The Greens officially launched their campaign for Jagajaga last month, with candidate Hugh McKinnon likening Greens’ ideals to “real Australian values” and stressing the need for more action.
McKinnon criticised the coalition government's direction for Australia in the 21st century, advocating a “green alternative”.
“I don’t want this country to go the way it is where we are getting bogged down in coal, cruelty and inequality,” he said.
“My call is for us to work together … let’s send a strong message to Canberra that there’s a growing reconnection with real Australian values: ecological responsibility, social justice, democracy and peace."
A mining engineer by profession, McKinnon used his address to explain how his experience working overseas shaped his view on the environment and political corruption.
“[I] spent a long time working and living in countries around the world that Australians rarely visit, and it’s those experiences that have transformed me into someone who identifies strongly with Green values.
“It’s the developers, the mining companies and the banks that are driving the political process with their political influence through their political donations system,” he said.
“I stand for integrity in government, which means a federal ICAC; it means a review of the political donations system to give everyone the same influence … instead of paying $5000 to sit down at breakfast with a politician which will give you more access.”
“We all are citizens of this country,” McKinnon told UniPollWatch.
The campaign launch is one in a string of similar events the Greens have held in the last few months, with widespread belief in the party that a July 2nd double dissolution election is imminent.
The event itself was attended by a number of prominent Greens figures including Batman candidate Alex Bhathal, who was optimistic about the party’s future in the suburban electorate.
“[Hugh] wants to make the planet a safer place into the future. It’s not every time you speak to a mining engineer that they might say something like that, which didn’t surprise me in the slightest when I reflected on the fact that Hugh is running for the Greens,” she said.
“My prediction is that JagaJaga will crash through the 20% mark at this election.”
The Greens achieved 12.9% of the primary vote in Jagajaga last election, with the sitting member Jenny Macklin maintaining her 20 year hold on the seat with 38% of the vote.
However, after two decades as the member for Jagajaga some Green’s supporters are anticipating Macklin’s retirement in the next few election cycles – an opportunity one volunteer says “will prove decisive.”
Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale, who appeared at the event via a pre-prepared video, stressed the importance of building Jagajaga’s Green voter base for future elections.
“The campaign in Jagajaga is so critical, not just in increasing our lower house vote, but is also crucial in ensuring the re-election of both Janet Rice and myself in the Victorian Senate,” Senator Natale said.
McKinnon's campaign managed to raise more than $2,300 in 10 minutes at the launch, as well as signing up more volunteers to join their growing team of supporters.
The campaign team has indicated that the money will go towards purchasing a political advertising package during the critical weeks leading up to polling day later this year.