Why I’ll be a Hybrid Voter this Year

When it comes to voting, I naturally lean toward the Liberal party – after all, I was raised in a very conservative house and I was taught to tow the party line. I’m raising my kids with the very same conservative ethos, however I find that the older I get, I’m turning toward a more hybrid approach and more and more I find myself voting on issues rather than party lines.

For the past few years it has meant that I’ve sided with Labor and the Greens. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son that I realised that many conservative political leaders don’t recognise global warming and definitely don’t see it as their responsibility to push for greener alternatives. It has also become very clear to me that it will never ever be enough for only a small group of us doing what we can to save the environment and that it needs to be a part of our government.  It needs to be a bigger push. The planet definitely won’t save itself.

It’s concerning to me that some of the senior members of the Liberal party continue to push projects like the Adani coal.  I’m sick of hearing Liberals say that Australians won’t buy an electric car and that Labor should stop trying to help make the daily efforts of owning an electric car a possibility.  It’s a very real proposition and I know how easy and inexpensive it is because I bought an electric car in 2007 when we lived in London.  If you think the technology now is new, you can see from the photo the kind of technology I was dealing with.  Electric cars were very new, there were very few charging stations and I’m telling you now – that car was the best car I owned.  I can’t wait to buy another one. The only reason why I didn’t bring it when we moved back to Sydney is that the red tape was just too much and so was the expense.

I imported that car from China and it was the first four door electric car to hit London and I did it when I was pregnant with my second son so that I could drive it in and out of London to my meetings for work.  Right from the start, there were hurdles, but the problem wasn’t the car – it was once again more about the political red tape.  I was disappointed after paying a tow truck driver a small fortune to tow the car to a RTA (DVLA in the UK) garage so that it could be inspected for road worthiness only to find that the garage was closed for renovations and no one had advised me of this –even though I had an appointment.  Having no choice but to tow the car to our house in Chiswick (another small fortune), I did this because the earliest date I could get for the inspection was now 3 months out.  Of course, I was cross and I decided to fight back with the only weapon I had.

I used the tools of my trade and called the local papers to complain about the red tape the government was putting me through just because I was trying to be green.  (Those of you who know me, know that I know a good story when I see one and I knew that it was the perfect time for a story like mine.  Earlier that year, the congestion charge was introduced and officials were trying to encourage people to be green.)

The story received a lot of press – the inside cover of the Evening Standard, The London Times, ITV and Channel 4 did packages on my predicament as well as endless radio stations calling, and who also, rang the City of London.  The story was even covered as far afield as the US with CBS flying out to package it up for a national story.  I did ring the Department of Motor Vehicles to warn them of my plans and to give them the opportunity to find space for my car soon, but it was to no avail.  After the second day, I was not so surprised to learn that they suddenly found a time for me the very next day.  Suddenly I became the electric car expert and reporters rang me regularly to get my opinion on the latest cars coming in.  The car company (Zap) received so much publicity from the incident that they gave me my car for free, so all in all the exercise worked well for everyone involved.

Still, I think it’s a shame that it had to come down to me exposing the antiquated approach politicians had with getting green cars onto roads and I’m upset that legislation here is so antiquated that I couldn’t bring my wonderful car back with us.  Even with the technology as it was back then, the company had already begun rolling out solar panels to attach to the roof for self-charging. What a concept, right??  London, sadly, gets very little sun, but I bought the car with the firm intention of bringing it to Australia with me.

It’s very refreshing for me to see Labor backing this very huge step that can make a massive difference to our environment.  Can you imagine if 30% of our cars were electric?  Or even 10%?  That’s still huge.  I think it’s a real possibility.  Right now I own a hybrid Prius and love that car, but I am counting down the days when I can go back to my incredibly convenient and efficient electric car.

Mark my words, electric car price tags will come down.  In just short time, one car company will roll out a car that costs under $30k and then it really will pay for itself.  (Wouldn’t it be something if it was manufactured here?)  It’s not difficult to own an electric car; they can be charged using a normal electric plug (I know this first hand).  An external plug can be installed very inexpensively.  If I could get the first four door electric car into London and alter it so that it would be road worthy with 2 children under 2 years of age, a husband who travelled regularly and all whilst I was working, anyone can do it.  In London, people charge their cars with a cord hanging out of their windows and cords running across the footpath.

For me, the issue this year is our beautiful planet God has given us.  It’s not just about owning an electric car, it’s a matter of saving our world.  Electric cars are one way to do this and clean energy needs to move up the list of priorities.  Coal is not the way forward.  If Australia could harness the natural things we have in abundance – solar and wind, we could go a long way toward leading the world.  That’s the issue I’m focussing on again this year and that’s why I plan to vote for Zali.  I think she’s the perfect hybrid choice for people like me.