Urgent government action on climate change, the need for a federal Integrity Commission and growing wealth inequality are the top three issues identified through Voices of Wentworth’s engagement with the Wentworth electorate over the last year.
These findings are set out in the ‘Wentworth Cares – Community Engagement Report 2022'. The Report sets out Voices of Wentworth’s findings on the community's concerns and their views on how they are represented in parliament.
“Over the past year, our volunteers have met with hundreds of voters in Wentworth to take the pulse of the electorate and find out what really concerns them on the federal level. We conducted “kitchen table conversations” at people’s houses, in the pub and over zooms, as well as getting survey responses from almost 600 constituents”, said committee member, Delia Burrage.
“Climate change is Wentworth’s number one concern. It was expressed as an existential risk, impacting every other area of concern, and requiring urgent action and leadership. There were strong calls for rapid emissions reduction, less influence by the fossil fuel industry and a swift move to renewables through careful and just transition planning to ensure and manage equity and jobs. We had older people in Wentworth telling us that they feared for the future of their grandchildren.”
Addressing integrity and corruption in government was Wentworth’s number two concern, with the need for an effective federal integrity commission frequently noted. Other concerns related to donations from the fossil fuel industry as a key cause of climate inaction, truth in political advertising, poor practices in grant making, rorts and lack of transparency and accountability in government decision-making. Participants were deeply concerned that the government was not taking advice from qualified public servants or experts, with decision-making appearing to be politically-based or tied to business or party interests.
The third top area of concern was wealth inequality and the cost of living, with many respondents viewing growing inequality as a structural barrier to social participation and foundational to other areas of concern.
“81% of survey respondents did not feel their voice was adequately represented in parliament by the federal MP: they felt their views didn’t matter because their MP voted on party lines, that donors have more influence, and that what the MP says is different to how they vote. When asked about what qualities people expected to see in their elected MP, people said they want an MP who is honest, who listens to the opinions of experts and who puts the community first” said Ms Burrage.
VoW has discussed the key findings of the Report with the main candidates and has invited them to complete a Candidate Questionnaire to indicate whether they support policies raised by members of the Wentworth community. VoW have invited all candidates in the 2022 federal election to speak and answer questions at a Candidate Forum on Sat 2 April.
“Voters expressed to us that the coming election will be crucial to their future.
Voices of Wentworth is doing what we can to ensure that both candidates and voters are informed about the issues that matter most. We encourage people in the electorate to come along and listen to the candidates at the Forum to find out their policy agenda so they can make an informed decision at the ballot box”, Ms Burrage said.
Full report can be downloaded here: