Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicken Little

I can't believe the level of doomsday predictions being uttered by the defeated liberal supporters. Check this link from Perth for some classic examples. Some are threatening to leave the country. Please do, we would be better off without you.

This election has restored my faith in the Australian public. I do hope that they voted Howard out not because of how it may effect the amount of cash in their wallets, but because they wanted to turf out lying, deceiving, pompous, weak, gutless, racist, misogynistic, buck-passing, uncaring, born-to-rule attitudinal, selfish and self-serving politicians.

Let's hope that K07 really does implement a true education revolution and give back to the public schools what has been taken away from them. ps, K07, give Brumby a call and tell him to start the revolution off by giving Victorian Teachers their fair dues.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The last word before saturday

The guys at Political Compass have looked at the major parties in the upcoming election and have come up with this:



One thing that strikes me is how authoritarian all the major parties are. I wonder if we did this 30 - 40 years ago where the parties would lie. In fact it would be an interesting exercise to do a time lapse image watching the dots move over this period of time. I bet you it would look like as if One Nation was leading the way and the rest wanting to catch them. What a sad reflection on the swinging voter. Face it, it is to them that the politicians pitch their policies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Minor minor parties IX

What the hell, I’m just watching TV at the moment so I’ll finish of my look into the senate.

The independents

Group V: Tony and Amanda Klein
Tony classes himself as an average Victorian. He’s worked in the private and public sector. He says he has no specific policies and will approach any decision based on his life experience and background. Given this is all his website says, it’s really hard to work out what he stands for. Surely he has certain values and beliefs that may influence his decision making?

Group T: Joseph Kaliniy and Koulla Mesaritis
It was really hard to find any information on these two. The only thing that I could come up with was someone else’s look at the senate.
This website has gone into detail about who each senate candidate is preferencing. Anyway, the site refers to Joseph as the roundabout guy who stands in every election there is, a la Steve Raskovy. He is campaigning against problem roundabouts and parents’ rights to discipline their children.

Norman Walker
I can’t find anything at all about this guy except that he’s a mature age student. Still, this guy gets my vote ahead of some of the others.

Darryl O’Bryan

This guy loves the constitution. And I mean really loves the constitution. He wants to go around to every school preaching about the constitution. He wants to remove all lawyers from our parliament. He says that the current tax laws are unconstitutional. In fact, I hazard to guess he think everything is unconstitutional.

Tejay M ┼×ener
He is an applied physicist and his website has a few youtube clips outlining his policies. Some of which include:
- A Bill of Rights
- Heaps of funding for child centres and nursing homes.
- Cut funding to a sporting organisation if an athlete of their's is found using drugs.
- Rural Australia to get funding for satellite TV, phone and internet.
- Funding for public television like Channel 31.
- Funding for robotic vehicles. (What’s the bet that’s what he is working on?)
- Stop sales of uranium and no to nuclear power.
- Bring the troops back home.

That’s it. I’m not going into the preference deals because someone has already done this, thank goodness. Now to vote.

Minor minor parties VIII

This post looks at the anarchists and socialists.

Anarchists

The anarchists have two members standing (Group I on the Victorian ballot) including the frequent newspaper letter writer and broadcaster Joseph Toscano. They define an Anarchist Society as “a voluntary, non-hierarchical society based on the creation of social and political structures that allow all people equal access to that society's power and wealth". Joseph is not even enrolled to vote but because he’s entitled to vote he is entitled to be on the ballot. His policies include:
- people can throw out non-performing MP’s by signing a petition.
- people can initiate referendums.

Good luck to Joseph, he’s been up for election at least 6 or 7 times.


Socialist Equality Party
Looking through their website I stumbled upon pictures of their candidates, one of whom was one of my supervising teachers during my dip ed. Not only that, he’s standing in the house of reps in my seat. He was a nice guy. Anyway, I’ll now look at their policies.
- Withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Those responsible for the war be tried for war crimes.
- The release of anyone captured in the war held in US prison and detention camps.
- Remove Australian troops from the south pacific and spend the money on schools and hospitals.
- The disbanding of the entire Australian military apparatus.
- Repel of all anti-terror laws.
- Preferential voting to be replaced with proportional representation.
- Remove discrimination based on nationality, ethnic background, religion, gender or sexual preference.
- Right to abortion.
- Opposition to the death penalty.
- Public ownership of large privately-owned industrial, mining, service and pharmaceutical corporations, together with banking and financial institutions and privatised utilities, with full compensation to all small shareholders.
- A fully-funded, high-class public school, university and TAFE education system.
- Billions to be provided to the public health system, to finance a huge expansion in staffing, training, technology and equipment.
- Vast expansion in funding for the arts and scientific research.
- Freedom of speech and an end to political, intellectual and artistic censorship.

It’s a very idealist platform. Unfortunately the world is not ready to live in such a socialist utopia.

Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Alliance doesn’t advocate the whole-sale changes the Socialist Equality Party does and their policies do not seem to be as revolutionary. Here are some:
- Tear up Work Choices.
- Phase out coal power for renewable energies.
- No Gunns pulp mill.
- No dredging Port Phillip Bay.
- Universal and free education and health systems.
- Medicare to cover optical and dental.
- More money for all levels of public education.
- No TAFE or university fees.
- A living wage for all carers, pensioners and unemployed.
- Troops to be brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Restore civil liberties lost under anti-terrorism laws.
- Support same-sex marriage and adoption rights.
- All refugees welcome to Australia and be given full citizenship rights.
- Repeal all laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Build new public housing to end the waiting list.

That just leaves the independent candidates. I'll have to get this done tomorrow since I need to post my postal vote before I leave.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Minor minor parties VII

I started looking at the remaining parties for future posts, but this one is too good to leave for another day. So this is my second post for the day. I think this is a first.

Australian Shooters Party
Basically these guys think that the Greens have “an idealistic, skewed and dangerous vision for the future.” Here are their policies and I'll let you decide if they have “an idealistic, skewed and dangerous vision for the future.”

- The right of the law-abiding citizen to own and use firearms. Just forget about what may happen if you give everyone guns. What happens if you don’t agree with a certain law? Do you cease to be law abiding and will you hand in your weapon?

- You can carry non-lethal methods of protection if firearms are not an option. These guys must be proud of those youths who carry around knuckle dusters.

- Support recreational hunting. If you’ve got a gun, you might as well use it, especially to kill things just for fun.

- 4WD and horses can run free in National and State parks. Let those poor 4WD’s into the forests, it’s their natural habitat. As tiny babies, 4WD’s were removed from the forests and now that they have grown up, they just want to go back.

- Opposes undue violence on TV, films and video. And yet they are OK if the violence is perpetrated by themselves. Work that out.

- Any law which has no demonstrable benefit should be repealed. Well, only if it doesn’t benefit guys with guns.

- Environmental laws should be framed with regard to the greater good and not to placate a minority pressure viewpoint. Hmmm, I wonder if a policy having 4WD’s running rampant through forests is for the greater good, or to placate a minority pressure viewpoint.

This reminds me of the Sacred Cows and their song, "Kill, Kill, Kill, Thrill, Thrill, Thrill". You know, after reading this I think I need a gun. Or maybe a red sports car. I don't think I'm a man unless I have one of these.

Minor minor parties VI

I’ll now look at three parties which I think belong in the same section but I can’t think of a collective label for them.

What Women Want Australia

This party has been set up to address issues affecting women. They feel that politics has been dominated by males for too long and that women should be given more say in the direction of the country. Here is their youtube ad.

Their policies include:
- Medicare should cover dental, midwifery, physiotherapy and complementary and natural medicine. The evidence for complementary and natural medicine efficacy is minimal or non existence. Medicare should not be used for treatments that just don’t work.
- Right to choose whether to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.
- Do not support Work Choices.
- Paid parental leave.
- Same sex couples to have same rights as heterosexual couples.
- A critical assessment of our welfare system that often provides little incentive for people to find full-time employment.
- Free preschool program for children.
- Better funding for public schools.
- Abolishment of HECS and reintroduction of free university education.
- Water: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Free water tanks for homes. No dams.
- Energy: Ratify Kyoto protocol. Invest in renewable energy, but not nuclear.
- Invest in new rail, walking and cycling infrastructure.
- Support fair trade and humanitarian relief and welcoming to our shores refugees from war-torn countries.

Carers Alliance

This party has been formed by carers of those with disabilities who believe that the mainstream parties have neglected their role in our society. There are about 2.6 million carers in Australia. Their policies are all geared towards having a say in the funding and structure for the carers. The want to implement Recommendations 18 and 19 of the House of Representatives Inquiry into Balancing Work and Family which are as follows:

Recommendation 18 (8.42) The Australian Government consider allowing adults, who incur care costs for the care of elderly relatives or relatives with a disability, to have the choice of either receiving all current carers’ benefits or claiming these costs as a tax deduction where they can demonstrate that paid care was necessary to allow them to work.

Recommendation 19 (8.53) The Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs make access to its funding programs more flexible, including the $19,000 per child per annum under the Inclusion Support Scheme, so that community groups and businesses can establish child care centres that have expertise in the needs of children with a disability and allow the development of after school hours care and vacation care for special needs children.
They also want more funding and services for mental health care. Also, if carers move interstate they lose disability services. They believe that no one should be disadvantage by moving states.

Non-custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

This party’s main policies relate to divorce or separation. They believe that the starting point of any judgment should be that of 50:50 equal share parenting. They believe that both parents are important for children growing up. They also believe that there is an ingrained culture in the Family Court that prevents them from looking at equal share parenting. They wish to abolish the Child Support Agency and repel the Child Support legislation.

They support the Marriage Manifesto. This includes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that children have a right to a father and a mother. They list 21 points as to why marriage matters. The points have certain claims. For example: Point 20, Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women. This statement is based on a US study using data from 1987-88 and 1992-93. I don’t know whether this may apply to Australia.

Other policies include:
- Do not support the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.
- Support free trade and globalisation.
- Recognise climate change exists. They support the removal of emphasis on coal power but don’t want nuclear power. However further down on their web page they say that alternative sources are by themselves not solutions to the problem and then go on to say that coal and nuclear are the only two viable sources of power.
- Support a Commonwealth dental scheme.


This last party has the feel of a party that came into existence because of one angry man. It has one core issue and the rest of the policies have just been put together in haste. The other two parties seem to have had more thought put into their ideas and seem reasonable.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Minor minor parties V

I'm away on the weekend of the election and so am doing a postal vote. I've received the ballots in the mail so I need to get cracking with my research. This installment looks at the religious parties.

Christian Democratic Party
This is the party run by Fred Nile. I do enjoy this tidbit they have on their web page. We "were responsible for saving the Letona Fruit Canning company, which has unfortunately closed!!!!!" Anyway, here are their policies:
- Parliament starts with a prayer. Which version of Christian prayer do they want? In fact why not let every sect have an opening prayer. And every religion.

- Zero tolerance drug policy. They all point to Sweden as having a successful zero tolerance policy. This article suggests that drug use actually rose after this policy was introduced.

- Immigration should be for those who can readily integrate into Australian society. There should be a 10 year moratorium on Islamic immigration. That is, you better be white, Christian and speak the Queen's English or keep out!

- Fund chaplains in all schools. Again, which denomination has preference?

- Schools should not be used for social engineering experiments such as the promotion of alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality. Yeah. That's what every teacher tries to do.

- Accepts that the scientific debate around climate change is unresolved and in that sense the CDP remains agnostic in respect to scientific elements of the climate change debate. This just goes to show that they have no idea of current scientific thinking and that they still are intellectually in the dark ages.

Family First
I'll put these guys in even though they have a senator because they are really a minor minor party. They don't overtly state they are a religious party, but we all know they are part of the new evangelical "money money me me" movement. Also, they ranked highly on the Australian Christian Values Institute poll. On their website, their policies are listed as over 30 one liners which link to a pdf. This is disingenuous. The one liners may look good on the surface to the naive web surfer, but you need to get the nuts and bolts of the policy to find out what evil lurks within.
- FAMILY FIRST believes “family” refers to relationships that bind grandparents, mums and dads and their children and form the basis of a community. Provided your not gay, a single parent, just plain single, live in a de facto relationship, or don't have your own business.

- More money in your pocket. This means cutting taxes and restoring "real" competition. Hang on a second, doesn't real competition end up mostly with monopolies??? What about taxes to build infrastructure? But then again, "small business is the true hero of our economy". Not nurses, teachers, doctors, the sanitation workers, etc. Notice how the word society is not mentioned? It's the economy, stupid. No need for society.

- Mandatory ISP pornography filtering. Like that's going to work!!! And who defines what pornography is? As Tom Lehrer once sang, "For filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder".

- Ban alcohol ads which are aimed at children or which link drinking to personal, business, social, sporting, sexual or other success. Fielding put this bill up in parliament once. Guess what happened??

- No to euthanasia, abortion, drugs, same-sex marriage, bill of rights. Yawn... What are you afraid of? Your kids blaming you for their distorted upbringing, and wanting to get rid of you. Who could blame them?

Anyway, the rest of the policies aren't really policies but just a bunch of supposedly feel good statements such as we will reduce class sizes at schools, or introduce initiatives that create incentives to reduce waste and pollutants in the environment. But nowhere does it state how they will do it. Maybe if they just pray hard enough, God will do it. Nothing for us to worry about then.

Democratic Labor Party
I'll put these guys in here since they were mainly the Catholics that split from the Labor party in the 1950s. It's amazing these guys are still around since the reds under the bed have basically gone. Anyway, here is what they would do and believe:

- Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. That's the usual mantra for the fundamental religious types.

- Make divorce difficult to do. Presumably if you are in an abusive relationship, then it's your fault and you probably deserve it.

- Federal funding for students attending non-government schools. If we want to indoctrinate our kids with our crazy ideas, you have to pay for it.

- China have a claim on Taiwan, unless the Taiwanese want to be independent. I thought the Taiwanese have made this clear????

- Opposed to imposed multiculturalism, but migrants are free to maintain their cultural practices and traditions. I'm still trying to understand if this is a contradiction.

- Abolition of the Office for the Status of Women, the Commission for the Future, the Human Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission, and such.

I'll stop there. They have other policies which seem ok, but I can't be bothered going over them and checking them out. My eyes have glazed over.

One Nation and One Nation WA
I'll put them here because they mention Christian values on their website. Also one of their policies is to re-introduce Christian ethics into schools. Of course, nowhere is it spelled out what these ethics are. The WA branch is even having a lone candidate stand in the Victorian senate. Here is a video of one of the Victorian branch candidates. Basically, build more dams and no more immigration.

The Secular Party of Australia
This party was not able to be registered in time and so their candidates don't have the party next to their names. On the Victorian Ballot there are listed as group P. Their policies are:
- supports the 19th century notion that education be "universal, secular and free".
- end religious tax exemptions and subsidies.
- ceremonial references to religious beings are anachronistic, ethnocentric and divisive. Pledges should be towards principles, not deities.
- Support a Bill of Rights.
- religious indoctrination of children in schools violates the rights of the child. The requirement, whether by parents or schools, that children wear religious attire, is a form of indoctrination. The Secular Party therefore opposes this practice. It is the policy of the Secular Party that all forms of religious attire be prohibited in all government schools.
- the right to access information and entertainment, in private, free from censorship dictated by religious ideas.
- become a republic, with an Australian head of state.

- recognise global warming as a significant and dire threat to global civilisation. Implement phased introduction of a carbon tax. Support geothermal, tidal and nuclear energy.

These guys will get my approval way ahead of the others, even though I may not agree will all their policies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Minor minor parties IV

With the environment being a huge issue this election, parties have popped up from everywhere that are trying to address this issue. Here are a couple.

Climate Change Coalition
This party has got some big names in it. Karl Kruszelnicki, Patrice Newell, John Harvey, just to name a few. They come from diverse backgrounds; the left, the right, the rational. Their policies include:
- Ratify the Kyoto Protocol and support binding emission targets for all nations beyond 2012.
- Set a mandatory target of 30% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020.
- Oppose nuclear power.
- Establish a nationwide moratorium on new coal fired power stations and new coal export projects until their carbon emissions can be safely sequestered.
- Introduce energy efficiency standards for motor vehicles, requiring improvements consistent with the emissions reduction targets and world's best practice.
- Emphasise energy efficiency and conservation by expanding mandatory energy performance standards to cover all energy-using appliances and equipment in line with world's best practice.

These are all noble policies.

Conservatives for Climate and Environment
This party believes in supporting a Liberal style of economic management with a heavy emphasis on the environment. However they don't want over-regulation in response to climate change. They think that market based innovation with a strong carbon price signal will be far more effective. Their policies include:
- Drive emissions reduction with strong carbon tax (including fuel) right through to consumer level, reducing the tax burden in other areas
- Ratify Kyoto and join the lead group of countries
- Reduce emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 with solid interim targets
- Provide greater protection for native forests
- Oppose the planned Gunns pulp mill
- Implement a thorough, constructive and public review for the IR system, to support productivity in a just and fair manner
- Put more effort into Indigenous reconciliation and health
- Assist Pacific Islanders and others in our region affected by climate change
- Ensure anti-terrorism measures do not undermine basic rights (e.g. Hicks)

One of their guys on the Victorian senate ballot is Steve Raskovy. He is a serial writer to the Herald Sun and is one who stands as an independent in every election there is, even in local sporting club elections. His writings have always had a right-wing leaning and I'm extremely surprised that he would agree to some of the policies mentioned above, eg. basic rights for terror suspects. Methinks he has just latched onto this bunch to try to in.

Of course there are the Greens, but there not a minor minor party anymore so they don't make this cut.

The senate has heaps more which I'll try to get through before the election. I'll have a look at the parties with a religious bent in the next post.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Minor minor parties III

Senator On-line
This is an interesting concept. The idea is that if you elect their representative, then the way they vote in the senate is decide by you. Here is how it will work.

All bills put forward in the senate will be published on their website and you vote on whether you wish that bill to be passed. The votes are counted and the party will vote on what the majority want. The majority is 70% or more for 100000 state votes. If this criteria is not met, the representative will vote in accordance with the majority view. If a majority in the state is not straight forward, they will look at the national result and vote accordingly.

This is a interesting idea which seems to be based on the Swiss model of everyone voting for everything. The major assumption is that the public are informed. It reminds me of the film "The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer", where this idea is used to create a dictatorial government. Check the film out if you can find it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Minor minor parties II

The Liberty and Democratic Party
The philosophy of this party is that of libertarianism. Basically they state that government creates a nanny state and so our freedoms are restricted. They propose the following:
Economic - Australians (rich and poor) have never had it better so there is no need for welfare. People give to charities anyway, so no need for handouts. As for tax, you don't pay till $30000, then it's a flat rate of 30% from then on. You get rid of public health care, and everything becomes user pays. In fact you privatize all government institutions. Can you spot a flaw in this economic policy?

Global warming - They acknowledge that the climate is changing and that man may be partially responsible, but government is not the way to attack the problem, the free market will fix it. They forget that the market is driven by marketing, that's why VHS was used rather that BETA, even though BETA is the better media. The market doesn't necessarily give us what's best. Just think of Microsoft.

Environment - They are of the opinion that smaller government leads to a better environment. I'd like to see what data they have to back this up.

Victimless crime - There should be no punishment for victimless crime. I had to check out what crime could be victimless. Some of these I agree with, eg, blasphemy, apostasy, flag burning, homosexuality, euthanasia. However some so called victimless crime may not hurt an individual, but be detrimental to society as a whole. Things like not wearing seatbelts and helmets.

Firearms - You can own a gun for sport, hunting and self defence. Yep, can anyone see potential problems here?

Labour Market - No minimum wage. Welcome to a Dickensian world.

Lifestyle choices - Consenting adults are free to engage in any activity or to live with who they want. They say that adults are not children and shouldn't be told what to do. I don't have a problem with this provided it involves consenting adults and doesn't inflict harm on others.

There are other policies that you can check out for yourself, but they all rely on the assumption that all take responsibility for their actions and that by doing things that are good for the individual, the society will benefit. I believe that this is definitely not the case, and that there are many out there who never take responsibility for what they do (can you think of anyone??) and that selfishness only benefits the few you are connected to, and neglect the welfare of the broader population. It takes a very short sighted view and is mainly concerned with the now and not the future. In our point in time, I don't think that these policies would work.