YARRAGON doctor Malcolm McKelvie has been chosen to contest the seat of Narracan for the Australian Greens in November’s Victorian state election.
This article was first published in the 11 July 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.
If the name “McKelvie” sounds familiar it’s probably because he has stood as a candidate for The Greens in elections three times before.
Those three previous campaigns were however for federal parliament seats. Dr McKelvie told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the move to a state campaign was not a compromise.
“I’m interested in getting greater greens representation in parliament, so whether that’s state or federal we need it everywhere,” Dr McKelvie said.
“I’m keen to do my bit to get there.”
Dr McKelvie will take on incumbent Liberal MP Gary Blackwood. It’s a contest he feels he will not win, but while he campaigns for himself he will also be campaigning for the party’s upper house candidates.
“There were no other people putting up their hand for preselection for Narracan, that’s true, and it’s not a seat that’s considered winnable by The Greens,” Dr McKelvie said.
“The upper house seat candidacy was contested [by more than one person] and the inner-Melbourne seats that were winnable were certainly contested.
“I don’t mind being the underdog in these elections and my aim in this campaign is really to raise the Greens vote to help Andrea Millsom to get elected in the upper house.
“I’m really hopeful that we can make the seat of Narracan marginal, because I think in all of Gippsland, where we’ve got conservative politicians right through, Gippsland misses out and that’s because we don’t have marginal seats.
“This election I think we’ve got a really good chance of at least making Narracan marginal.”
Dr McKelvie said Narracan voters were becoming sick of major party politics.
“People are more and more sick and tired of the major party politics they’re seeing writ large through the media at the moment,” Dr McKelvie said.
“The Craig Thompson issues, Geoff Shaw, the corruption that’s become evident in New South Wales politics and the whole issue of big business funding political party campaigns and expecting payback through policy.”
Dr McKelvie highlighted unconventional gas mining, which includes coal seam gas extraction, as being a key issue in the upcoming election.
“The coal seam gas, onshore gas mining through Gippsland and western Victoria is a threat that more and more people are seeing as a danger we ought not to take on,” Dr McKelvie said.
“The Hazelwood mine fire is one more example of the environmental disasters that happen [in Gippsland] with [damage to] the freeway and the obvious health effects on the population.
“More and more people are seeing it’s perhaps more sensible to move away from coal, we can do that without losing lots of jobs, we can build a new industrial base in the Latrobe Valley and throughout Gippsland creating lots of jobs for all of these very skilled workers that we’ve got.
“I think local jobs remain a top issue and everyone needs to be focused on making sure that everyone who can work can work in a job that’s fulfilling and worthwhile and that they are contributing to their own wellbeing and their community’s wellbeing.”
But Dr McKelvie said the biggest issue faced by all politicians this election was voter apathy.
“The level of apathy and disengagement of the population, that’s the biggest issue,” Dr McKelvie said.
“The current state of politics just feeds that apathy and disengagement, which is really unfortunate because I think people ought to be getting angry and motivated and active and engaged and making sure that they vote for people who are going to represent them and their interests.
“Tapping into that is the real challenge.”
Dr McKelvie said he thought “the people of Narracan and Gippsland really deserve to have people in politics who are truly representing them, and getting away from this business of making donations to political parties [and] getting payback through policies that don’t make sense, that don’t represent the common good and are not in the interests of long-term sustainability.”
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