Episode 11: To politik or not to politik, that is the question - with Kelvin Thomson


November 4th, 2020

41 mins 52 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Another month, another bunch of elections. In Australia, we’ve just had the ACT elections, QLD elections, and Victoria council elections. I think that’s it. Oh yeah, there’s a small North American country having a federal election counting ballots as we speak. You may have heard about it.

Post-Growth still exists on the fringe and for most of us on the fringe voting can be a frustrating exercise choosing between who will lead us through several more years of growth on a finite planet. It can be even more frustrating for independents and minor parties who advocate for something better than the status quo – a seeming endless uphill climb full of long hours, campaign trails, etc. This being the case, is it better to opt out or opt in? PGAP host Michael Bayliss explores this question further with the Honourable Kelvin Thomson.

Kelvin is a former member of the Labor party and since 1981 has been elected for local council, State Government and, from 1996 served as Federal member for the inner-north Melbourne electorate of Wills for two decades.

Kelvin balanced longevity with a very unique and individual outlook that often put him at odds with mainstream politics. Kelvin was – and still is – an active champion for environmental conversation, campaigned against overdevelopment including the influence of property developers on political decisions, and perhaps most famously for his staunch position on population policy. This sometimes earned him the reputation as a ‘maverick’. I prefer to see it as rare integrity.

Since retiring from Federal parliament in 2016 Kelvin is now Chief of Staff for Victorian MP Clifford Hayes of Sustainable Australia Party (SAP). Kelvin discusses with me his journey from Labor to SAP, the successes and challenges he faced during his time in and out of office and why there is a place for politics in promoting the post-growth cause.

A qualifier: This podcast is made possible by Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) who are apolitical and therefore do not endorse any one political party. However, during this episode I highlighted several political parties and candidates who have policies that have some common ground with the post-growth movement. In addition to Sustainable Australia, you may be interested in finding out more about Animal Justice Party, Save The Planet Party, New Liberals (definitely not like old Liberals), Australian Democrats, and Craig Walters. Know of any others? Let us know!

Speaking of Sustainable Population Australia, they recently released a discussion paper debunking the myths of an ageing population. Population sustainability is not always renowned for its cheeriness, however the discussion paper – “Silver tsunami or silver lining? Why we should not fear an ageing population” is not only a fantastic read but also quite upbeat. The discussion paper has enjoyed some positive media coverage the past week which is fantastic. You may also be interested in Kelvin's impassioned speech at SPA's 2019 AGM here.

And speaking on contacting PGAP, please don’t be shy! Our contact form is here. Want to feedback on any of the episodes or want to share your own post-growth ideas? I’d love to hear from you. Do you frequent Apple Podcasts or Stitcher? Then please rate PGAP and leave a review. The more reviews, the more listeners – which means the more people stop wanting more. If you’ll excuse the Paradox….

The song of choice today is from Adelaide band ‘The Tangerines.’ To find out more about The Tangerines, visit their website here.