Lesley Howard

Lesley Howard

Citizen Journalist at No Fibs
After shouting at the television for many years Lesley decided participation was the best antidote to cynicism. She has a keen interest in supporting sound environmental social practice, communities and democracy in action. Lesley has a Masters of Science, Applied Statistics.
Lesley Howard
Lesley graduated from the University of Melbourne with dual majors in Statistics and History and Philosophy of Science. The combination of the two fields formed a strong background in objective research, critical appraisal and the analysis of relationships, and in assessment and reporting. With this skill base she has variously consulted for an Australian timber company analysing the unloading of logs in Chinese ports, reported on the role of SMEs in Defence, critically analysed scientific papers, designed and advised on surveys and sampling for various private and government groups, and reviewed and advised on research proposals as a member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s MHREC. Lesley has a keen interest in supporting sound environmental social practice, communities and democracy in action. She is currently completing a Masters of Science, Applied Statistics.

HELLO, THANK YOU for making the effort to turn up today. It means a lot.

My name is Claire Ferres Miles and I am standing here because I want to represent you as the Federal Member for Casey.

Thank you to Voices of Casey for your trust in me.

Firstly, I want to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands of the Wurundjeri and Bunurong Peoples where we are gathered here today, and pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

First Nations peoples have had a deep connection to Country over tens of thousands of years, and I acknowledge their invaluable contributions to our understanding of climate change and the environment.

We are all here today because we believe our current Federal politics does not represent who we are, and our values.

Our voice has been silenced.

Our vote taken for granted.

We expect our leaders to be honest and have integrity.

We want smart evidence-based climate policy.

We believe in equality, accountability and transparency.

We want to be hopeful that our future can be different.

But how do we bring about change?

How do we change our current system of negative tired old-style party politics?

The answer:

We turn up.

We turn apathy into action.

We have courage and step forward.

We volunteer for our community.

Perhaps for the first time, like me, we become active citizens in who represents us.

We roll up our sleeves and join the #Claire4Casey campaign team.

Throughout my life I have had an inner drive, a renewable battery, a laser focus that I want to get stuff done. There are never enough hours in a day with so much to achieve.

Every day is an opportunity to meet someone new, to learn something new, to get something done.

And for me, it has always been about working in a team, being part of a group, working towards a common goal.

My 30-year career working in the transport and sustainability sectors has been one of public service and impact. A career that I have loved, knowing how to find my way around government, how it ticks from the inside.

And alongside my work life has always been my community life. With some of my happiest and most rewarding hours spent as part of a team at the School Council and committee meeting table, taking minutes, organising festivals, working bees and campaigns – ‘Save Sherbrooke Childrens’ Centre, and ,No Maccas in the Hills’. With lifelong friendships made.

And always by my side and bringing me great joy is my husband Colin and my tribe of five kids – Emily, Kate, Jack, Amy and Tom who are all here today.

Like you, I have been angry and frustrated ‘yelling at the TV’ waiting for the Federal Government to find their ambition and act on climate change, appalled at the rorts and lack of accountability for public money, dismayed at the treatment of women in our Federal Parliament.

This behaviour does not represent us, our values.

Across Australia something historic is happening, we are finding our voice, because we want change.

From listening to Casey residents, you have told me four policy priorities.

First, you want action on climate change.

As the former CEO of Sustainability Victoria, I know the science, I know what needs to be done. I can no longer wait; the urgency of our changing climate tells us we must act now.

Australia is not wanting for ambition, ideas, talent, innovation or technology to be a renewable energy leader.

As endorsed by the Business Council, I support a minimum 50 percent emission reductions by 2030.

Climate change is not a risk it is an opportunity.

New businesses, new jobs, new manufacturing are all possible here in Casey over the next decade as part of our circular economy, clean economy future.

The flooding this past week in Queensland and New South Wales has been a stark reminder of the devastating impacts of extreme weather conditions.

The United Nations’ IPCC report released this week tells us that Casey will experience a rise in severe weather conditions, including bushfires and floods, a loss of precious alpine species, a dramatic increase in fatal heatwaves.

Mega fires and storms have left a trail of destruction in Casey, with the 2009 Black Saturday fires and the June 2021 storms, although I think a cyclone on a mountain is a more accurate description – 6,000 homes without power and communication, 25,000 fallen trees.

My second policy priority is you want a National Resilience Plan, a plan prepared in partnership with emergency management services and utility companies. We want to be fully prepared to respond and recover from these events. This is not a quick fix but we need to start this conversation now.

How would you feel when looking at the Bureau of Meteorology website predicting a mega storm, knowing you can access a satellite phone close to your home and your electricity supply is secure with a neighborhood micro grid, generators and batteries.

Perhaps poles and wires are a thing of the past, with power underground.

Like you, I am tired of combative politicians making partisan funding decisions against independent, scientific and evidence-based advice. This is not defensible. We wouldn’t accept it in our own workplaces so why should we in our Federal Parliament?

You have told me you want a National Integrity Commission, with reforms to political donations and political advertising. Our democracy must not be for sale.

As your Federal MP I expect you to hold me to the highest standards of accountability and transparency.

Imagine what a crossbench of community independents could achieve from the sensible centre.

Fourth, you believe everyone deserves a safe workplace, a safe society of respect and inclusion.

And we know we need to do better.

To remove barriers and better represent the diversity of voices in our community. To call out discrimination.

With women at the table where decisions are made.

It would be an honour to be the first woman to represent you, the people of Casey.

As an independent I work for you, not the parties.

Every vote I cast in Canberra will be a vote for the people of Casey and the people of Australia.

I will always go high, to be positive and constructive.

I will never be in opposition, with my job to make the government of the day better.

I will be your advocate. standing up every day for what matters to you.

For me this is the start of a three-year community conversation, a new model of active representation replacing party politics.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like, and feel like if your Federal MP was available to meet with you, to answer your emails, to respond to your letter?

Imagine if we used technology, with a five-minute survey on your phone, that you were asked what you thought about new policy being drafted, new legislation proposed.

My commitment to you is I will be present.

You will see me out and about. I will be easy to contact to tell me what you think.

It will take a village to turn Casey Independent. And so I ask you:

* To join our #Claire4Casey village

* To step forward, to sign up to be to volunteer, to donate

* To make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you

* And then to have this conversation with your neighbour, your friends, and your family.

I am confident that together we will win.

Thank you for being here today

Claire, sending every good wish for tomorrow, and then for the next three months!

Cathy McGowan – March 5, 2022