A happy voter: my first vote as an Australian citizen.

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If you received your ballot pack and haven’t voted yet, time is up: Your vote must be in the mailbox by Friday this week.

Who you put first is important, but remember that you also are also influencing the election by who you put last. Mitchell Dye from 94.7 The Pulse, said:

“Depending on how things go, who you put 17th vs 18th could decide who gets in.”

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       #Vote1ForOurFuture by voting #MikForGeelong

       Here’s a bit about how I voted, and my ‘preference-filters’:

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Why vote for Mik?

Vote 1 for Mik Aidt if you want to see a Council which gets things done – and gets them done properly.

I will strive to collaborate and create a less fractured city, with less cheating and dishonesty, less inhouse fighting and more outwards community building and optimism.

Geelong deserves a Council which is approachable and listening. Decision making which is based on community consultation, evidence and research, and which is based on long term planning. The problem with most “quick fixes” and popular here-and-now solutions are that they come with a bill which those who come after us will have to pay off.

To create the sort of change which is necessary now, we need to think bigger, and long term.

“The biggest thing the Council can do [for our local businesses] is to provide a climate of certainty,” said Bernadette Uzelac, CEO, Geelong Chamber of Commerce – a group representing 900 business in our region – when she spoke at a briefing session for candidates on 27 September 2017.

And that is the thing: To have real progress, Geelong needs stability. Stability comes from setting long-term goals which is exactly what the community-based Clever Creative future vision, which 16,000 local residents have contributed to, is all about.

What is a ‘clever and creative city’? It is not an exclusive city only for those who are either ‘clever’ or ‘creative’ – quite the opposite, actually. It is a place – and I quote here from a line that was formulated at a community assembly in May where 400 Geelong residents gathered at the Pier to point out the directions – it’s an inclusive place “where forward-thinking, pushing the boundaries and stepping out of the ordinary is linked to the needs of industry and jobs, and where the environment is at the forefront, particularly innovative approaches to reducing carbon emissions and adopting renewable energy.”

To create stability, we need a group of new Councillors that are willing and able to create consensus around the Clever Creative future strategy goals. We need to see united leadership where all decision making is based on this plan. Because with that kind of certainty and stability comes investment and optimism, and unless we have investment and optimism, we won’t be seeing businesses and organisations creating new jobs.

If the old culture of mudslinging, back-stabbing, corridor deals and big egos with polarised ‘all-or-nothing’ attitude continues in the new Council, the Future Vision is bound to fail.

You can go two ways in a society:

There is that ‘American Dream’, where everyone can become a millionaire and a winner, but the average citizen scrambles along, trying hard just to get by. The price for that dream is insecurity. For protection and survival, you can buy a gun, install more CCTV cameras, have more police in the streets, and build more prisons, but even that won’t give you the luxury of feeling safe.

In Denmark, they have another ‘dream’. That’s a dream about a society where – and this a quote by one of Denmark’s big influencers a 150 years ago: “few have too much, and even fewer have too little”. There is an element of sharing, which becomes the foundation for stability, safety and even happiness.

You can be rich, but at the same time you acknowledge that when you share a bit of your wealth with the community – through your taxes and rates, for instance – it’s the price you are ready to pay because in return for that it provides you with a society where you feel safe when you walk in the streets, or when your kids walk home from school, and then it is all worth it.

It‘s plain common sense for everyone, because it works like this: When people around you are relatively happy, easy-going and at peace with themselves, you actually get to share a bit of that happiness too.

To phrase it in a way that relates to some of the local issues Geelong has, for instance as it is seen so clearly around the bus stops on Moorabool Street: Increased police presence, CCTV cameras and higher penalties will not cure Geelong‘s disengaged youth from its drugs, theft and graffiti problems.

What will cure it, is when the city lifts together in the spirit that we have something important to get done now, and we need everybody on board, including those who feel they’ve been left out, or feel pushed out.

Half a century ago, the American president John F. Kennedy said about economic development that “a rising tide lifts all boats” – meaning: when the economy is rising, there is something in it for everybody. Which is true, but only to the extent that you HAVE a boat in the first place.

Not everyone in Geelong has a boat. So what we need to say in Geelong today is that “When there is a rising tide, it is our job to ensure that everyone has a boat.”

The irony of that is that we do, literally, have a rising tide on this planet, one that none of the candidates have wanted to talk about in their campaigns. It is called ‘climate change’. It is the elephant in the room that even our public broadcasters, ABC and SBS, won’t dare to mention, though their news programs show the results of our unregulated pollution of the atmosphere in one catastrophe after the other.

Just like it is easy in an election to promise things you know you will never actually deliver, it’s also much more convenient to simply pretend that climate change isn’t happening. But must citizens understand that it is. Everyone can see it, and feel it. Many are so afraid of it, though, that they can’t even bear to think about it. Which, again, is why it is important that we talk about it and act on it.

73 per cent of Australians say they want strong action taken on climate change and energy because it will create opportunities in clean energy, such as jobs and investment, according to a poll which asked 2,500 Australian citizens about their views on renewables and climate change. (www.climateinstitute.org.au)

The Climate Institute found that over 90 per cent of conservative voters want renewables to become our main source of energy (95 per cent Liberal, 92 per cent National, 93 per cent One Nation), and as much as 96 per cent of Australians want our primary source of energy to come from renewables.

I know many residents in our city who are fully ready to engage in that conversation, and who want to do something constructive about it. What they are waiting for is a Council that takes leadership on this, and shows us the way.

It a quiet but significant way, City of Greater Geelong has been well under way with doing that for some years. Geelong now has a Zero Carbon plan, we are one of just three Councils in Australia that have committed to the One Planet Living framework, and now we have the ‘Clever and Creative Future’ vision which has climate action and sustainability embedded in almost every sentence and page. That’s leadership – leadership on paper, at least. What we need to see now is how it can be folded out and become reality.

That is what I will promise as a candidate standing for Council: Responsible, fearless, straight forward common sense and proper progress on reducing our air pollution and becoming better at looking after our land, our water, people, animals and plants around us.

Because you know what? Working together as a community and tackling the real problems we are confronted with, be it unemployment, poverty, drugs, theft, pollution, climate change… – when we dare to look the real monsters in the eye and talk openly about them, deal with them, that is what drives a city forward and creates optimism, creates spirit of collaboration, creates collective energy that again generates confidence for investors, better facilities, new technological developments, more jobs.

That journey begins with honesty. Short-sighted and empty promises of free rides will get us nowhere.

In my election campaign, I have been talking about roads, rates and rubbish just like my fellow candidates. I have talked about the community’s call for safe cycling paths, less plastic and waste, better recycling possibilities, energy efficiency, the new sharing economy and the possibilities that are opened up with new technology – but I am not going to lie to you – or try and buy your vote – with promises that everything should be free.

If we want a better city with good quality service and world class infrastructure, let’s not fool ourselves and pretend these things come for free. These things cost, and that is why we can’t make it happen if we don’t also have progress.

I’m not after your rates – these costs don’t have to be covered over your rates. We can achieve a lot even within the limits we have now. For a start, we can look for costs that are caused by unnecessary bureaucracy. We can learn how to do things in more modern and more efficient ways.

We must demand full transparency around hos this is done, so that we can be fully aware – and eventually take pride in – the fact that every dollar we spend is well spent in our community.

We need a Council with the capacity to lead and to deliver on the 30-year vision which over 16,000 Geelong residents have helped put together. That requires engagement from all of us – and for a start, that you have actually read the document.

So that is what I will ask of you today. Find the document – its available as a PDF on Council’s website, or you can get it on paper from Council directly. (www.mik.aidt.co/clevercreative)

Get an impression of the big lines and where this city could be heading, and then ask yourself: How can I fit in here – how can I contribute? What can I do for our community – and for its future?

Scientific research shows that our sense of happiness is greater when we give, than when we take – or when we receive. Churchill said it this way:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Enriching the lives of others – of our partners, children, friends, neighbours, colleagues – that’s what makes us all wealthier. Not whether we have to pay a parking fee or not.

I’m saying: We can start a new conversation in Geelong about how we can achieve an even greater sense of togetherness, good health, and living good lives. That is a conversation I would like to see the new Council engaged in, together with you, us, the community.

If Geelong would vote me in as one of the 11 Councillors, I’m ready to show Australia and the world how we can lead this city in a new, exciting direction of optimism, honesty and rational, realistic judgement based on a good mix of science and common sense, of cleverness and creativity.

This is where our city could be heading, and it would be an exciting journey to be part of.

I hope you will put high numbers for those candidates who have their feet and their hearts rooted on the ground in the local community and who haven’t secured a seat in Council simply to protect or enhance a special interest group or a specific industry.

Vote for honesty. And for our future.

This is what you vote for, if you write 1 in box where it says “Mik Aidt”.

Ballot cards must be in the post, or hand-delivered to the election office, by 6.00 pm on Friday 27 October 2017.

» More info on www.vec.vic.gov.au/GeelongElection

#GeelongVotes #Geelong #GeelongElection #GeelongCouncilElection #PMinGeelong #DougMann4Geelong

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