‘There is a real turn away from the major parties at the moment’: Andrew Johnson, Reason Federal Candidate for Higgins


Andrew Johnson, Reason federal candidate for Higgins this year, says he wants to represent an alternative: “Someone who makes their own decisions and doesn’t vote for something they don’t agree with just to move up in parliament.”

In every federal election there are a few seats that catch our collective eye; seats carrying potential for change. This election, Higgins, an inner-city seat, is one of those.


Reason Australia candidate and notable critic of the current government, Andrew Johnson, is in the race to replace Higgins’ current member, Katie Allen.


The current swimming teacher and Reason Party member has decided to run for Parliament this year to fight for – what he describes as – lack of integrity, corruption and to push for equality and action on climate change.


“Local members don’t truly care, they vote for things they don’t necessarily agree with in order to just move up. It upsets me, it frustrates me,” Johnson said.


Johnson said he chose Reason party for its evidence-guided principles and collective compassion.


The Reason party does not have a federal seat and is only registered at state level in Victoria.


Johnson said even with the record of one seat on a state level and no federal seat, the party’s achievements are “better odds” than other political parties.


“It’s really incredible to see,” he said.


“The time spent with Reason, I have the ability within the party to move things in a direction that is important to me. I’m not just shut down, I have a voice,” Johnson said.


Johnson said he was confident Reason could tackle the seat of Higgins in this year’s election, despite the Liberal’s historical stronghold.


“It is a lot of work and there is a challenge, but the Liberals are no longer holding that much power within the people like before, there is a real turn away from the major parties at the moment,” he said.


Johnson said the statistics showed the Liberal vote trending down, and many within the electorate were “fed up”.


He said the constant Liberal incidents and “bad behaviour”, with “zero consequences” was unacceptable, and people were “sick” of it.


The Liberals have held the Division of Higgins since its creation in 1949.


“We are not intimidated by any political party in the government,” Johnson said.


Johnson has been a critic of climate change responses, and said both major parties have been laggard on the crisis while accepting donations from the fossil fuels industry.


“People can see that, and they know it’s not right, it’s not how the systems supposed to work,” he said.


Johnson said the history of insufficient action from the government towards climate change prevails the lack of integrity and corruption.


“It all comes back to the political will, we have the reports and answers on what to do,” he said.


“Again, politicians accepting donations and taking actions that are not in the interest of their community, what I call ‘state capture’, taking money in pockets, favours and actions for the minority of rich people – realistically, these actions are why were in this state right now,” Johnson said.


Johnson said Reason believes transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable resources can fight climate change.


Johnson has been a critic of the current government’s response in covid-19’s handling and economic recovery.


Johnson said the Government’s handling of it goes back to “political will” and treating it as a health issue.


“The pandemic is still going on, we should not hide from the reality but the popular thing to do is less scary and that’s what the government’s exactly doing now,” he said.


Johnson said the rush for recovering the economy was “devastating”.


Australia’s unemployment rate fell to four percent this year – the lowest since 2008 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Johnsons said he acknowledged the economy and health crisis could not be separated, and poverty had an effect on mental and physiological health.


“The economy is still health adjacent, if you can’t afford your medicine and food your health will deteriorate,” he said.


“The economy is useless unless its doing something for people, its only value is what it could do in rich people’s lives. Economy should serve the people not the opposite,” Johnson said.


Johnson said if the “economy is growing”, but people are losing out on quality of life, “then that’s a failure”.