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Ogy Simic, Andrew Bond, Tamasin Ramsay, Martin Foley and Jarryd Bartle image © Serge Thomann

Albert Park Candidates Forum 2018

Text by Kerrie Pacholli  / Images by Serge Thomann / films by Kerrie Pacholli & Andre Le Coz © pationpics.com

Ogy Simic, Andrew Bond, Tamasin Ramsay, Martin Foley and Jarryd Bartle image © Serge Thomann

Ogy Simic, Andrew Bond, Tamasin Ramsay, Martin Foley and Jarryd Bartle image © Serge Thomann

Reason Victoria, Liberal, Animal Justice, Labor and Greens Parties gathered at the Alex Theatre that hosted a timely Albert Park Candidates Forum organised by unChain Port Phillip and Live.org.au and supported by 22 other local community groups.

 

As an independent producer and volunteer journalist for St Kilda News I was invited to cover this event. I am please to report I found this forum to be very compelling and very illuminating.

The night was long, a three-hour gig.

Jarryd Bartle from Reason Victoria was first cab of the rank. He made clear his party’s policies on sex, drugs and rock n roll. He stressed the party’s desires to have an evidence-based approach to crime, drug law reform, harm minimization, religion, tax, transparency and accountability in parliament to name a few topics.

Next up was Andrew Bond for the Liberals, who spearheaded his party’s concerns on congestion, crime, safety and CCTV on the streets and how those issue have been handled over the last four years.

In answer to Andrew Bond’s statements on these issues was Martin Foley who has been an Albert Park member since 2007. Martin is also a current Minister in the Andrews State Labor government with portfolios that include Housing, Disability and Ageing, Mental Health and Equality as well as Creative Industries.

With robust experience working in the field, Martin eloquently made clear that Labor is on its party line track and looking to continue to set a positive plan for a progressive future with bold reforms using the potential of Fishermans Bend as a lynch pin site to getting things right.

Greens candidate Ogy Simic also gave a strong voice to the Greens policies making clear that this Victoria State election is very significant for an inclusive future in facing issues on the impact of climate change and a healthy society; naming issues of housing, poverty, transport and assisting the vulnerable, with a new view, attitude and approach.

To finish was Dr. Tamasin Ramsey for the Animal Justice Party who illuminated to everyone that humans consist of .02 of 1 % of the global population and how important it is for we humans to realize that other living creatures consist of 99.9 % of all life on earth. Working as a paramedic on the streets also gave Tamasin experience into the plights of humans and a clear, clean insight into the importance of changing our attitudes, practices and interrelationships  for a positive and healthy future for all life on earth.

Our media team, consisting of pationpics commissioned by St Kilda News and Mynewsroom,  have produced a short film of the Forum with an extended podcast of the entire forum giving you, the electorate, insight into these individuals and their party’s polices. We hope you find this useful for your vote.

Community Groups supporting the forum are: unChain Port Phillip, LIVE.ORG.AU, Port Phillip Alliance for Sustainability (PPAS), South Port Urban Responsible Renewal (SPURR), Port People, Port Phillip EcoCentre, St.Kilda Junction Area Action Group (JAAG), Sacred Heart Mission, Port Phillip Bicycle Users Group (BUG), Community Alliance of Port Phillip (CAPP), This Week in St Kilda (TWISK), Bayside Climate Change Action Group (BCCAG), Veg Out Community Gardens St Kilda, (VEG OUT), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Beach Patrol Port Melbourne, Albert Park, South Melbourne and St Kilda and Love Our Streets (LOS) Port Melbourne and Elwood, Beacon Cove Neighbourhood Association (BCNA), Montague Community Alliance, Friends of St Kilda, St Kilda News, pationpics.com, Mynewsroom.

Below  is a Podcast of the entire Albert Park Candidates Forum which was organised by unChain Port Phillip and Live.org.au and supported by 20 local community groups, hosted by the Alex Theatre St Kilda.

 

 

Emily Humphries St Kilda based artist image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com copy

The Soul of St Kilda

Text by Kerrie Pacholli & Emily Humphries

St Kilda seems to have it all, spectacular sunsets and beach side boardwalks. A rich history of vice and crime, art and culture. Trams that connect to the four corners of Melbourne and beyond. Palm trees, parks, lots of heritage buildings, three outstanding theatres as well as eateries, pubs and bars that play live music to a reasonable hour.

Why has the centre of Fitzroy Street turned into a tumbleweed zone? No one seems to be able to pinpoint the answer to that.

Legend has it that when the artists colony that was Chronicles Bookshop was unceremoniously closed down due to relentless external pressure for dubious and nebulous reasons Fitzroy’s street’s soul had been ripped out.

Or when the toilet block was demolished in what was nationally known by the indigenous community as Koori Park a spookily vacuous and resonating effect was left on the street. Who knows for sure?

What we do know is that the culmination of many quickly imposed plans devised to reinvigorate Fitzroy St. have predominantly failed.

Sadly, despite heavy investiture the area still has issues. Many people including local and state governments are looking to local Arts & Culture as a potential remedy..

I asked local St Kilda resident, mentor, writer and visual artist, Emily Humphries to comment on how the area and local Art and Artists might be able to lend a hand, and if she has any insight into a problem that many wealthy residents and investors have failed to solve. This is what she said.

Emily Humphries St Kilda based artist image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com copy

Emily Humphries St Kilda based artist image by Kerrie Pacholli © pationpics.com

…“ When Dolores San Miguel opened the doors of the Crystal Ballroom in 1978 it dragged St Kilda groaning and kicking from its post war malaise as Melbourne youth awoke with a yelp.  What had once been the terrain of wealthy seaside residents, the area that spans from the juncture of Barkley St and Alma Rd. was held high with grand mansions, which scattered like in any European seaside town, over the hill and down to the sea.

The Ballroom was a cultural incarnation of what had been a once vibrant area, yet with quite another face and sadly Melbourne failed to truly celebrate the relevance or recognize quite the qualities of the power house of talent destined to largely desert not just St Kilda, but our shores. Thus there is no real mystery to its decline.

A failure to support or invest in the arts and artists is deadly. There is the organic folding process of any place or thing as it reshapes into another, as a fairly natural phenomenon. St Kilda has never really reformed since the late 80’s and since the large flight of junkies and drug culture to the North of the river there has been a slow process to rocked St Kilda’s heart.

St Kilda is loaded with potential however sometimes the grander enterprises spit people back onto the street with their exclusivity and frosted windows. The general public walk by with nothing much to grasp onto. Where is the soul in this?

The recent rise of the St Kilda Art Crawl in the city of Port Phillip was a really exciting thing. Despite our craft run along the Esplanade there is a chance here to bring back some of the vitality St Kilda now lacks. Why, because it brings a focus back to the expressive, the ‘street tongue’. If you want the street to resound you need to give it a voice and how better to do it than to support and invest in those who make the area their dialogue not just their economy. I really believe it is in the interest of the local businesses to invest in those who make a kind of “noise” about and around them.

There is a reflective quality to the neglect we have given our artists being played out in our deadly streetscape. We have Rowland Howard Lane but where is Rowland Howard? Despite being one of our precious jewels of cultural input Rowland died way too young and although some point the finger at a kind of lifestyle, artists very often have little choice in how they live as they medicate to navigate a culture which undervalues and fails to support them financially or even expressively.

Often our greatest talents end up in housing commissions on disability pensions or are forced to be educators. Without the support or security to simply weave their magic alight and contribute en force, artists in this country are robbed of their esteem by a culture which puts too much emphasis on convention and economic prowess.

I believe, with all my heart, that local business would benefit by investing in local Art & Culture artists that live in every St Kilda block, our heritage alive yet buried,

If we bring in some respect, some heart back into the heart beat of our culture of our area the vigor will return and our street and geography will not be left desolate and reflecting a kind of grief that no end of designer shops or fancy restaurants can stuff”…

Emily Humphries