Hi. I’m Adam the federal Greens Member for Melbourne.

My colleague WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam conducted an iAMA a few weeks ago and said it was a lot of fun. So this afternoon I’m going to do one of my own.

In 2010 Melbourne had a big impact on national politics by shifting to the Greens and electing me to the House of Representatives. There are many unique challenges and opportunities facing Australia and I’m proud to have been involved in moving Australia in the right direction.

Since 2010 I have been fighting for the things that matter. And I want to know what matters to you and the issues important to you at this election. Plus I want to let you know a little more about me too.

You don’t have to be just from my electorate to ask questions. But I will ask you to keep the questions clean and please don’t post malicious, defamatory, threatening or hateful comments or questions.

Here’s a picture of me in the office and a couple of links to verify that it’s me :-)

About me: http://www.adambandt.com/about About my work and portfolios: http://www.adambandt.com/portfolios A pic of me in my electorate: http://imgur.com/a/UMdpF


That was great fun. Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed reading your questions and the comments being left.

I enjoyed not just the number of questions, but also the high level of engagement. If the MSM and Parliament conducted its debates more like this, Australia would probably be a better place.

Over the next week I'll try to answer the questions I couldn't get to today.

Thanks for dropping by and giving this first time Redditor some great questions and food for thought.

Comments: 372 • Responses: 20  • Date: 

Chadlington55 karma

Hi Adam,

To me a massive barrier to progress in Australia is the public opinion/confusion that "times are tough" and that the government therefore needs to make sacrifices and cuts in order to stay above water. No new social programs can be started unless savings are found elsewhere. The government has cut funding to tertiary education, international aid and single parents, and I just don't see why that was necessary. The reality is that we actually have some of the lowest debt (by percentage of GNI) of any OECD country, and our economy, employment levels and general economic indicators are all pretty good. Is there any way you can see the Greens (or anyone else) being able to change this opinion so that the government is able to free up some more money to go into welfare, health and aid programs?

Thanks for doing this AMA and good luck in the election!

AdamBandt47 karma

Hi there - thanks all for joining me today. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you'll forgive me any first timer missteps.

This is a great question. Since being in Parliament, I have been doing my bit to encourage a national debate about how we will raise the money to fund the services Australians expect. Currently, we are raising less revenue as a % of GDP than under John Howard's government, and as a result Labor's cutting single parent benefits, uni funding, international aid etc. Between now and the election, we'll continue setting out how we can secure the country's revenue base - through a proper mining tax and ending fossil fuel subsidies, for example - so that every Budget cycle isn't an exercise in raiding public expenditure. I believe that if we spell out to the public how we can fairly secure our revenue base and where the money will go, people will support it.

Jonno_B46 karma

Hi Adam,

I'm a member of your electorate and have a pretty basic question - why do we have conscience votes for things like gay marriage? If democracy is about someone representing the views of their constituents, why do elected representatives own personal views come into play at all? Have I misunderstood democracy?

AdamBandt55 karma

My starting point is that generally, you should expect your MP to vote according to the policy they or their party took to the election. On most things, as you say, there thus wouldn't be 'conscience' votes. Also, in some instances, to get out of having to take a position, a party might allow a 'conscience vote' to paper over splits within their party. However, at other times there will be genuinely thorny issues that individual members of a party in all conscience can't vote for for personal reasons, which is when a genuine conscience vote is allowed.

Chadlington36 karma

Hi again Adam, I have another question.

I am generally a Greens supporter but most of the time the Greens member put up in my electorate is very young and inexperienced and I therefore don't think they'd be the best person to elect. How do you reconcile the difference between voting for your specific representative and voting for the party you best think represents your views in the Australian electoral system?


AdamBandt76 karma

I'm liking the comments to this question. I think Parliament would be better if MPs more closely represented the demographics of the broader population. We'd be closer to action on equal marriage or housing affordability, for example, if there were more younger people in Parliament. At elections, I think you look at what parties are offering and make an assesment about which most closely aligns with your views on the issues that matter to you. No-one ever agrees 100% with a particular party or candidate, but it's about what is the best fit.

Malicious_Mallard33 karma

Hi Adam!

A good 11% of the Australian Public voted for the Greens at the last election, yet you remain the only representative in the Lower House. Don't you think it's time we ditch the AV voting system for something that better represents the views of the Australian people? Alternatively, what other reforms do you believe can improve the functioning of the Lower House?

AdamBandt38 karma

I think that would be great! It works in Europe and, closer to home, in New Zealand. It means people get their voice in Parliament but it also puts a greater onus on MPs to work together. Because Germany has had Greens in their 'proportional representation' Parliament, for example, they've now got almost 400,000 jobs in renewable energy and produced over 20% of their electricity from renewables.

orru31 karma

Hi Adam,

I'm a researcher at an Australian university.

In the Greens' ideal world, what would be the nature of research funding be like? What fields of research would be prioritised, will you increase ARC funding?

What, in your opinion, should be the role of industry-funded as opposed to publicly-funded research?

Also, do you see a role of academics in the primary & secondary education sectors?

Finally, do you feel that there is an unacceptable level of scientific literacy in the Australian Parliament?

Thank you for your time , I look forward to reading your answers.

AdamBandt45 karma

Big questions!! I'm also our Science & Research and Industry & Innovation spokesperson, so I've been thinking a lot about this.

The Greens believe science and innovation are critical to our current and future prosperity and are central to solving many of the challenges we face. That is why we have worked hard for increased science and research funding and campaigned strongly against cuts to the ARC and NHMRC. Here in my electorate of Melbourne, which hosts so much biomedical research, I have worked closely with health and medical researchers to protect NHMRC and ARC funding from the Budget knife. The Discoveries need Dollars campaign put the issue on the national agenda and had a big impact in Canberra. It has been important in subsequent Budget decisions. Earlier this year I successfully moved a motion in the House of Representatives calling on the government to quarantine health and medical research funding from budget cuts and I have worked hard to use the weight of the Greens in Parliament to ensure funding remains secure. However, despite this successes government funding to research and development continues to decline and along with Labor’s cuts to universities these are challenging times for the sector. Overall we would like to see the government to set a target of 3% of GDP for research and development in Australia, bringing us in line with the top research countries in the OECD. I also organised a 'Why Science Matters' forum in my electorate last year, which got a couple of hundred people along.

I want to make sure scince & research isn't seen as a 'honeypot' that govs can keep coming back to every time they need some $ to balance the budget. I want reserach fudning to be increased, secure & long-term. I think we should encourage more industry R&D through our tax system and grants. Fed gov should help academics train primary & secondary teachers to be more science/research literate and to make science/research fun.

Expect these issues to be a large part of what I & the Greens take to the coming election. I feel passionate about this and could keep going for a very long time: happy to correspond off-Reddit via email [email protected]

pkr8430 karma

Hi Adam,

Is it dangerous for the Greens to be calling for an inquiry into fluoridation? Does an inquiry not validate those who reject the science by implying there is legitimate debate?

Surly what is needed is education, not an inquiry, if as John Kaye says, the science is settled.

AdamBandt72 karma

There are many things that science shouldn't be in charge of, like who you love or what art you like. But when it comes to public health, I'll take my guidance from the science. I'm reading the last book in Neal Stephenson's 'System of the World' trilogy at the moment (no spoilers please!) and amongst other things it reminds me just how far public health has come because of science. If the science isn't settled, I'll listen to the debate. If it is - like with climate change, the alleged 'health effects' of wind farms or protecting our teeth through fluoridation - it's time to move on, folks. So no, I don't support an inquiry.

koalanotbear30 karma

Hi adam, what are Tony, Julia, and the rest of parliament like as people, as in, how have your interactions been with them? Are you friends with anyone in there or is it generally only your staff and party that have more personal interactions? Are there "cliques"? Is there any kind of bullying aimed towards you during your working days in parliament? And more generally what's the culture like in there?

AdamBandt77 karma

People do chat with each other in Parliament, even from across the political parties. In that respect, I guess it's a bit like any workplace: you'll chat and form relationships with people you share a piece of carpet with even though you mightn't come across them in everyday life. It can get pretty fiery in the chamber and you get routinely heckled, but I think that happens to all MPs across the Parliament. I find the PM to be professional to deal with. I do think, though, that the culture of personal attacks (as opposed to policy debate) and the hysteria of question time has gone too far. It gets pretty childish at times. If there was more focus on policy and less on petty point-scoring, people might have a bit more respect for Parliament.

scazhx24 karma

Hello Adam!

What are your fears for progressive political parties around the globe now that total internet surveillance by the NSA seems a reality?

Can democracies really be active with leaders and participants who accurately reflect the mood of a country if those moods are incompatible or in conflict with the aims and beliefs of the NSA?

If complete phone & internet communication, credit card transactions, and other data is stored by the NSA and able to be mined to map out a picture of any individual's existence, what power does that have over any particular movement worldwide?

AdamBandt40 karma

I am worried. It is an essential part of a free society that a right to privacy is protected, and democratically elected governments should be defenders of that right, not the largest violators of it. Justifications for these sorts of programs like "if you've done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear" radically and dangerously reshape the notion of innocence until proof of guilt.

When instruments like this are available to governments, and are deemed legal by those governments, all that stands in the way of their misuse, like suppressing the voices of those who disagree with them say, is policy. No laws, no rights, just the hope that the intent of those in control is good enough.

For progressive movements trying to make the world a better place, I think we will always find ways to continue to fight for a better world regardless of the surveillance or the extent to which surveillance seems to be happening, but we need to do everything we can to stop surveillance's spread.

My Greens colleague Senator Scott Ludlam is really taking up this issue hard. We want to see normal warrant procedures for law enforcement agencies accessing peoples' private data. http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/get-warrant-%E2%80%93-greens-bill-prohibit-warrantless-real-time-surveillance

Pearson0323 karma

Thank you for doing AMA.

The media, greatly driven by society's need for fast exciting news influence the political agenda so much that many good policies are buried beneath the surface of news about politician's characters.

How can the Greens change this?

AdamBandt35 karma

Another good, big question. It goes to the heart of the way the media-consumer economy operates. Part of the answer is fostering more media diversity and supporting attempts to reintroduce long form or serious journalism into the new media environment. The Guardian Online or the Conversation are two examples. But it is not just about media: here in Melbourne we have tried to use the internet and community organising to engage and reengage people directly into the political changes we are trying to bring about. So not just engaging people during elections in grassroots outreach but over the whole political cycle. I think the movement behind Barack Obama is an example of that and something that we have learnt from.

zacharydak21 karma


What are your thoughts on the Australian Republic movement?

AdamBandt46 karma

I wish there was one :) I'd like to see Australia become a republic.

tyroneh115 karma

Hi Adam, Can you explain what you envision Australian cities to look and feel like in the next 10 to 20 years?

AdamBandt47 karma

Cities are pretty amazing. They bring people and creativity together in a way that helps us accomplish great things. But they're under pressure, largely from poor planning. For me, a great Australian city will be one where a) you can get around without having to use a car, b) energy production is renewable and more decentralised, with power being produced closer to where people live, and energy efficiency is prioritised c) housing is secure and affordable, d) the gaps in income and access to resources have narrowed, e) creativity is valued and f) the community has more control over planning.

virusporn15 karma

Hi Adam, what is your opinion on fixing our medical system. Waiting times are sky rocketing, ambulances are tied up in ED waiting for beds for hours etc. Is federalisation the answer?

AdamBandt37 karma

The first step is to ensure our hospitals have adequate funding. Here in Victoria both Federal Labor and the Victorian Coalition have cut funding to our hospitals and it has had a significant impact. We want to see those cuts reversed. There many areas we need change in our health system. For example, from the start of next year kids get free dental on Medicare because of what the greens have secured. I don’t believe shift to a solely federal health system would work - it is going to need cooperation - but ultimately it requires large investments of funds and that will require the Commonwealth, in particular, raising more revenue, and this links to teh first question posed today. We need to have a real debate about how we are going to raise the revenue our country needs, something the old parties have been unwilling to do.

Pearson0316 karma

Securing The dental plan is a major achievement of The Greens! Well done!!

The9thInvisibleNinja37 karma

And my daughter Lisa will be able to have the braces she needs!

AdamBandt33 karma


AzraelBlack13 karma

Could you please explain a bit more on the proposed taxes on bank super profits?

How do you think the banking sector would respond to such a proposal if it were taken further on board by the next government of Australia? Do you believe it has the capacity to be harmful to the sector in anyway?

AdamBandt29 karma

A bank levy was first proposed by the IMF and is already operating in some European countries. Currently the big banks borrow a proportion of their funding from the international wholesale funding market and according to the IMF, they obtain more favourable rates because of the implicit “too-big-too-fail” policy of the government. In other words if one of the big banks was get in trouble, the funders know the Australia taxpayer would bail them out. We are proposing that the big banks pay a very small levy in return for that support. It would not have a major impact on their bottom lines and would improve the competiveness and diversity of the sector because it would create a more level playing field for the smaller institutions. Of course when you propose any increase in tax, those being taxed will cry poor. This is what the big banks have done. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/greens-call-for-super-tax-on-big-four-banks-20130307-2fohw.html

ratty6111 karma

When talking about carbon reduction it is often spoken of in terms of the number of cars being taken off the roads. Why do we not have a 20 year plan to take all combustion engine cars off the road?

AdamBandt31 karma

I couldn’t agree more. I think we need more bikes, better public transport and electric cars powered by renewables. We have been pushing for a government target on the take up of Electric Vehicles like they have in Germany and the US and a variety of incentives and investment in charging infrastructure to encourage the take up of EV. Obviously big investments in public transport are also needed. We have poured billions into the Australian car industry with little requirement to transform: why shouldn’t some of this be put towards the alternative? You can read more about our EV policy here http://adam-bandt.greensmps.org.au/content/media-releases/govt-auto-assistance-fails-shift-gears-electric-cars-bandt

Heosat3 karma

As someone looking to purchase an electric car it would be wonderful if stamp duty and the luxury car tax would be reconsidered. If people were considering actions that would improve local air quality, shouldn't they receive some government assistance?

AdamBandt24 karma

Here's a very easy and quick response:

Low emission cars are exempt from luxury car tax, because the Greens negotiated it :)

datakid9 karma


You have the High Speed Rail portfolio.

Can you give the cliff's notes on the reasoning behind, the costings of and the (non party political) roadblocks to it's implementation?

AdamBandt24 karma

The benefits are clear but the old parties need to have the courage to stand up to powerful interests such as the roads lobby and have some long term vision, something that is lacking in politics today. Ultimately we need to be willing to raise and invest revenue in projects with a 10 to 20 year horizon. Here is a report I released on the economic benefits http://www.adambandt.com/greens_high_speed_rail_report

Dunsbarian8 karma

Hi Adam.

What is the most awesome/cool/reckless extreme sport activity you have undertaken (if any)

AdamBandt19 karma

I skydived. It was several years ago, strapped to the back of an instructor, but even thinking about it now makes the adrenaline coarse through me. Several millenia of human evolution hardwire you to feel that jumping from a great height is probably a dumb thing to do, and it was a pretty confronting moment stepping on to the edge of a small plane's landing gear before jumping, but I don't regret it for a second.

Cupbearer4 karma

HiAdam, do you think you will hold your seat at the next election?

AdamBandt16 karma

I think we can win, even if Labor and the Coalition collaborate on preferences but it will be a close contest. The old parties have deep pockets and the Labor factions will fight ferociously but we have the people power advantage. This weekend we have 5 separate groups of volunteers are out doorknocking and hitting the phones. People are telling us they are very disappointed in Labor but Tony Abbott is no alternative so we are the clear choice. But I won’t be taking anything for granted I will have to work flat out until 6pm on election day. If you want get on board check out http://www.adambandt.com/volunteer

Duhoo3 karma

Hi, do you like the colour Green?

EDIT: Why the downvotes? Its a serious question.

AdamBandt29 karma

Yes, especially Pantone 355C.