Annie Nihill from Surrey Hills is angry that politicians have been having the same conversations about climate change for 10 years. To do something about it, she volunteered for Kooyong Votes Climate.
“It really annoys me that elected members deliberately frame the conversation about climate change in a way that does not make facts accessible and keeps people uninformed. I think politicians need to treat voters like they are intelligent people and to stop playing down how dire things are with the climate emergency for political gain.”
Annie, who is 27, grew up in Nathalia, a small country town 43km north east of Shepparton and moved to Melbourne nine years ago to study Health Sciences and Arts at Deakin University.
After volunteering to help with door knocking, she now takes the minutes for Kooyong Votes Climate meetings and helps with social media but says door knocking is by far the most challenging and rewarding activity.
“With doorknocking, there are always some disheartening responses, but I’ve had lots of really good conversations. My small-town perspective is that regardless of whether people want to chat or not, it is nice to be reminded that you are part of a bigger community and we can look out for each other and achieve something together.”
Annie says she has really enjoyed meeting and engaging with a huge variety of people through volunteering, from retirees, to migrants who fled Europe after WW11 to settle in Australia to people her own age.
“Most people that I’ve come across my age are on board already. You don’t need to convince them of anything, but they still have to do the research as to who they are going to vote for, so it’s good to put the scorecard in their hand and say this will help you make up your mind.”
She is hoping her efforts will not only the raise the profile of climate change as an election issue but also keep the pressure on whoever ends up winning the seat of Kooyong.
“It would be great if we can influence the election result and hold candidates accountable. I guess if nothing else, I hope Kooyong Votes Climate will keep the conversation going about the climate emergency and keep it at the forefront of people’s minds so whoever gets elected, they are reminded this is an important issue for our electorate and we won’t give up and we won’t go away.”