Grassroots people in NE Victoria are gathering to support independent federal candidate Cathy McGowan after a series of ‘kitchen table conversations’ and last Wednesday evening, at bankmecu Melbourne, around 20 people interested in social change enjoyed a glass of wine, some wonderful nibblies from The Mission Caters and the third ‘Conversation At Our Place’ on co-operatives and mutuals.
Guest speakers were representatives from:
MATTILA LAWYERS – who specialise in the water, renewable energy and clean technology, mining, agribusiness and carbon sectors
BORDERLANDS COOPERATIVE – an independent network for holistic community activism, sustainability and action research
COMMON EQUITY HOUSING – an organisation providing the means for lower income earners to access rental properties that they manage and control on a co-operative and secure basis. CEHL owns 2200 properties across Victoria worth in excess of $600 million.
Jenni, Jacques and John shared their experiences and insights into cooperative endeavours and have given their contact details if people wish to engage further.
What has resonated for me was talk of the Gippsland Earthworker Cooperative and the achievements of the Basque coop Mondragan: an organisation committed to manufacturing excellence and export growth through cutting edge technological innovation, one that in the aftermath of the GFC in Spain — where unemployment nationally is in excess of 25% — has kept jobless levels in the Basque region to under half the national average.
Info from the kitchen table conversations has been posted on Voice For Indi. 425 people held 53 conversations across 39 postcodes – Indi stretches from Wodonga to Corryong to Marysville. The info tells us that:
-Murray Darling Basin management
-Future-thinking infrastructure development
-Food security and working with primary producers
-The power and influence of the media
-The duopoly in supermarket chains
-Humanitarian matters and the compassionate treatment of refugees
Our major parties are so similar and yet the haranguing so harsh. Have MPs been dragged down to this level in an effort to differentiate their party, I wonder?
Most people I speak with feel the need for bi-partisanship in the face of many of the issues facing our communities, and the world, today.
Conversations about issues and solutions are happening at the community level…will our political representatives listen, or will change happen in spite of them? I would love some informed, inclusive public debate led by a respectful media – not one just out to rack up numbers.