It’s a cold and miserable afternoon at the Glenferrie Road pre-polling station and Sustainable Australia candidate for Higgins Michaela Moran greets voters with a smile and a pamphlet about her party’s policies. A second-time election candidate, Moran has a lot of sympathy for politicians. “It’s not easy being a politician,” Moran says. “A campaign is a lot of work, there’s a lot of work involved personally.”
Born and raised in East Malvern, Ms Moran ran for the seat of Malvern in last year’s Victorian election. The 41-year-old communications consultant gained 3.13 per cent of first preference votes in her state election run, ahead of Animal Justice Party’s Candace Field. When asked why she decided to run for the seat of Higgins this federal election, Moran says she isn’t a “career politician”. Rather, her run is a culmination of many things including her disillusionment with the major parties and a request by Sustainable Australia president William Bourke.
Rather than sitting on the sideline, Moran decided to be active in order to put pressure on the government and raise awareness about Sustainable Australia’s platform. “I’d come back from living overseas for a number of years and was a bit dismayed at the amount of over development and inappropriate development that was going on in Melbourne,” she says. She says that overpopulation has caused the demolition of a lot of heritage buildings as well as degradation of the natural environment around Higgins in which she grew up.
Raised in a “politically engaged” family and going on to major in Australian politics at Monash University, Moran says she feels she’s always been very engaged in politics but was never involved before her run for in the 2018 state election. She says that these days, parliament would benefit from having politicians with varied life experiences rather than career politicians.
Moran says anti-migrant allegations against high profile entrepreneur Dick Smith, who has endorsed Sustainable Australia, haven’t affected her determination to talk about the strain rapid population growth is taking on Australia. “We don’t care where you came from. That’s not the point, it’s all numbers,” Moran says. “Sustainable Australia are very pro-immigration; they just want to bring it back to the historical average which was 70 000 per annum”.
Moran says Australia’s rapid population growth since John Howard’s prime ministership has put far too much pressure on current infrastructure. She says Sustainable Australia’s main aim is to force a discussion on management of population growth “without being called racist”.
Moran says she recognises the diversity within her electorate of Higgins; from the millennials in Prahran to established families within Toorak. She says population pressure in the electorate remains one of the key issues in this election.