TasmaniaSenators to elect: 12
Group A: Family FirstThe Party: Family First (FFP) has gone to great lengths to declare itself a secular party, although it has close links to conservative religious groups and its candidates have largely been drawn from the ranks of conservative Christians that support the party. Wikipedia defines the party's ideology as "Christian democracy" and "Christian right" among other terms, and the policies below certainly seem to align with the traditional Christian right ideology.
Policy 1: Home Ownership. Family First holds to the notion of house ownership as a central part of the "Australian Dream", and of moral, social and economic importance. To increase housing affordability, the FFP proposes the removal of limitations and zoning restrictions on land to open up the opportunities for house building. The FFP also objects to compulsory Master Planning which removes small developers from the market.
Policy 2: Family. It is no surprise that a party like the FFP opposes same-sex marriage and family planning measures like abortion. The party also opposes adoption by same-sex couples, believes de facto partnerships should not be afforded the same legal status as marriage and opposes both private and commercial surrogacy.
Policy 3: Pro-Life Healthcare. The FFP, as a pro-life party, objects to euthanasia, and also insists (assuming their anti-abortion policies do not pass) that protections for doctors who conscientiously object to abortion remain in place. FFP does support "treatments and cures ... developed from stem cells ethically derived from live patients" but objects to the use of embryonic stem cells, even those harvested from unused IVF-prepared eggs. the FFP is also committed "to the expansion of medical and therapeutic early identification and intervention services focused on disability in unborn children, infants and young children in order to provide disabled children with the very best opportunity to lead full lives".
Group B: Australian Labor PartyThe Party: The oldest political party in Australia and one of the two governing parties since the second world war, the ALP needs little introduction. The left-wing party of Australia's two-party mindset, Labor is the opposition leading into this election and is likely to pick up a swing back from the anti-Rudd landslide of 2013, though not enough to govern in their own right. Labor has announced "100 positive policies" this election, so picking three would be hard, if it were not for the nature of modern politics that allows me to focus on the ones that became the key sound-bites that the ALP has tried to hammer home.
Policy 1: Protecting Medicare. Labor claims that the Turnbull government has created a medicare privitisation taskforce, and is hammering this hard in the final days of the election. The government has labelled this a lie, and voters are divided on whether they believe this (with a majority of Labor supporters believing Labor and most Liberal voters believing the Liberals). There certainly is a move to outsource claims and payment services for both Medicare and the PBS, but it's a matter of opinion whether this is "privatisation" and what effects -- positive or negative -- this will have on the system. This is complicated by Labor considering similar reforms in government, the Coalition making the freeze on Medicare rebates semi-permanent (which Labor promises to undo) and a long, long, long history of politicians promising not to do something they then do in office.
Policy 2: Protecting Penalty Rates. In opposition to Coalition and cross-bench attempts to remove penalty rates as a means of reducing the cost of business and boosting, Labor promises that weekend and public holiday penalty rates will remain to compensate (often low-paid) workers who sacrifice these hours for their employers.
Policy 3: "Budget Repair that's Fair". From the 'it rhymes, so vote for it' school of sloganeering. Labor has recently admitted that in the short term its deficits will be greater than the Coalitions, although it expects this to correct over time. Fair budget repair includes lowering the company tax rate for small business, pursuing multinational companies that avoid Australian taxation laws, and cutting government waste by repealing Government programs like the Direct Action climate policy, a new Baby Bonus, and legislating for marriage equality without a plebiscite.
Group C: The GreensThe Party: Quickly becoming the boogieman of Australian politics, the greens have taken a battering from both major parties. Many of their policies are well known, so I had the choice of choosing some of the party's lesser known platforms like some desperate political hack seeking to "expose the real Greens agenda" or stick with the main issues they'll most likely prioritise in government.
Policy 1: Environmental Protections. Instituting a price on carbon emissions and heavily regulating genetically modified organisms are large issues in this area, along with bringing an end to logging of native forests and extending the area of the Tarkine under international heritage protection.
Policy 2: Same Sex Marriage. The Greens outspoken support for the LGBTQIA+ community used to be an important point of difference, particularly on the matter of marriage equality. With the ALP promising marriage equality within (from memory) 100 days of being elected and the Coalition pushing for a plebiscite that should provide overwhelming support and give a mandate for the same, this is less stark. Nevertheless, a vote for the Greens will be a vote for marriage equality, equal adoption and parenting rights, equivalent national age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex acts and so forth.
Policy 3:Refugees. The Greens support an end to practices leading to mandatory detention of refugees, advocate for "humane, transparent, predictable and consistent" processes, with a separate processing system for children, and object to considerations of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background in determining an individuals suitability for settlement in Australia.
Group D: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)The Party: Why is it that although I know many progressive and liberal Christians, you know the moment a party uses Christian in its name that it'll be a conservative right-wing group? Perhaps the Fred Nile Group is part of the reason. This is an old party and stands by all the usual right-wing policies you've come to expect of any group by this name. Their plans are only provided as a brief blurb at the provided link, so I've quoted them in their entirety. Further information on some specific views - such as government funding for chaplaincy in schools, opposition to euthanasia and the party's objection to same-sex marriage are discussed elsewhere in press releases that cna be found on their website.
Policy 1: Family. "We believe that the institution of the family is the most important pillar of society. We reject any attempt to redefine or the nature of what is a family, and remain firm supporters of the needs of mothers, fathers and children."
Policy 2: Church. "With the legal system beginning to reflect an increasingly secular world, churches have a voice to protect their religious freedoms and their ability to preach openly. Secular political parties cannot make this guarantee, however the Christian Democratic Party can."
Group E: Nick Xenophon Team
The Party: A guaranteed shoo-in in South Australia, the appeal on the NXT in other states is largely unknown. Certainly one of the better known cross-benchers, Xenophon may get some name recognition outside of SA and has the advantage that he has no party name attached to him, unlike Muir or Lazarus. I'm not sure what the advertising has been like out there in the broader Australia, but the NXT centrist, populist policies seem to appeal to many Australians and the NXT has money for advertising on TV at least in SA. Only time will tell how Xenophon is received beyond my home state.
Policy 1: Predatory Gambling. Xenophon may as well have legally changed his name to Mr No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon for the way the epithet has been indelibly appended to his name, so this has to be mentioned in any summary. The NXT's policies include maximum bets of $1 on pokie machines and $120 limits on hourly losses, the elimination of ATMs from betting venues, an end to micro-betting on sports events, and an end to all betting advertising during sporting events - particularly those watched my large numbers of children.
Policy 2: Australian Made. Partly off the back of Xenophon's push for a larger portion of the Australian submarine and ship-building contracts to be conducted in SA, the NXT has been heavily pushing for support for Australian goods. This includes forcing government departments and projects to give greater preference to Australian goods and services, more effective anti-dumping laws and an overhaul of food labeling and advertising regulation.
Policy 3: Foreign Investment. Responding to the Kidman land deal in particular, NXT proposes all overseas transactions greater than $5 million should be subject to the approval of the foreign investment board, as well as a clear legislative definition of what constitutes the "national interest" and greater transparency in foreign ownership of Australian resources and industry.
Group F: LiberalThe Party: The dominant partner of the current ruling Coalition, the Liberals are billing themselves as the party of stability and responsible government. Founded by Menzies after the Second World War from the remnants of older parties that have evolved and adapted since federation, the Liberals are largely seen as one of the two major parties of Australian politics, the other being Labor. The reality is more complex, with the party often ruling with a technical minority and de facto majority thanks to a permanent coalition with the Nationals.
Policy 1: Jobs and Growth. You may have heard that the Coalition is supporting jobs and growth. What this means is rarely explained, because that's not interesting or catchy enough for news media. This policy is a combination of additional funding for STEM fields as the basis for our "innovation nation", cuts to business tax rates to encourage employment and entrepreneurship and export trade deals.
Policy 2: Construction Commission. Reintroducing the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is a major policy for the Coalition, not least of all because it was the legislation that triggered the double dissolution. In order to crack down on what the Liberals describe as "bullying, intimidation and lawlessness" in the construction industry, the ABCC is intended to be supplemented by a Registered Organisations Commission which will have oversight over the unions -- particularly the CFMEU -- with bowers of both monitoring and regulation.
Policy 3: Making the Boats not Unstop. Given the Coalitions successful stop the boats campaign last election, and their repeated announcements of success during their term, it is not surprising that the Liberals would rely on an argument that the nations borders were more secure under a Liberal government. The party is, however, keen to emphasise it's humanitarian works in this area, too, pointing out that "[t]he Coalition removed all children who arrived by boat from detention in Australia", that "[a]ccording to UNHCR data, Australia is one of the three most generous nations when it comes to permanently resettling refugees ... [and] these places are going to those most in need around the world, not people arriving by boat" and that "[s]topping the boats also enabled Australia to take an additional 12,000 refugees from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq".
Interestingly, the controversial Border Force agency is proudly celebrated, despite being described as a "paramilitary" organisation in the Sydney Morning Herald following a large protest at perceived racist and even totalitarian approaches to border control. Border Force is again under scrutiny, with allegations of corruption and association with criminal organisations for the purpose of rorting and dodging Australia's visa system.
Group G: Palmer United PartyThe Party: If you thought the PUP was gone just because Palmer is retiring to deal with his collapsing mining empire, you'd be wrong. Although the current member for Fairfax will not be re-contesting his seat, and faces severe opposition from the voters there anyhow, the PUP is fielding a senatorial team in every state. Once a thriving protest vote party, I feel that the PUP has become both too mainstream and too embroiled in scandal to do well this election, but then I felt they didn't stand a chance last election or the election before that, so I'm obviously out of touch with the PUP voting demographic anyhow.
Policy 1: Political Reform. The PUP's main promises in this area are the establishment of a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the re-establishment of the National Integrity Commission. They also advocate the introduction of two-term limits on serving in the Federal Parliament, and that politicians' superannuation entitlements be withheld until they reach the age required for the pension.
Policy 2: Superannuation. Restricting politicians' superannuation entitlements until they reach retirement age is not the only plan the PUP has for super. According to their policy website, under "Your Money For You", "around 15% of Australians die before they ever get access to their own money". The PUP advocate allowing people to use their super before retirement for certain purchases, like buying a house.
Policy 3: Environment. The PUP congratulates itself on saving the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Climate Change Authority & the Renewable Energy Target from the Coalitions cost-cutting, and on securing an additional $1 billion for these agencies. The implied promise that support for these agencies and others will continue, but no mention is made of any positive action the party proposes.
Group H: Australian Sex PartyThe Party: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. The ASP obviously has the first option covered, and if you're voting in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia or the Northern Territory you're looking at a combined HEMP-Sex Party ticket. So two out of three ain't bad? I don't know. Meatloaf counts as Rock and Roll, right? We're straying from my area of expertise now - lets look at the joint party's policies instead.
Policy 1 (ASP): LGBT Issues. One of the Sex Party's core ideals has always been sexual equality. The ASP supports same sex marriage; assisted reproduction, surrogacy and adoption for same-sex couples and accepting refugees fleeing foreign lands on the grounds of persecution for their sexual preferences or identities. The party also supports the controversial "safe schools" program and compulsory, comprehensive sex education up to Year 10, argues for federal legislation protecting sexual minorities from vilification, and wishes to end harmful and ineffective "conversion therapy".
Policy 2 (ASP): Religion. After the Sex Party's controversial video criticising the Catholic Church, religion has become a major issue for the ASP. The party argues for an end to religious tax exemptions, specifically removing ‘advancing religion’ as a charitable purpose in the Charities Act, and requiring churches to meet the normal accounting and reporting obligations to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. The party also wants to abolish the Abbott government school chaplaincy program, special religious instruction in schools and private-school exemptions to discrimination legislation.
Policy 3 (HEMP): Legalisation of Cannabis. HEMP is a single-issue party, unsurprisingly, and its the ASP that has fleshed out the other policies here. The HEMP party supports the industrial production of hemp and hemp-seed oil which is used in paints and other products, as well as cosmetics; it supports the use of medical marijuana for treatment; and it supports the recreational use of marijuana.
Source: http://www.sexparty.org.au/policies/federal-policies and https://australianhempparty.com/
Group I: Pauline Hanson's One NationThe Party: Never Give Up. That is the current slogan of the party that just won't die. One Nation is back again, with more of the
Policy 1: Islam. I could not, in good faith, try to represent One Nation's policies without discussing Islam. I also cannot rephrase any of their ideologies on Islam, halal certification or related issues because their extreme positions make it sound like I'm misrepresenting the party. Instead, I will simply quote several of the relevant policies:
- Call for an inquiry or Royal Commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology
- Stop further Muslim Immigration and the intake of Muslim refugees
- Ban the Burqa and Niquab in public places
- Surveillance cameras to be installed in all Mosques and schools. Mosques to be open to the public during all opening hours
- No more mosques to be built until the inquiry is held
- Muslims will not be allowed to be sworn in to Parliament under the Qur’an
Policy 3: Citizens Initiated Referenda. Citing the success of CIR programs in Europe and the US since the late 1800s, One Nation argues that any citizen should be able to call a referendum on any issue if 2% of registered voters can be convinced to sign a petition to that effect.
Group J: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party
The Party: Derryn Hinch is famous for this controversial shock-jock radio programs and occasional jail stints for contempt of court. His party is largely relying on his public recognition, with Hinch writing on the party's website that "[m]illions of people across this country know who I am and what I stand for". The party has a diversity of policies, but no central policy page - all policies can be accessed from a menu on the party's website's main page.
Policy 1: Legal System Reform. Hinch has always been an advocate of tougher sentencing and penalties for violent crimes. His party supports a variety of linked policies including longer sentences for violent crimes, reducing the role of precedent in appeals to reduce sentencing, a blanket ban on bail for acts of violence and tougher parole rules, and a publicly available sex-offenders register with photographs and addresses.
Policy 2: Social Justice. On social issues the Justice Party is generally left-leaning and progressive. The party supports euthanasia and right-to-die ideas and same-sex marriage. The party also stands firmly behind the idea that people deserve equal rights regardless of race, sex, or religion, although lacks publicly availible detail on what this directly involves.
Policy 3: Animal justice. This policy is more or less condensed to one line: "Derryn Hinch's Justice Party stands to see harsher penalties imposed for acts of animal cruelty."
Group K: Citizens Electoral CouncilThe Party: If you recognise the name Lyndon LaRouche, you'll recognise the CEC's policies. The party's "about us" page discusses a need to "replace the evil, collapsing world order of globalisation", a conspiracy against the party by "the City of London/Wall St. financial establishment, to enforce economic rationalism and globalisation upon Australia" and directs readers to "the CEC's March 2001 pamphlet, The real story behind Queen Elizabeth's fascist racial vilification legislation."
Policy 1: Energy. Here is a link to the CEC's page of links that form the basis of their view that - as the title reads "Global Warming is a Fraud". It includes references to the "British Monarchy's Agenda of Fascism and Genocide" and names Sir David Attenborough as "[o]ne of the British Empire's leading spokesmen for their policy of intentional genocide". Unwilling to accept the argument that carbon emissions are a relevant factor in any energy policy, the CEC sees solar and wind power as "backward leaps from oil and coal, being of a far inferior energy density" but actively supports nuclear power and the nationalisation of our oil and gas resources..
Policy 2: Food. Citing world hunger as an international food crisis the CEC believes Australia must play a role in feeding the world. Steps involved in this, according to the CEC, include the government ensurign a minimum price for all food growers, purchasing all food reserves to provide as aid, cease all subsidies for biofuel production to send the involved grain to countries in need, regulate fertilizer prices, provide discounts on petroleum products for the agricultural sector and immediately divert all water currently allocated to sustaining the Murray-Darling Basin's environment and diversity into food production.
Policy 3: Electoral Reform. Many parties are proposing electoral form on some level, but the CEC is certainly the most audacious in its plans; it demands an end to compulsory voting; that preferential voting be replaced with a first-past-the-post system; an end to government advertising; the establishment of “Media Directorates" to give equal media coverage to all candidates and parties in an election; and the end of political contributions from corporations, unions and any body that is not a natural human.
Group L: Renewable Energy PartyThe Party: Yes, it's a single-issue green-energy party. Are you surprised? Do you want me to write out the usual caveat again? Of course you do! Now, it's not my place to who to vote for or against. By all means, support a single-issue party. But, in doing so, be aware that the party may vote against you r interests on all other matters and even trade away votes in return for favourable legislation. Now, I know for a fact there are people out there who will happily take that gamble to secure action on climate change, and I do not object to voting that way. I only object to ill-informed or ill-thought-out voting.
Policy 1: Targets. The REP supports retaining the current 2020 Renewable Energy Target and the addition of a 2030 target of 100% renewable energy. The party also expects an investment of $28 trillion globally in renewable energy technologies between 2013 and 2035, and intends for Australia to receive much of this investment by supporting the CSIRO, ARENA and other organisations to help develop technology here.
Policy 2: Energy. The REP's energy policy includes an end to fossil fuel subsidies, doubling Australia's "energy productivity" by 2030 and supporting research into renewable energy through research organisations and grassroots initiatives by local communities.
Policy 3: Transition. Recognising that many industries are heavily entwined with current energy sources, the REP proposes strategies to help transition including investment in developing the skills required for the renewable energy industry; organising gradual closure of coal power stations, managing site rehabilitation and providing employees with new skills; and providing assistance to the agricultural sector to help adapt to difficulties caused by climate change.
Group M: Jacqui Lambie NetworkThe Party: Most Australians would know Jacqui Lambie as the former Palmer United senator for Tasmania. However, assumptions that Lambie's policies would be directly based on that of the PUP do not necessarily follow. Prior to being selected by the PUP, Lambie intended to run as an independent, and before that had sought Liberal pre-selection for the lower house. She has also worked for a Tasmanian Labor candidate. Lambie's policies and those of her party should be judged independently of the senators previous associations.
Policy 1: Islam. One of the issues that Senator Lambie is most noted for being vocal about, the party's stance on Islam is one of the most contentious so I shall only quote directly from the party's policy documents:
"JLN considers that support for Sharia Law, given that it’s the law, culture and way of life supported by Islamic State terrorists:
a) is a clear sign of extreme radicalisation,
b) shows a split or divided loyalty to Australia and a clear sign of allegiance to hostile foreign powers,
c) attacks democratic principles found in Australia’s constitution
...and therefore is also a clear sign of seditious or treasonous behaviour worthy of investigation and possible charges."
"JLN also calls on the Federal Police and Federal Attorney to ... charge with treason or sedition - those citizens who support in any way what-ever, the imposition of Sharia or the Terrorists’ law, in Australia."
"For many cultures, including 80,000 Australians of the Sikh faith - eating Halal certified food is forbidden. And people practicing the Islamic faith - like followers of other peaceful, faiths are entitled to identify and eat food, which conforms to their religious custom."
"Under questioning, in estimates Committee Hearings Attorney General Brandis – Australia’s highest law officer, failed to give Senator Lambie a guarantee that Halal Certification funds were not being used by Islamic terrorists."
Policy 2: Energy. The JLN recognises the existence of anthropogenic climate change, but opposes carbon taxing and any emission trading schemes "until our major trading partners introduce a similar tax" to maintain Australia's economic competitiveness. Until international agreement on taxation of an ETS emerges, the JLN proposes doubling current base-load renewable energy through hydro-electric means and a referendum on implementing nuclear power. The party also demands a parliamentary inquiry into power and gas prices.
Policy 3: Defence. As a former member of and corporal in the Armed Forces, the ADF plays an important view in Senator Lambie's view of Australia. Her party's policies include withdrawal of all troops from the middle east, aid and support for Kurdish fighters including the supply of arms, and a royal commission to consider a very broad range of issues including physical and sexual assault in the military, delivering medical treatment and compensation for veterans' physical and psychological injuries and to prevent suicide in the ADF. The JLN also supports the introduction of a voluntary Australian National Service, Trainee and Apprenticeship Scheme, and failure to join this service or otherwise find employment or pursue study will not be eligible to receive any government payment (except disability payments). The JLN also supports indexation of veteran pensions to match the rising cost of average Australian weekly wages, automatic qualification for a Health Gold Card and free tertiary education for any veteran who served in war.
Group N: Australian Liberty AllianceThe Party: Dubbed the anti-Islam, Trump-style party by the Sydney Morning Herald, the ALA was launched with the aid of controversial Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders. The ALA is not, however, a single issue party, and their policies cannot be replicated in full here. Nevertheless, I shall try to capture the flavour of the party.
Policy 1: Citizenship and Integration. The ALA dedicates most of this platform to it's aims to "Stop the Islamisation of Australia", which is focused on preventing Sharia law being "imposed" upon Australians, banning immigration of Muslims from the countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, prohibiting face coverings in public spaces, and mandatory labeling of products and services from companies that have taken out halal certification. They also oppose dual citizenship, and consider Australian citizenship a privilege rather than a right - which may include revoking the citizenship of current Australians.
Policy 2: Health. In the party's health policy are aims to end universal healthcare for "those who can afford to contribute more and foreign nationals", support the NDIS, but after a gradual introduction and on a sound financial basis, and requirements for childrens' health checks and immunisation before parents receive child benefits. This policy also includes tentative opposition for abortions after the first trimester (excluding exceptional circumstances) a somewhat firmer stance against assisted suicide and euthanasia. Oddly, the "health" policy also includes opposing stereotyping and disadvantages for homosexual couples, but reject also a rejection of same sex marriage and same-sex adoption.
Policy 3: Foreign Affairs. The ALA considers the UN Charter on Refugees to be outdated, and remove Australia from the charter. They promote resettlement only in countries from a similar region and culture to the one they have fled, insist aid be restricted to nations "subscribed to the UN Charter on Human Rights and who guarantee gender equality and protection of religious minorities" and would limit foreign invesment in Australian real estate to nations with a reciprocal agreement with Australia. They also fully support the rights of Israel in the Middle East, in particular to have undivided control of Jerusalem.
Group O: VOTEFLUX.ORG | Upgrade Democracy!The Party: Policies are too "Federalism 1.0" for this party, so I'm tackling it a little differently to its competitors. VOTEFLUX proposes a system whereby ordinary Australians enroll online and vote directly on the bills before parliament. The result will then be proportionally represented by any VOTEFLUX candidates in the senate in votes on the floor. As such the "policies" of VOTEFLUX are... umm... in flux. The system has a little more complexity involving vote trading to amass greater support on the issues you care about in return for your vote on those you don't and the like; follow the link below for details.
This will be a hard sell, but if handled correctly getting a single candidate into the Senate could generate enough media interest to get the idea out there and popular enough to hang around a while. It's a hard sell because voters for VOTEFLUX aren't necessarily voting for a larger voice in the senate. You'd better believe that any VOTEFLUX candidate is going to have Labor and Liberal voters chiming in on issues in addition to their voice already represented by their elected senators. Voters for VOTEFLUX are voting for an idea and a system, not for any policy they think they'll get more say over.
Group P: Shooters, Fishers and FarmersThe Party: Once the Shooters Party, then the Shooters and Fishers Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) has been around for a while. They also hold two seats in each of the NSW, Victorian and WA Legislative Councils, and were close runners for a federal senate seat or two last election prior to the voting system reform. Not quite a single-issue party but unable to shake the shackles of its single-issue origin, this Quasimodo of a political party has policies on a few different issues.
Policy 1: Firearms. The SFFP wishes to reduce the extent of Federal gun control in Australia, either devolving the matter to state regulation or removing it completely. This includes repealing the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, preventing the establishment of a Commonwealth Firearms Registry, and abolishing the registration of category A and B firearms. On the flip side the group also recognises the threats of gun violence, advocating investment in front line crime prevention and national education and safety programs, as well as mandatory sentencing for Commonwealth firearms offences.
Policy 2: Fishing. The party wants greater fishing opportunities in Commonwealth waters, and the right to fish recreationally in Commonwealth marine reserves. The SFFP also advocate for national education on recreational and commercial fishing activities, greater funding for fish farming programs, tougher penalties for poaching fish in Australian waters and an end to international fishing operations, including multinational super trawlers.
Policy 3: The shooters and fishers also demand greater access to public land and waters for recreational use, including greater opportunities for recreational hunting. Part of this is involved in expanding the size and number of private game reserves and promoting shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities.
The party also intends to "[e]ngage and work with all outdoor recreational groups and associations to deliver better outcomes for outdoor users", in particular striving to end the "vilification" of four-wheel drivers who wish to drive in national parks.
Group Q: Animal Justice PartyThe Party: Exactly what it says on the tin, a single-issue party on the treatment of animals, but with a lot of specific spin-off policies based around a vegetarian diet. The usual single-issue party caveat applies -- voters must be aware that voting for any single issue party, while a perfectly valid choice, means prioritising one issue above all others. The successful election of an AJP senator gives the voters no guarantees on any non-animal justice related issues.
Policy 1: Animals. The AJP's proposed reforms for legislation relating to animals is quite lengthy, but includes:
- Establishing an Independent Office of Animal Welfare with prosecution powers and "a definition of personhood to replace the current property status of animals".
- Ensuring a "fairer" (presumably lower) burden of proof for prosecuting animal cruelty cases.
- Phasing out all animal farming and industries, but starting with factory farming techniques.
- Banning live export.
- Banning the use of stray animals in research.
- Phasingout funding the use of animals in experimentation, "except where there are net benefits to the animals concerned".
- Banning horse jump racing, greyhound racing, recreational hunting, game fishing, rodeos and horse-drawn carriage rides.
- Banning the use of animals in circuses and marine theme parks.
- Banning zoos or transitioning them to sanctuaries and conservation parks "which exist solely in the service of animals".
- Limiting breeding of animals to licensed breeders.
- Phasing out sale of pets except from shelters and rescues.
- Subsidisingpet desexing.
- Making desexing a requirement for the sale of pets.
- Making it illegal to prevent pet ownership of tenants.
- Ensuring domestic violence shelters have facilities for animals.
- Supporting non-lethal population control methods for introduced species and threats to native wildlife.
Policy 3: Health. Many of the party's health policies derive from perceived health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. They would promote this dietary shift through education, cutting subsidies to the red and processed meat industries and a "phase out [of] subsidies to intensive animal industries because they are both cruel and provide a breeding ground for new diseases which pose large public health risks". The AJP also advocates for an end to drug research for "diseases best managed by simple lifestyle choices" and the overuse of antibiotics which increase the rise of drug-resistant diseases.
Group R: Science Party
The Party: Although the Science Party bases, or claims to base, its policies in scientific research, this is not the semi-single-issue party you might imagine. The additional funding for science and research is there, as is a climate policy that recognises the importance of renewable energy, but there's also plenty of other issues including moral stances on same-sex marriage and support for a republic as explained below.
Policy 1: Science and Education. The Science Party supports a range of education initiatives including Gonski reforms for increased and needs-based funding, standardised testing and a standardised curriculum (including compulsory STEM subjects in primary and secondary school, compulsory computer programming in high schools, the inclusion of ethics calsses but exclusion of special religious education and the inclusion of age-appropriate sex education). The party also supports fully publicly-funded tertiary education and opposes fee deregulation, interest on student loans, reducing repayment thresholds and inclusion of household income rather than their personal income in calculating that repayment threshold.
The science party also supports establishing an Australian space agancy and incouraging a space industry. In addition to this the Science Party would double government investment in research, particularly in transportation, communication, education, agriculture, health and biomedical research, energy (including nuclear energy) and computer science.
Policy 2: Freedom and Democracy. The Science Party actually proposes some very dramatic changes to our current system: a shift to a republic with the governor general elected by two-thirds of a joint sitting of parliament; House of representative seats to be amalgamated so each seat elects 3 members by proportional representation and the senate to be proportionally elected nationally rather than on a state-by-state basis; and for elections to be conducted in a hybrid paper/electronic method. The party also wants all non-sensitive government material to be easily available online, stronger whistle-blower protections, the prevention of internet filters, an end to ISP logging of online activity without specific instruction, law enforcement to need a warrant to investigate online behaviour, all forms of anti-discrimination to be enforced, the legalisation of same-sex marriage, the legalisation of euthanasia and a trial of drug decriminalisation.
Policy 3: Government Services. Science Party policy includes support for the NBN and prevention of internet restrictions in the area of communications; legalisation of driverless cars, creating high-speed rail between the eastern capitals and founding additional train lines through other suburban areas currently devoid of any train stations in the area of transportation; and subsidisation of 95% of all costs in the area of child care. In the area of health the Science Party intends to push for increased medicare funding, support for preventative healthcare including vaccines, training public servants in mental first aid, providing intermediate-level mental health services and funding early intervention, making euthanasia legal and ensuring access to safe and affordable abortion.
Group S: Australian Recreational Fishers PartyThe Party: Tassie's unique addition to this list, with all of the others running at least in Victoria, the ARF has a Tasmania-specific focus particularly in its opposition to super-trawlers. This is not, however, a single issue party -- although some might find its policy list a little short so perhaps some warning about giving your vote without knowing the party's stand on issues relevant to you is appropriate.
Policy 1: Fishing. One of the most important policies for the party which considers itself a voice for recreational fishers, the ARF wants a ban on all super-trawlers in Australia, and particularly in the Small Pelagic Fishery. The party also wants a ban on all vessels conducting similar methods of fishing, to avoid any loopholes in the definition of "super-trawler".
Policy 2: Health and Education. The brief policies here can be summarised as follows: support for Gonski-style needs-based education funding and opposition to any GP co-payment of "GP" tax in any guise.
Policy 3: Corruption. The ARF desires the creation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption with the powers to investigate Federal, State and local government as well as industry. Additionally, the ARF opposes any perks paid to former MPs.
Source: http://www.arfparty.org/ and specifically http://www.arfparty.org/images/27933-HarkinsKevin-DLFlyers-WEB2.jpg (that image is easier to read than on the first link).
Group T: Liberal DemocratsThe Party: The LDP has been around for a while now, but have really made a big push this election. You might not have realised it, but they have -- they're the ones behind all the "end political correctness" posters. The LDP are a libertarian party, offering economic liberalism (as per the Coalition) and social liberalism (as per Labor and the Greens) and are best summed up by the idea that government should interfere as little as possible in any area of life.
Policy 1: Victimless Crime. The LDP strongly advocates that victimless crimes be decriminalised. Examples of "low-level victimless crimes" that the LDP would support the legalisation of include:
- Riding a motorcycle or bicycle without a helmet
- BASE jumping from city buildings
- Individual purchase and consumption of recreational drugs
- Driving a motor vehicle without a seatbelt
- Prostitution and/or soliciting for prostitution
- Public nudity and fornication
- The consumption of pornography (not involving children or coercion)
Policy 2: Abolish Labour Regulation. Sometimes the LDP policy book reads like an ALP scare campaign. This policy is one of those, and includes abolishing the minimum wage and the award system, abolishing the national employment standards except OH&S and removing ‘unfair dismissal’ restrictions except for the sexual harassment rules, to allow employees to be fired for any reason.
Policy 3: Health. In what one would normally expect to be political kryptonite, the LDP would abolish Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and funding for public hospitals, government involvement in delivery of health services and government funding of health research. They would also support the privatisation of blood, organ and tissue donation services.
Group U: The Arts PartyThe Party: The Arts Party is a classic example of a party waiting to be hung out to dry as a direct result of voter apathy. As a minor party the candidates can expect minimal media coverage and a lack of interest from most voters who can't be bothered to google their options (or read a blog that does it for them) before election day. Many such parties name themselves after an issue to try and get the most out of the one guaranteed piece of exposure they've got - their name on the ballot. For the Voluntary Euthanasia Party or HEMP this works well enough. People can work out what the party stands for and factor this single issue into their order of preferences.
The Arts party has a more complex policy mix, as shown below, which also includes views on climate change, marriage equality and legalisation of cannabis. This cannot be simply summed up in a single party name, but I suspect the Arts Party is doing itself a disservice with its current choice.
Policy 1: Funding for the Arts. Obviously this is a big deal for the Arts Party, and covers funding for local and regional projects, reversal of cuts and extra money for the ABC and SBS, free entry into the public displays of all government funded museums and galleries and a National Arts Week to match National Science Week and other programs. But for me one of the more interesting planks of this policy is their "demand not supply" approach to arts funding. The Arts Party believes that too much money is being spent by the government on selected projects -- cherry picking the artists who will succeed -- rather than letting the public decide which works are relevant to the nation. They explain their policy to fund the demand for, rather than the supply of, art by way of the following example:
"a subsidy of $5 per ticket for a live performance would allow the producer of an event to offer their tickets for $5, while guaranteeing an income of $10 per ticket. Should such an offering garner no ticket sales then the subsidy would cost nothing to the government. Should the event prove popular then the subsidy would represent a cost to the government, but only as a result of the event's inherent value to the Australian people."
Policy 2: Vaccination. The Arts Party believes that vaccinations are an important part of modern healthcare with benefits that far outweigh any harms that may be caused. They support universal vaccination as a goal, but also understand that people may have very personal reasons for their objections, and argues that the current "no jab no pay" system focuses too heavily on penalties and not enough on incentives and education.
Policy 3: Disability. Support for people living with disabilities is proposed through support for the NDIS, grants to improve employment opportunities and compulsory audio description and captioning options for public TV (either on their free to air channel or online platforms), among others.