CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Queensland Senate candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party, Cameron Murray called in to Gympie this week on his federal election campaign road trip.
CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Queensland Senate candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party, Cameron Murray called in to Gympie this week on his federal election campaign road trip. Arthur Gorrie

Not quite the Greens - new party with a new attitude

SENATE candidate Cameron Murray is a conservationist "first and foremost.”

Strangely, he says that is what distinguishes him and his party, Sustainable Australia, from the Australian Greens.

The Greens have a social activist agenda which he says sometimes overrules conservation concerns.

And while left-of-centre may be a good rule to follow on the highway, he says his party is much more middle of the road than the Greens.

"We're an independent community party from the sensible centre,” he said, during a campaign stopover in Gympie on Wednesday.

Also a noted anti-corruption campaigner, he is co-author of the book Game of Mates, which Sydney Morning Herald Economics Editor Ross Gittins recommended to his readers as a guide to "how Australia really works”.

"It's not good news,” Gittins wrote, "but you need to read it.”

Buoyed by the Sustainable Australia Party's Victorian state election success, at which it achieved a win in the Victorian Upper House, Mr Murray is now touring regional Queensland spreading the word about policies which sometimes back the Australian Greens, but which differ on many social and economic concerns.

No doubt those differences will make for interesting conversation as he takes part in the Stop Adani Convoy, being led by Greens founder and former leader Bob Brown.

But real political discussion is difficult in Australia today, he says, because people are polarised and intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them.

The Greens preach open borders and accelerated population growth while not addressing the effect this would have on the environment, he said.

"They are a Big Australia conservation party, which sounds like a contradiction.

"We think one of the key ingredients to a sustainable environment is a sustainable population. So we need to return immigration to historical norms of about 70,000 a year.

"High growth fuels bad planning and corruption in the planning system. And the complications are not accidental, I think. They help insiders navigate to get what they want and they stop the community having a say.

"One of our big ideas in planning is to return planning to communities through citizen juries called together to plan their towns and cities.

"More consultation is needed and infrastructure investment to enable our systems to cope with the population we have now,” he said before jumping back on his bus.

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