Greens candidate for Blair Pat Walsh outlines vision.
Greens candidate for Blair Pat Walsh outlines vision. Rob Williams

Pat Walsh, man for the times

SECURING a bright future for Australia with the combination of renewable energy investment and economic growth is no pie in the sky aspiration.

That is the word from Pat Walsh, the Greens candidate for the seat of Blair.

Mr Walsh, who has been a member of the Greens for five years, was a candidate at the last state election in the seat of Ipswich where he was regarded as a strong performer.

Mr Walsh said Greens policy would benefit the diverse Blair electorate, which includes vital rural industries, while reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy investment.

"There was a feature on ABC Radio where they were talking about California and their renewable solar industry is now employing 55,000 people since their policy change about 2008," Mr Walsh said.

"You just feel as though Australia is missing the boat and continues to miss the boat.

"People understand that the economy and environment are interrelated and for the seat of Blair, with its connections to the Lockyer Valley and water supply, looking after the environment is extremely important.

"The exploitation of coal seam gas and coal mining is under pressure by environmental groups and the Greens and the farming and rural community understand the Greens have a policy platform that is significant and important for them as well.

"Jobs in the rural and renewable sector will come hand in hand."

Addressing concerns of younger voters is a priority for Mr Walsh, who has 24-year-old and 16-year-old daughters and a 20-year-old son with his long-term partner.

"I am keen politics becomes more progressive and looking to the future, so I have been thinking about issues young people are interested in like climate change and human rights," he said.

Mr Walsh, who lives in Ipswich and works in Kenmore, is a business manager who works on long-term planning for a major church-based not for profit organisation.

"I took a step in my professional career about 10 years ago to work in the not for profit, social service sectors. I am motivated to work for society and the common good."

Mr Walsh insists politicians should act in the interests of their electorates and future generations rather than big mining companies.

"The major parties have a pretty poor track record there and it is an issue for me that lobby groups and big money are calling the tune in politics.

"You get a different deal with the Greens. We don't get money from big business and we don't prosecute businesses agenda. We invite people to get involved in the formation of policy."

"Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals have gone to Paris (climate talks) with lightweight targets although it has been good to see Labor respond in the last week. The Greens Party have led the way and announced a 90% renewable energy target by 2030."

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said on the Kitchen Cabinet show that the Greens were a mainstream party - a view that Mr Walsh also holds.

"I consider myself a mainstream person…and the policies of the party are mainstream when it comes to economy, human rights, education and health.

"We are seeing significant increases in our membership, which has increased over 50% over the last 18 months.

"We are all about looking after people so we are not supporting a GST increase. We think removing subsidies to mining companies and addressing things like negative gearing and superannuation are better ways to address tax reform that will support people in Ipswich."

The Ipswich Greens are holding a community presentation on climate change and the Greens Renew Australia at the Ipswich Environmental Centre, next door to café in Queens Park, at 6pm tomorrow. The event is free. All welcome.