This morning I got up, after plenty of partying last night, and the sun was shining on the town. I rode my bike into Fremantle, wearing my Vote Greens t-shirt. I didn’t have any reason to be downtown. I just cruised along with a smile on my face, watching the pedestrians pass by on the pavement. I went to my usual cafe and bumped into a few friends.
Yesterday the town where I grew up voted for the Greens to represent them in the Western Australian parliament. For the first time in Australian history the Greens took a larger chunk of the primary vote than Labour. For the first time in Western Australian history a Green politician has been elected to the Lower House of the state parliament.
The elected representative in parliament house in Perth for Freo is going to be a Green. It is going to be somebody I support strongly. This has never been part of my experience before. This is something new. I am so used to feeling oppositional to the mainstream political climate of where I live that it will take some getting used to. Apart from the practical impacts that this election result will have there is something cultural and symbolic about this that has moved me. The Greens stand for real, genuine commitment, not just talk and greenwash, to looking after nature, to an egalitarian society, to resisting corporate lobbying. Now every time I pass the Freo library there will be an elected official in the office opposite who is a Green. In this town I am no longer in the minority in my political persuasion. The core member of the establishment in my town will, from today, be a person with whom I sympathize. Suddenly I feel like I belong in my home town in a way I’ve never felt before.
Stand tall Fremantle.