held views about integrity and transparency and that’s why my donations acceptance policy sees me going beyond what’s required by the law. The AEC requires that donors of amounts over $14,500 be disclosed. I will be disclosing donor details of amounts over $1,500. I will also not accept donations from corporations whose reason for existence is profit. I have absolutely no problem with the profit-motive – our free market could not exist without it – but it has no place in politics.

I plan to bring this insistence on transparency to our government. We have a right to know the criteria ministers use in making the many many decisions that fall within their portfolios.

So the kind of sunlight I hope to be able to bring to government may be uncomfortable for some.

We’ve read in the media of attacks on community independents in other electorates. In some ways this shows that they are a threat to the status quo and isn’t that already a wonderful outcome? I fully anticipate that similar antics will be applied to my candidacy, and stories, lies and half-truths, will be shared about me.

Let me tell you what is true:

I have an obligation to pass on to all our children the legacy of a healing planet, to recognise that I am custodian not sovereign. That means strong, urgent and effective action on climate change. That is not radical. In fact, for many people, conservation is the very essence of conservatism. And yes, I am one of the 700,000 supporters, and a proud member of, the Australian Conservation Foundation and have been for over 20 years. I have served on its Council, as did Malcolm Fraser.

I am also a member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia – RIAA’s members manage over 40 trillion dollars globally. Their work strengthens the integrity of the sector and builds purpose into finance. Because to me, business is where creativity meets innovation and great things happen. I love business and markets and I have seen how, when appropriately regulated, they can be put to work for positive outcomes – for society (all of us) and nature.

And, like each of you, I am also a member of a community and am more than a consumer in an economy. The Australian community, the Bradfield community, is such a rich and varied place to live.

I stand for celebrating our cultural heritage and creativity.

I stand for a cohesive, inclusive society.

I will stand up against racist behaviours.

I want to live in a society where we seek to understand each other, respect the differences we have and help each other when in need.

It’s OK to disagree and it’s OK to care. Both can be true.

Our community is so diverse that it is challenging to be across all the issues that are of concern to all of you, and I commit to keep listening and learning from you.

There are three issues that I hear loud and clear.

Firstly, democracies are in danger of self-inflicted harm all over the world. Australia is not immune. Many of you have said to me that you don’t want Australia going the way of the United States. 2021 showed us, like no other time in our history, that we need to take robust measures to restore integrity to politics and protect, to strengthen what we have. So that we can once again be proud of how Australia is governed.

That means more than a federal ICAC. We need, for example, to ensure that appointment to independent bodies is not a party-political process; to bodies, such as the ABC, Australia Post, SBS and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The power to dictate the future direction of important institutions is best exercised in sunlight.

Secondly, this next decade will determine Australia’s future well into the century.

It is momentous for our climate, and also for the opportunities that come with re-orienting our economy for the 21st Century.

We could be creating jobs and new Australian industries in sustainable food systems, forestry and renewable, decentralised and coordinated energy systems. We could be properly addressing the consequences of climate change. And we could stop subsidising industries such as fossil fuels, that have only a limited place in our energy future.

Let’s face it, those ‘coulds’ are really ‘shoulds’. We can no longer afford 19th century thinking in a 21st century global economy. Planning a transition is the sensible thing to do. Pretending that the little we have done so far is enough is, frankly, greenwashing.

Finally, fairness isn’t an optional value for Australians. It’s who we are. We look after each other. But we’ve been drifting away from that commitment and the fair society we expect. Women don’t feel safe. People living with disability deserve to be backed with timely, in-community resources. Marginalised communities don’t feel supported, and often feel slighted. We’re leaving people behind when we should all be moving forward together, and that’s not OK.

This is a speech, and words matter in a speech.

But my actions matter too, and so does my accountability to you. What I hear people want to say to their representatives is “stop telling me what what you believe in, and start showing me”.

When I am your independent voice in the parliament I will do just that, to ensure these principles – which so many of us recognise to be fundamental – are reflected in our government every day. Just watch me.

As this week begins, so does the New Year for many in our community. It ushers in the Year of the Water Tiger. According to my Chinese Australian family members and friends, the tiger is known for its power, daring, and ability to do everything on a grand scale, while water implies creativity but also implacability. I take those as good signs.

I will step up to do what I can, and you have have turned up and tuned in today.

Many of you have already donated, volunteered, reposted on social media.

Thank you

This can only be won by each of you having conversations with your friends and family also living here in Bradfield.

Ask them if they are satisfied with how government decisions are made on climate, on how the economy has been handled in these difficult times, with how women are treated by this government.

From now until election day, I ask you to join with me in the belief that change is not only possible, but necessary.

To join with me in the absolute conviction that in our democracy there is no such thing as a safe seat.

I ask you to believe that Australia can change its course with experienced leadership.

I ask you to have these conversations with your friends and families.

I ask you to vote ONE Boele, Nicolette Boele, when the federal election is finally held, to vote like our future depends on it.

Thank you.

You can see the Twitter launch report here