JThis week I was shocked to find myself on the front page of Australian media and other Murdoch-owned outlets, where I was accused of being anti-Israel. This came as a huge surprise not only to me, but also to my family, neighbors and the many professional colleagues I worked with as an editor and climate activist.
It was a shock because, although I have been targeted for years for my work on climate change, I have never been the target of a politically motivated hit aimed at undermining the independent candidates I support.
It was also a shock to read that I am anti-Israeli because I am not anti-Israeli. I am not an anti-Israeli activist. I am not an Israel expert and do not claim to be. I leave that to those who do the hard work of making it their area of expertise.
I have deep friendships and work closely with colleagues in the Jewish community in Australia, the United States and around the world. Somehow I am being used by Murdoch’s media to try to weaponize the Israel issue, divide the Jewish community and turn it against sensible independent candidates.
I’m a human, not a tweet. But that’s how the Aussie decided to define me based on three retweets (retweets!) I posted. Two of them were over 10 years old. I retweeted about the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign during this year’s Sydney festival because it was a campaign that was very quick and was discussed a lot in the campaigning world. I did not participate in this campaign nor did I call on people to boycott the festival. I went to a festival myself.
As a citizen exercising my right to free speech, my other two retweets were about specific human rights violations. This is something close to my heart, not only in Israel, but all over the world.
In the wake of this personal attack – and threats of others like it to come – what doesn’t shock me is that it happened. Murdoch’s media and the liberal party seem to specialize in bullying and intimidating those they oppose. This poses a real threat to fair elections in Australia.
Sure, I was the title, but that’s not about me. It’s about smearing by association the vibrant, independent, mostly female candidates I support and who I believe offer Australia’s best chance for positive change in the May election.
I am just a pawn to be sacrificed for the Aussie to defeat a powerful slate of independent candidates who believe in the integrity of government and want to change the toxic political culture in Canberra.
I fervently support these candidates because they stand for sound policies for the public good. I don’t write their policies on anything – that’s their job – and from what I’ve seen they are very good at it. We have seen what they can do. Their medical evacuation, climate and integrity bills are exactly the kind of policy Australia needs. I support these candidates because it is time to see what independents can do.
What I am, to my surprise, is a big enough threat to make headlines. It seems laughable and paranoid – that the Aussie would single out a single volunteer for such scrutiny. Wentworth Liberal MP Dave Sharma started tweeting pictures of me.
But that doesn’t mean it hurts less. As anyone who knows me knows, I have worked hard for three decades as a climate activist, journalist and businesswoman. I volunteer in my community. I have a family. After watching Michael Towke’s painful interview on The Project this week, I can’t imagine what he and his family went through when Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his team went to work on him.
That’s why I think it’s so important to bring independents to power. And that’s what it’s all about.
This week, global climate scientists said we only have three years to start cutting emissions for a habitable planet. The independent candidates I support want to do more than send their prayers as another round of deadly floods hit Lismore and Sydney, or when the next devastating fires burn in Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales .
Independents want action from the federal government that responds to the urgency of the crisis. It’s time to vote for elected officials who will tackle this threat, not hide from it. It’s time to vote for independent candidates who have put the fight against the climate at the top of their agendas.
I ended up on the cover of The Australian because I dared to volunteer and speak out about these candidates and their priorities. As we head into the May election, I ask my fellow Australians to focus on that, not coverage of the Australian attacks.
I will be there with you. And I will continue to speak out, tweet and campaign for climate solutions and policies. Meet at the voting booth.