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 EVERYONE AND thanks for being here.

I am so honoured to be your community-backed independent candidate for Goldstein.

And I thank the Voices of Goldstein for your trust.

Trust is something that I don’t take lightly.

As a journalist of almost 30 years, I have built my career and my reputation on honesty and integrity.

These things, I think, are paramount qualities in leaders who are, or should be accountable to us.

But these things are missing.

We have waited too long for our current leaders to find these qualities, so we must make our voices heard.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

Seeing you all here today, I am so very optimistic about what we can do together.

We, the people of Goldstein, with our brains, our hearts, and our courage, can bring about smart, forward-focused climate policy, transparent economic management, create accountability and take steps towards genuine equality for women.

We can do a thousand other things by raising our voices.

For too long our vote has been taken for granted. This dynamic electorate must be seen – as we are today – and heard.

I have lived all around Australia and in many parts of the world, but in 2013 my husband and I along with our two children decided this is where we wanted to be.

This is our home.

We have been welcomed with open arms and now it’s my time to give something back to Goldstein.

I had no intention of entering politics before I was approached by Voices.

I’d been a reporter for nearly three decades – an observer not a participant.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the room where it happens, watching.

It’s time to step up to the table.

We should have a say.

On four continents I have covered climate-related disasters, superstorms, floods, fires.

In the United States I witnessed the unravelling of one of the world’s greatest democracies due to the erosion of truth, the mobilisation of misinformation and the loss of trust.

Sound familiar?

These two things are the great challenges of our time, and we cannot look away. Nor can we wait for someone else to respond.

If not us, who?

As my 14-year-old put it to me: “You have a chance to do something for all of us, Mum.”

If not now, when?

Something is happening here in Goldstein and in other electorates around this wonderful, truly lucky country, something momentous.

Just as we are at a tipping point on climate and integrity, we are at a tipping point politically as the people – we – find our voices.

I am a swinging voter.

I don’t recognise the major parties and they don’t recognise me.

I’m the person who goes into vote and I don’t know where to put the number 1. I can tell you where to put it in 2022.

I voted Liberal as recently as 2016, expecting that Malcolm Turnbull would advance a pro-climate, forward-looking economy agenda.

  • an agenda of which we could be proud
  • an agenda that would enable us to hold our heads high
  • an agenda that would advance our businesses and our economy
  • an agenda that would ensure the future of the Great Barrier Reef
  • an agenda that would create investment certainly to foster clean, green technology
  • an agenda that would ensure the health, prosperity, and future of our children

And what did we get?

Yet more partisan infighting, yet another leadership spill, the fifth prime minister in less than a decade, another six years of inaction on climate, culminating in our latest Prime Minister’s recent appearance on the world stage in Glasgow.

That speaks for itself. I have no words.

The fact is that this government can do no more than the Nationals will allow – and the reality is they want no action at all.

Meanwhile the so-called modern Liberals whisper from the sidelines, but when it comes to the crunch they vote just like Barnaby Joyce. When pressed, they obfuscate.

Trumpian gaslighting is rife.

This is simply a situation that we no longer have time for. It’s something our kids no longer have time for, nor our communities, nor our businesses, nor our economy.

Let’s embrace this exciting future. Either way, it’s coming.

And it’s what we commit to doing in the next term of parliament that counts.

I’m with the Business Council when they say we need a 50 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030.

And why do they say that?

Because that’s what business needs to provide the certainty investors require to put their money into clean, green technology that could make Australia a clean energy superpower.

That economic growth underpins our prosperity, our lifestyle in Goldstein.

It’s not a risk, it’s an opportunity.

But the window will close, the money will go elsewhere, and we will be the poorer for it.

It’s the same story on the restoration of integrity to Australian politics.

If it was good enough for Bridget Archer – the Liberal holding the most marginal seat in the parliament, which happens to be the seat of Bass where I grew up – to have the courage to cross the floor on an integrity commission, where were the modern Liberals?

I’ll tell you where – nowhere, nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be heard.

Where were the modern Liberals when they had a chance to support Helen Haines’ legislation for a National Integrity Commission?

Nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be heard.

They were far from standing up for integrity, honesty, and truth, they were actively blocking it.

What are they so frightened of?

The modern Liberals says it’s bizarre that independents would want to challenge moderate voices in their party.

Well, we wouldn’t be needed if they used those voices, would we?

They’ve had their chance and we can no longer wait.

It’s time to make way for the Goldstein community to elect someone who will find their voice, and their backbone for that matter, when it matters.

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

It is so exciting to consider what we can do.

Goldstein is named in memory of Vida Goldstein – a global equality icon who stood up for Australian women in an extraordinary way a century ago.

In fact, some of her close relatives live in the electorate.

As we continue the battle for genuine gender equality and safety for women in 2021– Brittany, Grace, I see you – Vida Goldstein is a brave inspiration for me, for us and for our daughters.

What an honour it would be to be the first woman to represent you, the people of Goldstein.

No doubt it will be a tough campaign.

We stand here just a few hundred metres from the Trevor Barker Oval, where my kids spend a lot of time kicking the footy.

Back in the day, my dad played in the VFL. It was a rough game in those days, muddy and sometimes bloody.

More than once, he had the challenge of marking the greats Peter McKenna and Peter Hudson, not to mention Alex Jesaulenko and Royce Hart.

He knows what it is to be in a tough contest – and he taught me to be the same.

As I said before: If not us, who, if not now, when?

I’m finding my voice. Find yours.

Thank you for being here. I aim to earn your trust.