Roger Class has voted for the same political party all his life.
But this election, the 69-year-old is voting for the candidate he feels has the best policies to tackle climate change.
“Even though I’ve stuck with the same party for years, I’ve always carefully looked at the candidates and issues. I’m changing my vote because I want to feel I’ve done my bit to help ensure future generations inherit a world in better shape than if we don’t act.”
The retired psychiatrist, who has lived in Hawthorn since 1985, spends his time competing and coaching in masters athletics, travelling to remote parts of Australia, bird watching and studying nature. He has always observed how humans are impacting the environment.
During his childhood in Morwell, in the La Trobe valley, Roger remembers his mother had to check which way the wind was blowing before she hung the washing out. If the wind was blowing from the briquette factory, then the clothes would get covered in soot. But if you could smell the awful pungent smell of the Australian Paper Mills, that meant the wind was blowing in the opposite direction and it was ok to hang your clothes out.
These days, he is concerned about the effect the rise in green-house gas emissions is having on the earth and wants to see a move to climate policy based on what he calls “good, solid, science.”
“I have a lot of respect for evidence-based decision making and strongly believe we should accept the guidance of well qualified experts on the big issues. As a community and a nation, we need to listen to what the majority of scientists are telling us and actively put policies into place which will reduce emissions. I feel it should be done in a well-managed way to take into account the potentially severe implications, economic and social, on the people who are affected most.”
One of Roger’s favourite sayings is the quote by Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who said, “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it, that matters.”
“We can’t change where we are now, but we can change how we approach the future. I want to see Australia taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by the move to renewable energy.”
His frustration is motivating him to use his vote to send a message to Canberra this election.
“Whichever party gets in; I hope they will be chastened by the evidence from the electorate that climate change is one of the top concerns for voters and realise they better bloody well get their policies right if they want to retain power in Australian politics.”