I spent most of my career working for the Productivity Commission, which is an independent think tank conducting inquiries to advise the Federal Government. We could formulate our best advice independently of who was in power. Our test of what was the best advice was based on what would make the greatest contribution to the wellbeing of Australians. We evaluated all evidence and arguments even-handedly and would not give more weight to those who were powerful or wealthy. The Commission’s advice was not always accepted but at least it added to the policy debate and many of the Commission’s reports have a long shelf life.
I enjoyed my time inside the policy tent. Now that I am outside of it, I see grassroots groups as a powerful way to influence policy. It particularly concerns me that the quality of the public policy debate has worsened and politicians mislead us, so we don’t really understand their policy choices and badmouth the other side no matter what. That is why I like being a volunteer with GetUp. GetUp holds our politicians accountable and cuts through the rhetoric. I like that it takes up the progressive fight on so many fronts.
I also love being part of GetUp North Sydney. Instead of raging alone against injustices, we work together to make a difference. Even if we don’t win everything, it is great to spend time with interesting people who share my values. Power to the people!
I am concerned with climate issues for a few years now and was involved with a citizen climate lobby before joining up with GetUp because I like the way the GetUp movement is organised. GetUp's principle of reclaiming democracy resonated with me as I feel strongly that citizen engagement with our government should be encouraged. I am very persuaded that citizens should be active participants in democracy and policy creation, and GetUp gives members like me a good framework to be a part of that process and have my voice heard.
I am currently the lead coordinator of the Ipswich Action Group; we are deeply involved with the #StopAdani campaign and beginning to work on the campaign for Marriage Equality as well. In our campaign efforts, we have set up market stalls to reach out to our local community, gone to meetings with our local MPs, and also hosted and made phone calls for the #StopAdani phone banks. So if you live in the Ipswich area, and are interested in becoming a part of this movement, I will be delighted to have a chat and welcome you to the Ipswich Action Group.
I first became aware of GetUp during the 2007 federal election. The thrill of participating in political action beyond marches was fantastic. My participation died down a bit after that but when, as an initially reluctant 70-year-old, I joined Facebook a whole new level of engagement opened up.
I wasn’t a hands-on activist type. But then GetUp put a call out for front-desk volunteers for one day a week. Once I was committed to that, it felt necessary to pluck up my courage and host an Election GetTogether at my local cafe in the run up to the 2016 federal election. Next came the odd video appearance and I even made a few phone calls into Bass to kick Nikolic out of Parliament.
I’m now very involved with the North Sydney Action Group, I’m signing up for more actions, and even more phone calling. Throughout all this, I have been lucky enough to find a whole new network of marvellously interesting, like-minded and committed people. However dire the political news, I have found myself energised, rejuvenated, motivated — happy. As I sign up for more actions, the conviction grows that we can actually win.
North Sydney Action Group Member