Election szn is here and party leaders Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and Adam Bandt are making grand claims and sweeping statements left, right and centre. So how can you know what they actually care about? For one, look at their track records.
Each party and party leader will make many lovely announcements over the next month about oooh “jobs” creation and ahhh “saving the environment”. But don’t believe what they say, look at what they do. And what politicians “do” is vote on laws in parliament.
Let’s take a look back at the voting history of the each party leader.
Based on bills he’s voted consistently for and against in the last 10 years, what do we know about Greens Leader Adam Bandt? What has he stood for?
Adam Bandt is pro-the planet
It’s the in name, really. The Greens began as state-level parties that campaigned almost exclusively on environmental protection policies. It grew to prominence in the early 1980s when Tasmanian Greens politician Bob Brown successfully campaigned to prevent the construction of the controversial Franklin Dam. Fun fact: he was also the first openly gay member of Australian federal parliament. The pre-existing Green parties in Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT united in 1992 to form the Australian Greens we know today.
Since then the Greens and Bandt, who won his seat of Melbourne with the Greens in 2007, have consistently pushed for environmental sustainability, better protections of the landscape and carbon emissions reduction.
Bandt has voted for a carbon tax, a tax on profits generated from mining in Australia and for increasing subsidies and investment into renewable energy.
While the Greens don’t have the numbers in parliament to pass their own bills alone, they often align with Labor.
In 2011 Bandt voted with Labor to successfully pass a voluntary carbon offset scheme for farmers and has backed many of its bills on ending illegal logging, increasing restrictions on over fishing and more marine conservation.
But Bandt has also long criticised Labor’s weak emissions reductions targets and commitment to fossil fuel industries. And Labor has often veered away from supporting the few bills the Greens have tabled.
In 2016 Bandt tried to stop funding cuts to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in support of the renewable energy industry but didn’t pick up support from Labor or the Coalition.
The bottom line is: if you care about slowing the effects of climate change, you should probably check out the Greens.
Adam Bandt is pro-refugees and asylum seekers
Since its inception the Greens have diversified and broadened their approach from just sustainability to encompass progressive policies on all human rights issues, social and economic justice.
Bandt has always voted for closing detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, for removing children from immigration detention, greater transparency on immigration detention management and for doctor’s having final say on whether offshore detainees need to come to Australia for medical treatment.
He’s also voted against a citizenship test and against increasing the requirements on citizenship eligibility every time they’ve come up.
Adam Bandt is pro-LGBTQIA+ people
Bandt is one of the fiercest LGBTQIA+ supporters in federal parliament at the moment, especially when it comes to trans rights.
This year alone he’s already committed to fighting for gender affirmation surgeries under medicare and was one of only six who voted against the government’s Religious Discrimination Bill, which we know is not at all LGBTQIA+ friendly. Labor, the Coalition (bar one who rebelled against her party) and most of the independents back it.
He has also voted for marriage equality, equal rights for same-sex couples and against giving discretionary powers to celebrants.
Adam Bandt is pro-unis and uni students
This election campaign the Greens announced plans to push for the next government to abolish all outstanding student debt in an effort to help young people save for a better future. It was a huge call. But what about in the past?
Bandt voted with Labor in 2020 against the Higher Education Support Amendment as part of the government’s Job Ready Graduates Package. This was the one that decreased government subsidies on student fees for degrees in humanities, engineering, science and environmental studies and put the money into health, education and maths.
It pretty much exclusively hurt young people and made degrees across the board an average of 4 per cent more expensive for students.
Unfortunately it passed.
Adam Bandt is pro-political transparency
As a small party the Greens have always called out the major parties for accepting and being influenced by political donations.
Bandt has routinely called donations to both major parties from fossil fuel companies “dirty money”, but don’t forget the Greens accept some donations too.
The latest annual political disclosure returns report released in February revealed the Liberal Party received $73.8 million in donations last financial year, Labor $67.3 million and the Greens $16 million.
But Bandt has voted consistently for more transparency in Australia’s political donation system and voted in favour of restricting donations to political parties.
We can expect to hear more on the subject from him ahead of May 21.
Read more about Bandt’s voting track record here.
Check Morrison’s track record here.
And Albanese’s track record is here.