The seat of Griffith is a bellwether seat in the next federal election. It is a wealthy seat. Our household received a visit from the Greens and a follow-up letter from the candidate Max Chandler-Mather. The Greens reckon they can achieve a 3.5% swing and win the seat of Griffith once held by Kevin 07. They believe this may give them the balance of power and the ability to influence a Labor government to do more on climate change, improve public health and tertiary education. No doubt like others in our street, we had an interesting discussion with two Greens, volunteers who attended our front doorstep last week.
As people who follow politics would be aware, there is a general swing to the right across the world. The right is attempting to mimic the populist approach tried by the Left. As political people also know Bolsonaro in Brazil, Trump in the US, Morrison in Australia are not conservatives, they are radicals. Why their current opportunism would work for them when it failed on the Left, I don’t know.
One of the examples of Left opportunism was the failed campaign to unseat Peter Dutton in the 2019 federal election. Dutton won with a 1.23% swing to him in the seat of Dickson. The Greens got 10% and the ALP received 31%. What the Left failed to recognise was that if they organised from a socialist perspective (I mean working for greater equality) and not on an issue by issue basis (refugees, equal marriage, women’s rights, aboriginal rights, LBQTI etc) people like Dutton would go under anyway.
As the Greens point out in the letter (pictured), the right-wing (LNP and Labor) do have more corporate money. But their policies against the Covid pandemic have failed, so why would ordinary people support them? It is the inequality mentioned in the last line of the Greens letter that is the problem worldwide, currently being exposed by the pandemic. Just look at Western Sydney, the economic powerhouse of the nation being left at the mercy of the pandemic by state and federal governments.
When one of the volunteers asked me if I support the Greens, I said yes but I was more of the watermelon.
Fifteen 15 years ago I proposed a light rail service to go through the suburbs of Griffith as an alternative to cars trucks and buses. Instead government and council put in a half completed eastern busway which ran out of money. The busway never made it even to Carindale about 12 kms from the CBD. The busway comes to an abrupt end at Stones Corner less than 6 kms from the CBD. Public transport is not properly funded in Australia. Are there any candidates for the seat Griffith who can achieve what Kevin 07 could not? That is to provide an electric light rail system through this electorate to the bayside suburbs? Below is my proposal written all those years ago, from 2006.
As mentioned above, in the western suburbs of Sydney, the powerhouse of the economy, Covid-19 is running rampant. It is in the workplaces, in the aged care homes, on the streets. No politician, no parliament has been able to stop it. So there is the perennial question: can radical change for equality ever be achieved by any parliament?
To the Greens, all the best in your campaign,
The Eastern Busway – an alternative
There are alternatives to putting busways underground and to building flyovers as a means of providing public transport. Rail was investigated in the 1990s and was ‘found’ to be too expensive and not supportable by population density and therefore demand in the eastern suburbs. But no one can produce a detailed analysis, so is this just a fob off by Translink? During a public consultation session at the Stones Corner library in July 2006, Translink representatives refused to talk about a rail alternative saying that their brief was to produce a busway. Translink do not want to talk to anyone who is canvassing options that they have already rejected or not considered fully.
In early 2006 there was a CATCH (local community group looking at public transport alternatives) meeting when a rail enthusiast got up and talked about the old Belmont Rail that came off the railway line just past Norman Park Station and went along the cutting on Oateson-Skyline Drive?
He mentioned that the cutting had already been built for rail in the 1920s.
With one flyover across Bennetts Road, a couple of tunnels and the use of light rail along the old Carina Tramway, a rail connection would be able to miss all the residents houses and provide a direct rail link along the old tramway at Carina to Carindale and Capalaba.
I have marked the route on the map. The rail enthusiast also talked about rail/bus hybrids. He should be consulted to find any further proposals he may have.
If The Qld government improves the rail infrastructure (perhaps even adding another rail line) to Norman Park Station and then choose the route to Capalaba that I have shown on the map then you have the Translink problem of getting people to the CBD quicker without interfering with residents or building huge bus and road infrastructure. In my plan buses would be used locally to enable residents of the inner suburbs to get to the train quickly and easily.
Why not at least consider these suggestions? Because Translink has an agenda that opposed rail from the outset.
By the way, I think that the data I collected and analysed in the attached spreadsheet indicates that traffic congestion at Camp Hill is not the problem claimed by Translink in the discussion I had with them at the Stones Corner Library.
With a few exceptions, the worst traffic congestion occurs closer to the CBD than Camp Hill. This is degrading quality of life of the inner suburbs. Translink have ignored the social cost of the infrastructure they are building. The increased bus pollution near schools and shopping centres is one example of that social cost. That is why a clean, high volume, electric rail system is necessary in the eastern suburbs, to relieve the traffic congestion within 8 kms of the CBD.
Has Translink ever done a proper detailed study of demand for rail in the inner city?
My railway station, Cooparoo, is a very busy station and this is true of all the stations closer to CBD. Yet Cooparoo station has had minimal improvement in the past ten years. The parking is inadequate, the crossing at Cavendish Road is third world, and there are not enough pedestrian footways, buses or bikeways servicing this station.
Note: the rail link was never built and traffic congestion is worse than ever. Editor, September 2021.