Former member of parliament and Cowper’s well-known independent politician, Rob Oakeshott, has started his three-year quest for re-election in earnest.
While it was known within the Bellingen Shire that Mr Oakeshott would run again, thanks to his letter-to-the-editor penned earlier this year, recent media interest into the independent's campaign has thrown the long-time politician back into the spotlight.
Mr Oakeshott held a meeting with his local team of volunteers in Bellingen last week.
“Team #Oakey4Cowper had its first meeting for #ausvotes 2019 … the case for change in Cowper gets stronger every news cycle,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“There’s plenty of issues on the table … one being climate change.”
Mr Oakeshott is in Fiji for four days talking to our neighbours about the implications of rising sea waters and associated costs of climate change.
He told the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun political leadership fails by ignoring our Pacific Island neighbours who are right now moving schools, houses, and at times entire villages.
"I do United Nations work with the Pacific Island parliaments and the constant feedback I receive is bemusement at the current state of politics in Australia,” Mr Oakeshott said.
“We flip and flop on climate change policy when places like Fiji are now moving around 30 villages, houses and schools due to the direct consequences of global inaction … one example: the people of Tuvalu, a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, have been forced to buy land in Fiji in preparation for the mass evacuation of their 10,000 residents.
“Australia’s indulgent debate is a direct threat to our neighbours, and this is why I have decided to stay active in public life, because I do think this is one example of where global challenges are best fixed by local action.
“People like the current Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker aren’t taking the necessary steps to address climate policy … this is an issue that is directly responsible for harming our poorer, less powerful neighbours.
“I find such an approach uncaring and patronising, and I strongly believe our local region, and our country can do better.”
Mr Oakeshott questioned the values of some Australians.
“Since when did we allow our politics to be about purposely harming neighbours?”
And he said the 226 Australian MPs and senators must lead by listening closely to the world’s science community and take long-lasting action to address it.
“All at the indulgence of those stuck in a debate focused more on power and money than logic and evidence,” he said.
“In the past decade, we have taken 10 steps forward on climate change, and then nine steps back. For the greatest moral, economic, and social challenge of our time, we should all expect more from our leadership, as well as accept nothing less than full and urgent action on this emergency before us.
“I link with others to ask the 45th Australian Parliament to stop trying to wish this issue away, and to get on with a response expected from leaders. Lead. Now. Please. For all of us.”