SA Greens targeting loneliness, upper house balance-of-power
A 'Loneliness Action Plan' has become more important than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the SA Greens say in an election pitch during a Uniting Communities forum on Wednesday morning.
Seeking election in his own right since succeeding SA's first elected Green, Mark Parnell, Robert Simms made the case on Flow that there are international precedents to have a dedicated government minister co-ordinating an attack on loneliness:
"The UK has one, they brought it in in 2018, Japan have done it recently in response to the pandemic.
"We don't have one in Australia but there is a proposal to establish a ministry like this in Victoria."
Hear the full interview on the FlowNews24 podcast below:
Mr Simms is the lead Greens candidate for the Legislative Council in the March 19 state poll and said his party is aiming for the balance of power in the upper house in their own right. Greens MLC Tammy Franks is SA's only other elected state Green, with Senator Sarah Hanson-Young representing the party in the Senate.
The 'balance of power' is a term for the crossbench seats necessary to prevent the passage of any government legislation unless agreed with that party, in the absence of bipartisanship between the government and opposition.
Simms sought pre-selection against Hanson-Young at the 2019 federal election but was unsuccessful, having sat for a short while as a Greens senator in the casual vacancy arising from the resignation of Senator Penny Wright.