Victorian barrister Brian Walters SC has won preselection to contest the seat of Melbourne for the Greens party in next year's state election.
Walters told Lawyers Weekly that if he was elected he wanted to improve the quality of government in Victoria.
"The Greens aren't going to win government, but what I would like to do is have environmental issues and issues of human rights taken more seriously by the major parties," he said.
"The Victorian Government has not been dealing with the issues that have mattered in relation to the current climate crisis, the water crisis and other issues such as the crisis in public transport and it seems time that there be a voice in the lower house of Parliament which can tackle those issues."
Walters was critical that Victoria is still logging water catchments and said a great deal of biodiversity is lost, as well as 15 gigalitres of water a year, which could service "hundreds of thousands" of Melbourne households.
"Instead of buying those logging licences out for a few million dollars, we are spending billions of dollars on the desalination plant, which will cause more environmental damage," he said.
"We are experiencing global warming in Victoria. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the mean temperature is now one degree hotter than it was in 1950. Despite that, the Victorian Government is still commissioning, as it did last year, more coal-fired power stations. So we are not actually taking the action that is needed to change circumstances ... rather, changes are going to be forced on us if we don't act."
Walters said that the skills he has gained by practising as a barrister for 27 years can be transferred into political representation.
"It will help me because I am used to speaking and speaking for people ... and secondly it will enable me to bring a critical mind to bear in relation to legislation that comes before the Parliament, which is, again, something I've been doing all my career. Thirdly it does give me the skill of being able to sift away the relevant from the irrelevant in dealing with issues," he said.
Education Minister Bronwyn Pike currently holds that seat for the Labor party, retaining Melbourne with a 2.1 per cent margin in the last election. However, the Greens ranked second, and, as a result, the seat is seen as the most attainable for the Greens.
- Sarah Sharples