Graeme Booth 67, Retired Civil Engineer and Executive Coach, Hawthorn 

Graeme says lack of transparency is ruining our democracy.

I’ve never been involved in politics before but I’m doing it now because I owe it to future Australians to straighten things up. 

We’ve had a good life but I’m handing over a democracy that is spiralling down and a world that is badly damaged with climate change. I’m worried about what we are handing onto our children and grandchildren. 

What I am really concerned about is how the major political parties are funded. It gives invisible influence to government

This current federal government has been worse than any I can remember in terms of it doesn't have an agenda. It only has interests that it protects, and they seem to align as far as we can tell, and we can’t tell a lot because it’s all secret, with those that are funding them.

The Brits gave us a decent democracy, but we are frittering it away. The non-transparency of funding and secret access to government by people who are not constituents is dreadful. 

We are also seeing the weakening of institutions that protect democracy. This government is squeezing funding and resources for the auditor general, has not supported a free, independent press and cut funding to the ABC. The pork barrelling, which both parties do, is a significant problem. 

Unlike the major parties, we can trust independents because their allegiance is to us, their constituents. People like Monique, Zoe and Zali come from the community, and they only get to keep their jobs by virtue of community support. Their allegiance is to people like me, not to some big donor hidden behind layers of foundations and company names. 

I think if you've got a healthy democracy, you can cope with nearly anything. A strong democracy will enable us to address the big issues like climate change and our debt.  

"If you think about what’s possible for Australia ahead, you will understand the critical importance of independents heading us in the right direction. We don’t want more of the same." 

The Kooyong connection

Hawthorn is a lovely place to live. It keeps you positive and healthy with all the things we can do. My daughter and I can kayak together on the Yarra River and we have great access to top class sporting and cultural events. Our location here is brilliant.

Footy

Hawthorn. I’m happy with the team but not the club.