Former Greens Leader and Senator for Victoria Dr Richard Di Natale will deliver his valedictory speech to the Senate this afternoon by remote video link. He will highlight serious failings in Australian politics to deal with the issues Australian people care about and outline a prescription to rejuvenate our democracy.
After 10 years in the Australian Senate, and five as Leader of the Greens, Richard Di Natale today makes his final speech to the chamber from locked-down Melbourne. The former doctor will diagnose the last decade of Australian politics as captured by vested interests and failing to address the major issues faced by our nation.
“I got into politics because, as a doctor - especially in First Nations health - I saw that the political decisions being made were the decisions that most affected people's lives, and I wanted to make a difference. It was a wakeup call for me to see that the influence of money and vested interests are so strong in our politics.” Dr Di Natale said
“Our parliament has failed the Australian people over the last decade. Climate action is the biggest example of how the nation has been let down.
“Ten years ago, in balance-of-power, the Australian Greens worked to ensure the introduction of world-leading climate laws, with the Greens leading the debate on the issues that truly matter to our nation’s future including; climate action, democratic and political donation reforms; anti-corruption measures; a meaningful social safety-net and addressing inequality.
In the depths of the crisis, Dr Di Natale will point to COVID-19 as a glimmer of hope for Australian politics - with political maneuvering largely taking a back-seat to expert advice in determining the policy response.
“COVID-19 has shown up the cracks in our society. Inequality is running rife and the virus exploiting our vulnerabilities but has also provided an opportunity for real change. If we listen to experts rather than vested interests - in health, in climate change, in economics - we can build a better society. .
“COVID has provided a clear example that bold action is possible from any government. We can make good policy and deliver good outcomes by listening to the experts and working cooperatively. This should be standard operating procedure for Australian politics. It shouldn't have taken a pandemic to teach us this.
“We must strengthen our democracy by opening our parliament to a greater diversity of voices and ending the influence of corporations and lobbyists over our politicians. We must reject the politics of hatred and division fuelled by parties like One Nation, and too often endorsed by other politicians and parts of the media.
“Despite the setbacks of the past decade I leave politics feeling confident about the future.
Young people around the world are mobilising and social movements are gathering steam. The Greens are strong and resilient. We have the support of millions of Australians and we are the only party with genuine solutions to today’s problems,” Senator Di Natale concluded.