Welcome to the February edition of What Matters? New England Electorate (WMNEE) Newsletter, which is the first Newsletter for 2022. With an upcoming Federal election, 2022 is going to be a big year for democracy.
Kitchen Table Conversations
With the election looming in the next few months, are you fed up with conversations about politics that go nowhere? By the time the Federal election is called, WMNEE will have a report of what people in New England have said about the issues they care about. This report, which will summarise the answers from the Kitchen Table Conversations (KTCs) held around the electorate, will be sent to the sitting member and all the candidates for the seat of New England. All of the (anonymous) answers will be put online for everyone to read.
It’s important that we get more and different voices from around the electorate before preparing that report. So we’re hosting eight online KTCs, dubbed “8/8/80” – that’s 8 People, 8 Questions, in 80 Minutes. Here are the dates/times:
- Sunday 27 Feb, 2pm
- Tuesday 1st March, 7.30pm
- Thursday 3rd March, 7.30pm
- Saturday 5th March, 2pm.
- Tuesday 8th March, 11am
- Saturday 12th March, 2pm
- Sunday 13th March, 2pm
- Wednesday 16th March, 7.30
If you have not attended a KTC please register for one of the above dates.
Groups of people who are acquainted with each other might like to sign up for the same session, wherever they live across this large electorate.
If you want to host your own in-person Kitchen Table Conversation or have any questions, please contact WMNEE All the answers from KTC’s held before March 16th will be included in our pre-election summary report, but we will continue to hold KTCs.
Given a Federal election will be held in the first half of 2022, we want to increase the spotlight on how important participation is for a healthy democracy, and raise the profile of this Group. We had hoped to host a Forum in February, but this fell through. However, we have been given advance access to ‘Regenerating Australia’, a very positive film highlighting the value of democracy particularly in tackling the many challenges of the next decade. We will be screening this 17 minute film in conjunction with the AGM (see below). As well, the filmmakers have kindly offered our members a number of tickets to attend the community screening, which will be held at the cinema in Armidale on 8th April and will include a Q&A with the filmmaker, Damon Gameau, and a panel of experts.
Are you a Financial member? Annual General Meeting – 26 March 2022
The AGM will take place on Saturday 26 March 2022, at 2:00pm in Kent House, Faulkner Street, Armidale. For those members unable to make it to Armidale, you will be able to attend via Zoom. The link will be sent out with the papers. However, as less than half the people on our Newsletter list are financial members, we would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to join as a financial member, as otherwise you are unable to participate in deciding on the future of WMNEE, and you will miss out on the screening of the above film.
What are membership fees for? What Matters? New England Electorate is a not for profit incorporated association. Our membership fees pay for things like our website hosting, incorporation and compliance costs, meeting costs, events and communications.
The WM Coordinating committee needs new members who represent communities throughout the electorate.
Role descriptions for Convenor, Secretary and Treasurer are available for anybody considering future involvement. Just contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest.
The AGM has been timed to allow for some social activity after the film, so members can meet other members over a cup of tea and discussion. Please take the opportunity to attend.
Member spotlight – Adam Blakester
I’m deeply passionate about participation. To paraphrase a famous saying: ‘The world is run by those who participate!
My federal election campaign in 2019 was based upon this principle. It was about ‘we, not me’.
However, the truth is, that far too many people still think simply speaking up, expressing their opinion, is enough to get the change they want to see in the world. History shows us otherwise
Despite the hundreds of thousands of Australians who have filled in surveys, walked in marches, stood up in protests and signed petitions, our political leaders still are behind the curve on countless pressing issues ~ be they matters of integrity and corruption in Parliament; recognition and respect for our First Peoples; averting a climate catastrophe and sixth mass extinction of life on Earth; and many more.
It’s not enough to leave the running of the world to others. We need to get more actively involved.
It’s no surprise then, that since the last election, I have been actively involved with the formation of Voices of New England. I believe that greater involvement of citizens and denizens from right across our Electorate is essential if we are to get better representation, policy, legislation, leadership and outcomes from our Members of Parliament. I believe that greater involvement is key to greater accountability and integrity from our leaders, political and other. I believe greater involvement will build our community’s collective capacity to influence and create change.
Please join us in creating this democratic movement for change, for the New England and beyond.
As a grass-roots organisation in this very large electorate, we can only meet our goals if we draw on the skills and commitments of our volunteer membership. Please get in touch via email@example.com to express an interest or find out more.