A podcast for the ACT Greens' elected representatives to talk about the big ideas they've been working on. Authorised by Shane Rattenbury MLA for the ACT Greens.
The right to repair. Ft: Shane Rattenbury MLA
I gave a version of this speech to the Inaugural Australian Repair Summit last week and I’d like to share the important issue of the Right To Repair to the online audience now.
This is a really important issue, and one that I’m very passionate about, both as a Minister for Consumer Affairs, but also as a Green and an environmentalist.
The summit had the very specific intent of engaging with Government, policy makers and industry to cover detailed and thorny questions arising from the emergence of the Right to Repair movement in Australia – itself a response to ongoing and large-scale trends.
But I think it’s appropriate to start from a much wider angle in order to better prepare us for zeroing in on the nitty gritty – and perhaps even to suggest a guiding philosophical viewpoint.
I’m actually talking about our essence as human beings.
One of the universal attributes of the human species is our creativity, our inventiveness, our ingenuity. Throughout human history and pre-history, those have been intricate, connected things, both within individuals and across cultures and societies.
You only have to look at ancient crafts like knitting. The earliest surviving pieces of knitting are several socks found in Egypt and dating to between 1000 and 1300 AD.
When I look at these amazing thousand-year-old socks I’m struck not just by how inventive they are in a technical sense…
Like, who first had the idea to use a pair of needles to create these endless interlocking loops? We have no idea. Was it someone just fiddling around with a piece of string and some sticks?
… and not even just by how practical and carefully thought out they are, with proper heel and toe shaping, and tapering calves, and fine cotton yarn.
… I’m struck by how creative and how beautiful they are, in a way that’s entirely superfluous to their practical function. Yet this superfluous beauty is a common factor across a vast proportion of these kinds of artefacts. It suggests not just that knitting these socks was probably important to their creator, but that creativity and what you might call emotional ownership is an integral part of human ingenuity.
We tend to take these kinds of intricate patterns for granted now, assuming a team of sock designers, and complex industrial-scale machinery.
But back then, it would have been an act of personal artistry, combined with the practical inventiveness of knowing how to thread those different coloured strands on the inside of the sock so that they didn’t spoil the pattern.
There’s a whole huge explosion of creativity and invention behind these socks.
Again, we don’t know how long – years or decades or centuries - it took to get from those first awkward loops on two sticks that we can imagine, to flat, clumsy garments, to shaping and patterns like this, but it illustrates another element to the connected nature of human ingenuity – the way ideas spark from one person to the next to the next, like batons passed in a relay, improved upon or reimagined with each pair of hands and eyes, from the first wooden wheels or simple canoes, to an aircraft’s retractable landing gear or a 400-metre-long container ship.
But there’s a paradox at work in our modern civilisation, thanks to thousands of years of this relay of ingenuity.
Most of the stuff all of us use now, we couldn’t make from scratch in a pink fit. In that sense, our own inventiveness as a species has robbed us of ownership of our inventiveness as individuals.
Yet surely such a fundamental human attribute as our creativity and our ingenuity, and our ownership of those things, has to also be considered a fundamental human right – as important for us to access as the right to air and water and shelter and food.
The right to tinker with our stuff, to get it fixed or changed or improved, to manage it how we want, make it l
Raising the age of criminal responsibility. Ft: Shane Rattenbury MLA and Emma Davidson MLA
ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury MLA, and ACT Minister for Youth Justice Emma Davidson MLA make the case for raising the age of criminal responsibility.
Statue Erection - A Reaction. Ft: Emma Davidson MLA and Jo Clay MLA
Emma Davidson MLA and Jo Clay MLA meet up to try and figure out why Gary Humphries was rabbiting on about statues
Creating a better Canberra. Ft Emma Davidson MLA, ACT Minister for Disability.
Our community has united in an unprecedented way to make sure that Canberrans in need are supported through challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This is something every Canberran should be proud of.
However, there is still room for growth, particularly when we look at the injustices and unique challenges Canberrans with disability face.
The community has actively engaged and co-designed with the ACT Government over the past few months. Together, we have hosted several roundtables to discuss matters such as the impact that the single-use plastics ban will have on the community.
Collaboration has been critical for the roll out of the ACT COVID-19 Disability Strategy and ACT Disability Justice Strategy.
We know that people with disability, their families, and carers needed additional support following a significantly challenging time. That's why we have supported over 300 Canberrans through the Respite and Recovery Grants, delivering $150,000 to address some of these challenges such as isolation, financial pressures and stress.
Support is responsive to individuals' needs and varies from alleviating financial stress like paying bills, getting help in the garden, reengage with community activities and to purchase technology to support better communication and active engagement with friends and community.
However, this is just one example. We must continue to find ways to support the wellbeing and resilience of people with disability across the community to create a more inclusive and better normal. This can be seen in the work ACT Health has done to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible for people with disability at the Garran Surge Centre.
To get there, we must co-design with people with disability and sector stakeholders.
Unfortunately, we are hearing more instances of how people with disability are being excluded from conversations around programs that support them such as the 1A vaccine rollout in residential care and changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
People with disability and the people that support them have been clear, they want to participate in the decision-making process. These issues impact their everyday living and they must be involved from the start.
To every Canberran with disability; you do have a voice and we will continue working with you in shaping better outcomes for our future. I will be here with you the whole way and will continue to amplify your voices. Your involvement will help create a more inclusive, accessible, and better Canberra.
To get involved in the conversation, access community and advocacy organisations, and read our strategies and progress visit involvedcbr.com.au or communityservices.act.gov.au/disability_act. You can also contact my office on email Davidson@act.gov.au
Has COVID made women more insecure at home
Ft: Emma Davidson MLA,
In early 2020 I got stuck in New York as the world came to grips with the COVID pandemic. I had been supporting a group of Aboriginal and Pacific First Nations women who went there to tell their story and build relationships internationally, in their work to end violence against First Nations women. Over the month, I watched the city go from business as usual to what looked like the beginning of the apocalypse.
Read the article in full at: https://greenagenda.org.au/2021/06/has-covid-19-made-women-more-insecure-at-home/
Equity is a key to the electric vehicle revolution
Ft: Shane Rattenbury MLA,
Jaguar recently announced that it will no longer manufacture petrol or diesel vehicles from 2025 but will focus exclusively on its range of electric vehicles (EVs).
Since the cheapest Jaguar currently starts at around $60,000, and you can pay over $300,000 for a top-of-the-range model, this might not seem like headline news. Barring an unlikely lottery win, most of us are never going to buy a brand-new Jag no matter what fuel it runs on.
But it draws attention to something that governments around the world need to think about as we travel down the road of the EV revolution: The upfront purchase price of EVs risks locking out the very people – those on low incomes – who would benefit the most from the cheap running costs of EVs. This is especially so in Australia, where the Federal Government’s failure on EV policies has left us at the back of the pack, with a poorly developed EV market.
Governments need to recognise this problem of EV equity and take steps to make EVs more accessible to more people.