Having had a couple of months break from this blog thing, I thought I’d have a go at trying to use a bit like I did when I first started it out back in 2004 – giving some occasional updates of things I’ve been doing.
A few months ago I became Convenor of the Queensland Greens, which has meant I have become a lot more immersed in the internal, organisational activities of the party. With the state election now well and truly underway – even though technically it hasn’t yet been called – the level of involvement has stepped up yet another notch.
In some ways it feels like I’m retracing my steps from over twenty years ago, when I was heavily involved in the organisational side of the Democrats in Queensland. In late 1990, I was state Secretary of that party and Cheryl Kernot had just been elected to the Senate. I think I’ve learnt a few things over the ensuing years – including some things I probably wish I’d avoided having to learn – but working through a third party to break down the two-party duopoly that has now shaped Australian politics for over a century is still a big challenge.
Still, there are plenty of people other than myself who have learnt things from the Democrats’ experiences, achievements and mistakes, and the potential for making stronger inroads into changing the nature and policy paradigms of our body politics is greater than before. It’s still a hard slog, but the many people who commit their time, energy and passions into improving their community and our world certainly provide a good reason for trying to do what I can to be useful in working with them to move things in a better direction. And unlike the 1990s, I now have a truly magical daughter who does provide a special reason, which otherwise wouldn’t be there, to keep trying at such things.
I’ve also been trying hard not to once again let my existence be completely consumed with political stuff. I’m not having much success at that, although given the reasons why, it’s better than the alternative. I’m still dabbling in migration issues via some research I do with the ANU in Canberra, and I also get to regularly dip a little bit into the extraordinarily vibrant local music scene around south-east Queensland, mainly via Qld’s oldest community radio station 4ZzZ, who have been kind enough to let me do a weekly on-air breakfast shift for the last three and a half years. I’ve even managed to drag out a very rusty, dusty drum kit for a few bashes of late.
But given the current state of politics in Australia, which is undoubtedly more dismal, debased and intellectually bereft than it was twenty years ago, the growing local and global environmental challenges, the enormous injustices and grotesque global inequalities, the continuing waging of wars and the spiraling arms trade, the increasing disempowerment of so many people, the continuing amnesia about central aspects of our own nation’s history and the widening disconnect between rhetoric and reality – just to name a few things – I tend to feel there are a few reasons why putting some energies into politics is still worth trying.