‘We Are in a Climate Crisis’: First Gen Z MP Elected to the Australian Capital Territory

Laura Nuttall has become the new Greens member for Brindabella in Canberra, Australia
‘We Are in a Climate Crisis’: First Gen Z MP Elected to the Australian Capital Territory
Wind turbines can be seen in Albany, Western Australia, on Aug 4, 2023. (Susan Mortimer/The Epoch Times)
Monica O’Shea

Climate change advocate Laura Nuttall has become the first person from Generation Z to join the Legislative Assembly in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

The incoming Greens member for Brindabella, 24, replaces Johnathan Davis, who was stood down amid alleged underage sex complaints. Mr. Davis was the party’s spokesperson for LGBT affairs, health, and education.

ACT Greens candidate Ms. Nuttall was announced as his replacement after a countback for the vacancy.

A recent university graduate, Ms. Nuttall has completed a double bachelor’s degree in politics, philosophy, economics, and Asian studies.

Her employment experience includes working as a library services officer and coordinator at Libraries ACT since April 2023, as well as being a policy advisor while studying within the ACT Parliament.

“I’m Laura, an energetic and diligent library coordinator just starting out in my career,” Ms. Nuttall states on her LinkedIn profile.

Ms. Nuttall plans to advocate for the climate, rent controls, environment, economic justice, and young people as a parliamentarian.

“We are in a climate crisis, and it’s young people who are going to wear the consequences of the decisions we make today so it’s especially important that we have a seat at the table when those decisions are made.,” she said.

“As a representative for the ACT Greens, I want to ensure we take real action to fix the inequality crisis that is impacting so many Canberrans. I will also be advocating for policies that help young people, like better rent controls.”

“The environment is a key priority for me.”

The ACT Legislative Assembly consists of 25 elected members from five electorates.

Out of these seats, Labor holds 10, the Greens have six, and the Liberal Party controls nine seats. Members are elected via the Hare-Clark single transferable vote proportional representation system every four years.

A full election for the ACT is due on Oct. 19, 2024.

Parliamentarians also receive a base salary (pdf) of $183,299 per year according to a determination of the Australian Capital Territory Remuneration Tribunal in June 2023.

Leader of the ACT Greens Shane Rattenbury said he and his colleagues were thrilled to have Ms. Nuttall join the Greens team in the Assembly.

“As the first Gen Z representative in the Legislative Assembly, Laura brings an important perspective that will benefit all of the decisions we make in this place” he said.

“Laura is clearly driven by the intersecting problems around the environment, inequality, and the intergenerational impact of those.”

Billion-Dollar Public Education Build

Meanwhile, the ACT government has announced a billion-dollar (US$661.9 million) public education build for Nov. 27.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr described this as the “biggest investment in education infrastructure in ACT history.

“As the Territory continues to grow, the ACT government is making sure that every local school is a great school,” he said in a statement.

The funding will be allocated for new schools and major renovations at existing schools.

Education Minister Yvette Berry said, “The ACT government has a strong pipeline of investment in both new and expanded schools and colleges planned across Canberra to meet expected public school demand well into the future.”