MY TRACK RECORD
With your support, I’ve been able to secure some important wins for the Melbourne electorate and the state since I was elected.
Here are some of my personal highlights:
✅ Secured $7 million for upgrades at Kensington Primary School as part of Greens Budget negotiations.
✅ $1 million for lighting and amenity upgrades to South Kensington station (but I'm pushing for more, to make it properly accessible and able to run more services).
✅ Alongside the community campaign, our election in 2014 pushed Labor to reverse their position, and stop the disastrous East-West toll road!
✅ New programs to support public housing residents following the 2020 hard lockdown.
✅ Our advocacy campaign resulted in $13 million extra funding for midwives and public maternity care in 2021.
✅ Alongside parents, our campaign for a new primary school for Docklands was successful! The school opened in 2021.
✅ Our advocacy helped push the Government to fund a new second campus for North Melbourne Primary School.
✅ Government funding to help homeowners replace dangerous flammable cladding.
✅ Helped save Federation Square from an Apple mega-store and ensured Federation Square remains a public space.
✅ Our Budget negotiations resulted in more peak hour services for the Parkville Gardens bus.
WINS FOR ALL VICTORIANS
✅ 10c refund on bottles and cans
The Greens campaigned alongside the Boomerang Alliance for many years to bring a 10c ‘cash for cans’ scheme to Victoria to boost our recycling rates. But it wasn’t until the Greens used our votes in Parliament to start an official Parliamentary Inquiry into the recycling crisis in 2019 that we pushed the issue to the top of the agenda. After a big campaign and media push by the Greens, the Inquiry recommended a cash for cans program and the State Government was left with no choice but to introduce ‘cash for cans’ in Victoria.
✅ An overhaul of our broken recycling system
For many years, the Greens were the only party calling to fix our recycling system. When China stopped taking our waste and the system fell into deep crisis in 2018-19, the Greens used our numbers in Parliament to start an inquiry. This inquiry led to the Government committing to several new recycling programs, including the rollout of green bins for our kitchen waste, and new purple bins for glass recycling, as well as funding to boost the recycling industry and ensuring that recycled materials get used in infrastructure projects, like roads, first. Of course, these outcomes wouldn’t have been achieved without the long-term efforts of organisations like Boomerang Alliance, Zero Waste Victoria, Municipal Association of Victoria and more, alongside the Greens.
✅ Action on climate change
After years of campaigning by the community and the Greens, the 2020 Victorian budget included a huge $1.6 billion investment in new renewable energy projects for Victoria. This included many of the initiatives the Greens and I took to the 2018 state election and called for as part of our Green New Deal plan for Victoria, which was passed by the Upper House of Victorian Parliament. Victoria will get new big batteries, more wind and solar projects, energy efficiency upgrades in many homes and minimum energy efficiency standards in rental homes - something the Greens first introduced legislation for in 2009!
✅ More social housing
When the Labor State Government announced they would sell-off land on several public housing estates across inner-city Melbourne, the Greens were one of the few voices who spoke up against it, including launching a Parliamentary inquiry into the issue and achieving some reforms to the government’s sell-off plans. After years of willful neglect from the government, and under mounting pressure from the community and Greens in the face of COVID economic impacts, in the 2020 budget the government promised $5.3bn of funding to build 12,000 new social housing homes in Victoria. This is the biggest investment in housing we’ve seen for decades. While of course we would prefer this was public housing (not privatised ‘social’ or ‘affordable’ housing), it’s a huge indication of how much our campaign on public housing has cut through.
✅ A ban on single-use plastic bags in Victoria
The Greens led the charge against single-use plastic bags in Victoria, introducing legislation to Parliament in 2016. Then in the lead-up to the 2017 by-election in Northcote, with the legislation set to be debated in the Upper House and in an effort to win votes from the Greens in this key seat, the Labor Government announced they would finally ban single-use plastic bags. The Greens won the seat anyway, but we also achieved this important policy outcome.
✅ First Aboriginal woman to the Victorian Parliament
In 2017, the prominent activist and community leader Lidia Thorpe became the first Aboriginal woman elected to the Victorian Parliament as the Greens MP for Northcote. The Greens support for her candidacy, together with the voting community, made history. She was instrumental in ensuring grassroots First Nations voices were heard and several improvements to the Victorian treaty framework laws were achieved. Lidia has now gone on to be elected the first Aboriginal Senator for Victoria in our Federal Parliament!
✅ Better rights for renters
The Greens have long been champions for renters’ rights, three times introducing legislation to parliament to set minimum standards of comfort, safety and energy efficiency of rental properties. Then in the lead-up to the 2017 by-election in Northcote, in an effort to win votes from the Greens in this key seat, the Labor Government announced new laws to improve renters’ rights, including the right to have a pet and make small changes to rental properties and making it easier for renters to stay long-term in their homes.
✅ Improved public transport and bike safety
The Greens have always campaigned strongly for more frequent, reliable public transport and safer, better bike infrastructure. Through strong electoral and local campaigns, we have secured a commitment to one meter minimum passing laws for cars overtaking cyclists to help keep people safe, significant upgrades of South Yarra Station, an upgrade of facilities at South Kensington Station, better and separated bike lanes across the city in response to COVID, bike lanes on St Kilda Road, held the government to account on public transport investment and will keep fighting for more.
✅ Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET)
The Greens and I took a policy of a Victorian Renewable Energy Target to the 2014 election. At that time, the State Government said it was impossible. But after a strong campaign by the Greens and Victorian environment and climate groups, and policy work by the Greens that showed how it could actually be done, the Victorian Government adopted our model for a ‘reverse auction’ VRET which is on track to build over 1500MW of renewable energy across Victoria.
✅ Reform to political donations laws
The Greens don’t take donations from corporations and vested interests, like big property developers and the gambling industry. But the two old parties do. For years we have campaigned to stop influence over government policies by banning corporate donations to political parties. In 2017, again the lead up to the Northcote by-election, in another attempt to reduce Greens and public pressure on them and to win that crucial seat, the Victorian Government announced it would cap donations to political parties to $1000 per year. This has limited the influence of big corporate donors. It was passed in 2018, ahead of the general election, despite the Greens’ Northcote win at that time.
✅ A ban on gas fracking
The Greens, working with farmers, regional communities and environment organisations including Friends of the Earth, helped pressure the State Government to ban gas fracking across Victoria. We also helped win a temporary ban on all types of onshore gas drilling, but unfortunately, the State Government has now overturned this ban and opened up Victoria to onshore gas drilling.
✅ Ensured wombats were declared a protected species
The Greens have always fought to protect our wildlife. For decades Wombats were a non-protected species across parts of Victoria which made them easier for people to kill. When the wombat culls were revealed in 2019, we pushed hard for reform in parliament and were successful in getting wombats to be declared a protected species across the entire state.
✅ Elected the first all-women leadership team
The Greens have always fought for women’s rights and elevated women to leadership roles. In 2017, Samantha Ratnam and Nina Springle became the Victorian Greens Leader and Deputy Leader, respectively. This is the first all-women leadership team for a political party in the Victorian Parliament. This was followed by a second all-women leadership team when I replaced Nina as Deputy in 2018. Samantha Ratnam is the first political party leader to have a child while in the role, and I was the first woman to breastfeed in the Victorian Parliament since Kirstie Marshall was kicked out for doing so more than 15 years ago! Eight out of 11 of our MPs elected in Victoria have been women - a strong demonstration of our values.
✅ Dying with dignity laws
The Greens campaigned for compassion deaths for terminally ill people for a long time, first introducing a bill to achieve this in 2008. Along with Dying with Dignity Victoria, we kept this issue on the agenda and our first action after the 2014 election was to introduce a motion to send this issue to the Law Reform Commission. In order to avoid having to vote against this motion, the government introduced its own motion to send it to a parliamentary inquiry, which the Greens sat on. We worked hard to influence the members of the inquiry and were successful in getting them to recommend law reform. This reform was finally achieved with a conscience vote in 2017.
✅ WorkCover for firefighters with cancer
For years, the Greens stood alongside firefighters and unions calling for presumed compensation for firefighters who contract work-related cancer. WorkCover for cancer was almost impossible for firefighters to obtain as they had to prove how the work caused the cancer, naming particularly toxic fires that they attended over years, even decades of service. However, there was no official record of who attended what fire and what was burning. Scientists have proven that firefighting is associated with certain cancers and so we wanted it presumed that when long term firefighters get those cancers, they automatically receive WorkCover. After years of campaigning, including the Greens introducing a bill in 2008, petitioning, protesting and threatening to re-introduce legislation when the State Government failed on its promise to deliver this reform, finally in 2019 the legislation passed to enable firefighters to get proper WorkCover.
✅ A ban on ATMs from pokies venues
The Greens are the only party that continues to speak up about the harms of pokies. When the government required the Greens vote on gambling legislation, we negotiated to secure stronger bans on ATMs in pokies venues from 2012, which significantly cut gambling losses.
✅ Secured divestment of State Government funds from tobacco
The Greens believe government investments should be ethical. In 2013 we launched a campaign to pressure the Victorian Funds Management Corporation, which manages the Victorian Government’s investments, into divesting $200 million dollars from the tobacco industry. Coordinating with medical leaders like QUIT and Oncologist Dr Bronwyn King, we exposed the issue in the media and when we introduced legislation 2014, the VFMC made a hasty announcement for change and divested our public finances from tobacco.
✅ Shipping containers moved off trucks and onto rail
The Greens, together with the local community, have campaigned strongly to get dirty diesel trucks off local streets in the inner west of Melbourne, and to connect the Port of Melbourne with rail for moving freight. We’ve protested on the streets, pressured the government in parliament, and we supported and influenced a Parliamentary Inquiry into the lease of the Port, including sitting on the inquiry committee, which recommended that rail be connected to the Port. Thanks to this pressure, the government announced curfews for container trucks on some residential streets, and made connecting the Port to rail for moving freight part of the lease requirements.
✅ Safe injecting rooms established
The Greens have continuously and courageously advocated for these vital health services for intravenous drug users, even when they have not been politically popular, because our policies are based on evidence. The evidence from interstate is that safe injecting rooms save lives. In the lead up to the Northcote by-election in 2017, which the Greens looked set to win, the Labor Government finally backflipped on its long-term position and committed to a safe injecting service in an attempt to win progressive votes. Since the safe injecting service began in Victoria in 2018, it has proven to save lives and reduce ambulance call outs.
✅ Protecting women’s reproductive rights
The Greens have always been on the forefront of ensuring women’s reproductive rights. In 2008, Greens MP Colleen Hartland was the first MP to reveal she had had an abortion and advocated strongly for reforms to make abortion legal in Victoria, which we helped pass parliament. In 2016, when a campaign surfaced to undermine our reproductive rights, the Greens and I coordinated an alliance of cross-party women and women’s health leaders in working together to ensure their protection.
✅ More Park Rangers
Our parks are precious to us. As part of a budget negotiation with the State Government in 2018, the Greens achieved employment of an additional 130 park rangers for Parks Victoria to carry out conservation work in our beautiful national parks.
✅ Support for renters during COVID-19
During the COVID-19 crisis, the Greens fought for better protections for renters, to ensure nobody is at risk of losing their home during the pandemic. Our advocacy and negotiations with the Government led to a ban on evictions and rent increases for tenants until March 2021. Through direct negotiations with the Government we also secured expanded eligibility requirements for rent relief grants, so that more people could access financial support to pay their rents.
None of these wins would have been possible without support from people like you. If you've been part of any of these campaigns - thank you.
SUPPORT ELLEN'S CURRENT CAMPAIGNS HERE.