Thursday, January 02, 2014

a little birthday perspective

It's happened - I have officially entered the last year of my thirties... my fortieth year even. Woah.

Apart from wondering when this all happened, I have also been worrying about whether I look as old as I am, or (heaven forbid) perhaps older than my age!  Over the years many have thought me younger than I am, but lately not so much - a bit too much grey hair, a few too many crinkles at the edges.

Whatever anyone else thinks, I feel I don't know myself anymore, my face isn't what it used to be... I just don't look young anymore and I've lost my bearings.  This has been bothering me so much that I, a strong advocate of graceful greying and 'original highlights', have even been contemplating dying my hair.  Because that will make me younger. Ha.

I'm not sure which I find more confronting, the signs of aging or my obsession with them.  I've never been one for hiding my age - what is the point of being coy when we're all on the self same journey?  I am the age I am and no point pretending to be eternally 21.  What is there to be embarrassed about?  Time passes, I get older, so do you.  It's all very simple.  To find myself so caught up with appearances is, frankly, disappointing.  I thought I was better than that! I thought I was brave and strong, practical, and not given to (too much) superficiality, yet here I am quivering over an ever increasing head of grey hair, constantly assessing those around me to measure how I look for my age in comparison to them, considering giving up talking and smiling in order to preserve the smoothness of the skin around my eyes and mouth.  What is the source of such ridiculousness?!

I have a few thoughts on what my angst may stem from.  The first is not having children but wanting them.  I am fast running out of time - if I look older, I must be older, and that does not bode well for those ovaries and their precious eggs. Some romantic part of my brain seems to think that if I keep looking young then I just might be young and that baby is suddenly more likely.  Ah,  the games the mind does play.

The other source of my angst is probably the obsession of our society with eternal youth.  You just don't see many women who look their age sashaying their way around our screens and magazines.  Now I'm not one to spend a lot of time looking at screens and magazines, but the values of our culture have still seeped their way into my brain such that I feel a whole lot less worthy if I look older.  I look at a world full of young women and I want to shout at them, 'Don't just walk around without noticing how fabulous you look.  You are young and lovely.  Your skin is smooth, your hair lush, your eyes bright.  It won't last, so relish it while you have it!'  I also look around and see a plethora of gorgeous women (and men, but mostly I compare myself with women) who are aging gracefully and I think they look lovely and just right.  Age doesn't detract from their beauty.  But somehow, when it is me we're talking about, I worry that I might not be aging gracefully.  The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous, but I can't seem to help it. In short, I have double standards.

Today I discovered something of an antidote to my obsession with appearances.  I bumped into a work colleague I haven't seen for a few years.  We were buying fruit and vegetables next to each other and she turned to say hello, only I couldn't really understand her because her words slurred so much.  I thought she told me she had had a stroke and I was hopeful for her recovery, but once she gave up on my poor abilities to decipher her words she pulled out a note pad.  She hadn't had a stroke, she has motor neurone disease and has resigned from work because she is dying.  Slowly yes, but whichever way you look at it she is dying.  I cried after we said goodbye.  It was quite a shock to see her like that.  She might be in her fifties but she only has such a short time left.  Where is all my worry about appearances now?  Relegated to the dust bin I hope - people in the real world, outside of the movies and magazines, get sick and deteriorate and die, sometimes when they are old and sometimes well before their time.  When it all boils down, appearances don't count for that much really.  I'd rather be fit, healthy, grey haired and wrinkled than disintegrating or dead.  When you put it like that I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

Yesterday I read something else that also gave me pause.  I found it in 'Art as Therapy' by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong, part of a discussion about the moral messages of art.

Moral messages - messages that encourage our better selves - can be found in works of art that seem, initially, to have little interest in 'saying' anything to us.  Take a Korean moon jar.  Aside from being a useful receptacle, it is also a superlative homage to the virtue of modesty.  It stresses this quality by allowing minor blemishes to remain on its surface, by being full of variations of colour and having an imperfect glaze and an outline that does not follow an ideal oval trajectory.  Impurities have found their way into the kiln, resulting in a random array of black dots all over its surface.  The jar is modest because it seems not to mind about any of this.  Its flaws merely concede its disinterest in the race for status.  It has the wisdom not to ask to be thought too special.  It is not humble, just content with what it is.  For a person who is give to arrogance or anxiety about worldly status, and who frets about recognised at social gatherings, the sight of such a jar may be intensely moving as well as encouraging.  Seeing the ideal of modesty so clearly may make it obvious that one is in exile from it.  All the same, here it is, waiting for us in the jar.  It would be understandable if a person who was at heart sincere and good, whose arrogance was only a habit built up to protect a vulnerable part of themselves, shouls, as they contemplated the moon jar, find themselves yearning to make a change in their lives under the aegis of the values encoded in a piece of ceramic. (2014, p42)

The words that struck me most were these: The jar is modest because it seems not to mind about any of this... It is not humble, just content with what it is.  I dearly want to be like this.  At the moment I am caught up in minding all my seeming imperfections which aren't really imperfections. I grieve the loss of youth while forgetting the pleasures of increasing age such as a broadened outlook on life.  (This is exacerbated by not having had children to mark the years and remind me of their passing.)  I don't want to waste the rest of my life moaning that I am no longer young.  I want to not mind about any of this, to be content with what I am - grey hair and all.

So as I stare down the path of the next year to the big 4-0, I'm going to work at giving myself permission to stop worrying about the aging process.  Whether I can do this is a whole other question, but for now I'm going to embrace every one of my 39 years and who they have made me to be.  I'm alive and a whole lot bigger and wiser and better than I was the day I was born.  That's something worth celebrating!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

reason for voting green #7: liberal party policies are unconscionable and labor aren't much better

To be honest, I've pretty well zoned out of the 24/7 political news cycle.  My facebook feed keeps me up to date with policy announcements via a range of groups, and when I feel like it, I check in with twitter.  The daily policy announcements of the various political parties is little more than a dull hum in the background.

That being said, I am aware of the policies Labor and the LNP have been announcing lately.  One that stands out in my mind is LNP's policy on asylum seekers.  Here is their policy (as taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Establish a military-led response to border protection called Operation Sovereign Borders
  • Direct Navy to turn boats back when safe to do so
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island
  • Reintroduce temporary protection visas
  • Boost capacity on Nauru to house 2,000 people, eventually up to 5,000
  • Impose behaviour protocols on asylum seekers on bridging visas
  • Prioritise claims of asylum seekers in refugee camps over claims of boat arrivals
  • Maintain refugee intake at 13,750 per year
The temporary protection visas the Coalition intends to issue would last for three years, after which a refugee would have to have their situation reassessed (so much for cutting red tape).  If the security situation in their home country is assessed as having improved - back they go.  Family reunions will not be allowed, and refugees will not be allowed to work - except they may work for the dole.

Labor policy isn't much better.  They will do this (again taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • All asylum seekers arriving by boat will be sent to PNG for processing and settlement
  • No asylum seekers arriving by boat will ever be settled in Australia
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island and possibly other sites within PNG
  • Expand Manus Island detention centre to accommodate up to 3000 people
  • Increase refugee intake to 20,000 per year
  • Excise the mainland from Australia's migration zone
These policies make me unspeakably mad.  Both claim to be based on 'compassion' - they want to stop the asylum seekers coming to Australia in dangerous boats.  Well that must be the first time anyone in the western world takes responsibility for someone else's actions. Usually we try and worm our way out of taking responsibility for anything... but here, suddenly we feel so responsible for these people's lives we try and stop them taking a risky journey to our fair shores.  I smell a rat.  Both parties are telling big, stinking lies.  Their main motivation is not stopping people dying at sea - they just want to appeal to the red neck voter who is scared of asylum seekers.  The whole 'ethical' argument is ridiculous.  "Oh, we're so worried about them we're going to treat them like second class citizens, keeping their lives in never ending limbo, settling them in third world countries.  We can treat them badly, because what we really want is their safety."  What a load of codswallup!  The end does not justify the means, maleficence is maleficence whether the goal is beneficence or not.  (And I'm sorry - I've never walked in these people's shoes.  What gives me the right to tell them they are better off staying where they are, rather than jumping on a leaky boat and risking a perilous journey to safe shores?  We really have no idea what their every day life must be like!)

Here's some bible verses about the topic:

Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner...

Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 24:17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice...

Deuteronomy 27:19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

I've scratched the surface of verses relating to the way a foreigner should be treated.  The whole bible is a story of sharing goodness with the many. Way back when, God spoke to Abraham and said all nations would be blessed through him (Genesis 18:18).  We are not meant to hold our blessings close to our chest just for ourselves.  They are to be shared with those who are in need, including foreigners who come to us.  And it isn't just an Old Testament deal... Jesus made it pretty clear he wasn't just interested in serving his own people.  He healed a Canaanite woman's daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), threw demons out of a Gerasene (Mark 5), and healed a Roman soldier's servant (Luke 7:1-9).  Jesus was into sharing blessings.

LNP policies on asylum seekers make me want to weep.  They are cruel and heartless.  They appeal to all that is wrong in our society.  They go against biblical values.  Labor policies are little better. I absolutely cannot vote for a political party that takes the stance of these two parties.

So, another reason I'll be voting Green is because Labor and LNP policies on asylum seekers are unconscionable.  

(And I haven't even touched on the whole issue of push factors, international people movement, our contribution to war in the countries asylum seekers are coming from... the Greens policy on asylum seekers sees the bigger picture and seeks to address many of these issues.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

reasons for voting green #6: proactive action on poverty

Following on from yesterday, the Greens' policies aimed at addressing poverty and inequality in the world extend well beyond foreign aid.  They have a whole raft of policies to address poverty, and they can all be found categorised here

I like the sound of their policies a lot.  Here are a few of them:

 - Ban gambling on kid's TV
 - Cut housing waiting lists
 - Dollar bet limits
 - Homelessness
 - Housing
 - Social services
 - Getting smart on crime

I've read a couple of their information pages and I like their whole new approach.  'Getting smart on crime' is a play on 'Getting tough on crime' and it focuses on proactive prevention rather than dealing with crime after the fact.  I've always been keen on the idea of prevention, whether it relates to health or risk management... or crime.  Their policy for dollar bet limits is another example of the Greens' intention to be proactive rather than reactive.

After (briefly) outlining the biblical emphasis on addressing poverty yesterday, I won't add more to it today.  (Rest assured though, that I could.  Poverty and compassion are key biblical themes)  Suffice to say that I like the Greens' approach to dealing with poverty.  They have thought about many aspects of poverty in Australia (and the world) and developed a broad suite of policies to address them.  Once again their policies line up with biblical principles.

I'm voting Green because they have a proactive plan for reducing poverty.

Monday, August 12, 2013

reasons for voting green #5: foreign aid

It's been a busy few days around here, but now it's time to get back into analysing why I'm comfortable voting green this election.

As I mentioned last post, last Thursday night Frank and I went to a 'Make Poverty History' forum and heard from each of our local candidates about their party's policy on foreign aid.  To quickly review: The Hon Geoff Lyons (Labor member for Bass) outlined the work of Australia's foreign aid around the world and reiterated Labor's policy of meeting the Australian commitment to give 0.7% GDP by 2016/17 to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.  Mr Andrew Nikolic (Liberal candidate for Bass) outlined how important a role the military play in the provision of foreign aid, and stated the Liberal policy of focusing foreign aid on our local Asia-Pacific region because this will have the greatest benefit for us in terms of peace and stability.  Ms Lucy Landon-Lane (Australian Greens candidate for Bass) pointed to the Greens' ongoing commitment to increase Australia's foreign aid to 0.7% GDP by introducing levies on mining companies and the big banks.

I was pleased to hear what Australia's foreign aid is achieving (here's a postcard from Micah Challenge with a very brief summary of achievements - click through to the second page for the figures), but it is disappointing that Labor thinks our promise to give 0.7% GDP can be continually pushed back to suit our own economic needs. I was pretty appalled by Andrew Nikolic's constant reference to the military and by the way he linked foreign aid with national benefit for Australia.  I wonder if it can even be considered aid if our national interests are the main motivation for our giving, rather than a compassionate response to extreme poverty in any part of the world.  I find the Greens' policy most aligned with what the bible has to say on helping the poor.

Here's a very brief overview of a few of the things the bible has to say about the poor.

In Leviticus 19 and 23, Israel is given instructions to leave some fruit in their vineyards and grain in their fields for the poor and foreigners to gather after the harvest.  Deuteronomy 15 has quite a lot to say about helping the poor - debts are to be cancelled at the end of the seventh year (v1), help those you come across who are in need, open your purse to them (v7,8), give freely and spontaneously (v10), and always be generous to those who are poor and hurting (v11).  Psalm 140:12 says God is on the side of victims and cares for the rights of the poor.  Proverbs 14:31 says God is insulted when the poor are insulted, but God is honoured when people are kind to the poor. Proverbs 28:27 exhorts the reader to be generous to the poor.  In Luke 4 Jesus proclaimed that he had come to bring good news to the poor, and (in a widely sweeping, unreferenced, broad brush stroke) the ultimate biblical vision for the transformation of all things is a world in which there is no sadness, pain, hunger, thirst, exploitation or poverty.

The biblical ideal is for the poor to be treated with respect, and compassion, and ultimately that poverty will be overcome.  The Greens' foreign aid policy dovetails beautifully with this biblical ideal.

I'll be voting Green because the Greens have a policy of giving to the poor in other countries because it is the right thing to do.

(I realise this is a very, very, very brief overview... with more minutes in a day I would expand further.  If it interests you - go dig into the Greens Overseas Aid policy and the bible.  It's all very interesting.)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

reasons for this christian voting green: i have a super local candidate! (#4)

Tonight I went to a 'Make Poverty History' forum of local candidates for the Bass electorate.  I'll be really honest with you... it wasn't a game changer for me.  My primary vote and preferences remain as they were prior to the forum.  That's OK.  It was well worth going in order to see and hear each of the candidates live and in person.

Here's my run down of the evening.

The forum was chaired by the Hon Don Wing AM.

Kathryn Martin (Make Poverty History) spoke on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the need for Australia to increase foreign aid from the current 0.35% GDP to its promised 0.7% GDP if the MDGs are to be met.

The Hon Geoff Lyons MP (Labor) presented an overview of the projects Australia's foreign aid budget has been directed towards.  Our aid is doing great things - I really appreciated hearing about them.  Mr Lyons also reaffirmed Labors commitment to increasing the foreign aid budget to 0.5% GDP by 2016/2017.

Mr Andrew Nikolic (Liberal candidate) began by detailing how personally knowledgeable he is on the topic of foreign aid, having distributed aid in multiple locations around the world while a member of the military.  He went so far as to suggest military spending was akin to foreign aid in many situations.  Mr Nikolic presented the idea that any Australian foreign aid should be spent in our own Asia-Pacific region, where it will have the most benefit for us in terms of increasing our security and border control.  He argued that foreign aid cannot and should not be increased until the Australian economy is strong - we must be in a strong financial position before we can be generous to others.  We may also need to increase our military budget and intervention in nearby countries for our own peace of mind, for while there is poverty in these countries they are unstable and present a threat to us.  On numerous occasions Mr Nikolic emphasised the importance of evidence based policy, citing statistics and what he perceived as Labor government failings in their management of the economy.  (Got to love a bit of political point scoring whenever one has a platform to do so.  To be fair, Mr Lyons pointed out some perceived Liberal failings on one occasion I can recall, but he mostly managed to stick to presenting either a Labor policy or his personal perspective on world poverty and foreign aid.)

Ms Lucy Landon-Lane (Greens candidate) reiterated the importance of meeting the MDGs by increasing Australian foreign aid to 0.7% GDP, both because it will improve the lives of billions of people and because we said we would.  She pointed out that well directed foreign aid might be a way to help people live happily in their own country rather than needing to risk a dangerous journey here as asylum seekers.  Ms Landon-Lane pointed out that some of what the government claimed was foreign aid was instead wrongly classified military spending in Afghanistan.  She spoke of the need to move beyond narrow, short term high economic growth strategies and instead reinforce the balance between economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Both Ms Landon-Lane and Mr Lyons talked about the importance of climate change mitigation in the fight against poverty, since it is the poorest countries in the world who will be most effected by climate change.

Lucy Landon-Lane was the stand out speaker in my opinion.  She came across as relaxed, well informed and caring.  Geoff Lyons isn't the world's best public speaker, but he was sincere and I really appreciated hearing of some of the specific differences Australian foreign aid has made.  Andrew Nikolic was relaxed to the point of slick, overly concerned with the role of the military and defence in foreign aid (and every area of government policy by the sound of it), and more concerned about the plight of poor struggling Australia than the poor struggling to survive on $1.25 a day.  He certainly ticked all the Liberal boxes, decrying regulation on multi-national countries (although this was probably realistic in the context of the question he was answering), and placing the comfort of Australians before the needs of those in other parts of the world who live in poverty.  Based on their speeches and responses tonight, I'm comfortable with the election choices I have made.

On a more personal note, Frank and I have known Lucy Landon-Lane for a few years now, through our involvement with 'Pulp the Mill' peaceful protests.  She is someone I admire - a warm, calm, spiritual, intelligent person who is self-aware and lives in a very thoughtful, deliberate way.  Perhaps it is impossible to maintain that kind of character in politics, but I would love to have a person like Lucy representing me.  Realistically, Lucy is unlikely to be elected to parliament, which is a shame.

Yes, I know... you have a different candidate from me so perhaps you don't think this one reason for voting Green applies to you.  But let me encourage you to get out there and meet your candidates or listen to them in person at political events in your electorate.   The media doesn't always present them fairly or accurately and seeing them live, unedited and in the flesh may help you decide who to vote for.

Anyway, I'm voting Green because I have a fantastic local candidate who would carry herself well in the maelstrom of federal politics.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

on being christian and voting green (#3)

Do you have a philosophical, moral, religious or ethical yard stick against which you measure a political party?  Is there one issue you consider a deal breaker when choosing who to vote for?  Is there a line which, upon being crossed by a political party, prevents you from voting for them?  My answers would be: yes, yes and yes.  With caveats.  

I grew up in a house of black and white.  There were rules and lines and we all knew where we stood - basically do everything Dad said, or else.  However, the older I get, the less I see the world as black and white.  I don't think I've succumbed to sepia or murky grey, more that my world has filled with fabulous colour, variety, contrast and nuance.  I still have a few non-negotiables, but it takes a lot of pushing before I'll resort to them... although thinking about it, I probably pull them out more often than I think.  Maybe I just don't bang on about them so loudly as I once did.  (Is this the point to apologise to my fellow high school students for my many painful attempts to convert you?)

I suspect this is one of the reasons I am comfortable with voting Green. They aren't Christian, and don't claim to be.  My understanding of their history is that they have been actively anti-Christian, though this understanding comes from hearsay rather than personal research or experience.  Looking at this through the good old black and white glasses - they cross the line and shouldn't be voted for.  But swap the glasses for the nuanced outlook, and the line moves.  Actually, more than the line moving, it splinters into multiple lines.  Last night I wrote about one of my lines (justice).  Others include environmental sustainability, foreign aid, renewable energy, asylum seeker policy... I have a lot of lines and I hope to write about more of them over the next few weeks.

Would I like it if the Greens embraced people of faith?  Absolutely.  I've always found it strange that 'progressive' groups who claim to be about justice and openness, freedom and choice on the one hand, are anti-religion and discriminatory in their rhetoric towards those of faith on the other hand.  I'm not thinking so much of the Greens here as New Internationalist.  They write country profiles, judging them on indicators of freedom around homosexuality and political persuasion.  They almost never comment on religious freedom - or, as more often the case may be, the lack of religious freedom.  This strikes me as rather hypocritical, but I guess Christianity has done itself no favours through history.  When it was the dominant religion in the West it did a pretty good job of restricting the freedom of anyone who disagreed.  Perhaps the progressive groups consider it time for some payback.

So, I would value a greater openness towards, and respect for people of faith on the part of the Greens.  However, this is just one of my political party yard sticks, and it isn't the biggest one.  Sure, I'm a school chaplain and a vote for the Greens is effectively a vote against my job, which is a bit of a shame.  (If I thought they were going to get into power I would be lobbying them hard on the school chaplaincy issue.  I might do that anyway.)  But to me, they embody enough of what God is about (see yesterday's post) for me to vote for them.  They tick the boxes in many areas that matter to me more than that they be pro-Christian.

That reminds me of another issue I have with much of today's Christianity.  We have this overweening sense of entitlement, because we are right.  On everything.  Full stop.  Because the Bible is the Word of God and it tells us everything that is right and wrong.  And if we are right, then everything and everyone else is wrong.  We can also dictate how everyone else should live and demand the law ensures everyone lives the right way. Because we are right. Back to that black and white thing.

I just don't see it that way.  I choose to try and live my life in light of the lines I believe can be drawn from the bible.  I don't see why someone who doesn't believe the bible should be brow beaten into my way of living.  Of course there are universal morals and ethics that help keep order in society, and the bible may well have been a major influence in the values we hold as a society, but I don't expect others to live by the standards I hold for myself.  (Heck, I can't even live by them myself sometimes!)  So if the Greens aren't Christian, that's OK.

Here's another thought.  Even though the Greens aren't Christian and don't make any claim on being at all influenced by Christianity, there is still goodness to be found in their beliefs and policies.  I know I've said this before, but there is still a Christian ethic in what they stand for.  This flies in the face of much of the dogma I grew up with.  Christianity seemed to think that because it was right and good, it was the only place where goodness could be found.  I remember my Dad saying in all seriousness that certain people were Catholic, 'but I think they are really Christian.'  He seemed surprised that goodness could be found outside of protestant evangelicalism.  When I talk to some people, they seem to not want to vote Greens because they aren't Christian - and they can't be good if they aren't Christian.  They trip over their lines in the sand.

If you are a black-and-white, line in the sand, yard stick kind of a person, you may think this post is one big exercise in justification by an obviously back slidden Christian.  I can live with that.  One of my favourite bible passages is Romans 8:1, 'There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus'.  My faith journey has caught me by surprise in many ways, and sometimes it scares me (what if I really am back slidden?!).  Mostly though, I love my faith walk and I love God.  I trust God helps me to stay true.

In the meantime, I'm voting Green because I think their positives outweigh their lack of religious beliefs.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

how a christian can vote green #2

What do you think of when you think of the Greens? One of the first things that comes to mind for me is their commitment to social justice. It is possible I think of their commitment to justice before an image of trees or wilderness pops into my mind. Head over to the Greens website and social justice is listed as one of their core beliefs.

Well, what do you know... justice seems to be one of the things God is pretty passionate about too.  In fact, justice is frequently used of God and the work God does in the world.  Check out Bible Gateway for a whole raft of verses about justice.  Here are a few:

For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice. (Psalm 11:7 NIV)
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6 NIV)
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. (Psalm 140:12 NIV)

Like I said yesterday, I'm not presenting exegesis here and I don't have time to explore the theme of justice as it is presented in the whole bible.  Suffice to say, it is super important.  So important that someone who cut all the verses about justice out of their bible wasn't left with very much.  Others have done the reverse, highlighting every passage that relates to justice and printing a special Poverty and Justice edition of the bible.

Looking at Jesus' work in the Gospels is enlightening.  He constantly defended and healed the outcasts on the fringe of society - 'unclean' women, lepers, children, prostitutes.  He made it clear what he thought of riches (they'll stop you getting in to heaven).  Jesus lived and breathed justice in all he did.  Isaiah said of him:
He’ll set everything right among the nations.
He won’t call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,
but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right. (Isaiah 42:3-4 MSG)
Yesterday I mentioned my love of the biblical vision for a transformed world.  That vision is wholly tied up with justice. The Old Testament prophets called for it (Amos 5:24 "...let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!"), Jesus said he was the one who would bring it (Luke 4:16-21), and in the end there won't be people with nasty power running around hurting others (A very loose paraphrase of Isaiah 11:6).

God's love of justice goes beyond God's personal characteristics, Jesus' activities, and the future transformation of the world.  It extends to everyone.  We are all instructed to act with justice.  The bible makes it pretty clear that people who are righteous promote justice, live justice, love justice.  Proverbs 29:7 is a quick example: The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.  A more well known passage is Micah 6:8,
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
The bible is left, right and centre filled with justice.  If I want to say I'm following God, living God's way, and working for God in the world... I better be acting justly.  I'd better have a heart for the poor and powerless.  I'd better not be too greedy.  I'd better be doing everything I can to see that justice is done.

It doesn't take much of a critical eye to see that our national conversation is not much coloured by justice.  Kick out the boat people, give employers extra power over their employees so they can make more money, reduce the financial support for single mothers, keep pensioners and the unemployed living at the poverty line etc, etc... I'd say both major parties are pretty much tarnished with the same light-on-justice brush.  Meanwhile the Greens consider justice one of their four core beliefs.  (Wikileaks are also running with a 'justice' platform)

"But they support abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage," I hear you splutter again, and while I hope to write more on those topics later, that argument just doesn't wash with me.  If I think of the Greens' policies on these matters, I think even they are motivated by justice.  They reach a different place from me, but at the core of the Greens is a desire for people to have freedom and rights, rather than being dictated to by those who have power and status and money.  My conclusions on social and moral issues may not fully align with the Greens, however I respect the approach they have taken in making their decisions.  Their motive and heart is good.  In the grand scheme of things, justice matters to God.  It matters so much that it is a major theme of the whole bible, it is the end game we are aiming for at the end of time.  Justice should matter to people who follow God. For me, it trumps issues of personal morality.  

That's my second reason for voting Green.  I'm voting for justice.