Sunday, 25 August 2013

Senate Candidates - NT

And finally, we conclude Candidate Week with the Northern Territory.

Before we get down to it, one quick announcement. Some time this week (I am aiming for around Wednesday) I hope to have the mock ballots for the Senate available for download on the Infographinomicon. These can be printed out, filled in and taken to the voting booth to allow you to prepare and remember potentially lengthy and complex below-the-line votes.

Senate Candidates for the Northern Territory

Palmer United Party

General: The PUP has received a lot of press, and yet very little public awareness of its policies. Broadly speaking, this party aims to unite the country by reducing government involvement and supporting free-market systems which will return wealth to local communities. The PUP claims descent from the United Australia Party, the precursor to the modern Liberal Party.
Policy 1: Carbon Tax
"Abolish the Carbon Tax"
Policy 2: Refugees
"Revising the current Australian Government’s Refugee Policy to ensure Australia is protected and refugees are given opportunities for a better future and lifestyle"
Policy 3: Mineral Wealth
"Creating Mineral Wealth to continuously contribute to the welfare of the Australian community. This will be achieved by utilising mineral resources from Queensland and Western Australia, and incentives from the Commonwealth of Australia to establish downstream processing in the States of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia; and exporting products at a higher dollar value, thereby creating more revenue, jobs, tax and more facilities."

Uniting Australia Party

General: The Uniting Australia Party (not to be confused with the United Australia Party - the precursor of the Liberal Party dissolved in 1945, or the Palmer United Party) is still working on its website, but I have synthesised the majority of their available policies below.
Polict 1: Foreign Affairs
"Stop selling our farming land to non-nationals, allow leasehold only, not freehold... Make our overseas aid more effective and spend more on long term infractructure and the creation of jobs... Decrease the incentives for illegal immigrants, make it harder for the people smugglers who are risking the lives of the refugees arriving by boat from Asia, while maintaining our moral obligations for legal immigrants and refugees. We welcome all new Australians who cherish the Australian way of life, and are willing to fit in and help to keep Australia a strong nation."
Policy 2: Welfare
"Stop the lifelong perks of ex Prime Ministers and MPs... Immediately increase aged and service pensions, how we treat the people who built and defended our country is a national disgrace... The welfare system needs major changes and resources, including child welfare, mental health and education, place more importance on our young Australians."
Policy 3: Financial Review
"Give larger rebates for gas powered vehicles, build gas fired power stations, and invest in alternative energy, solar and hydrogen. Stop the carbon tax in its current form as it does nothing to help reduce emissions... Cut back some of the unnecessary legislation and red tape that makes it difficult for business, and make the ACCC more accountable."

Stable Population Party

General: The stable population party is another single-issue party advocating a population that is "better, not bigger". To achieve this, they advocate a two-point plan. In addition to this
Policy 1: Sustainable Population 2-Point Plan
"Limit government birth payments to each woman's first two children. This law would apply only to births occurring more than nine months after it was passed. It covers the birth payment via the Family Tax Benefit A and paid parental leave. We do not support restrictions on family size - we simply support the withdrawal of government incentives to have large families.
"Adopt a balanced migration program, where permanent immigration is equivalent to permanent emigration. This is also known as 'zero net migration' (the world average). This would reduce annual permanent immigration from around 250,000 (including NZ) to around 80,000, and include flexible skilled, family reunion and humanitarian (refugee) components."
Policy 2: Trans Tasman Immigration
"Abolish the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement with New Zealand in order to end uncapped migration. Permanent immigration from NZ would be included in the permanent immigration quota. The status of NZ citizens currently living in Australia would be determined following a comprehensive review of all immigration programs. A compassionate approach is advocated towards current residents."
Policy 3: Global Population
"Tie foreign aid wherever possible to the improvement of economic and environmental sustainability, with a particular focus on female rights and education, and on opportunities for women and couples to access reproductive health and voluntary family planning services to help prevent unwanted pregnancies. Some 222 million women who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy lack access to effective family planning. Our aim is to help stabilise global population at the United Nations' 'low variant' peak estimate of around 8 billion by mid century. "

The Australian First Nations People Party

General: The AFNPP's website is giving me a 404 error. I have, instead, extracted quick summaries of policies from other sources, since the party seems to have many arms that network between various Indigenous interest sites and forums.
Policy 1: Caring for Country
Privileging traditional methods of caring for our environment by maintaining culture, language and ceremony in order to keep the country strong and our food and water sources secure.
We are opposed to the plan to house nuclear waste at Muckaty Station and techniques such as Fracking that can have lasting and irreversible effects on the Land and Environment.
Working together as a nation to actively reduce our carbon emissions as part of our global responsibility.
Policy 2: Cultural diversity
We stand for inclusiveness and celebrate cultural diversity in its many forms, this includes having compassion towards people seeking asylum in this country and other cultures already here.
That we celebrate our cultural diversity, multiple heritages and shared responsibilities by embracing traditional and contemporary cultures and values.
Policy 3: Economic development
"That the Aboriginal Benefits Account be handed over to the Territory and administered by First Nations organisations for community purposes and business development opportunities for community groups, and individuals.
"Create genuine opportunities for economic development through joint business ventures that are based on relationships, mutual respect and joint reciprocity."

Country Liberals (NT)

General: The Liberal Party is the largest partner in the Coalition, and the main opposition to the ruling Labor Party. The Libs are a conservative party, born out of a convoluted history of break-away groups and coalitions. At present this party looks likely to lead the next federal government.
Policy 1: Paid Parental Leave
"Mothers will be provided with 26 weeks paid parental leave, at their actual wage or the national minimum wage (whichever is greater), plus superannuation...
"The Coalition believes that superannuation contributions must be paid while women are recieving paid parental leave so that women are not further disadvantaged when it comes to their retirement savings...
"Under the Coalition's scheme, fathers will be eligible for two out of the 26 weeks for dedicated paternity leave at their actual wage or the national minimum (whichever is greater), plus superannuation."
Policy 2: Carbon Tax
"If elected, the Coalition will take immediate steps to implement our plan to abolish the carbon tax: on day one, the Coalition will instruct the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to draft legislation that repeals the carbon tax and to have the legislation ready within one month; on day one, the Treasurer will notify the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that it should suspend its operations and instruct the Treasury to prepare legislation to permanently shut-down the Corporation; within the first month, the Cabinet will approve legislation to repeal the carbon tax; on the very first day of a new Parliament, the Coalition will introduce legislation to repeal the carbon tax; and within the first sitting fortnight of Parliament, the new government will introduce legislation to shut-down the Clean Energy Finance Corporation."
Policy 3: Stop the Boats
"The Coalition will restore Temporart Protection Visas (TPVs).
"TPVs are one of the key elements necessary to deny people smugglers a product to sell. They are an effective deterrent against arrival and act as a distinct disincentive for potential clients of people smugglers.
"TPVs deny permanent residence and therefore deny the right to make an application for citizenship. They also deny access to family reunion under any programme (which remains possible under Labor's ongoing policy) and deny the ability to leave and re-enter the country - those on TPVs who leave Australia are subsequently barred from returning...
"The Coalition will reserve the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Visa quota for genuine applicants who apply through the propper prrocess."

Australian Labor Party

General: The ALP is one of the two major political camps of Australian politics (the other being the Liberal-National Coalition). Labor is also the country's oldest political party, and the current ruling party (although in conjunction with Greens and Independents). This party is the more left-wing of the major political groups.
Policy 1: Education
"We will build the schools of the future through our $15 billion Better Schools Plan so that our kids get more individual attention to be able to reach their full potential.
"As part of the plan, we want to put Australia back in the top five schooling nations in the world for reading, science, maths by 2025. To do this we have to ensure that every school is supported to reach their full potential.
"Under the plan, teaching quality will be lifted, principals will have more power to make decisions about their school and more information will be made available for parents through My School. Schools with students who need extra support to lift their results will be entitled to extra funding based on six categories: kids from low income families, Indigenous students, students with disability, kids with limited English skills, the size of the school, and those who attend rural and remote schools."
Policy 2: Disability
"We will continue to invest in our world class health and hospital system and we will invest in our communities through Australia's first National Disability Insurance Scheme - DisabilityCare Australia.
"Under Labor there are more doctors and more nurses. There’s also a record number of GPs and nurses being trained. And it's easier to get your visit to the GP bulk billed under Labor, too.
"Different communities have different health needs, and local communities deserve a say in how their health care is run. Labor has established Medicare Locals to deliver better health services local communities. Medicare Locals are the newest part of Australia’s universal health system and are delivering things like GP after hours, immunisation programs, mental health services, and much more."
Policy 3: Broadband
"Without world-class broadband, regional Australia will fall behind the rest of the country and world, and local economies will suffer. In the 21st century, broadband is basic infrastructure – regional Australians need it. It’s become an essential utility, just like electricity or water.
"That's why Labor is delivering the National Broadband Network: high-speed, reliable, affordable broadband to every home and business in Australia. The technology is future-proof and can be upgraded easily – future speeds will be even faster.
"The rollout of the NBN is progressing rapidly. High-speed broadband to homes and businesses in cities and the bush is being rolled out right across Australia. By June this year construction will have commenced or be complete for more than 1.2 million homes and businesses.
"The benefits of the NBN are clear: it will make a real difference to the lives of regional Australians in the areas of education, health and business. A student in Dubbo could participate in a specialist science class delivered by a teacher in Sydney, regional health patients will be able to receive specialist consultations from home or a local clinic without the need to travel and local businesses will have unprecedented opportunities to expand and reach new markets."

Sex Party

General: Despite an attention-grabbing name focusing on one particular area of policy, the ASP in fact has a wide range of liberal policies. There is, however, a large focus on gender, sex and sexuality as well, including equality for women (specifically advocating for more women in government), legalisation of same-sex marriage, legalisation of abortion, reform of the adult industry and eliminating discrimination against disabled people in relation to sex. Bursting onto the political stage last election, the Sex Party remains one of the most reported-on minor parties, and a potentially significant force in politics in the near future.
Policy 1: Federal Drug Policy
"Decriminalisation, not legalisation, of purchase, possession and consumption of all drugs for personal use, such quantity to be defined as an amount equal or less than 14 days supply for one person..." including the following legal changes for marijuana:
"Allow the possession, use and cultivation for personal use of marijuana by persons aged 18 and over; Allow for the licensing and taxation of growers, wholesalers and retailers; [r]etail outlets to be age restricted and be subject to zoning regulations (minimum distances from schools, etc). Licensing will include consumption "on-premises" plus take-out as well as retail only; DUI regulations amended to allow for maximum THC blood concentration much the same as for alcohol; Unlicensed commercial levels of production and distribution to attract heavy penalties; Percentage of tax collected to be directed towards education and harm reduction campaigns"
Policy 2: Federal Religion and Ethics Policy
"Ending the tax exempt status on all but the charitable work of religious institutions (remove ‘promotion of religion’ from exemptions).
"Supports stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research, and maintains it is a vital medical issue, not a religious issue.
"Opposes a blanket ban on women wearing the burqa conditional upon it being the woman’s choice."
Policy 3: Federal Euthenasia Policy
"Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide for patients with a terminal illness and suffering severe pain to be decriminalised.
"In addition to the patient’s primary medical practitioner a second and independent practitioner would be required to confirm his / her agreement with the diagnosis and prognosis.
"Information about palliative care options must be given to the patient and having been given this information the patient must confirm to the primary medical practitioner that all other options are not acceptable and that he or she wants assistance.
"A seven day cooling off period must then be allowed for before assistance can be provided."

The Citizens Electoral Council

General: The CEC is a LaRoucheian party. I do not really trust myself to write an impartial dialogue about Lyndon LaRouche, so here is his Wikipedia article instead. Particularly telling, however, is that the #1 Google suggestion for "Lyndon LaRouche " is "Lyndon LaRouche crazy". In fact, while I feel comfortable with my write ups for parties ranging from Trotskyists to the Rise Up Australians, I simply cannot maintain my impartiality with the CEC. I've tried, but I either present them as nutters, or I massively misrepresent their views. As I keep stressing, we must focus on policy, not personality. That said, I have had to be selective about the policies I focused on below so as to look like I'm not just picking up their bat-guano crazy ideas. For an example of what I'm talking about, read their energy policy about how the royal family and World Wildlife Fund are trying to kill us all with their climate change lies. I guano you not.
So, here goes:
Policy 1: Voting reform:
"Preferential voting should be scrapped. It was established in the first place in 1918 in order to stop the pro-national banking, pro-sovereignty ALP of that era, by allowing the two conservative parties to swap votes and therefore to effectively vote as one, and worked to the same effect during the Menzies era, when the DLP’s preferences were always anti-ALP. The preferential system is immensely confusing; the citizen often has no idea where his or her vote will wind up; and it is invariably rigged in the first place. Instead, we should have a simple first past the post, winner-takes-all voting system, as in the U.S., Canada, India and the UK.
"The private financier-owned (e.g. Murdoch) media rigging of elections via biased coverage or by blackouts, must be prevented. Therefore, Federal and State “Media Directorates” must be established to ensure equal and fair coverage to all candidates and registered political parties, both at elections, and between elections.
"Compulsory voting should be dumped, in favour of letting elections be determined by those who have actually thought about the issues and the candidates, and who are therefore motivated to vote." [for disclosure, my opinions on First Past the Post and Compulsory Voting].
Policy 2: A New National Bank
"In 1994, following extensive discussions with Lyndon LaRouche, the CEC composed draft legislation to re-establish the Commonwealth Bank as a national bank, with expanded powers and functions along the lines originally envisaged by King O’Malley first, and then by John Curtin and Ben Chifley."
Policy 3: "We Must Have a National Fertilizer Industry!"
"In the short term, the Federal Government must immediately regulate domestically-manufactured fertilizer prices and subsidise imported fertilizers, so that farmers pay no more than what they did in January 2006, when the current hyperinflationary spiral really took off.
"For the long term, several other measures are required. Under the auspices of the Federal Agricultural Minister, the Federal Government should immediately: [c]reate[s] a Fertilizer Control and Development Board (FCDB) to develop a national fertilizer industry, with all necessary powers to ensure the reliable supply of all farm fertilizers; [n]ationalise[s] all aspects of fertilizer production which are not wholly Australian-owned and operated, including nationalising all mineral deposits associated with fertilizer manufacturing, such to be administrated by the FCDB"

Shooters and Fishers

General: The SFP makes no apologies for its positions based on "reason, science and conservation", even if they are viewed as "politically incorrect". It holds conservative social values, a support for multiculturalism and a belief that the environment should be protected for -- and yet available to -- public users as central tenets of its policies.
Policy 1: Live Export and Animal Activist Terrorism
"All Australians were horrified by the media reports showing the treatment of animals prior to slaughter in overseas countries. The kneejerk reaction by the Federal government to suspend live exports from Australia had, and continues to have, a devastating financial and social impact on livestock producers.
"The Shooters and Fishers Party supports the expansion of the live export trade...
"More than ever society is experiencing a growing level of anti-social and threatening behaviour from citizens representing various animal liberation organisations, acting and behaving like terrorist organisations.
"The Shooters and Fishers Party will table a Bill outlawing animal liberation based hate campaigning and terrorism."
Policy 2: Border Secuity
"Australia's border security has weakened markedly since the Labor government took office in 2007. Under successive governments border security has been mismanaged as evidenced by increasing numbers of asylum seekers arriving illegally, illegal firearms, illicit drugs and exotic diseases.
"Furthermore there have been revelations of corruption within the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, at our sea ports, major airports and our postal service.
"The Shooters and Fishers Party strongly supports measures to significantly strengthen border security against illegal arrivals, illicit drugs, illegal firearms and other contraband."
Policy 3: Firearms
"The Commonwealth Government has no Constitutional authority for the legislation and regulation of firearms laws other than those which apply to the Customs Act (importation). "The Shooters and Fishers Party calls for the abolition of the 1996 uniform National Firearms Agreement of COAG. The Shooters and Fishers Party vehemently opposes the establishment of a Commonwealth Firearms Registry, or any other interference by the Commonwealth in the constitutional authority of the States to legislate the ownership and use of firearms."

Rise Up Australia Party

General: RUA was lambasted by the media when it first appeared on the scene, with most of the criticism aimed at the party's leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah. In particular, his views as a young-earth creationist, his claims that he raised three people from the dead and his belief that Victorian laws allowing abortion were the cause of the tragic Black Saturday bushfires have been used to publicly discredit the party. The involvement of Christopher Monkton in the party's origins, a vow "to be politically incorrect" and criticisms of Julia Gillard as a "heathen... living in sin" and Bob Brown based on his sexual orientation have not helped to dispel these criticisms. However, I would encourage my readers to judge this party, and all of the others, based on its policies rather than its leader and its theatrics.
Policy 1: Burka/Face Veil
"Rise Up Australia Party will ban the face veil in public places. This does not mean the wedding veil or the religious head scarf, but the full face veil worn by a small number of Muslim women. It is the same face veil that has already been banned in France.
"We will do this because it is a security risk and a symbol of segregation. It is a religious mandate that originated in another nation that negates the need for the wearer to assimilate into Australian culture. There are even differences in opinion among Muslim scholars as to whether the face veil is a fundamental requirement of Islam. Some have even claimed that it is a cultural tradition that has been given undue religious significance."
Policy 2: Policy Principles #5-6
"To protect and enhance the right to private property and private ownership by working towards the dismantling of all unjust taxation, levies, duties, charges and imposts against the family home, family farm and business, and to empower individuals to effectively defend their homes, farms, jobs and businesses, and to ensure that economic, psychological and physical violence against any person, entity or property is a felonious act; this includes ‘anti-trust’ legislation that prevents cartels unfairly raising prices and limiting competitors (e.g. Coles+Woolworths, e.g. Telstra and NBN);
"To ensure that banking serves the national interests of the Australian people, being conducted under the direction of the Parliament, including that food production and essential infrastructure are financed at concessional interest rates, and that citizens’ personal deposits are protected by requiring that investment banking is kept separate from commercial banking as in the Glass-Steagall Act of the USA;"
Policy 3: Policy Principle #25
"To eliminate homelessness and deficiencies in aged-care by a variety of policies, including making low-cost housing more affordable by, inter alia, releasing more residential land, providing more jobs in rural/regional areas, and by substantially assisting the existing support agencies (such as Salvation Army etc) to provide low-cost communal housing and rehabilitation/job-training services;"

Australian Greens

General: The Greens were, not all that long ago, seen as a single-issue party and were regularly criticised for commenting on non-environmental issues. Now, it is fairly well know where the Greens stand on euthanasia, same-sex marriage and drugs. Then there a raft of specific policies that relate to the environment, such as low-emissions, high-speed rail, shark protection and clean energy.
Policy 1: Tertiary Education
"We believe a well-funded universal education system is vital for fairness and wellbeing in our society.
"These cuts hurt students. Uni students shouldn’t have to work long hours while they are studying. They need a decent living allowance so they can afford to meet accommodation, food and travel costs while focussing on their studies. Nor should they be saddled with huge debts once they graduate.
"Rising student fees and debt are locking out disadvantaged students from attending university. Large student debts discourage graduates from broadening their skills and career path to follow their dreams.
"As we enter a time of economic and environmental challenges, now more than ever we need accessible, well-funded and independent universities.
"We need your support to convince the government that increased public investment in universities makes good sense – that the benefits far outweigh the cost."
Policy 2: Justice Reinvestment
"Justice reinvestment is a detailed, place-based approach to the idea that prevention is better than cure. "By reducing the number of people in jail and the number of people returning to jail, it generates savings which can then be re-directed towards disadvantaged communities where most offenders are concentrated.
"While we will always need jails for the most serious offenders, there are many people who should be dealt with outside the prison system. Whether this is for mental health treatment, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or doing community service, this would cost less yet give us better outcomes.
"The money saved can then be reinvested in the communities where most offenders come from, in programs which are proven to reduce crime.
"Less crime means fewer people in jail, fewer victims and safer, more caring communities.
"It’s also the way we can address the shameful rates of indigenous incarceration in Australia.
"Justice Reinvestment is a smarter, more cost-effective approach to criminal justice which has been successful internationally and will pave the way for safer, stronger Australian communities."
Policy 3: Handguns off the streets
"Despite an overall decrease in the use of firearms in violent crime over the past decade, handguns have emerged as the firearm of choice for crimes in Australia– particularly among those involved in the drugs market or gangs.
"The Greens are serious about tackling violent crime, and that means banning the importation, ownership, possession and use of semi-automatic handguns in order to make our streets and neighbourhoods safer.
"The gun buy-back enacted in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996 proved incredibly effective, resulting in more than 700,000 weapons being surrendered.iv
"Statistics from the Australian Institute of Criminology show that the proportion of homicide victims killed by offenders using firearms in 2009-2010 is 18% lower than in 1995-1996.v Data shows that amnesties and buy-back schemes have tangible results.
"That’s why we will implement a 12-month amnesty and buy-back scheme for handguns prohibited by our tighter gun control laws. We will also enact a 12-month non-compensated amnesty scheme for already prohibited firearms. In conjunction with these measures, our plan also provides for the rollout a national public education campaign.
"Our plan to get semi-automatic handguns off the streets will pave the way for a safer Australia.
"In addition, we will continue to advocate for stronger regulation of legal firearms including consistent eligibility requirements based on a genuine need, consistent age requirements and strengthened storage requirements across the nation."

Australian Independents

General: Australian Independents are, effectively, a party of Independents. That's right, it's a party of individuals without a party. Effectively, what this means is that all AIP candidates serve to represent their constituents, not a party line. The party requires all candidates to put their own convictions to one side and vote according to the views of their constituents, whom they regularly consult. As such there are no solid policy positions for the party, although there are some general points that the party takes as guidelines -- until the voters instruct them otherwise...
Policy 1: Homelessness and Poverty
"Around 125,000 Australians are homeless. The Australian Independents are committed to ending homelessness. 1 in 8 Australians are living below the poverty line. The Australian Independents are committed to pushing every Australian above the poverty line. The Australian Independents are fighting for an increase in the minimum wage to ensure that all wage earners are living above the poverty line.
"The Australian Independents acknowledge the contribution that churches make to our society and are for significant government funding to St Vincent's De Paul, Anglicare, The Salvation Army and other Christian welfare agencies.
"The Australian Independents are fighting for more public housing. The Australian Independents are committed to addressing the issue of housing affordability."
Policy 2: Health and Disability
"The Australian Independents are for significantly more fully funded medical and nursing university places, doctors, specialists and nurses. The Australian Independents are for significant investment in preventative health education, programs and initiatives. The Australian Independents are for all university student nurses to receive salaries for in-hospital work/training.
"The Australian Independents are committed to significantly more funding for mental health services, including funding for additional mental health beds, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychiatric Nurses. The Australian Independents are pushing for fully funded Medicare funded treatments and programs to tackle drug, alcohol, cigarette, gambling and obesity problems...
"The Australian Independents are advocating for the rights of people living with disabilities and their carers to fully participate in policies which impacts on them. The Australian Independents are for people with disabilities to receive improved education, health, housing, public transport, employment and social opportunities. The Australian Independents are for an increase in the wage threshold for Disability Support Pensioners.
"The Australian Independents support the National Disability Insurance Scheme. However, the Australian Independents are concerned that, in its current form, the NDIS, will not deliver real rights to those experiencing disability and their carers. The Australian Independents are pushing to ensure that the design of the NDIS is compatible with the needs of people living with disability and their carers. The Australian Independents are committed to funding a significant increase in the Carers Allowance. The Australian Independents are for a dramatic and long overdue increase in respite support for carers."
Policy 3: Asylum Seekers
"The Australlian Indpendents are for all refugees being processed in or near their own countries. The Australian Independents are for increasing the refugee intake to 50,000 per year. The Australian Independents are for asylum seekers boosting populations of small towns in rural and regional areas of Australia. The Australian Indpendents are for asylum seekers securing employment in rural and regional areas of Australia (currently there are over 100,000 jobs that urgently need filling in outback Australia). The Australian Independents are for all asylum seekers who arrive by boat to be transported back to their own countries by plane, for processing. The Australian Independents are for a wide-spread awareness raising campaign to inform asylum seekers of the locations of the processing centres in their own countries."

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