I’ve lived in Brunswick since the early 1990s when I started work as a GP in community health.
Since then, Brunswick has been home and where my partner and I raised our family. Having kids in local government schools has drawn us into local events, like school fundraisers and Brunswick Zebras soccer games.
In 2018 I became the first ever Greens MP elected to represent the district of Brunswick.
‘I’ve always been interested in public health and preventive medicine. It even got me arrested many years ago for spraying a health warning on a cigarette billboard. But these days my motto is: Don’t get mad, get elected.’
Before becoming an MP I did a PhD and worked in a public HIV and sexual health clinic where I also researched antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted infections. Many of my patients were gay men and it was a wonderful journey working in HIV as new treatments were developed.
The struggle of gay men to reform the health system so it would prioritise their needs in responding to the HIV epidemic, made a great impression on me, early in my medical career. Much of the problem was fighting against the stigma of HIV and homosexuality. Today, I see exactly the same stigma attached to drug use. It’s a shame both major parties remain wedded to prohibition and refuse to treat drug use as a public health issue.
‘I want to bring a sense of energy and optimism back into local politics. We can start by improving public transport, and making cycling and walking safer. This is both good for our planet and for us because cycling and walking have significant health benefits.’
Australia had its highest year of carbon emissions in 2018 and by no surprise, the hottest month ever at the beginning of 2019. So when we encourage public and active transport (walking and cycling) the health of the planet improves too.
When I became an MP they offered me a car, but I prefer my bike or a tram. As a regular bike rider, I’m used to avoiding opening car doors and other routine hazards on the road. But we shouldn’t have to be so vigilant. Separated bike lanes make streets safer for cycling and encourage more people to leave the car at home. A separated bike lane on Sydney Road is one of my top priorities.
I’ve always loved getting out of the city and spending time in the bush. I’ve been on some great walks in the Otways, at the Prom and in Victoria’s high country. And in 2018 I rafted the Franklin River in Tasmania with my son. I want to see Australia’s forests, oceans and biodiversity protected from global warming.
We urgently need to reduce our carbon emissions so that Australia can become a leader in tackling climate change rather than a timid follower. Victoria burns the most polluting coal in the world, brown coal. I want to see Victoria be the first state in Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy and storage. Victoria can be a world leader of renewable energy technology, we just need the political will.
I hope you’ll join me in making this a reality.
Dr Tim Read
Greens MP for Brunswick