The JUICE Media Podcast

We need to talk about the 2022 Election | with Simon Holmes à Court

Episode Summary

Ep 27: In which I chat with Simon Holmes à Court about Hung Parliaments, Not-Shit Independents and how they can help end this shit-stained Government at the 2022 election.

Episode Notes

This is the podcast companion to our latest Honest Government Ad | Hung Parliament

You can also view this podcast on our YouTube channel - which we recommend as it includes our video conversation.

👉 You can follow Simon Holmes à Court here: twitter.com/simonahac
👉 You can find out more about the Climate200 here: climate200.com.au
👉 Or watch this short video explaining what they’re about.

✅ Find out more about the Not-Shit Candidates Simon mentions in the podcast:
🔹 Zoe Daniel in Goldstein
🔹 Sonja Semmens in Higgins
🔹 Monique Ryan in Kooyong
🔹 Sophie Scamps in Mackellar
🔹 Allegra Spender in Wentworth
🔹 Jo Dyer in Boothby
🔹 Penny Ackery in Hume
🔹 Rob Priestly in Nicholls
🔹 Kylea Tink in North Sydney
🔹 Suzie Holt in Groom
🔹 Zali Steggal in Warringah
🔹 Helen Haines in Indi
🔹 Rebekha Sharkie in Mayo

If you enjoyed this podcast please subscribe, give us a nice rating and most importantly, recommend it to others! 

This podcast was produced thanks to our Patrons. If you'd like to help keep us going, you can support us on Patreon or via these other options.

👉 Editor and Producer: Ellen Burbidge
🎹 Music by Tom Day

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Episode Transcription

[Transcribed by Jesse Dowse]

Hey everyone, this is Giordano from The Juice Media. Welcome back to The Juice Media podcast, a companion to the honest government ad series. This episode of the podcast is recorded on Wurundjeri land and it is the companion to our latest Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments. 

Excerpt from Honest Government Ad

"You might remember us from the last ad we made about preferential voting. We hope you haven't watched it, because the last thing we want you to know is how to use it to vote for a not-shit candidate at the coming election. You know, one who isn't owned by these guys, and who'll fight for your kids' future rather than theirs. Because if enough of you give your first preference vote to not-shit candidates, some of them might win some seats and become not-shit MPs. And ifthat happens, this election will end up With a hung Parliament."

Giordano Nanni

The reason I wrote this Honest Government Ad now is that we're heading for a crucial National election here in Australia in the first half of 2022. It's crucial because we cannot afford another three years of climate shitfuckery like the world witnessed from this government at the COP summit in Glasgow. And while state policies on climate might differ in some regards, neither major party here is promising to phase out coal and gas, and transition to renewables this decade, which is what the science is saying must happen. 

And since a very likely outcome in the coming election is a hung Parliament, which is one in which neither the Shit nor the Shit-Lite party win enough seatsto form a majority government on their own, they will very likely have to rely on the support of not-shit candidates to form a minority government. Which is why it's so important that people understand what hung Parliaments and minority governments are, and it's why we made this Honest Government Ad. And to be clear, when I say not-shit candidate, that's my shorthand for any party or independent candidate with strong science-based policies for dealing with the climate crisis, and who does not take money from fossil fuel companies, which basically excludes the major parties. And to help us get into more detail about all this, I'm stoked to haveas my guest today, someone who is right at the heart of the insurgence of not-shit candidates who are fronting up at this election: Simon Holmes à Court. 

Simon is a whole bunch of things. He's an energy transition analyst, cleantech investor,and a pioneering force in the Australian community's renewable energy movement as a founding member of Hepburn Wind, the country's first community-owned wind farm. But most recently, he's been making headlines for his work at Climate 200, the group he created to support not-shit candidates in the coming election. The government's been shitting its pantsabout the Climate 200 and the lineup of strong independent candidates that Simon is helping to run in this election, and so, I thought this troublemaker would make the perfect guest for this episodeof the podcast. I hope you enjoy our chat, and I'll catch you on the other side.

Welcome back to The Juice Media Podcast, Simon Holmes à Court, it's really good to have you back. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Great to be on Giordano.

Giordano Nanni

Last time you were on the podcast was in Two thousand and- Early 2020, we spoke about climate and energy policy, we've now upgraded. You were the first guest that we had when we took the podcast to youtube and now you're the first guest on our- On the couch. On the couch! This is actually where we film the honest government ads. We've pulled the green screen aside so this is literally behind the screen, and yeah, hopefully we'll do more of these when the chance arises but thanks very much for joining us today. 

Simon Holmes à Court

My pleasure.

Giordano Nanni

As a result of the work that you've been doing you've become a bit of a lightning rod for attacks from senior government MPs and also from the media. So, can you take us on a bit of ajourney? What's been happening in the last two years? You know, who are you, what have you been helping to build with the Climate, and why have you been pissing off all the right people?

Simon Holmes à Court

Well I'm Simon Holmes à Court, I wear a lot of hats. At the end of the day I look for- what is the most effective thing I can do to get action primarily on climate change? That's my primary purpose. So. Why are we going backwards and striking at the root? what is the root? The root is we have the wrong composition in Parliament to make progress on these issues. And, so that's what I've been focusing a lot of effort over this year, but it really goes back to 2019 election when we got our Start.

Giordano Nanni

So what is the Climate 200? Why did you start this group and what is it doing? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Climate 200, very simply, provides an opportunity for ordinary Australians to contribute to the funding of candidates who are going to get into Parliament and move us forward on a number of issues, not just climate. The three issues we lead on are a science-based response to climate change, restoring integrity to politics, and the treatment and safety of women in Australia. So those three issues are sort of our founding, you know, ournorth star issues, and we provide a vehicle or a method where ordinary Australians can help people who are standing up in their communities, help them have a fighting chance in a political system that's stacked very much in the favor of the party machines. Help them, I guess help level the playing field so that they might have a chance to get in Parliament.

Giordano Nanni

Right. 

Simon Holmes à Court

And we achieve real representation.

Giordano Nanni

Right. 

So then given that all of these things are reasonable policy positions, why is the Morrison government shittingitself so much about what you're doing? Why are you such a threat? 

Simon Holmes à Court

So let me just talk from Climate 200's perspective. We don't start campaigns. We don't go looking for campaigns. We don't choose candidates. We telegraph the issues we're interested in and campaigns come to us.

 

There's an organization CathyMcGowan set up called the community independents project. And early this year- So Cathy McGowan was the first independent member for Indi. She was elected, I believe the 2013 election, re-elected in 2016 and in 2019. She resigned and her seat was won by her successor, chosenby the same community group to succeed her, Helen Haines, and it's the first time in Australia's history that an independent has handed the reins over to another independent. So Cathy set up the Community Independents Project, which was aimed at answering the question. You're in a community, you want torepeat the success of Indi, where do you even start? Cathy ran a conference earlier this year, back in February. She ran this conference, 300 people turned up from 72 electorates. And they learned how to- How it was done in Indi, where she ran, and also how it wasdone in Warringah, where Zali Steggall took the seat from Tony Abbott.

 

Of those 300 people, there's about 30 communities around the country that have been working all year, and are at fairly advanced stages with community campaigns. I reckon 20 of them will put a pretty good showing up at this election, and we've seen already about maybe 10 of them announce very very strong candidates for these campaigns. So we wait until we see strong candidates with community backing in winnable seats that align with our values, and when they come forward, we talk to them about how we can help them, you know, how we can help them compete in the electorates that theywant to contest. And by helping them you mean helping with funding because running for an election is an expensive- Hugely expensive, hugely expensive. So it's for a city campaign, you know, an urban seat, you're not serious unless you've got a million dollar budget. Now, for the big parties it's not that hard. To allocate a million dollars they really only need to fight in 20 or 30 seats, The 20 or 30marginal seats for the election. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So in a way what you're doing is you're leveling the playing field? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, and that's not the only area where it's stacked against the income, you know, the political parties have tax deductibility status well before the election, whereas the independents only get it in the very last few weeks. Right. The incumbents get printing allowances, hundreds of thousands ofdollars a year of taxpayer-funded printing allowances that puts propaganda into your letterbox that taxpayers fund. Independents don't get any of that, so yeah. An independent needs access to significant money just to be able to be on the level playing field.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

My question was why is the government shitting its pants, and I want to get back to that because I feel like that was all really important context but I want toget to the point why such a threat, but before you answer the question, let me read you a quote from- This is from former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has described the voices movement as quote: "A very healthy development that allows people to vote for candidates that align with their views." I'm not sure if he'd be using those words if he was still the PM-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

But anyway, I want to read what he said to me when he was my guest on the podcast last year.

 

Excerpt from The Juice Media Podcast with Malcolm Turnbull

 

I mean, the thing that the Liberal party needs to reflect on is that there is a number of hitherto very safe center-right seats, you know, Liberal/National seats, which are occupied by smaller Liberal women. Mayo, in South Australia, Indi in Victoria, and of course Warringah in New South Wales. Andit's only by a few votes, it could have been- You could have added to that Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth as well. And, you know, what that tells you, what that should tell the Liberal party is that there is a smaller Liberal constituency that takes climate change very seriously, that is prepared to vote for somebody other than the Liberal party but does not, you know, may not vote for Labor or the Greens. If you were making the case for another party, which I'm not, that's something you would point to. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So my question to him here waswhether he'd consider forming another party and basically what he's saying is no, this Independents movement is, or the the insurgence, as people are calling it now, is for him where it's actually at in terms of an alternative to the Liberal party. So he says: If you think about it in a House of Representatives of  seats, where every seat counts, naturally, to have three safe Liberal seats held by smaller Liberal independents, you know those metropolitan seats, smaller Liberal seats, I think there's a very strong message there. Has the Liberal party gotten the message from the 2019 election about the threat?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. Well, the Liberal party has taken a deliberate decision to to abandon these seats, actually. So Kylea Tink is the independent candidate for North Sydney. She put it really eloquently in her campaign launch. She said that she doesn't recognize the Liberal party and the Liberal party doesn't recognize her. Right. When Morrison stood up some months ago, he said "Climate policy will not be dictated by the inner citywine bars, cafes, and dinner parties." He was basically saying to Kylea "you don't matter." And she's voted Liberal her entire life, and she got loud and clear: you're not the priority, we're listening to other people these days.And look, I think most Australians really aren't strongly left or strongly right. Most Australians are in the middle. We're a bit left on some things, I think most Australians are a bit left on social issues, and maybe a little bit right on economic issues. So when the Liberal party moves further and further to the right where it goes for a decade withouthaving any credible climate policy, where it has a immigration policy that is built around cruelty rather than compassion, or even the economic value of of migration, andwhere it appeases far-right MPs who want to fight against vaccination andhave anti-science messaging when-

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You're not talking about Craig Kelly are you?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Craig Kelly and George Christensen and Matt Canavan etc. The Federal Government will never seriously reprimand them or say these are not Australian values or try to shut them down. Where I live in Kooyong, the state seat is held by Labor and my council ward is held by Greens. It's very much changing and those people- We don't feel represented by the Liberal party that Josh Frydenberg votes with every time, but most people don't see themselves as as going for switching their vote to Labor or The Greens, and they're hungry for an alternative, and the independents are coming in and occupying that center ground, that center of space that Morrison has vacated, quite deliberately vacated tochase a new vote, but taking for granted that he would always have that because there was no alternative. So yeah, they hate us because we're providing an alternative that the electorate wants.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

It sounds like this is ademocratic process, this is how it unfolds. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, they're hating democracy, right? I mean this is a matter this is not a top- and they're having so much trouble understanding this movement, it's not top down, there's no voices of central office, or there's no charter or franchise or logo or anything, it's people who read Cathy McGowan's book or watched- you might have seen a documentary on what happened in Indi in 2013 or they've watched Zali- as Zali Steggell and they've been self-organizing, they've been running town hall meetings on zoom all the way through the pandemic, they've been building up. I've been on many of thesetown hall meetings where you'll have two-three hundred people on an evening listen to experts and talk about the values of what's important in those electorates.

 

This is a democratic revivalgoing on. It's really exciting, really exciting, but yeah, the government doesn't understand it, is flip-flopping its messages all over the place. Earlier this week we had Tim Wilson say that this movement is just going to damage Labor and The Greens and then the next day we had Morrison saying this was a front for Labor and The Greens. It's like they can't work it out because they don't think they've had much experience with democracy.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I think you've been kind, I think they've worked it out and they're trying to find something that'll stick, you know, like these different messaging, the contradictory things, it's like "let's see what people respond to," because ultimately they want to disempower this movement, and the best way to disempower movements is through fear campaigns. I mean, John Howard was a master of it, but they've been used on on both sides of politics and they're very effective. We saw it with the Mediscare campaign, we saw it with the death tax, you know, it's kind of become the game now and Imean, it's almost impossible that we're not going to see a massive scare campaign- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

There will be a massive scarecampaign. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

At the moment the one that I think is being pushed by the Morrison government and which might become the election issue is this fear campaign about a hung Parliament, and this is really something that we play on in the Honest Government Ad that we've made.Let's get a bit nerdy now. Perhaps you could explain what a hung Parliament is, and why is the Morrison government scaremongering about this potential outcome? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, okay, so hung Parliament is when all the votes are tallied and all the electorates have been decided, which way they went, it's what you call it when no party on itsown has a majority of states. Very common in governments in parliaments all around the world. It's it's the dominant outcome in Europe-

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Not in the US and the UK which- Or maybe the UK but definitely not in the US. But definitely in a lot of Scandinavian and European countries it's quite common.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Absolutely. Yeah. Now in Australia, it takes 76 seats to govern. The Liberal party only has 60. It governs only because it forms a coalition agreement with the National party, which has 16 seats at the moment, so that gets it in the lower house, that gets it to just on 76. And with a couple of cross benches- Or 76 is a majority of one. Hung Parliament is what you call it at that moment when no party has a majority. Then the the MPs that have been duly elected come together, and I guess form an agreement on how the next Parliament might operate when it's clear that a government can be formed where there is confidence in a leader and the majority of MPs will give supply, then we reach a new level ofstability called a minority government. And we've had this many times before our government in Australia. As I said, we basically have minority government now because the Nationals and the Liberals have an agreement, a secret agreement between them. But we had a minority government between 2010 and 2013 when- do you remember there was about a two-week period after the election when basically it came down to- Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott spent about two weeks interviewing, working very hard- 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Very independent candidates.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Independents, yep. They wereindependents from traditionally conservative seats, traditionally Nationalist seats, and they took their responsibility very very seriously.They had endless consultation with with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott and they formed the opinion after much consultation that the best way forward for Australia was to form minority government with with Julia Gillard's party, and a lot of really good things came out of that period. Now, it wasn't justOakeshott and Windsor, they also had Andrew Wilkie down in Tasmania, and Adam Bandt from The Greens andthe crossbenches give the government backbone they gave Gillard the backbone to bring in real climate legislation with teeth, they brought in a price on carbon that worked, it brought emissions down. They brought in ARENA, the renewableenergy research agency, the clean energy finance corporation. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Again everything you said, minority government- so before the Gillard minority government in 2010 we actually hadn't had a federal minority government since 1940-something. So it was actually quite an unusual thing at the federal level as you said, state level it's a much more common thing. But that minority government that we had in 2010 introduced a lot of- the clean energy act and all the things that you've said, which are really good, but the way that it's played out is that it gave Tony Abbott who was a leader of the opposition during the Gillard government an opportunity which he seized 100 percent and he seized to criticize, to attack the Gillard government for this minority government because they basically, their argument then became "you see, you vote for the Labor party, you get the Greens" even though as you said, it wasn't like- The Greens weren't, like, there, there was one seat from the Greens and three from independents, so it's actually a majority but independent crossbench. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Say what you will about Tony Abbott but he is a very effective communicator. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah.

 

 

 

 

That, and with the the full weight of the media friendly to him which - face it - is an incredibly powerful force in Australia,he was able to prosecute an argument. He was able to make thatlook like an undesirable government, but actually if we look at all the governance we've been subjected to over the last decade, that's been stronger than any other period. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah. Any other period, and I think it's because every idea that comes to the Parliamentary floor has to be discussed andwith MPs that- Yeah, one thing I bang on about: if you think about a member of Parliament in the political parties, in say the Liberal or Labor party,number one loyalty for so many MPs is their own career, right? They can see a pathway to the top to either the ministry, or maybe even a Prime Minister and that number one loyalty is to their career. Number two, probably their faction . Number three, their branch, because they want to get re-elected. Number four, the party, number five, the donor, and number six, the electorate. 

 

Now, if you're an independent MP, you're not going to get into the ministry and you're not going to be Prime Minister. You're going to Parliament for one reason only: your electorate. So, you know, rather than there's six tiers of responsibility with the electorate being number six, the independent is answerable to their communities and people- I know peoplehave said that one of the most amazing things about Cathy McGowan's time in Parliament - and Helen Haines has continued this tradition - is you go to their electoral- Their office in Parliament house and they'll be ordinary citizens from Indi that have come up to see how Parliament works, and they're being consulted on issues and then those those MPs go back also to their electorates, and they ask people, when there's a tough decision they ask people what- How they should vote. They consult. And most of them are publishingtheir votes and the reason they made their votes.

 

Conversely, I'm told that when you're a government MP,as you walk into the chamber there's a board, a little board on the wall where you pick up a pager and it tells you how you're going to vote, on every vote. And you often get MPs when there's a division and you know the ayes have to stand on one side and the nos on the other, People will move across and they'll say amongst themselves "what are we voting on?" They'vejust looked at their little pager.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

So just that stark difference, well that excites me. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah, no, totally. I think, you know, it's been said that within some issues like marriage equality everyone's allowed to vote theirconscience and- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Conscience votes.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Normally, but with an independent candidate, every vote they make is a conscience one. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It shocked me to learn thatthere've only been about 30 conscience votes since World War II in Australia. Right. Only 30 times, right? And there are, you know, there are thousands of votes a year. And in almost all of them, all but 30, the MPs do as they're told.We used to have some MPs across the floor but in the last decade that's pretty much evaporated.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

No, totally. I would just say that you don't have to get into this, but you know the flip side of that is that there is also a strength in having what you might call party discipline, so if you've got a party you can't pick out, you know, I think the danger and concern for some people is that you can if it comes down to one MP say Jacqui- Sorry,one independent like Jacqui Lambie or Rex Patrick, you can pick that and just, you know, so that the party can sort of- not buy their vote, but they can say hey you know we'll give you a swimming pool in this election or whatever, and so they're notconstrained by that party discipline and so they can sometimes go in a direction that you might not want. No, and that's- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Look, I think if more MPs were prepared to cross the floor then the hazards for that would be reduced.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So just getting back to the Tony Abbott, that was a very- As you acknowledged, that was a very powerful criticism and Morrison isreviving this criticism now. Even though it's been ten years.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's all he's got.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Sorry? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's all he's got, right, is to try to take people back to a sense that it wasn't a functioningParliament, but yeah, and that's one of the challenges, that it was a highly functional Parliament, you know, it got, it actually met where, you know, we'vemoved in recent years to the Parliament- you're doing everything they can to avoid, you know, to reduce the number of sitting days in the Parliamentary calendar and to slow down the process, but they got through an awful lot of, you know, fantastic lot of real reforms in Australia and we- Improving the lot for Australians, I mean, positioning ourselves for the st century, that, you know, we're wellinto, means constantly finding the reform and and fighting for the reforms that make a better country, and we've stoppedthat since the Abbott era. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. This being the case, what we're seeing now, it seems to me Morrison has zoned in or honed in on this threat, basically saying if you vote for independents you're going to end up with that terrible government that you had in 2010. It's going to be a repeat of all that and you're not really voting for-Or yeah, you're basically voting for this flawed minority government process, and I just want to count- I think that the argument that they've found that really resonates with people is thatyou're not getting what you think you're getting. But can you argue that really when you vote for the Liberal party you're getting what you're voting for either? Because as we saw in the lead up to Glasgow, the Liberal party can't do anything on climate unless the Nationals agree to it. So in a sense, that is a minority government structure too, and I think people have really exposed that reality with the net zero target debacle where, with BarnabyJoyce- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, We saw that- Some people call it the Morrison-Joyce government, really it was the Joyce-Morrison government. Right. Joyce drew a line in the sand, saying you will not go past this point, and Morrison had to acquiesce to that. And everything, and what was that point, was the action that Morrison took the same policy to Glasgow that Abbott took to Paris. It's a six-year-old target that Morrison took and the reason he couldn't go any further was because Barnaby Joyce wouldn't let him go further. So yeah, we have a dysfunctional Parliamentright now. I mean, think about it. Just name one significant reform or one significant thing that Parliament has done since the last federal election? I can't think of one. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Well, there was a wonderful shooting range that they built in- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

The clay target range?

 

Giordano Nanni

 

That’s right, yeah, don't forget about that! 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

A lot of pork. Okay, apart from the pork, what have we seen in an entire term? In fact, I mean, let's take it back to 2013. What have we seen that has advancedthe position of Australia in the world or the life of the average Australian? Now we've seen a lot of things disappear, like car manufacturing industries. Yeah. The tertiary sector's been gutted, and then, you know, I think a lot of people are incredibly frustrated about the incompetence through this COVID pandemic, yeah. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Just to round off this conversation, there is a chance that if the Liberal party loses some seats to what we call not sure candidates, meaning climate conscious candidates which the Climate 200 movement is supporting, it will trigger a hung Parliament. Could those- Do you see a scenario in which those independents- As you said, after the 2010 election you know there was a real serious consultation process, like who do we form the minority government with? And obviously Morrison's saying "If you vote for these people they're going to form a minority government of Labor," but they could also form a minority government for the Morrison government. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah absolutely.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Are you open to that possibility? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's not my choice. Right. It's not my choice. But, what I know is that the Morrison government is not serious about acting on climate change. They've put a line in the sand saying they're not going to move any further than where Tony Abbott was in 2015. On the last day of the Glasgow conference there was a communiqué everyone signed onto, including Australia, saying that we would come back next year with revised targets and less than 24 hours later, Australia said "No we're not going to." Right. We've drawn a line in the sand, they've said we will not go further than Tony Abbott's climate policy, so I think it's untenable that government stays, you know, governing the country while they have- while they're immovable on that.

 

And the same thing withintegrity. It does not have a federal integrity commission when we have seen so much corruption. Let's be frank, it is corruption. We've seen so much in this last term, and, I mean, this this year has been shocking revelations on treatment and safety of women, from, you know, well, Brittany Higgins, Grace Tame, theJulia Banks's revelations in her book, Christine Holgate, Kate, the the accuser in the Christian Porterallegations which he strenuously denies, and Rachelle Miller, just in recent weeks, and the government response to all of this has been close to nothing. In fact you know he said that women are lucky that they're not getting shot in the street.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So this is another reason they're shitting themselves? Because almost all of these independentcandidates are women, and can the Morrison even handle a crossbench full of fiery, outspoken, educated women? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

One thing that is fascinating, so it does- I know of 16 independent candidates, most of whom are announced, 14 of which are women, and when I go around to these, you know, meet up with voices of onlineseminars, or I've met a few of them in person, I am amazed and impressed that about 80% of the people who turn up to these are women, and not surprisingly, 80% of the candidates that they've put forward are women, and very very impressive strong women who've had a gutful of where we are and the inaction on this issue. So Morrison, he could very much, could very well be in a position in a few months time where he has to sit down and negotiate with this crossbench to form government. And to spend the months leading up to the electiondenigrating and insulting them seems like a pretty poor strategy to me.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. So we've spoken a lot about the criticism and attacks that are coming from the government. They're not the only people worried about what Climate 200 and the voices movement is doing. There's also concerns from Labor voters and from Greens voters that this will peel votes away from them, and I think, yeah, so perhaps, could you, is there anything you can say to those people who have these concerns? Are you, is this movement a threat? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Look, we all know about the concept of marginal seats.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Can you explain just in case people aren't sure? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Sorry, I said everyone understands, but let me take it through that there, look, there are 151 seats in any election, there's really only 20 or 30 seats that are in play. Everyone in, you know, the political class, goes into it knowing which knowing which seats are vulnerable, they're either very, well they're,you know, polling and demographic shifts tell the pollsters, tell the strategists that these particular 30 seats are where the action is and there are a whole lot of seats. The vast majority of seats in Australia, I hate to tell your viewers and listeners that in most of those seats… You don't matter. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

They're safe. Right. Yeah.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

They're safe, right. They're not gonna flip. So that's a marginal seat.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. It's very interesting, because marginal sounds like it's on the margins that it doesn't matter, but actually-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, they're held by a fine margin. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So, and in the States, in the United States they call them swing, I think they're swing states, which I think is a better state, because it's like, ooh, it could swing either way. Marginal makes it sound like it's not important, but actually these are the most important things.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's better terminology, I think in the US.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right, swing. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, they're in play.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. Now, so having explained that?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Okay. So, This independents movement is creating a new class of seats. They are swing seats but they're not. This swing in Australia is swing between Labor, Greens and Liberal National, right, swing. These independent seats are bringing a whole bunch of other seatsin play. There's probably gonna be 15 to 20 of them where there will be a strong independent candidate, and it's unsurprising that they've risen up in areas that are government-held. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Now, you know, people often say, like, why are they all coalition seats? They're coalition seats because coalition's in government. Yeah. If we had a Labor government and people as werepissed off with the Labor government as they're pissed off with the Morrison government, you would see independents running in those seats but in this coming election there are going to be 15 to 20 seats to watch, where there'll be an independent running in almost core cases. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Safe Liberal seats, not- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Considered safe, right?Considered safe. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So these independents aren't running in what we call marginal or swing states between that could go Labor or Greens?

 

 

 

So these independents are almost all not running in what the pollsters would call marginal seats, right? They'rerunning in seats where we call them safe Liberal because the Liberals there are safe against Labor and Greens. They're seats like Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Warringah was never going to choose Labor or Greens. Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So this is what Malcolm was saying in that quote. These are seats where people won't vote-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

That's why Morrison's taking them for granted. Right. Like North Sydney, it's what? I think it's the fourth richest electorate in the country, they're progressive, but they just don't identify as Labor, or on the whole, as Labor or Greens, and Kooyong the same, Goldstein, where Tim Wilson is, thesame, these seats are- They're safe against Labor, but what our thesis is, and our polling shows this is absolutely the case, is that they're not safe against an independent that is speaking to the center.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah. So if I understand you correctly, if people are Labor voters or Greens voters, if I understand what you're saying correctly, is this isn't a threat, because we're not talking about seats that would ever go anywhere anyway. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

And it's not a threat toLiberals in seats where there's not this dynamic either. Right. So just as there's only about 20 marginal seats, there's only about 20 of these government independent fights. The other 110, 120 seats in the country, I'm sorry. You know, the main event is elsewhere. And in a way that's- Climate 200 is- We are speaking to people around the country. We are providing them an avenue. If you live in one of these, you know, boring seats where there's not going to be- There's no real game playing, you can contribute to the fights that are happening in the seats that are in play through Climate 200. That's who we're speaking to, and then six and a half, 6700 people I saw this morning have donated to Climate 200 so far, so this is this is a growing movement. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So if you happen to be living in one of these 15 seats, safe considered Liberal seats, you've got a chance to change this government. If you're not living in one of those seats just vote how you normally would. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Vote how you normally would, right? This is no threat to any candidate outside these seats, but if you are in one of these seats and you want it to flip, and you're a Labor or Greens voter, your best bet is to put your number one preference with the independent, and if they can come in, they might come in first, and in first preferences, and easily get across the line, and we expect that for Helen Haines and Zali Steggall, for a whole bunch of othersthey'll come in second but they will roll up on preferences for a win. So if you're- Yeah, again, if you're Labor or Greens and you're not in one of these seats, do what you normally do. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah and I mean if you are a Liberal voter or even Labor voter there's always- I mean, we have an amazing electoral system. The preferential voting system is a really good- Like, I look at the UK and I look at the US, and I'm like how does that even- How do people even matter? It gets worse and worse. You're always forced to vote for the lesser of the two shits, basically, whereas here you can actually- 

 

And I really encourage people to watch the preferential voting video that we made to which this one that we've just made about hung Parliament as a companion, because, you know, there's an added layer of safety to- What we're just saying is that if you are in one of these seats and you want to see some change, you can put 1 for one of these climate conscious, integrity conscious independents. And, you can put 2 for the Liberal party, so that you know that if they don't win, it'll still go to the Liberal party anyway, or Labor, or whatever your second preference is. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, you have to put the independent 1. In the last Parliament, Kerryn Phelps, she narrowly got in, in the by-election, and she narrowly lost, even though she increased her primary slightly, she lost in the federal election in 2019. Fascinating. You know, she improved her primary, but it was all on preference flows that she lost, and it was so close. If only 1200 voters had in their preferences down the ticket, if 1200 voters had put Kerryn ahead of Labor, rather than the other way around, Kerryn Phelps would be the member for Wentworth. Right. So, it can be very very close, you know. A very close win or a close loss, and unfortunately in politics coming second doesn't count for much. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I feel like my message again is, like, you know, if you're thinking about how to vote, get to know the preferential voting system, because what it does is it really makes your vote count. If you want to throw your vote away, just give it to one of the party- You know, vote 1 for Labor or Liberal. They were going to win that seat anyway, but if you really want to make it count and go further, actually put someone first who really represents their views and then you can putLiberal party second, or Labor party second, and you're making your vote really count. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

If you're frustrated that Australia hasn't made progress on climate integrity or treatment of women, and you have one of these strong independent candidates running, you have to put them first. And then there's a chance. There's a very real chance in a lot of these seats thatwe're going to have change. And as you do so well in your video, explain, things are so finely balanced that just one or two independents might be what it needs to give the next government of whichever stripe- To give them the backbone to deal with these issues.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Now, I really want to ask you this question as well because basically whenwe're talking about independents we're talking about not-shit independents, and it's very clear because there are some shit independents. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Oh there's some shit independents! There's, yeah, and that's one ofthe things we're up against, that some people have- Yeah, I guess, Pauline Hanson was the original shit- you know, in our lifetime, the original shit independent, right? She started not as a party, but Pauline Hanson a rogue independent, and she was shit. She still is. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I just want to hit clear that the way we define shit and not shit is I'venarrowed it down to climate policy. Because, you know, there are some people who go "Oh, well Pauline Hanson says this which I like," and I say yeah, but if you're looking at a climate policy which just so happens to be the thing that will decide whether the human species will continue living on the planet, which is kind of important. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Kind of.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You can draw a line between who's shit and not shit, but I want to ask youthis, because- Okay, so all these candidates are pro-climate, but I think the question that some people might have then: "Why not support the Greens?" Because they've had all these policies, they've been, you know, strong science-based policies, they've put forward a bill for an anti-corruption watchdog, and I think some people might feel like "Why not vote for them?" 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Well, I hate to say it, but in Kooyong where I live, the Greens are not in a position where they can win a seat in the federal election. They can win a local government ward, and we've seen Labor win a state government division, but in these seats like Warringah, we have to face it. These seats are center right. They are fiscally conservative, and they don't identify culturally with the Greens. If you took them down with a blind, you know, took them through a blind taste test of policies, I think many would be surprised where, you know, where theysit on the spectrum, but we've done focus groups andelectorates in these- Voters in these electorates, they vote Liberal holding their nose but they don't see, you know, they don't see themselves as part of the tribe of Labor and the Greens, even though, on the issues like climate, and integrity, and women, they would have a lot in common. 

 

Now, they may not have progressive policies on- I don't know, franking credits or whatever, but, you know, it's a real case, I think, of perfect and it being the enemy of the good, and in this case, the good, fightingfor the things that really matter, wow. We don't want to go back, or we don't want to have another three years of what we've just been through, or another nine years of what we will have been through by the time the election campaign comes around. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Simon, thanks for answering all these questions. We just want to ask you one more thing. The Morrison government with Labor support has just introduced amendments to electoral laws which force entities to register as a significant third party if they spend more than 250 thousand dollars on electoral expenditure. A lot of people are saying this is aimed at you, at the Climate 200 and the voices movement. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, it’s quite funny.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Is it a threat? It hasn't been? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. We're scratching our heads. So we were going to register as a political campaigner in February, but because of these changes we had to register- We registered, you know, a few days before this recording. So that's the only impact that came to us was filling out a form and sending it off to the AEC. No, this doesn't affect us, and it doesn't affect the independents, it doesn't affect the the voices of, or any of the other groups working for- Working directly on democratic reform,but it does affect the charity sector, and through my work with the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network I've seen firsthand that environmental organizations are getting pushed out of the public sphere. They are increasingly afraid to speak up and advocate on behalf of the environment, and this is just another one of the measures that the government is using to shut down debate. To push people out. Push inconvenient actors out of the public sphere. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

We need quiet Australians, youknow, that don't speak up.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah certainly. The government is creating a whole new class of quiet Australians. Yeah.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Sorry, I lied about that being the last question because I really wantyou to end just by, you know. We've spoken about the seats where these independents are running. Can you just name some of them and maybe we'll put them up on the screen.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Gee, I hope I don't forget any of them. You can tell a little story about each one. So Wentworth which was held byMalcolm Turnbull and then Kerryn Phelps and now Dave Sharma, Allegra Spender is running for that and Allegra, it's funny that talking about this group as being a front for Labor. Allegra's father was a Liberal MP. A Liberal family, yeah. Allegra's grandfather negotiated theANZUS treaty and was Menzies' treasurer. She's a successful businesswoman, she just happens to think that looking after the, you know, the planet that will support her children is kind of important. Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So definitely not a Greens communist marxist, cultural marxist as they've been painted by the government. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, which would disappoint theGreens cultural marxists, right? Yeah, she's not gonna agree with them on everything. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Then North Sydney Trent Zimmerman's seat, Kylea Tink is an excellent candidate there, she's got a real lot of momentum behind her doing so well. Mackellar is the seat north of- Up the Sydney northern beaches, one north of Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Mackellar, Sophie Scamps is challenging Jason Falinski.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

In Mackellar, yeah.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Up in Mackellar. Then Hume, Angus Taylor's seat, that stretches from Sydney's southern suburbs all the way down Goulburn and below,south of there, and Penny Ackery is a teacher who is challenging that.Then we get to Victoria, we've got Dr. Monique Ryan in Kooyong, head of pediatric neurology at the Royal Children's Hospital. She's challenging Josh Frydenberg. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yep. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

We've got Zoe Daniel, former ABC foreign correspondentin Goldstein challenging Tim Wilson. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Your mate. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yep. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You guysget on well. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

We get on really well. That's Brighton and on the beach at Sandringham down on the beaches. Flinders, there are actually two candidates in Flinders thatwe, you know, that are challenging the seat that's, well, Greg Hunt has indicated that he will retire at the next election and we don't know who's been pre-selected to replace him, then there's there's a strong independent Rob Priestly in the seatof Nicholls next to Indi. I forgot, in Hughes, up in Sydney, Craig Kelly's seat, there's two independents there. Craig's, I don't know if Craig will really contest that seat, he's not even pulling single digits. Sorry, he's in the single digits, he's not even in double digits. Yeah. So it's unlikely that Craig would run in that seat. He'll probably move to the senate and try to do something for Clive Palmer.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You just don't know what Clive Palmer's going to do at the last minute. I'm just like that's the,you know, that's the wild card. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Exactly, you don't know. Yeah, you don't know, and you know he spent $84 million on the last election and won it for the coalition. You know, he's probably- What he will do, he'll denigrate both parties right to the end and two weeks before the election he'll flip his allegiance across to the Liberal National coalition, and he'll win the, you know, he'll try to win the election. Right. That's what he'll do. 

 

Over in South Australia, Jo Dyer has announced. Jo was one of the spokespeople for the friends of Kate who- From the Christian Porter allegations he did- which he denies, I have to say.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You don't want to get sued again? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

I don't want to get sued. And then up in Queensland, Suzie Holt, who I haven't met but I hear is a very strong candidate in Groom, which is around the Toowoomba area, is running. So in Tasmania there's some people putting, you know, there's a party looking at a go at the senate and I think that's very interesting there, a couple of candidates in the ACT senate, very strong there, Kim Rubenstein and just announced very recently, DavidPocock, the rugby player, both announced for the ACT senate. Nothing so far in WA where I'm from. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. What do you think? Are you thinking of getting into politics, Simon is that, you know, would you ever run? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. I'm close enough to the action and it's not for me, but I think what I'm doing is the most effective thing I can be doing. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah. You didn't mention, obviously there's a lot of other seats, but for example there's also obviously Greens candidates like- And again with Sonia Semmens, there's one for example that's running in Higgins.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

An impressive candidate in Higgins.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yep. So they're independents, they're Green candidates who are all, asyou said, trying to, you know, run on a platform of strong climate policy, integrity and, you know, if you live in one of these seats, you know, you have an opportunity to make a change. Work out howpreferential voting works, it really makes a difference. Help other people to understand it. Maybe share our video, or explain it in your own words. You know, whatever works. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Put the indie number one!

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah, right! And just to finish off, Simon, you've been taking a lot of heat for, you know, you've put yourself in aposition. How are you coping with all that personally? How is your skin? Is it thick? Is it stressful?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, it's fine, someone asked me the other day. I spent six years at boarding school. This is nothing compared to boarding school! Lights off at night after boarding school.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You’ve been in Lord Of The Flies!

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah absolutely, I've survived Lord Of The Flies, this is nothing compared tothat! It's very gratifying to see this. You know, it's real democratic revival and meeting amazing peoplearound the country. This is very exciting and I'm loving it and, you know, none of the- I haven't felt any of the attacks have been personal and landed a blow yet. Fingerscrossed.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. Well, you know, thanks for a lot of the people who stepped up. I just want to say, like, you know, the people who have stepped up to become independent candidates, they're like, average Australians, they're workers, they're doctors, you know-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

They’re extraordinary Australians. They’re extraordinary Australians. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

It takes quite a lot of courage to put yourself in this position. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's a big decision to stand up, because when you stand up, I mean, when Oliver Yates stood up last time to stand up against the treasurer, a phone call was made to his work and he was let go that same day. Right? When you stand up against this government you will never get a job in the public service, you'll never get a government appointment, or a cushy little position on the administrative affairs tribunal.  If you've got a government contract for, you know, you've got a business that does work for the government, it won't be renewed. When you stand up against this government, a lot of doors will close. So it's a really big decision. It's a really big decision. You've got to really really want it. and to think that that risk is worth it. So my hat's off to themostly women, a few men, who have decided that it's worth it. It's worth it. So yeah, while they, at one level, are ordinary Australians, they're extraordinary Australians. They've got all these opportunities before them and they'reputting themselves on the line, putting themselves to much more risk than I have.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Which is why it's been referred to as an insurgence, because it does feel like a little bit of a- Sort of like a Star Wars rebellion that's you know- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, maybe there's some safety in numbers, but they are extraordinary people and I hope that Australia gets to meet them as as representatives on the crossbench in the next government.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

These people have stepped up,now it's up to us to support them if that's, you know, what we want. Simon I really want to thank you for coming back the last time you came on the podcast we geeked out about energy policy, and I really want to-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

I wonder what it's going to be next time!

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah we'll see. Yeah, and you know, thank you again for helping people to understand a lot of stuff like, you know, if you don't follow Simon we'll put it on Twitter and we'll put the link in the show notes and Simon's like- I've learned a lot of stuff from Simon explainingenergy policy and climate policy and, you know, land use and all emissions, you're a very good science communicator, and now you've put on another hat which is actually trying to provide a political solution, or at least facilitate a political solution, so thanks for not being a quiet Australian.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Thank you.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Thanks for coming back on the podcast, and yeah, I hope to have you back soon.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Thank you very much, and remember, vote 1 independent.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Well, that brings us to the end of this episode of The Juice Media Podcast. Whether you're just learning aboutelectoral politics or someone who's been following it closely, I hope there was something there for you. Before I go, I want to point out that this Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments is the follow-up to our Honest Government Ad about preferential voting, which if you haven't already seen, I encourage you to, because it helps to explain how to use preferential voting to elect not-shit candidates. 

 

Over a million people have seen the preferential voting video in the three years since we made it, so I'm hoping that many more voters at this election have a better understanding of how it works and of how unlike the US and the UK, where you're forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, we have an awesome electoral system that allows you to safely vote  for a not-shit candidate, because as long as you putshit, or shit-lite after them, depending on your preference, your vote will flow to your second choice, should your not-shit candidate fail to get enough votes to win their seat. So, it's a win-win. If you want to follow Simon Holmes à Court or learn more about the Climate 200 movement and support the various independent candidates mentioned, you'll find links in the video description on YouTube, or the show notes if you're listening on your podcast app. 

 

Thanks to Ellen for helping to produce and edit The Juice Media Podcast, and as always thank you to our patrons who make the podcast and the Honest Government Ads possible. In particular, our patreon producers who support us via our highest patron tier of $100 a month. Thank you. If you value our work please support us on patreon at patreon.com/thejuicemedia

 

You've been listening to TheJuice Media Podcast with me, Giordano. We'll be taking a break in January to recharge and get ready before the election shitshow next year so I want to wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new year ahead. I'll catch you when we publish our next Honest Government Ad. Until then, take care.Giordano Nanni

 

Hey everyone, this is Giordano from The Juice Media. Welcome back to The Juice Media podcast, a companion to the honest government ad series. This episode of the podcast is recorded on Wurundjeri land and it is the companion to our latest Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments. 

 

Excerpt from Honest Government Ad

 

"You might remember us from the last ad we made about preferential voting. We hope you haven't watched it, because the last thing we want you to know is how to use it to vote for a not-shit candidate at the coming election. You know, one who isn't owned by these guys, and who'll fight for your kids' future rather than theirs. Because if enough of you give your first preference vote to not-shit candidates, some of them might win some seats and become not-shit MPs. And ifthat happens, this election will end up With a hung Parliament."

 

Giordano Nanni

 

The reason I wrote this honestgovernment ad now is that we're heading for a crucial National election here in Australia in the first half of 2022. It's crucial because we cannot afford another three years of climate shitfuckery like the world witnessed from this government at the COP summit in Glasgow. And while state policies on climate might differ in some regards, neither major party here is promising to phase out coal and gas, and transition to renewables this decade, which is what the science is saying must happen. 

 

And since a very likely outcome in the coming election is a hung Parliament, which is one in which neither the Shit nor the Shit-Lite party win enough seatsto form a majority government on their own, they will very likely have to rely on the support of not-shit candidates to form a minority government. Which is why it's so important that people understand what hung Parliaments and minority governments are, and it's why we made this Honest Government Ad. And to be clear, when I say not-shit candidate, that's my shorthand for any party or independent candidate with strong science-based policies for dealing with the climate crisis, and who does not take money from fossil fuel companies, which basically excludes the major parties. And to help us get into more detail about all this, I'm stoked to haveas my guest today, someone who is right at the heart of the insurgence of not-shit candidates who are fronting up at this election: Simon Holmes à Court. 

 

Simon is a whole bunch of things. He's an energy transition analyst, cleantech investor,and a pioneering force in the Australian community's renewable energy movement as a founding member of Hepburn Wind, the country's first community-owned wind farm. But most recently, he's been making headlines for his work at Climate 200, the group he created to support not-shit candidates in the coming election. The government's been shitting its pantsabout the Climate 200 and the lineup of strong independent candidates that Simon is helping to run in this election, and so, I thought this troublemaker would make the perfect guest for this episodeof the podcast. I hope you enjoy our chat, and I'll catch you on the other side.

 

Welcome back to The Juice Media Podcast, Simon Holmes à Court, it's really good to have you back. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Great to be on Giordano.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Last time you were on the podcast was in Two thousand and- Early 2020, we spoke about climate and energy policy, we've now upgraded. You were the first guest that we had when we took the podcast to youtube and now you're the first guest on our- On the couch. On the couch! This is actually where we film the honest government ads. We've pulled the green screen aside so this is literally behind the screen, and yeah, hopefully we'll do more of these when the chance arises but thanks very much for joining us today. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

My pleasure.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

As a result of the work that you've been doing you've become a bit of a lightning rod for attacks from senior government MPs and also from the media. So, can you take us on a bit of ajourney? What's been happening in the last two years? You know, who are you, what have you been helping to build with the Climate, and why have you been pissing off all the right people?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Well I'm Simon Holmes à Court, I wear a lot of hats, at the end of the day I look for- what is the most effective thing I can do to get action primarily on climate change? That's my primary purpose. So. Why are we going backwards and striking at the root? what is the root? The root is we have the wrong composition in Parliament to make progress on these issues. And, so that's what I've been focusing a lot of effort over this year, but it really goes back to 2019 election when we got our Start.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So what is the Climate 200? Why did you start this group and what is it doing? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Climate 200, very simply,provides an opportunity for ordinary Australians to contribute to the funding of candidates who are going to get into Parliament and move us forward on a number of issues, not just climate. The three issues we lead on are a science-based response to climate change, restoring integrity to politics, and the treatment and safety of women in Australia. So those three issues are sort of our founding, you know, ournorth star issues, and we provide a vehicle or a method where ordinary Australians can help people who are standing up in their communities, help them have a fighting chance in a political system that's stacked very much in the favor of the party machines. Help them, I guess help level the playing field so that they might have a chance to get in Parliament.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

And we achieve real representation.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. 

 

So then given that all of these things are reasonable policy positions, why is the Morrison government shittingitself so much about what you're doing? Why are you such a threat? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

So let me just talk from Climate 200's perspective. We don't start campaigns. We don't go looking for campaigns. We don't choose candidates. We telegraph the issues we're interested in and campaigns come to us.

 

There's an organization CathyMcGowan set up called the community independents project. And early this year- So Cathy McGowan was the first independent member for Indi. She was elected, I believe the 2013 election, re-elected in 2016 and in 2019. She resigned and her seat was won by her successor, chosenby the same community group to succeed her, Helen Haines, and it's the first time in Australia's history that an independent has handed the reins over to another independent. So Cathy set up the Community Independents Project, which was aimed at answering the question. You're in a community, you want torepeat the success of Indi, where do you even start? Cathy ran a conference earlier this year, back in February. She ran this conference, 300 people turned up from 72 electorates. And they learned how to- How it was done in Indi, where she ran, and also how it wasdone in Warringah, where Zali Steggall took the seat from Tony Abbott.

 

Of those 300 people, there's about 30 communities around the country that have been working all year, and are at fairly advanced stages with community campaigns. I reckon 20 of them will put a pretty good showing up at this election, and we've seen already about maybe 10 of them announce very very strong candidates for these campaigns. So we wait until we see strong candidates with community backing in winnable seats that align with our values, and when they come forward, we talk to them about how we can help them, you know, how we can help them compete in the electorates that theywant to contest. And by helping them you mean helping with funding because running for an election is an expensive- Hugely expensive, hugely expensive. So it's for a city campaign, you know, an urban seat, you're not serious unless you've got a million dollar budget. Now, for the big parties it's not that hard. To allocate a million dollars they really only need to fight in 20 or 30 seats, The 20 or 30marginal seats for the election. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So in a way what you're doing is you're leveling the playing field? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, and that's not the only area where it's stacked against the income, you know, the political parties have tax deductibility status well before the election, whereas the independents only get it in the very last few weeks. Right. The incumbents get printing allowances, hundreds of thousands ofdollars a year of taxpayer-funded printing allowances that puts propaganda into your letterbox that taxpayers fund. Independents don't get any of that, so yeah. An independent needs access to significant money just to be able to be on the level playing field.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

My question was why is the government shitting its pants, and I want to get back to that because I feel like that was all really important context but I want toget to the point why such a threat, but before you answer the question, let me read you a quote from- This is from former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has described the voices movement as quote: "A very healthy development that allows people to vote for candidates that align with their views." I'm not sure if he'd be using those words if he was still the PM-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

But anyway, I want to read what he said to me when he was my guest on the podcast last year.

 

Excerpt from The Juice Media Podcast with Malcolm Turnbull

 

I mean, the thing that the Liberal party needs to reflect on is that there is a number of hitherto very safe center-right seats, you know, Liberal/National seats, which are occupied by smaller Liberal women. Mayo, in South Australia, Indi in Victoria, and of course Warringah in New South Wales. Andit's only by a few votes, it could have been- You could have added to that Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth as well. And, you know, what that tells you, what that should tell the Liberal party is that there is a smaller Liberal constituency that takes climate change very seriously, that is prepared to vote for somebody other than the Liberal party but does not, you know, may not vote for Labor or the Greens. If you were making the case for another party, which I'm not, that's something you would point to. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So my question to him here waswhether he'd consider forming another party and basically what he's saying is no, this Independents movement is, or the the insurgence, as people are calling it now, is for him where it's actually at in terms of an alternative to the Liberal party. So he says: If you think about it in a House of Representatives of  seats, where every seat counts, naturally, to have three safe Liberal seats held by smaller Liberal independents, you know those metropolitan seats, smaller Liberal seats, I think there's a very strong message there. Has the Liberal party gotten the message from the 2019 election about the threat?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. Well, the Liberal party has taken a deliberate decision to to abandon these seats, actually. So Kylea Tink is the independent candidate for North Sydney. She put it really eloquently in her campaign launch. She said that she doesn't recognize the Liberal party and the Liberal party doesn't recognize her. Right. When Morrison stood up some months ago, he said "Climate policy will not be dictated by the inner citywine bars, cafes, and dinner parties." He was basically saying to Kylea "you don't matter." And she's voted Liberal her entire life, and she got loud and clear: you're not the priority, we're listening to other people these days.And look, I think most Australians really aren't strongly left or strongly right. Most Australians are in the middle. We're a bit left on some things, I think most Australians are a bit left on social issues, and maybe a little bit right on economic issues. So when the Liberal party moves further and further to the right where it goes for a decade withouthaving any credible climate policy, where it has a immigration policy that is built around cruelty rather than compassion, or even the economic value of of migration, andwhere it appeases far-right MPs who want to fight against vaccination andhave anti-science messaging when-

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You're not talking about Craig Kelly are you?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Craig Kelly and George Christensen and Matt Canavan etc. The Federal Government will never seriously reprimand them or say these are not Australian values or try to shut them down. Where I live in Kooyong, the state seat is held by Labor and my council ward is held by Greens. It's very much changing and those people- We don't feel represented by the Liberal party that Josh Frydenberg votes with every time, but most people don't see themselves as as going for switching their vote to Labor or The Greens, and they're hungry for an alternative, and the independents are coming in and occupying that center ground, that center of space that Morrison has vacated, quite deliberately vacated tochase a new vote, but taking for granted that he would always have that because there was no alternative. So yeah, they hate us because we're providing an alternative that the electorate wants.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

It sounds like this is ademocratic process, this is how it unfolds. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, they're hating democracy, right? I mean this is a matter this is not a top- and they're having so much trouble understanding this movement, it's not top down, there's no voices of central office, or there's no charter or franchise or logo or anything, it's people who read Cathy McGowan's book or watched- you might have seen a documentary on what happened in Indi in 2013 or they've watched Zali- as Zali Steggell and they've been self-organizing, they've been running town hall meetings on zoom all the way through the pandemic, they've been building up. I've been on many of thesetown hall meetings where you'll have two-three hundred people on an evening listen to experts and talk about the values of what's important in those electorates.

 

This is a democratic revivalgoing on. It's really exciting, really exciting, but yeah, the government doesn't understand it, is flip-flopping its messages all over the place. Earlier this week we had Tim Wilson say that this movement is just going to damage Labor and The Greens and then the next day we had Morrison saying this was a front for Labor and The Greens. It's like they can't work it out because they don't think they've had much experience with democracy.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I think you've been kind, I think they've worked it out and they're trying to find something that'll stick, you know, like these different messaging, the contradictory things, it's like "let's see what people respond to," because ultimately they want to disempower this movement, and the best way to disempower movements is through fear campaigns. I mean, John Howard was a master of it, but they've been used on on both sides of politics and they're very effective. We saw it with the Mediscare campaign, we saw it with the death tax, you know, it's kind of become the game now and Imean, it's almost impossible that we're not going to see a massive scare campaign- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

There will be a massive scarecampaign. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

At the moment the one that I think is being pushed by the Morrison government and which might become the election issue is this fear campaign about a hung Parliament, and this is really something that we play on in the Honest Government Ad that we've made.Let's get a bit nerdy now. Perhaps you could explain what a hung Parliament is, and why is the Morrison government scaremongering about this potential outcome? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, okay, so hung Parliament is when all the votes are tallied and all the electorates have been decided, which way they went, it's what you call it when no party on itsown has a majority of states. Very common in governments in parliaments all around the world. It's it's the dominant outcome in Europe-

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Not in the US and the UK which- Or maybe the UK but definitely not in the US. But definitely in a lot of Scandinavian and European countries it's quite common.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Absolutely. Yeah. Now in Australia, it takes 76 seats to govern. The Liberal party only has 60. It governs only because it forms a coalition agreement with the National party, which has 16 seats at the moment, so that gets it in the lower house, that gets it to just on 76. And with a couple of cross benches- Or 76 is a majority of one. Hung Parliament is what you call it at that moment when no party has a majority. Then the the MPs that have been duly elected come together, and I guess form an agreement on how the next Parliament might operate when it's clear that a government can be formed where there is confidence in a leader and the majority of MPs will give supply, then we reach a new level ofstability called a minority government. And we've had this many times before our government in Australia. As I said, we basically have minority government now because the Nationals and the Liberals have an agreement, a secret agreement between them. But we had a minority government between 2010 and 2013 when- do you remember there was about a two-week period after the election when basically it came down to- Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott spent about two weeks interviewing, working very hard- 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Very independent candidates.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Independents, yep. They wereindependents from traditionally conservative seats, traditionally Nationalist seats, and they took their responsibility very very seriously.They had endless consultation with with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott and they formed the opinion after much consultation that the best way forward for Australia was to form minority government with with Julia Gillard's party, and a lot of really good things came out of that period. Now, it wasn't justOakeshott and Windsor, they also had Andrew Wilkie down in Tasmania, and Adam Bandt from The Greens andthe crossbenches give the government backbone they gave Gillard the backbone to bring in real climate legislation with teeth, they brought in a price on carbon that worked, it brought emissions down. They brought in ARENA, the renewableenergy research agency, the clean energy finance corporation. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Again everything you said, minority government- so before the Gillard minority government in 2010 we actually hadn't had a federal minority government since 1940-something. So it was actually quite an unusual thing at the federal level as you said, state level it's a much more common thing. But that minority government that we had in 2010 introduced a lot of- the clean energy act and all the things that you've said, which are really good, but the way that it's played out is that it gave Tony Abbott who was a leader of the opposition during the Gillard government an opportunity which he seized 100 percent and he seized to criticize, to attack the Gillard government for this minority government because they basically, their argument then became "you see, you vote for the Labor party, you get the Greens" even though as you said, it wasn't like- The Greens weren't, like, there, there was one seat from the Greens and three from independents, so it's actually a majority but independent crossbench. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Say what you will about Tony Abbott but he is a very effective communicator. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah.

 

 

 

 

That, and with the the full weight of the media friendly to him which - face it - is an incredibly powerful force in Australia,he was able to prosecute an argument. He was able to make thatlook like an undesirable government, but actually if we look at all the governance we've been subjected to over the last decade, that's been stronger than any other period. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah. Any other period, and I think it's because every idea that comes to the Parliamentary floor has to be discussed andwith MPs that- Yeah, one thing I bang on about: if you think about a member of Parliament in the political parties, in say the Liberal or Labor party,number one loyalty for so many MPs is their own career, right? They can see a pathway to the top to either the ministry, or maybe even a Prime Minister and that number one loyalty is to their career. Number two, probably their faction . Number three, their branch, because they want to get re-elected. Number four, the party, number five, the donor, and number six, the electorate. 

 

Now, if you're an independent MP, you're not going to get into the ministry and you're not going to be Prime Minister. You're going to Parliament for one reason only: your electorate. So, you know, rather than there's six tiers of responsibility with the electorate being number six, the independent is answerable to their communities and people- I know peoplehave said that one of the most amazing things about Cathy McGowan's time in Parliament - and Helen Haines has continued this tradition - is you go to their electoral- Their office in Parliament house and they'll be ordinary citizens from Indi that have come up to see how Parliament works, and they're being consulted on issues and then those those MPs go back also to their electorates, and they ask people, when there's a tough decision they ask people what- How they should vote. They consult. And most of them are publishingtheir votes and the reason they made their votes.

 

Conversely, I'm told that when you're a government MP,as you walk into the chamber there's a board, a little board on the wall where you pick up a pager and it tells you how you're going to vote, on every vote. And you often get MPs when there's a division and you know the ayes have to stand on one side and the nos on the other, People will move across and they'll say amongst themselves "what are we voting on?" They'vejust looked at their little pager.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

So just that stark difference, well that excites me. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah, no, totally. I think, you know, it's been said that within some issues like marriage equality everyone's allowed to vote theirconscience and- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Conscience votes.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Normally, but with an independent candidate, every vote they make is a conscience one. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It shocked me to learn thatthere've only been about 30 conscience votes since World War II in Australia. Right. Only 30 times, right? And there are, you know, there are thousands of votes a year. And in almost all of them, all but 30, the MPs do as they're told.We used to have some MPs across the floor but in the last decade that's pretty much evaporated.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

No, totally. I would just say that you don't have to get into this, but you know the flip side of that is that there is also a strength in having what you might call party discipline, so if you've got a party you can't pick out, you know, I think the danger and concern for some people is that you can if it comes down to one MP say Jacqui- Sorry,one independent like Jacqui Lambie or Rex Patrick, you can pick that and just, you know, so that the party can sort of- not buy their vote, but they can say hey you know we'll give you a swimming pool in this election or whatever, and so they're notconstrained by that party discipline and so they can sometimes go in a direction that you might not want. No, and that's- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Look, I think if more MPs were prepared to cross the floor then the hazards for that would be reduced.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So just getting back to the Tony Abbott, that was a very- As you acknowledged, that was a very powerful criticism and Morrison isreviving this criticism now. Even though it's been ten years.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's all he's got.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Sorry? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's all he's got, right, is to try to take people back to a sense that it wasn't a functioningParliament, but yeah, and that's one of the challenges, that it was a highly functional Parliament, you know, it got, it actually met where, you know, we'vemoved in recent years to the Parliament- you're doing everything they can to avoid, you know, to reduce the number of sitting days in the Parliamentary calendar and to slow down the process, but they got through an awful lot of, you know, fantastic lot of real reforms in Australia and we- Improving the lot for Australians, I mean, positioning ourselves for the st century, that, you know, we're wellinto, means constantly finding the reform and and fighting for the reforms that make a better country, and we've stoppedthat since the Abbott era. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. This being the case, what we're seeing now, it seems to me Morrison has zoned in or honed in on this threat, basically saying if you vote for independents you're going to end up with that terrible government that you had in 2010. It's going to be a repeat of all that and you're not really voting for-Or yeah, you're basically voting for this flawed minority government process, and I just want to count- I think that the argument that they've found that really resonates with people is thatyou're not getting what you think you're getting. But can you argue that really when you vote for the Liberal party you're getting what you're voting for either? Because as we saw in the lead up to Glasgow, the Liberal party can't do anything on climate unless the Nationals agree to it. So in a sense, that is a minority government structure too, and I think people have really exposed that reality with the net zero target debacle where, with BarnabyJoyce- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, We saw that- Some people call it the Morrison-Joyce government, really it was the Joyce-Morrison government. Right. Joyce drew a line in the sand, saying you will not go past this point, and Morrison had to acquiesce to that. And everything, and what was that point, was the action that Morrison took the same policy to Glasgow that Abbott took to Paris. It's a six-year-old target that Morrison took and the reason he couldn't go any further was because Barnaby Joyce wouldn't let him go further. So yeah, we have a dysfunctional Parliamentright now. I mean, think about it. Just name one significant reform or one significant thing that Parliament has done since the last federal election? I can't think of one. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Well, there was a wonderful shooting range that they built in- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

The clay target range?

 

Giordano Nanni

 

That’s right, yeah, don't forget about that! 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

A lot of pork. Okay, apart from the pork, what have we seen in an entire term? In fact, I mean, let's take it back to 2013. What have we seen that has advancedthe position of Australia in the world or the life of the average Australian? Now we've seen a lot of things disappear, like car manufacturing industries. Yeah. The tertiary sector's been gutted, and then, you know, I think a lot of people are incredibly frustrated about the incompetence through this COVID pandemic, yeah. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Just to round off this conversation, there is a chance that if the Liberal party loses some seats to what we call not sure candidates, meaning climate conscious candidates which the Climate 200 movement is supporting, it will trigger a hung Parliament. Could those- Do you see a scenario in which those independents- As you said, after the 2010 election you know there was a real serious consultation process, like who do we form the minority government with? And obviously Morrison's saying "If you vote for these people they're going to form a minority government of Labor," but they could also form a minority government for the Morrison government. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah absolutely.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Are you open to that possibility? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's not my choice. Right. It's not my choice. But, what I know is that the Morrison government is not serious about acting on climate change. They've put a line in the sand saying they're not going to move any further than where Tony Abbott was in 2015. On the last day of the Glasgow conference there was a communiqué everyone signed onto, including Australia, saying that we would come back next year with revised targets and less than 24 hours later, Australia said "No we're not going to." Right. We've drawn a line in the sand, they've said we will not go further than Tony Abbott's climate policy, so I think it's untenable that government stays, you know, governing the country while they have- while they're immovable on that.

 

And the same thing withintegrity. It does not have a federal integrity commission when we have seen so much corruption. Let's be frank, it is corruption. We've seen so much in this last term, and, I mean, this this year has been shocking revelations on treatment and safety of women, from, you know, well, Brittany Higgins, Grace Tame, theJulia Banks's revelations in her book, Christine Holgate, Kate, the the accuser in the Christian Porterallegations which he strenuously denies, and Rachelle Miller, just in recent weeks, and the government response to all of this has been close to nothing. In fact you know he said that women are lucky that they're not getting shot in the street.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So this is another reason they're shitting themselves? Because almost all of these independentcandidates are women, and can the Morrison even handle a crossbench full of fiery, outspoken, educated women? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

One thing that is fascinating, so it does- I know of 16 independent candidates, most of whom are announced, 14 of which are women, and when I go around to these, you know, meet up with voices of onlineseminars, or I've met a few of them in person, I am amazed and impressed that about 80% of the people who turn up to these are women, and not surprisingly, 80% of the candidates that they've put forward are women, and very very impressive strong women who've had a gutful of where we are and the inaction on this issue. So Morrison, he could very much, could very well be in a position in a few months time where he has to sit down and negotiate with this crossbench to form government. And to spend the months leading up to the electiondenigrating and insulting them seems like a pretty poor strategy to me.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. So we've spoken a lot about the criticism and attacks that are coming from the government. They're not the only people worried about what Climate 200 and the voices movement is doing. There's also concerns from Labor voters and from Greens voters that this will peel votes away from them, and I think, yeah, so perhaps, could you, is there anything you can say to those people who have these concerns? Are you, is this movement a threat? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Look, we all know about the concept of marginal seats.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Can you explain just in case people aren't sure? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Sorry, I said everyone understands, but let me take it through that there, look, there are 151 seats in any election, there's really only 20 or 30 seats that are in play. Everyone in, you know, the political class, goes into it knowing which knowing which seats are vulnerable, they're either very, well they're,you know, polling and demographic shifts tell the pollsters, tell the strategists that these particular 30 seats are where the action is and there are a whole lot of seats. The vast majority of seats in Australia, I hate to tell your viewers and listeners that in most of those seats… You don't matter. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

They're safe. Right. Yeah.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

They're safe, right. They're not gonna flip. So that's a marginal seat.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. It's very interesting, because marginal sounds like it's on the margins that it doesn't matter, but actually-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, they're held by a fine margin. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So, and in the States, in the United States they call them swing, I think they're swing states, which I think is a better state, because it's like, ooh, it could swing either way. Marginal makes it sound like it's not important, but actually these are the most important things.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's better terminology, I think in the US.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right, swing. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, they're in play.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. Now, so having explained that?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Okay. So, This independents movement is creating a new class of seats. They are swing seats but they're not. This swing in Australia is swing between Labor, Greens and Liberal National, right, swing. These independent seats are bringing a whole bunch of other seatsin play. There's probably gonna be 15 to 20 of them where there will be a strong independent candidate, and it's unsurprising that they've risen up in areas that are government-held. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Now, you know, people often say, like, why are they all coalition seats? They're coalition seats because coalition's in government. Yeah. If we had a Labor government and people as werepissed off with the Labor government as they're pissed off with the Morrison government, you would see independents running in those seats but in this coming election there are going to be 15 to 20 seats to watch, where there'll be an independent running in almost core cases. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Safe Liberal seats, not- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Considered safe, right?Considered safe. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So these independents aren't running in what we call marginal or swing states between that could go Labor or Greens?

 

 

 

So these independents are almost all not running in what the pollsters would call marginal seats, right? They'rerunning in seats where we call them safe Liberal because the Liberals there are safe against Labor and Greens. They're seats like Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Warringah was never going to choose Labor or Greens. Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So this is what Malcolm was saying in that quote. These are seats where people won't vote-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

That's why Morrison's taking them for granted. Right. Like North Sydney, it's what? I think it's the fourth richest electorate in the country, they're progressive, but they just don't identify as Labor, or on the whole, as Labor or Greens, and Kooyong the same, Goldstein, where Tim Wilson is, thesame, these seats are- They're safe against Labor, but what our thesis is, and our polling shows this is absolutely the case, is that they're not safe against an independent that is speaking to the center.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah. So if I understand you correctly, if people are Labor voters or Greens voters, if I understand what you're saying correctly, is this isn't a threat, because we're not talking about seats that would ever go anywhere anyway. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

And it's not a threat toLiberals in seats where there's not this dynamic either. Right. So just as there's only about 20 marginal seats, there's only about 20 of these government independent fights. The other 110, 120 seats in the country, I'm sorry. You know, the main event is elsewhere. And in a way that's- Climate 200 is- We are speaking to people around the country. We are providing them an avenue. If you live in one of these, you know, boring seats where there's not going to be- There's no real game playing, you can contribute to the fights that are happening in the seats that are in play through Climate 200. That's who we're speaking to, and then six and a half, 6700 people I saw this morning have donated to Climate 200 so far, so this is this is a growing movement. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So if you happen to be living in one of these 15 seats, safe considered Liberal seats, you've got a chance to change this government. If you're not living in one of those seats just vote how you normally would. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Vote how you normally would, right? This is no threat to any candidate outside these seats, but if you are in one of these seats and you want it to flip, and you're a Labor or Greens voter, your best bet is to put your number one preference with the independent, and if they can come in, they might come in first, and in first preferences, and easily get across the line, and we expect that for Helen Haines and Zali Steggall, for a whole bunch of othersthey'll come in second but they will roll up on preferences for a win. So if you're- Yeah, again, if you're Labor or Greens and you're not in one of these seats, do what you normally do. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah and I mean if you are a Liberal voter or even Labor voter there's always- I mean, we have an amazing electoral system. The preferential voting system is a really good- Like, I look at the UK and I look at the US, and I'm like how does that even- How do people even matter? It gets worse and worse. You're always forced to vote for the lesser of the two shits, basically, whereas here you can actually- 

 

And I really encourage people to watch the preferential voting video that we made to which this one that we've just made about hung Parliament as a companion, because, you know, there's an added layer of safety to- What we're just saying is that if you are in one of these seats and you want to see some change, you can put 1 for one of these climate conscious, integrity conscious independents. And, you can put 2 for the Liberal party, so that you know that if they don't win, it'll still go to the Liberal party anyway, or Labor, or whatever your second preference is. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, you have to put the independent 1. In the last Parliament, Kerryn Phelps, she narrowly got in, in the by-election, and she narrowly lost, even though she increased her primary slightly, she lost in the federal election in 2019. Fascinating. You know, she improved her primary, but it was all on preference flows that she lost, and it was so close. If only 1200 voters had in their preferences down the ticket, if 1200 voters had put Kerryn ahead of Labor, rather than the other way around, Kerryn Phelps would be the member for Wentworth. Right. So, it can be very very close, you know. A very close win or a close loss, and unfortunately in politics coming second doesn't count for much. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I feel like my message again is, like, you know, if you're thinking about how to vote, get to know the preferential voting system, because what it does is it really makes your vote count. If you want to throw your vote away, just give it to one of the party- You know, vote 1 for Labor or Liberal. They were going to win that seat anyway, but if you really want to make it count and go further, actually put someone first who really represents their views and then you can putLiberal party second, or Labor party second, and you're making your vote really count. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

If you're frustrated that Australia hasn't made progress on climate integrity or treatment of women, and you have one of these strong independent candidates running, you have to put them first. And then there's a chance. There's a very real chance in a lot of these seats thatwe're going to have change. And as you do so well in your video, explain, things are so finely balanced that just one or two independents might be what it needs to give the next government of whichever stripe- To give them the backbone to deal with these issues.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Now, I really want to ask you this question as well because basically whenwe're talking about independents we're talking about not-shit independents, and it's very clear because there are some shit independents. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Oh there's some shit independents! There's, yeah, and that's one ofthe things we're up against, that some people have- Yeah, I guess, Pauline Hanson was the original shit- you know, in our lifetime, the original shit independent, right? She started not as a party, but Pauline Hanson a rogue independent, and she was shit. She still is. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

I just want to hit clear that the way we define shit and not shit is I'venarrowed it down to climate policy. Because, you know, there are some people who go "Oh, well Pauline Hanson says this which I like," and I say yeah, but if you're looking at a climate policy which just so happens to be the thing that will decide whether the human species will continue living on the planet, which is kind of important. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Kind of.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You can draw a line between who's shit and not shit, but I want to ask youthis, because- Okay, so all these candidates are pro-climate, but I think the question that some people might have then: "Why not support the Greens?" Because they've had all these policies, they've been, you know, strong science-based policies, they've put forward a bill for an anti-corruption watchdog, and I think some people might feel like "Why not vote for them?" 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Well, I hate to say it, but in Kooyong where I live, the Greens are not in a position where they can win a seat in the federal election. They can win a local government ward, and we've seen Labor win a state government division, but in these seats like Warringah, we have to face it. These seats are center right. They are fiscally conservative, and they don't identify culturally with the Greens. If you took them down with a blind, you know, took them through a blind taste test of policies, I think many would be surprised where, you know, where theysit on the spectrum, but we've done focus groups andelectorates in these- Voters in these electorates, they vote Liberal holding their nose but they don't see, you know, they don't see themselves as part of the tribe of Labor and the Greens, even though, on the issues like climate, and integrity, and women, they would have a lot in common. 

 

Now, they may not have progressive policies on- I don't know, franking credits or whatever, but, you know, it's a real case, I think, of perfect and it being the enemy of the good, and in this case, the good, fightingfor the things that really matter, wow. We don't want to go back, or we don't want to have another three years of what we've just been through, or another nine years of what we will have been through by the time the election campaign comes around. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Simon, thanks for answering all these questions. We just want to ask you one more thing. The Morrison government with Labor support has just introduced amendments to electoral laws which force entities to register as a significant third party if they spend more than 250 thousand dollars on electoral expenditure. A lot of people are saying this is aimed at you, at the Climate 200 and the voices movement. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, it’s quite funny.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Is it a threat? It hasn't been? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. We're scratching our heads. So we were going to register as a political campaigner in February, but because of these changes we had to register- We registered, you know, a few days before this recording. So that's the only impact that came to us was filling out a form and sending it off to the AEC. No, this doesn't affect us, and it doesn't affect the independents, it doesn't affect the the voices of, or any of the other groups working for- Working directly on democratic reform,but it does affect the charity sector, and through my work with the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network I've seen firsthand that environmental organizations are getting pushed out of the public sphere. They are increasingly afraid to speak up and advocate on behalf of the environment, and this is just another one of the measures that the government is using to shut down debate. To push people out. Push inconvenient actors out of the public sphere. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

We need quiet Australians, youknow, that don't speak up.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah certainly. The government is creating a whole new class of quiet Australians. Yeah.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Sorry, I lied about that being the last question because I really wantyou to end just by, you know. We've spoken about the seats where these independents are running. Can you just name some of them and maybe we'll put them up on the screen.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Gee, I hope I don't forget any of them. You can tell a little story about each one. So Wentworth which was held byMalcolm Turnbull and then Kerryn Phelps and now Dave Sharma, Allegra Spender is running for that and Allegra, it's funny that talking about this group as being a front for Labor. Allegra's father was a Liberal MP. A Liberal family, yeah. Allegra's grandfather negotiated theANZUS treaty and was Menzies' treasurer. She's a successful businesswoman, she just happens to think that looking after the, you know, the planet that will support her children is kind of important. Right. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

So definitely not a Greens communist marxist, cultural marxist as they've been painted by the government. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, which would disappoint theGreens cultural marxists, right? Yeah, she's not gonna agree with them on everything. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Then North Sydney Trent Zimmerman's seat, Kylea Tink is an excellent candidate there, she's got a real lot of momentum behind her doing so well. Mackellar is the seat north of- Up the Sydney northern beaches, one north of Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Mackellar, Sophie Scamps is challenging Jason Falinski.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

In Mackellar, yeah.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Up in Mackellar. Then Hume, Angus Taylor's seat, that stretches from Sydney's southern suburbs all the way down Goulburn and below,south of there, and Penny Ackery is a teacher who is challenging that.Then we get to Victoria, we've got Dr. Monique Ryan in Kooyong, head of pediatric neurology at the Royal Children's Hospital. She's challenging Josh Frydenberg. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yep. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

We've got Zoe Daniel, former ABC foreign correspondentin Goldstein challenging Tim Wilson. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Your mate. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yep. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You guysget on well. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

We get on really well. That's Brighton and on the beach at Sandringham down on the beaches. Flinders, there are actually two candidates in Flinders thatwe, you know, that are challenging the seat that's, well, Greg Hunt has indicated that he will retire at the next election and we don't know who's been pre-selected to replace him, then there's there's a strong independent Rob Priestly in the seatof Nicholls next to Indi. I forgot, in Hughes, up in Sydney, Craig Kelly's seat, there's two independents there. Craig's, I don't know if Craig will really contest that seat, he's not even pulling single digits. Sorry, he's in the single digits, he's not even in double digits. Yeah. So it's unlikely that Craig would run in that seat. He'll probably move to the senate and try to do something for Clive Palmer.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You just don't know what Clive Palmer's going to do at the last minute. I'm just like that's the,you know, that's the wild card. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Exactly, you don't know. Yeah, you don't know, and you know he spent $84 million on the last election and won it for the coalition. You know, he's probably- What he will do, he'll denigrate both parties right to the end and two weeks before the election he'll flip his allegiance across to the Liberal National coalition, and he'll win the, you know, he'll try to win the election. Right. That's what he'll do. 

 

Over in South Australia, Jo Dyer has announced. Jo was one of the spokespeople for the friends of Kate who- From the Christian Porter allegations he did- which he denies, I have to say.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You don't want to get sued again? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

I don't want to get sued. And then up in Queensland, Suzie Holt, who I haven't met but I hear is a very strong candidate in Groom, which is around the Toowoomba area, is running. So in Tasmania there's some people putting, you know, there's a party looking at a go at the senate and I think that's very interesting there, a couple of candidates in the ACT senate, very strong there, Kim Rubenstein and just announced very recently, DavidPocock, the rugby player, both announced for the ACT senate. Nothing so far in WA where I'm from. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. What do you think? Are you thinking of getting into politics, Simon is that, you know, would you ever run? 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No. I'm close enough to the action and it's not for me, but I think what I'm doing is the most effective thing I can be doing. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah. You didn't mention, obviously there's a lot of other seats, but for example there's also obviously Greens candidates like- And again with Sonia Semmens, there's one for example that's running in Higgins.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

An impressive candidate in Higgins.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yep. So they're independents, they're Green candidates who are all, asyou said, trying to, you know, run on a platform of strong climate policy, integrity and, you know, if you live in one of these seats, you know, you have an opportunity to make a change. Work out howpreferential voting works, it really makes a difference. Help other people to understand it. Maybe share our video, or explain it in your own words. You know, whatever works. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Put the indie number one!

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah, right! And just to finish off, Simon, you've been taking a lot of heat for, you know, you've put yourself in aposition. How are you coping with all that personally? How is your skin? Is it thick? Is it stressful?

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

No, it's fine, someone asked me the other day. I spent six years at boarding school. This is nothing compared to boarding school! Lights off at night after boarding school.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

You’ve been in Lord Of The Flies!

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah absolutely, I've survived Lord Of The Flies, this is nothing compared tothat! It's very gratifying to see this. You know, it's real democratic revival and meeting amazing peoplearound the country. This is very exciting and I'm loving it and, you know, none of the- I haven't felt any of the attacks have been personal and landed a blow yet. Fingerscrossed.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Right. Well, you know, thanks for a lot of the people who stepped up. I just want to say, like, you know, the people who have stepped up to become independent candidates, they're like, average Australians, they're workers, they're doctors, you know-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

They’re extraordinary Australians. They’re extraordinary Australians. 

 

Giordano Nanni

 

It takes quite a lot of courage to put yourself in this position. 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

It's a big decision to stand up, because when you stand up, I mean, when Oliver Yates stood up last time to stand up against the treasurer, a phone call was made to his work and he was let go that same day. Right? When you stand up against this government you will never get a job in the public service, you'll never get a government appointment, or a cushy little position on the administrative affairs tribunal.  If you've got a government contract for, you know, you've got a business that does work for the government, it won't be renewed. When you stand up against this government, a lot of doors will close. So it's a really big decision. It's a really big decision. You've got to really really want it. and to think that that risk is worth it. So my hat's off to themostly women, a few men, who have decided that it's worth it. It's worth it. So yeah, while they, at one level, are ordinary Australians, they're extraordinary Australians. They've got all these opportunities before them and they'reputting themselves on the line, putting themselves to much more risk than I have.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Which is why it's been referred to as an insurgence, because it does feel like a little bit of a- Sort of like a Star Wars rebellion that's you know- 

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Yeah, maybe there's some safety in numbers, but they are extraordinary people and I hope that Australia gets to meet them as as representatives on the crossbench in the next government.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

These people have stepped up,now it's up to us to support them if that's, you know, what we want. Simon I really want to thank you for coming back the last time you came on the podcast we geeked out about energy policy, and I really want to-

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

I wonder what it's going to be next time!

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Yeah we'll see. Yeah, and you know, thank you again for helping people to understand a lot of stuff like, you know, if you don't follow Simon we'll put it on Twitter and we'll put the link in the show notes and Simon's like- I've learned a lot of stuff from Simon explainingenergy policy and climate policy and, you know, land use and all emissions, you're a very good science communicator, and now you've put on another hat which is actually trying to provide a political solution, or at least facilitate a political solution, so thanks for not being a quiet Australian.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Thank you.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Thanks for coming back on the podcast, and yeah, I hope to have you back soon.

 

Simon Holmes à Court

 

Thank you very much, and remember, vote 1 independent.

 

Giordano Nanni

 

Well, that brings us to the end of this episode of The Juice Media Podcast. Whether you're just learning aboutelectoral politics or someone who's been following it closely, I hope there was something there for you. Before I go, I want to point out that this Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments is the follow-up to our Honest Government Ad about preferential voting, which if you haven't already seen, I encourage you to, because it helps to explain how to use preferential voting to elect not-shit candidates. 

 

Over a million people have seen the preferential voting video in the three years since we made it, so I'm hoping that many more voters at this election have a better understanding of how it works and of how unlike the US and the UK, where you're forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, we have an awesome electoral system that allows you to safely vote  for a not-shit candidate, because as long as you putshit, or shit-lite after them, depending on your preference, your vote will flow to your second choice, should your not-shit candidate fail to get enough votes to win their seat. So, it's a win-win. If you want to follow Simon Holmes à Court or learn more about the Climate 200 movement and support the various independent candidates mentioned, you'll find links in the video description on YouTube, or the show notes if you're listening on your podcast app. 

 

Thanks to Ellen for helping to produce and edit The Juice Media Podcast, and as always thank you to our patrons who make the podcast and the Honest Government Ads possible. In particular, our patreon producers who support us via our highest patron tier of $100 a month. Thank you. If you value our work please support us on patreon at patreon.com/thejuicemedia

 

You've been listening to TheJuice Media Podcast with me, Giordano. We'll be taking a break in January to recharge and get ready before the election shitshow next year so I want to wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new year ahead. I'll catch you when we publish our next Honest Government Ad. Until then, take care.

Hey everyone, this is Giordano from The Juice Media. Welcome back to The Juice Media podcast, a companion to the honest government ad series. This episode of the podcast is recorded on Wurundjeri land and it is the companion to our latest Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments. 

Excerpt from Honest Government Ad

"You might remember us from the last ad we made about preferential voting. We hope you haven't watched it, because the last thing we want you to know is how to use it to vote for a not-shit candidate at the coming election. You know, one who isn't owned by these guys, and who'll fight for your kids' future rather than theirs. Because if enough of you give your first preference vote to not-shit candidates, some of them might win some seats and become not-shit MPs. And ifthat happens, this election will end up With a hung Parliament."

The reason I wrote this Honest Government Ad now is that we're heading for a crucial National election here in Australia in the first half of 2022. It's crucial because we cannot afford another three years of climate shitfuckery like the world witnessed from this government at the COP summit in Glasgow. And while state policies on climate might differ in some regards, neither major party here is promising to phase out coal and gas, and transition to renewables this decade, which is what the science is saying must happen. 

And since a very likely outcome in the coming election is a hung Parliament, which is one in which neither the Shit nor the Shit-Lite party win enough seatsto form a majority government on their own, they will very likely have to rely on the support of not-shit candidates to form a minority government. Which is why it's so important that people understand what hung Parliaments and minority governments are, and it's why we made this Honest Government Ad. And to be clear, when I say not-shit candidate, that's my shorthand for any party or independent candidate with strong science-based policies for dealing with the climate crisis, and who does not take money from fossil fuel companies, which basically excludes the major parties. And to help us get into more detail about all this, I'm stoked to haveas my guest today, someone who is right at the heart of the insurgence of not-shit candidates who are fronting up at this election: Simon Holmes à Court. 

Simon is a whole bunch of things. He's an energy transition analyst, cleantech investor,and a pioneering force in the Australian community's renewable energy movement as a founding member of Hepburn Wind, the country's first community-owned wind farm. But most recently, he's been making headlines for his work at Climate 200, the group he created to support not-shit candidates in the coming election. The government's been shitting its pantsabout the Climate 200 and the lineup of strong independent candidates that Simon is helping to run in this election, and so, I thought this troublemaker would make the perfect guest for this episodeof the podcast. I hope you enjoy our chat, and I'll catch you on the other side.

Welcome back to The Juice Media Podcast, Simon Holmes à Court, it's really good to have you back. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Great to be on Giordano.

Giordano Nanni

Last time you were on the podcast was in Two thousand and- Early 2020, we spoke about climate and energy policy, we've now upgraded. You were the first guest that we had when we took the podcast to youtube and now you're the first guest on our- On the couch. On the couch! This is actually where we film the honest government ads. We've pulled the green screen aside so this is literally behind the screen, and yeah, hopefully we'll do more of these when the chance arises but thanks very much for joining us today. 

Simon Holmes à Court

My pleasure.

Giordano Nanni

As a result of the work that you've been doing you've become a bit of a lightning rod for attacks from senior government MPs and also from the media. So, can you take us on a bit of ajourney? What's been happening in the last two years? You know, who are you, what have you been helping to build with the Climate, and why have you been pissing off all the right people?

Simon Holmes à Court

Well I'm Simon Holmes à Court, I wear a lot of hats, at the end of the day I look for- what is the most effective thing I can do to get action primarily on climate change? That's my primary purpose. So. Why are we going backwards and striking at the root? what is the root? The root is we have the wrong composition in Parliament to make progress on these issues. And, so that's what I've been focusing a lot of effort over this year, but it really goes back to 2019 election when we got our Start.

Giordano Nanni

So what is the Climate 200? Why did you start this group and what is it doing? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Climate 200, very simply,provides an opportunity for ordinary Australians to contribute to the funding of candidates who are going to get into Parliament and move us forward on a number of issues, not just climate. The three issues we lead on are a science-based response to climate change, restoring integrity to politics, and the treatment and safety of women in Australia. So those three issues are sort of our founding, you know, ournorth star issues, and we provide a vehicle or a method where ordinary Australians can help people who are standing up in their communities, help them have a fighting chance in a political system that's stacked very much in the favor of the party machines. Help them, I guess help level the playing field so that they might have a chance to get in Parliament.

Giordano Nanni

Right. 

Simon Holmes à Court

And we achieve real representation.

Giordano Nanni

So then given that all of these things are reasonable policy positions, why is the Morrison government shittingitself so much about what you're doing? Why are you such a threat? 

Simon Holmes à Court

So let me just talk from Climate 200's perspective. We don't start campaigns. We don't go looking for campaigns. We don't choose candidates. We telegraph the issues we're interested in and campaigns come to us.

There's an organization CathyMcGowan set up called the community independents project. And early this year- So Cathy McGowan was the first independent member for Indi. She was elected, I believe the 2013 election, re-elected in 2016 and in 2019. She resigned and her seat was won by her successor, chosenby the same community group to succeed her, Helen Haines, and it's the first time in Australia's history that an independent has handed the reins over to another independent. So Cathy set up the Community Independents Project, which was aimed at answering the question. You're in a community, you want torepeat the success of Indi, where do you even start? Cathy ran a conference earlier this year, back in February. She ran this conference, 300 people turned up from 72 electorates. And they learned how to- How it was done in Indi, where she ran, and also how it wasdone in Warringah, where Zali Steggall took the seat from Tony Abbott.

Of those 300 people, there's about 30 communities around the country that have been working all year, and are at fairly advanced stages with community campaigns. I reckon 20 of them will put a pretty good showing up at this election, and we've seen already about maybe 10 of them announce very very strong candidates for these campaigns. So we wait until we see strong candidates with community backing in winnable seats that align with our values, and when they come forward, we talk to them about how we can help them, you know, how we can help them compete in the electorates that theywant to contest. And by helping them you mean helping with funding because running for an election is an expensive- Hugely expensive, hugely expensive. So it's for a city campaign, you know, an urban seat, you're not serious unless you've got a million dollar budget. Now, for the big parties it's not that hard. To allocate a million dollars they really only need to fight in 20 or 30 seats, The 20 or 30marginal seats for the election. 

Giordano Nanni

So in a way what you're doing is you're leveling the playing field? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, and that's not the only area where it's stacked against the income, you know, the political parties have tax deductibility status well before the election, whereas the independents only get it in the very last few weeks. Right. The incumbents get printing allowances, hundreds of thousands ofdollars a year of taxpayer-funded printing allowances that puts propaganda into your letterbox that taxpayers fund. Independents don't get any of that, so yeah. An independent needs access to significant money just to be able to be on the level playing field.

Giordano Nanni

My question was why is the government shitting its pants, and I want to get back to that because I feel like that was all really important context but I want toget to the point why such a threat, but before you answer the question, let me read you a quote from- This is from former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has described the voices movement as quote: "A very healthy development that allows people to vote for candidates that align with their views." I'm not sure if he'd be using those words if he was still the PM-

Simon Holmes à Court

Right. 

Giordano Nanni

But anyway, I want to read what he said to me when he was my guest on the podcast last year.

Excerpt from The Juice Media Podcast with Malcolm Turnbull

"I mean, the thing that the Liberal party needs to reflect on is that there is a number of hitherto very safe center-right seats, you know, Liberal/National seats, which are occupied by smaller Liberal women. Mayo, in South Australia, Indi in Victoria, and of course Warringah in New South Wales. Andit's only by a few votes, it could have been- You could have added to that Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth as well. And, you know, what that tells you, what that should tell the Liberal party is that there is a smaller Liberal constituency that takes climate change very seriously, that is prepared to vote for somebody other than the Liberal party but does not, you know, may not vote for Labor or the Greens. If you were making the case for another party, which I'm not, that's something you would point to."

Giordano Nanni

So my question to him here waswhether he'd consider forming another party and basically what he's saying is no, this Independents movement is, or the the insurgence, as people are calling it now, is for him where it's actually at in terms of an alternative to the Liberal party. So he says: If you think about it in a House of Representatives of  seats, where every seat counts, naturally, to have three safe Liberal seats held by smaller Liberal independents, you know those metropolitan seats, smaller Liberal seats, I think there's a very strong message there. Has the Liberal party gotten the message from the 2019 election about the threat?

Simon Holmes à Court

No. Well, the Liberal party has taken a deliberate decision to to abandon these seats, actually. So Kylea Tink is the independent candidate for North Sydney. She put it really eloquently in her campaign launch. She said that she doesn't recognize the Liberal party and the Liberal party doesn't recognize her. Right. When Morrison stood up some months ago, he said "Climate policy will not be dictated by the inner citywine bars, cafes, and dinner parties." He was basically saying to Kylea "you don't matter." And she's voted Liberal her entire life, and she got loud and clear: you're not the priority, we're listening to other people these days.And look, I think most Australians really aren't strongly left or strongly right. Most Australians are in the middle. We're a bit left on some things, I think most Australians are a bit left on social issues, and maybe a little bit right on economic issues. So when the Liberal party moves further and further to the right where it goes for a decade withouthaving any credible climate policy, where it has a immigration policy that is built around cruelty rather than compassion, or even the economic value of of migration, andwhere it appeases far-right MPs who want to fight against vaccination andhave anti-science messaging when-

Giordano Nanni

You're not talking about Craig Kelly are you?

Simon Holmes à Court

Craig Kelly and George Christensen and Matt Canavan etc. The Federal Government will never seriously reprimand them or say these are not Australian values or try to shut them down. Where I live in Kooyong, the state seat is held by Labor and my council ward is held by Greens. It's very much changing and those people- We don't feel represented by the Liberal party that Josh Frydenberg votes with every time, but most people don't see themselves as as going for switching their vote to Labor or The Greens, and they're hungry for an alternative, and the independents are coming in and occupying that center ground, that center of space that Morrison has vacated, quite deliberately vacated tochase a new vote, but taking for granted that he would always have that because there was no alternative. So yeah, they hate us because we're providing an alternative that the electorate wants.

Giordano Nanni

It sounds like this is ademocratic process, this is how it unfolds. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, they're hating democracy, right? I mean this is a matter this is not a top- and they're having so much trouble understanding this movement, it's not top down, there's no voices of central office, or there's no charter or franchise or logo or anything, it's people who read Cathy McGowan's book or watched- you might have seen a documentary on what happened in Indi in 2013 or they've watched Zali- as Zali Steggell and they've been self-organizing, they've been running town hall meetings on zoom all the way through the pandemic, they've been building up. I've been on many of thesetown hall meetings where you'll have two-three hundred people on an evening listen to experts and talk about the values of what's important in those electorates.

This is a democratic revivalgoing on. It's really exciting, really exciting, but yeah, the government doesn't understand it, is flip-flopping its messages all over the place. Earlier this week we had Tim Wilson say that this movement is just going to damage Labor and The Greens and then the next day we had Morrison saying this was a front for Labor and The Greens. It's like they can't work it out because they don't think they've had much experience with democracy.

Giordano Nanni

I think you've been kind, I think they've worked it out and they're trying to find something that'll stick, you know, like these different messaging, the contradictory things, it's like "let's see what people respond to," because ultimately they want to disempower this movement, and the best way to disempower movements is through fear campaigns. I mean, John Howard was a master of it, but they've been used on on both sides of politics and they're very effective. We saw it with the Mediscare campaign, we saw it with the death tax, you know, it's kind of become the game now and Imean, it's almost impossible that we're not going to see a massive scare campaign- 

Simon Holmes à Court

There will be a massive scarecampaign. 

Giordano Nanni

At the moment the one that I think is being pushed by the Morrison government and which might become the election issue is this fear campaign about a hung Parliament, and this is really something that we play on in the Honest Government Ad that we've made.Let's get a bit nerdy now. Perhaps you could explain what a hung Parliament is, and why is the Morrison government scaremongering about this potential outcome? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, okay, so hung Parliament is when all the votes are tallied and all the electorates have been decided, which way they went, it's what you call it when no party on itsown has a majority of states. Very common in governments in parliaments all around the world. It's it's the dominant outcome in Europe-

Giordano Nanni

Not in the US and the UK which- Or maybe the UK but definitely not in the US. But definitely in a lot of Scandinavian and European countries it's quite common.

Simon Holmes à Court

Absolutely. Yeah. Now in Australia, it takes 76 seats to govern. The Liberal party only has 60. It governs only because it forms a coalition agreement with the National party, which has 16 seats at the moment, so that gets it in the lower house, that gets it to just on 76. And with a couple of cross benches- Or 76 is a majority of one. Hung Parliament is what you call it at that moment when no party has a majority. Then the the MPs that have been duly elected come together, and I guess form an agreement on how the next Parliament might operate when it's clear that a government can be formed where there is confidence in a leader and the majority of MPs will give supply, then we reach a new level ofstability called a minority government. And we've had this many times before our government in Australia. As I said, we basically have minority government now because the Nationals and the Liberals have an agreement, a secret agreement between them. But we had a minority government between 2010 and 2013 when- do you remember there was about a two-week period after the election when basically it came down to- Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott spent about two weeks interviewing, working very hard- 

Giordano Nanni

Very independent candidates.

Simon Holmes à Court

Independents, yep. They wereindependents from traditionally conservative seats, traditionally Nationalist seats, and they took their responsibility very very seriously.They had endless consultation with with Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott and they formed the opinion after much consultation that the best way forward for Australia was to form minority government with with Julia Gillard's party, and a lot of really good things came out of that period. Now, it wasn't justOakeshott and Windsor, they also had Andrew Wilkie down in Tasmania, and Adam Bandt from The Greens andthe crossbenches give the government backbone they gave Gillard the backbone to bring in real climate legislation with teeth, they brought in a price on carbon that worked, it brought emissions down. They brought in ARENA, the renewableenergy research agency, the clean energy finance corporation. 

Giordano Nanni

Again everything you said, minority government- so before the Gillard minority government in 2010 we actually hadn't had a federal minority government since 1940-something. So it was actually quite an unusual thing at the federal level as you said, state level it's a much more common thing. But that minority government that we had in 2010 introduced a lot of- the clean energy act and all the things that you've said, which are really good, but the way that it's played out is that it gave Tony Abbott who was a leader of the opposition during the Gillard government an opportunity which he seized 100 percent and he seized to criticize, to attack the Gillard government for this minority government because they basically, their argument then became "you see, you vote for the Labor party, you get the Greens" even though as you said, it wasn't like- The Greens weren't, like, there, there was one seat from the Greens and three from independents, so it's actually a majority but independent crossbench. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Say what you will about Tony Abbott but he is a very effective communicator. 

Giordano Nanni

Yeah.

That, and with the the full weight of the media friendly to him which - face it - is an incredibly powerful force in Australia,he was able to prosecute an argument. He was able to make thatlook like an undesirable government, but actually if we look at all the governance we've been subjected to over the last decade, that's been stronger than any other period. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah. Any other period, and I think it's because every idea that comes to the Parliamentary floor has to be discussed andwith MPs that- Yeah, one thing I bang on about: if you think about a member of Parliament in the political parties, in say the Liberal or Labor party,number one loyalty for so many MPs is their own career, right? They can see a pathway to the top to either the ministry, or maybe even a Prime Minister and that number one loyalty is to their career. Number two, probably their faction . Number three, their branch, because they want to get re-elected. Number four, the party, number five, the donor, and number six, the electorate. 

Now, if you're an independent MP, you're not going to get into the ministry and you're not going to be Prime Minister. You're going to Parliament for one reason only: your electorate. So, you know, rather than there's six tiers of responsibility with the electorate being number six, the independent is answerable to their communities and people- I know peoplehave said that one of the most amazing things about Cathy McGowan's time in Parliament - and Helen Haines has continued this tradition - is you go to their electoral- Their office in Parliament house and they'll be ordinary citizens from Indi that have come up to see how Parliament works, and they're being consulted on issues and then those those MPs go back also to their electorates, and they ask people, when there's a tough decision they ask people what- How they should vote. They consult. And most of them are publishingtheir votes and the reason they made their votes.

Conversely, I'm told that when you're a government MP,as you walk into the chamber there's a board, a little board on the wall where you pick up a pager and it tells you how you're going to vote, on every vote. And you often get MPs when there's a division and you know the ayes have to stand on one side and the nos on the other, People will move across and they'll say amongst themselves "what are we voting on?" They'vejust looked at their little pager.

Giordano Nanni

Right.

Simon Holmes à Court

So just that stark difference, well that excites me. 

Giordano Nanni

Yeah, no, totally. I think, you know, it's been said that within some issues like marriage equality everyone's allowed to vote theirconscience and- 

Simon Holmes à Court

Conscience votes.

Giordano Nanni

Normally, but with an independent candidate, every vote they make is a conscience one. 

Simon Holmes à Court

It shocked me to learn thatthere've only been about 30 conscience votes since World War II in Australia. Right. Only 30 times, right? And there are, you know, there are thousands of votes a year. And in almost all of them, all but 30, the MPs do as they're told.We used to have some MPs across the floor but in the last decade that's pretty much evaporated.

Giordano Nanni

No, totally. I would just say that you don't have to get into this, but you know the flip side of that is that there is also a strength in having what you might call party discipline, so if you've got a party you can't pick out, you know, I think the danger and concern for some people is that you can if it comes down to one MP say Jacqui- Sorry,one independent like Jacqui Lambie or Rex Patrick, you can pick that and just, you know, so that the party can sort of- not buy their vote, but they can say hey you know we'll give you a swimming pool in this election or whatever, and so they're notconstrained by that party discipline and so they can sometimes go in a direction that you might not want. No, and that's- 

Simon Holmes à Court

Look, I think if more MPs were prepared to cross the floor then the hazards for that would be reduced.

Giordano Nanni

So just getting back to the Tony Abbott, that was a very- As you acknowledged, that was a very powerful criticism and Morrison isreviving this criticism now. Even though it's been ten years.

Simon Holmes à Court

It's all he's got.

Giordano Nanni

Sorry? 

Simon Holmes à Court

It's all he's got, right, is to try to take people back to a sense that it wasn't a functioningParliament, but yeah, and that's one of the challenges, that it was a highly functional Parliament, you know, it got, it actually met where, you know, we'vemoved in recent years to the Parliament- you're doing everything they can to avoid, you know, to reduce the number of sitting days in the Parliamentary calendar and to slow down the process, but they got through an awful lot of, you know, fantastic lot of real reforms in Australia and we- Improving the lot for Australians, I mean, positioning ourselves for the st century, that, you know, we're wellinto, means constantly finding the reform and and fighting for the reforms that make a better country, and we've stoppedthat since the Abbott era. 

Giordano Nanni

Right. This being the case, what we're seeing now, it seems to me Morrison has zoned in or honed in on this threat, basically saying if you vote for independents you're going to end up with that terrible government that you had in 2010. It's going to be a repeat of all that and you're not really voting for-Or yeah, you're basically voting for this flawed minority government process, and I just want to count- I think that the argument that they've found that really resonates with people is thatyou're not getting what you think you're getting. But can you argue that really when you vote for the Liberal party you're getting what you're voting for either? Because as we saw in the lead up to Glasgow, the Liberal party can't do anything on climate unless the Nationals agree to it. So in a sense, that is a minority government structure too, and I think people have really exposed that reality with the net zero target debacle where, with BarnabyJoyce- 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, We saw that- Some people call it the Morrison-Joyce government, really it was the Joyce-Morrison government. Right. Joyce drew a line in the sand, saying you will not go past this point, and Morrison had to acquiesce to that. And everything, and what was that point, was the action that Morrison took the same policy to Glasgow that Abbott took to Paris. It's a six-year-old target that Morrison took and the reason he couldn't go any further was because Barnaby Joyce wouldn't let him go further. So yeah, we have a dysfunctional Parliamentright now. I mean, think about it. Just name one significant reform or one significant thing that Parliament has done since the last federal election? I can't think of one. 

Giordano Nanni

Well, there was a wonderful shooting range that they built in- 

Simon Holmes à Court

The clay target range?

Giordano Nanni

That’s right, yeah, don't forget about that! 

Simon Holmes à Court

A lot of pork. Okay, apart from the pork, what have we seen in an entire term? In fact, I mean, let's take it back to 2013. What have we seen that has advancedthe position of Australia in the world or the life of the average Australian? Now we've seen a lot of things disappear, like car manufacturing industries. Yeah. The tertiary sector's been gutted, and then, you know, I think a lot of people are incredibly frustrated about the incompetence through this COVID pandemic, yeah. 

Giordano Nanni

Just to round off this conversation, there is a chance that if the Liberal party loses some seats to what we call not sure candidates, meaning climate conscious candidates which the Climate 200 movement is supporting, it will trigger a hung Parliament. Could those- Do you see a scenario in which those independents- As you said, after the 2010 election you know there was a real serious consultation process, like who do we form the minority government with? And obviously Morrison's saying "If you vote for these people they're going to form a minority government of Labor," but they could also form a minority government for the Morrison government. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah absolutely.

Giordano Nanni

Are you open to that possibility? 

Simon Holmes à Court

It's not my choice. Right. It's not my choice. But, what I know is that the Morrison government is not serious about acting on climate change. They've put a line in the sand saying they're not going to move any further than where Tony Abbott was in 2015. On the last day of the Glasgow conference there was a communiqué everyone signed onto, including Australia, saying that we would come back next year with revised targets and less than 24 hours later, Australia said "No we're not going to." Right. We've drawn a line in the sand, they've said we will not go further than Tony Abbott's climate policy, so I think it's untenable that government stays, you know, governing the country while they have- while they're immovable on that.

And the same thing withintegrity. It does not have a federal integrity commission when we have seen so much corruption. Let's be frank, it is corruption. We've seen so much in this last term, and, I mean, this this year has been shocking revelations on treatment and safety of women, from, you know, well, Brittany Higgins, Grace Tame, theJulia Banks's revelations in her book, Christine Holgate, Kate, the the accuser in the Christian Porterallegations which he strenuously denies, and Rachelle Miller, just in recent weeks, and the government response to all of this has been close to nothing. In fact you know he said that women are lucky that they're not getting shot in the street.

Giordano Nanni

So this is another reason they're shitting themselves? Because almost all of these independentcandidates are women, and can the Morrison even handle a crossbench full of fiery, outspoken, educated women? 

Simon Holmes à Court

One thing that is fascinating, so it does- I know of 16 independent candidates, most of whom are announced, 14 of which are women, and when I go around to these, you know, meet up with voices of onlineseminars, or I've met a few of them in person, I am amazed and impressed that about 80% of the people who turn up to these are women, and not surprisingly, 80% of the candidates that they've put forward are women, and very very impressive strong women who've had a gutful of where we are and the inaction on this issue. So Morrison, he could very much, could very well be in a position in a few months time where he has to sit down and negotiate with this crossbench to form government. And to spend the months leading up to the electiondenigrating and insulting them seems like a pretty poor strategy to me.

Giordano Nanni

Right. So we've spoken a lot about the criticism and attacks that are coming from the government. They're not the only people worried about what Climate 200 and the voices movement is doing. There's also concerns from Labor voters and from Greens voters that this will peel votes away from them, and I think, yeah, so perhaps, could you, is there anything you can say to those people who have these concerns? Are you, is this movement a threat? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Look, we all know about the concept of marginal seats.

Giordano Nanni

Can you explain just in case people aren't sure? 

Simon Holmes à Court

Sorry, I said everyone understands, but let me take it through that there, look, there are 151 seats in any election, there's really only 20 or 30 seats that are in play. Everyone in, you know, the political class, goes into it knowing which knowing which seats are vulnerable, they're either very, well they're,you know, polling and demographic shifts tell the pollsters, tell the strategists that these particular 30 seats are where the action is and there are a whole lot of seats. The vast majority of seats in Australia, I hate to tell your viewers and listeners that in most of those seats… You don't matter. 

Giordano Nanni

They're safe. Right. Yeah.

Simon Holmes à Court

They're safe, right. They're not gonna flip. So that's a marginal seat.

Giordano Nanni

Right. It's very interesting, because marginal sounds like it's on the margins that it doesn't matter, but actually-

Simon Holmes à Court

No, they're held by a fine margin. 

Giordano Nanni

So, and in the States, in the United States they call them swing, I think they're swing states, which I think is a better state, because it's like, ooh, it could swing either way. Marginal makes it sound like it's not important, but actually these are the most important things.

Simon Holmes à Court

It's better terminology, I think in the US.

Giordano Nanni

Right, swing. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, they're in play.

Giordano Nanni

Right. Now, so having explained that?

Simon Holmes à Court

Okay. So, This independents movement is creating a new class of seats. They are swing seats but they're not. This swing in Australia is swing between Labor, Greens and Liberal National, right, swing. These independent seats are bringing a whole bunch of other seatsin play. There's probably gonna be 15 to 20 of them where there will be a strong independent candidate, and it's unsurprising that they've risen up in areas that are government-held. 

Giordano Nanni

Right. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Now, you know, people often say, like, why are they all coalition seats? They're coalition seats because coalition's in government. Yeah. If we had a Labor government and people as werepissed off with the Labor government as they're pissed off with the Morrison government, you would see independents running in those seats but in this coming election there are going to be 15 to 20 seats to watch, where there'll be an independent running in almost core cases. 

Giordano Nanni

Safe Liberal seats, not- 

Simon Holmes à Court

Considered safe, right? Considered safe. 

Giordano Nanni

So these independents aren't running in what we call marginal or swing states between that could go Labor or Greens?

So these independents are almost all not running in what the pollsters would call marginal seats, right? They'rerunning in seats where we call them safe Liberal because the Liberals there are safe against Labor and Greens. They're seats like Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Warringah was never going to choose Labor or Greens. Right. 

Giordano Nanni

So this is what Malcolm was saying in that quote. These are seats where people won't vote-

Simon Holmes à Court

That's why Morrison's taking them for granted. Right. Like North Sydney, it's what? I think it's the fourth richest electorate in the country, they're progressive, but they just don't identify as Labor, or on the whole, as Labor or Greens, and Kooyong the same, Goldstein, where Tim Wilson is, thesame, these seats are- They're safe against Labor, but what our thesis is, and our polling shows this is absolutely the case, is that they're not safe against an independent that is speaking to the center.

Giordano Nanni

Yeah. So if I understand you correctly, if people are Labor voters or Greens voters, if I understand what you're saying correctly, is this isn't a threat, because we're not talking about seats that would ever go anywhere anyway. 

Simon Holmes à Court

And it's not a threat toLiberals in seats where there's not this dynamic either. Right. So just as there's only about 20 marginal seats, there's only about 20 of these government independent fights. The other 110, 120 seats in the country, I'm sorry. You know, the main event is elsewhere. And in a way that's- Climate 200 is- We are speaking to people around the country. We are providing them an avenue. If you live in one of these, you know, boring seats where there's not going to be- There's no real game playing, you can contribute to the fights that are happening in the seats that are in play through Climate 200. That's who we're speaking to, and then six and a half, 6700 people I saw this morning have donated to Climate 200 so far, so this is this is a growing movement. 

Giordano Nanni

So if you happen to be living in one of these 15 seats, safe considered Liberal seats, you've got a chance to change this government. If you're not living in one of those seats just vote how you normally would. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Vote how you normally would, right? This is no threat to any candidate outside these seats, but if you are in one of these seats and you want it to flip, and you're a Labor or Greens voter, your best bet is to put your number one preference with the independent, and if they can come in, they might come in first, and in first preferences, and easily get across the line, and we expect that for Helen Haines and Zali Steggall, for a whole bunch of othersthey'll come in second but they will roll up on preferences for a win. So if you're- Yeah, again, if you're Labor or Greens and you're not in one of these seats, do what you normally do. 

Giordano Nanni

Yeah and I mean if you are a Liberal voter or even Labor voter there's always- I mean, we have an amazing electoral system. The preferential voting system is a really good- Like, I look at the UK and I look at the US, and I'm like how does that even- How do people even matter? It gets worse and worse. You're always forced to vote for the lesser of the two shits, basically, whereas here you can actually- 

And I really encourage people to watch the preferential voting video that we made to which this one that we've just made about hung Parliament as a companion, because, you know, there's an added layer of safety to- What we're just saying is that if you are in one of these seats and you want to see some change, you can put 1 for one of these climate conscious, integrity conscious independents. And, you can put 2 for the Liberal party, so that you know that if they don't win, it'll still go to the Liberal party anyway, or Labor, or whatever your second preference is. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, you have to put the independent 1. In the last Parliament, Kerryn Phelps, she narrowly got in, in the by-election, and she narrowly lost, even though she increased her primary slightly, she lost in the federal election in 2019. Fascinating. You know, she improved her primary, but it was all on preference flows that she lost, and it was so close. If only 1200 voters had in their preferences down the ticket, if 1200 voters had put Kerryn ahead of Labor, rather than the other way around, Kerryn Phelps would be the member for Wentworth. Right. So, it can be very very close, you know. A very close win or a close loss, and unfortunately in politics coming second doesn't count for much. 

Giordano Nanni

I feel like my message again is, like, you know, if you're thinking about how to vote, get to know the preferential voting system, because what it does is it really makes your vote count. If you want to throw your vote away, just give it to one of the party- You know, vote 1 for Labor or Liberal. They were going to win that seat anyway, but if you really want to make it count and go further, actually put someone first who really represents their views and then you can putLiberal party second, or Labor party second, and you're making your vote really count. 

Simon Holmes à Court

If you're frustrated that Australia hasn't made progress on climate integrity or treatment of women, and you have one of these strong independent candidates running, you have to put them first. And then there's a chance. There's a very real chance in a lot of these seats thatwe're going to have change. And as you do so well in your video, explain, things are so finely balanced that just one or two independents might be what it needs to give the next government of whichever stripe- To give them the backbone to deal with these issues.

Giordano Nanni

Now, I really want to ask you this question as well because basically whenwe're talking about independents we're talking about not-shit independents, and it's very clear because there are some shit independents. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Oh there's some shit independents! There's, yeah, and that's one ofthe things we're up against, that some people have- Yeah, I guess, Pauline Hanson was the original shit- you know, in our lifetime, the original shit independent, right? She started not as a party, but Pauline Hanson a rogue independent, and she was shit. She still is. 

Giordano Nanni

I just want to hit clear that the way we define shit and not shit is I'venarrowed it down to climate policy. Because, you know, there are some people who go "Oh, well Pauline Hanson says this which I like," and I say yeah, but if you're looking at a climate policy which just so happens to be the thing that will decide whether the human species will continue living on the planet, which is kind of important. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Kind of.

Giordano Nanni

You can draw a line between who's shit and not shit, but I want to ask youthis, because- Okay, so all these candidates are pro-climate, but I think the question that some people might have then: "Why not support the Greens?" Because they've had all these policies, they've been, you know, strong science-based policies, they've put forward a bill for an anti-corruption watchdog, and I think some people might feel like "Why not vote for them?" 

Simon Holmes à Court

Well, I hate to say it, but in Kooyong where I live, the Greens are not in a position where they can win a seat in the federal election. They can win a local government ward, and we've seen Labor win a state government division, but in these seats like Warringah, we have to face it. These seats are center right. They are fiscally conservative, and they don't identify culturally with the Greens. If you took them down with a blind, you know, took them through a blind taste test of policies, I think many would be surprised where, you know, where theysit on the spectrum, but we've done focus groups andelectorates in these- Voters in these electorates, they vote Liberal holding their nose but they don't see, you know, they don't see themselves as part of the tribe of Labor and the Greens, even though, on the issues like climate, and integrity, and women, they would have a lot in common. 

Now, they may not have progressive policies on- I don't know, franking credits or whatever, but, you know, it's a real case, I think, of perfect and it being the enemy of the good, and in this case, the good, fightingfor the things that really matter, wow. We don't want to go back, or we don't want to have another three years of what we've just been through, or another nine years of what we will have been through by the time the election campaign comes around. 

Giordano Nanni

Simon, thanks for answering all these questions. We just want to ask you one more thing. The Morrison government with Labor support has just introduced amendments to electoral laws which force entities to register as a significant third party if they spend more than 250 thousand dollars on electoral expenditure. A lot of people are saying this is aimed at you, at the Climate 200 and the voices movement. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, it’s quite funny.

Giordano Nanni

Is it a threat? It hasn't been? 

Simon Holmes à Court

No. We're scratching our heads. So we were going to register as a political campaigner in February, but because of these changes we had to register- We registered, you know, a few days before this recording. So that's the only impact that came to us was filling out a form and sending it off to the AEC. No, this doesn't affect us, and it doesn't affect the independents, it doesn't affect the the voices of, or any of the other groups working for- Working directly on democratic reform,but it does affect the charity sector, and through my work with the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network I've seen firsthand that environmental organizations are getting pushed out of the public sphere. They are increasingly afraid to speak up and advocate on behalf of the environment, and this is just another one of the measures that the government is using to shut down debate. To push people out. Push inconvenient actors out of the public sphere. 

Giordano Nanni

We need quiet Australians, youknow, that don't speak up.

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah certainly. The government is creating a whole new class of quiet Australians. Yeah.

Giordano Nanni

Sorry, I lied about that being the last question because I really wantyou to end just by, you know. We've spoken about the seats where these independents are running. Can you just name some of them and maybe we'll put them up on the screen.

Simon Holmes à Court

Gee, I hope I don't forget any of them. You can tell a little story about each one. So Wentworth which was held byMalcolm Turnbull and then Kerryn Phelps and now Dave Sharma, Allegra Spender is running for that and Allegra, it's funny that talking about this group as being a front for Labor. Allegra's father was a Liberal MP. A Liberal family, yeah. Allegra's grandfather negotiated theANZUS treaty and was Menzies' treasurer. She's a successful businesswoman, she just happens to think that looking after the, you know, the planet that will support her children is kind of important. Right. 

Giordano Nanni

So definitely not a Greens communist marxist, cultural marxist as they've been painted by the government. 

Simon Holmes à Court

No, which would disappoint theGreens cultural marxists, right? Yeah, she's not gonna agree with them on everything. 

Giordano Nanni

Right.

Simon Holmes à Court

Then North Sydney Trent Zimmerman's seat, Kylea Tink is an excellent candidate there, she's got a real lot of momentum behind her doing so well. Mackellar is the seat north of- Up the Sydney northern beaches, one north of Warringah, where Zali Steggall is. Mackellar, Sophie Scamps is challenging Jason Falinski.

Giordano Nanni

In Mackellar, yeah.

Simon Holmes à Court

Up in Mackellar. Then Hume, Angus Taylor's seat, that stretches from Sydney's southern suburbs all the way down Goulburn and below,south of there, and Penny Ackery is a teacher who is challenging that.Then we get to Victoria, we've got Dr. Monique Ryan in Kooyong, head of pediatric neurology at the Royal Children's Hospital. She's challenging Josh Frydenberg. 

Giordano Nanni

Yep. 

Simon Holmes à Court

We've got Zoe Daniel, former ABC foreign correspondentin Goldstein challenging Tim Wilson. 

Giordano Nanni

Your mate. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yep. 

Giordano Nanni

You guysget on well. 

Simon Holmes à Court

We get on really well. That's Brighton and on the beach at Sandringham down on the beaches. Flinders, there are actually two candidates in Flinders thatwe, you know, that are challenging the seat that's, well, Greg Hunt has indicated that he will retire at the next election and we don't know who's been pre-selected to replace him, then there's there's a strong independent Rob Priestly in the seatof Nicholls next to Indi. I forgot, in Hughes, up in Sydney, Craig Kelly's seat, there's two independents there. Craig's, I don't know if Craig will really contest that seat, he's not even pulling single digits. Sorry, he's in the single digits, he's not even in double digits. Yeah. So it's unlikely that Craig would run in that seat. He'll probably move to the senate and try to do something for Clive Palmer.

Giordano Nanni

You just don't know what Clive Palmer's going to do at the last minute. I'm just like that's the,you know, that's the wild card. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Exactly, you don't know. Yeah, you don't know, and you know he spent $84 million on the last election and won it for the coalition. You know, he's probably- What he will do, he'll denigrate both parties right to the end and two weeks before the election he'll flip his allegiance across to the Liberal National coalition, and he'll win the, you know, he'll try to win the election. Right. That's what he'll do. 

Over in South Australia, Jo Dyer has announced. Jo was one of the spokespeople for the friends of Kate who- From the Christian Porter allegations he did- which he denies, I have to say.

Giordano Nanni

You don't want to get sued again? 

Simon Holmes à Court

I don't want to get sued. And then up in Queensland, Suzie Holt, who I haven't met but I hear is a very strong candidate in Groom, which is around the Toowoomba area, is running. So in Tasmania there's some people putting, you know, there's a party looking at a go at the senate and I think that's very interesting there, a couple of candidates in the ACT senate, very strong there, Kim Rubenstein and just announced very recently, DavidPocock, the rugby player, both announced for the ACT senate. Nothing so far in WA where I'm from. 

Giordano Nanni

Right. What do you think? Are you thinking of getting into politics, Simon is that, you know, would you ever run? 

Simon Holmes à Court

No. I'm close enough to the action and it's not for me, but I think what I'm doing is the most effective thing I can be doing. 

Giordano Nanni

Yeah. You didn't mention, obviously there's a lot of other seats, but for example there's also obviously Greens candidates like- And again with Sonia Semmens, there's one for example that's running in Higgins.

Simon Holmes à Court

An impressive candidate in Higgins.

Giordano Nanni

Yep. So they're independents, they're Green candidates who are all, asyou said, trying to, you know, run on a platform of strong climate policy, integrity and, you know, if you live in one of these seats, you know, you have an opportunity to make a change. Work out howpreferential voting works, it really makes a difference. Help other people to understand it. Maybe share our video, or explain it in your own words. You know, whatever works. 

Simon Holmes à Court

Put the indie number one!

Giordano Nanni

Yeah, right! And just to finish off, Simon, you've been taking a lot of heat for, you know, you've put yourself in aposition. How are you coping with all that personally? How is your skin? Is it thick? Is it stressful?

Simon Holmes à Court

No, it's fine, someone asked me the other day. I spent six years at boarding school. This is nothing compared to boarding school! Lights off at night after boarding school.

Giordano Nanni

You’ve been in Lord Of The Flies!

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah absolutely, I've survived Lord Of The Flies, this is nothing compared tothat! It's very gratifying to see this. You know, it's real democratic revival and meeting amazing peoplearound the country. This is very exciting and I'm loving it and, you know, none of the- I haven't felt any of the attacks have been personal and landed a blow yet. Fingerscrossed.

Giordano Nanni

Right. Well, you know, thanks for a lot of the people who stepped up. I just want to say, like, you know, the people who have stepped up to become independent candidates, they're like, average Australians, they're workers, they're doctors, you know-

Simon Holmes à Court

They’re extraordinary Australians. They’re extraordinary Australians. 

Giordano Nanni

It takes quite a lot of courage to put yourself in this position. 

Simon Holmes à Court

It's a big decision to stand up, because when you stand up, I mean, when Oliver Yates stood up last time to stand up against the treasurer, a phone call was made to his work and he was let go that same day. Right? When you stand up against this government you will never get a job in the public service, you'll never get a government appointment, or a cushy little position on the administrative affairs tribunal.  If you've got a government contract for, you know, you've got a business that does work for the government, it won't be renewed. When you stand up against this government, a lot of doors will close. So it's a really big decision. It's a really big decision. You've got to really really want it. and to think that that risk is worth it. So my hat's off to themostly women, a few men, who have decided that it's worth it. It's worth it. So yeah, while they, at one level, are ordinary Australians, they're extraordinary Australians. They've got all these opportunities before them and they'reputting themselves on the line, putting themselves to much more risk than I have.

Giordano Nanni

Which is why it's been referred to as an insurgence, because it does feel like a little bit of a- Sort of like a Star Wars rebellion that's you know- 

Simon Holmes à Court

Yeah, maybe there's some safety in numbers, but they are extraordinary people and I hope that Australia gets to meet them as as representatives on the crossbench in the next government.

Giordano Nanni

These people have stepped up,now it's up to us to support them if that's, you know, what we want. Simon I really want to thank you for coming back the last time you came on the podcast we geeked out about energy policy, and I really want to-

Simon Holmes à Court

I wonder what it's going to be next time!

Giordano Nanni

Yeah we'll see. Yeah, and you know, thank you again for helping people to understand a lot of stuff like, you know, if you don't follow Simon we'll put it on Twitter and we'll put the link in the show notes and Simon's like- I've learned a lot of stuff from Simon explainingenergy policy and climate policy and, you know, land use and all emissions, you're a very good science communicator, and now you've put on another hat which is actually trying to provide a political solution, or at least facilitate a political solution, so thanks for not being a quiet Australian.

Simon Holmes à Court

Thank you.

Giordano Nanni

Thanks for coming back on the podcast, and yeah, I hope to have you back soon.

Simon Holmes à Court

Thank you very much, and remember, vote 1 independent.

Giordano Nanni

Well, that brings us to the end of this episode of The Juice Media Podcast. Whether you're just learning aboutelectoral politics or someone who's been following it closely, I hope there was something there for you. Before I go, I want to point out that this Honest Government Ad about Hung Parliaments is the follow-up to our Honest Government Ad about preferential voting, which if you haven't already seen, I encourage you to, because it helps to explain how to use preferential voting to elect not-shit candidates. 

Over a million people have seen the preferential voting video in the three years since we made it, so I'm hoping that many more voters at this election have a better understanding of how it works and of how unlike the US and the UK, where you're forced to vote for the lesser of two evils, we have an awesome electoral system that allows you to safely vote  for a not-shit candidate, because as long as you putshit, or shit-lite after them, depending on your preference, your vote will flow to your second choice, should your not-shit candidate fail to get enough votes to win their seat. So, it's a win-win. If you want to follow Simon Holmes à Court or learn more about the Climate 200 movement and support the various independent candidates mentioned, you'll find links in the video description on YouTube, or the show notes if you're listening on your podcast app. 

Thanks to Ellen for helping to produce and edit The Juice Media Podcast, and as always thank you to our patrons who make the podcast and the Honest Government Ads possible. In particular, our patreon producers who support us via our highest patron tier of $100 a month. Thank you. If you value our work please support us on patreon at patreon.com/thejuicemedia

You've been listening to TheJuice Media Podcast with me, Giordano. We'll be taking a break in January to recharge and get ready before the election shitshow next year so I want to wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new year ahead. I'll catch you when we publish our next Honest Government Ad. Until then, take care.

[Transcribed by Jesse Dowse]