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Celeste Liddle Yarns About Upcoming Federal Election

Celeste Liddle is a Arrernte woman, unionist, feminist and writer, who is ready to fight for our future. In May 2021, Celeste was announced as the Greens candidate for the inner northern Melbourne seat of Cooper for the next Federal election.

I’ve lived in this area for over two decades. Preston market is my local and I’m a big supporter of our live music scene. Our community is diverse and creative and has one of the highest proportions of Indigenous people in Victoria. We need a representative from a truly progressive party that’s powered by people instead of big corporate donors.

As a union organiser, I’ve seen first-hand the power of collective action. With a small change in the vote, we can hold the balance of power. We can tax billionaires to fund a massive increase in renewable energy and get dental into Medicare. Treaties and proper recognition of Indigenous sovereignty, as well as robust rights for workers are all possible. Together we can act where the major parties won’t.

Celeste Liddle is also an accomplished panellist and public speaker. She has appeared at the Bendigo Writers’ Festival, All About Women, Antidote Festival, Women of the World, and a number of others. She has been a regular voice on radio as well, in particular giving comment to the National Indigenous Radio Service, CAAMA and ABC Radio National. In 2016, she delivered the International Women’s Day Address for the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre and also gave the Molly Hadfield Oration for the City of Darebin.

Celeste Liddle has a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in theatre and drama from La Trobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Arts (political sciences mainly) from the University of Melbourne and a master’s in communications and Media Studies from Monash University. In her time both writing and speaking, Celeste Liddle has gained a certain notoriety and a fair bit of praise for delivering tough topics in concise and accessible ways. Mixing a bit of anecdote and humour as she goes along, Celeste takes her lead from many amazing Indigenous thinkers who have inspired her along the way. There have been times recently where I have delayed going to the dentist because I couldn't afford it. I have been worried that if I can afford the consult, I can't afford the treatment. I am not alone. At least 25% of people in our community have put off a trip to the dentist because of cost. This must stop.

Everyone should be able to use their Medicare card when they go to the dentist, just like when they go to the doctor. Only the Greens have a plan to make this happen. Nearly 6 million people in this country are living with at least one dental health issue. This problem is not going away on its own. We need to expand Medicare to include dental health for all. Dental health is strongly linked to other health outcomes and we are seeing a widening gap in our society. The most vulnerable are being short changed yet again. Dental health is particularly poor in First Nations communities.

Experts like Dr Lesley Russell from the University of Sydney have long been arguing for an expansion of Medicare to cover dental health. There are some alarming statistics when we look into dental health. 20% of those who do go to the dentist are unable to proceed with recommended treatment because of cost. 32% of our population has "untreated tooth decay" 1 in 25 Australians aged 15 and over have no natural teeth. More than 63,000 people are hospitalised annually due to preventable oral health conditions.

I know how painful, time consuming, and expensive dental care can be. I am now paying the price of having deferred critical dental care for years. I am now missing one tooth due to a root canal that was too late to be successful. I also have three crowns which cost me thousands and am currently being fit for teeth straighteners so that we can replace my gap with a prosthetic. That's not counting all the worn down fillings I had to have repaired. Dental care like this is out of the reach of so many. Only the Greens have a fully costed plan to tackle this pressing issue. I'm proud to be running on a platform that seeks to extend Medicare. In a wealthy country like ours, people shouldn't have the teeth rotting in their head because of the cost of dentistry. When we have rising inequality in our community it is time to make the billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax. Instead of giving Clive Palmer a tax cut, we could spend that money on getting dental into Medicare for all.

The last time the Greens were in the balance of power we got dental health covered by Medicare for 3.4 million children. It's time to finish the job and get everyone covered. This time, in the balance of power we can make sure that billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share. That way Medicare can cover your whole body, teeth and all. That's why it’s time to get dental into Medicare for all.


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