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I have a few questions for you

December 15, 2016

Do you think corruption in politics can be addressed by a new political party, one specifically designed to deal with the problem?

Is corruption in politics inevitable? Is it the inevitable consequence of adult behaviour?

Is it true that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Is this a cliché, with some truth to it? Is Queen Elizabeth II corrupt? Is the Pope corrupt? Is the UN Security Council corrupt?

Are you prepared to continue to vote for political parties that are occasionally tainted with corruption, or with members who are accused of corruption?

Would you vote for a political party that dealt severely with elected members found guilty of corrupt behaviour?

Do you think political parties might be influenced by donations they receive from big corporations?

Is it reasonable that corporations that legally manage to pay no tax in Australia should receive subsidies from the Australian government? On what grounds?

Are you satisfied that the continuing sale of public assets is the right thing to do? What assets, if any, should governments and taxpayers retain?

Do you believe in trickle down economic theory? Why, or why not?

Would you work as a volunteer to raise funds locally for a local candidate to avoid the obligation that might come with a corporate donation to your party?

Should replacement Senators be nominated by their party or should they be elected by voters?

Should the most senior party officials decide who can represent the party in parliament?

Should all candidates for parliaments, State and federal, be local people, chosen by local party members, free of interference from State and federal executive members?

Would you like to have a say in what policies a party should pursue and implement? Should this be left to career politicians and party executives to determine?

Should parties, politicians or candidates be obliged to keep their promises?

Should there be severe penalties (like loss of seat) for an elected parliamentarian who deliberately lies to mislead voters?

How should a candidate or an elected politician who deceives his or her party be dealt with?

Is it reasonable that a party in government should favour one sector over another?

Do you believe that balanced government is a necessity, or that balance over time is a reasonable alternative?

What area of policy is most vital to Australia’s future?

Do you believe the original Australians, the indigenous Aboriginals, should be treated equally, without further delay, and uplifted to the utmost of their abilities?

Are you satisfied with the treatment and assistance provided to Australian Aboriginal communities to this point?

Should Australia continue to rely on the USA as a major defence partner? Can you outline an alternative approach?

Switzerland has a long-standing reputation as an independent, unaligned nation. Can you see a role like that for Australia in the Pacific and near-Asian region?

Do you think a centrally based political party, favouring neither traditional labour nor traditional capital sectors, could have a role in providing stable, progressive and balanced governance in Australia?

Do you see issues such as those outlined above progressive, forward thinking and balanced, or “populist”?

Do you think the term “populist” might used in the pejorative, to denigrate popular or challenging ideas?

Are you prepared to work for a new political party that would implement the basic philosophy outlined above?

Would you like to participate in trouble-shooting and fleshing out some of these ideas into actual policies?

What is the greatest threat facing the attempted formation of a new progressive political party today?

What is the first step in forming such a party?

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8 Comments
  1. So many questions … it is hard to know where to begin.
    Something has gone seriously wrong at the preselection level, it seems to me.
    I KNOW there are some dedicated, ethical politicians, but too many who nominate seem to miss out to snake oil salesman types.

    I am not a rusted on to a particular party voter … but in Mayo, it hardly matters, does it.
    I am hopeful of Rebekha Sharkie building a truly independent voice (despite Nick Xenophon’s prediliction for Libs).
    That’s my contribution for today
    Cheers
    j

    • The major parties are carefully selecting career politicians Judith. They are hoping for a long career and they no longer resign when they screw up. Meanwhile they vote as the party tells them to, or else.
      I am trying to design a Centre party that will address the many complaints I am aware of. Local candidates only, no drop ins, and no interference from up the line executives is one of the essentials.

  2. A great list of questions for which answers should be mandatory for all election candidates aspiring to become our paid representatives as politians at all levels of govt.

    Certainly there is merit in establishing a ‘citizen led’ political agenda but would be cautious on more political parties for concern that they may be seen as too narrow focused / single issue parties. The ALP came from shearers seeking better working conditions and rights and it could be argued that the LNP had been born in reaction to that having run out of ‘Constitutional steam’ as the UAP. However these days there are so many issues out there its hard to envisage galvanising a critical mass of support viable enough to sustain a political party long term. The Dems tried until they compromised themselves so badly with the GST and now the Greens are giving it a go but electorally may have reached their limit.

    Also without significant financial support any new party could struggle to cut through. Regrettably that is just how it is and there I lies the rub whe it comes to political standards.

    In my opinion it should be a priority to encourage more ethical, selfless and effective behaviour from our current batch. There have been individuals within parties and independents who could be said to reflect these values and possibly would even attract respect even admiration of the public (in my book the likes of Lindsey Tanner, Paris Aristotle, Andrew Wilkie etc). Perhaps with more focus on politicians such as these the others will be encouraged (shamed) into better performance.

    • Thank you for commenting.
      Re “… but would be cautious on more political parties for concern that they may be seen as too narrow focused / single issue parties.”
      There has been no suggestion that proposed Centre Party would be narrowly focused on a single issue. It will have a full complement of policies, as expected of a party designed for balanced governance for all.
      The ALP was formed as a result of the shearers’ fight for rights and the Country Party (now coalition partner The Nationals) was formed to fight increasing unionism among farm workers. These issues are irrelevant today yet both parties continue to exist, although their focus has changed and expanded.
      “However these days there are so many issues out there its hard to envisage galvanising a critical mass of support viable enough to sustain a political party long term.”
      I think about the reasons for these issues arising and I would say they are justification for a new approach. The old parties are not functioning effectively; the world is changing (mainly due to population pressures) and things are going to get much worse unless planning and action begin soon.
      “The Dems tried until they compromised themselves so badly with the GST and now the Greens are giving it a go but electorally may have reached their limit.”
      The Dems were an attempt to establish a Centre and, unfortunately, they are still compromised today (by internal division). I don’t think the Greens have reached their electoral limit. The 2016 election was a weird one, due to Turnbull’s coup, his DD, Abbott’s $32 million trades union Royal Commission to support the controversial ABCC and related Bills, the rejigging of the Senate ballot paper to eliminate Independents and preference harvesting, the recall of parliament, its dissolution, a slightly early election after an extremely long and boring campaign and the frustration and expense of all that, along with Turnbull’s disastrous collapse in the popularity polls.
      “Also without significant financial support any new party could struggle to cut through.”
      Significant financial support generally comes from corporations or wealthy individuals. Neither has any interest in balanced governance; their interests are purely selfish. I have seen enough to have faith in regional crowd sourced funding, to support strictly local candidates.
      Where would significant funding be spent? Mainly on commercial TV and in newspapers, both of which reserve the right to refuse advertising. We have seen it happen.
      Significant funding is not essential. Significant policy changes, local representation, balanced governance are the essentials. Get that right and you have won the election — if you can survive the onslaught from vested interests.
      I agree there are some MPs who stand up for decency. They don’t need encouragement because that is who they are.

  3. Lots of questions Barry. I joined the ALP local branch which has no affiliations, more in disgust of the Liberals than anything. Felt I had to do something.
    A new party based on cleaning up corruption by its nature will have little longevity (as most new parties have). PHON just renames itself and gets extended on the largesse of the electoral system between bouts of popularity.
    However many of your other points added to this aim would be OK.
    Tony Abbott has much to answer for in the current political climate where lying and deception are the norm. Once Howard left the drivers seat Abbott was free to infect parliament with lies, bitterness, jealousy, incompetence, rudeness, misogyny and arrogance. Born to rule surfaced and with his schoolboy desire for acceptance he became pliant to Murdoch.
    Our reliance on the USA has become less of a need since China and Russia have both have had influence changes. China economically and Russia with the demise of the USSR. Both states are fluid in their roles on the international stage. Both need watching and for us to follow the USA is probably no longer in our best interest. Bishop is not the one we can feel comfortable with as our FM. Too busy and focused on her social standing and her photo ops.
    A third party would be difficult to germinate with the Greens seeing that as their role and remember the DLP. Saying that I would like to see a strong progressive alternative. Some of our recent independents have been OK. (Tony Windsor, Rob Oakshot, Glen Lazarus, even the lad from the Motorist Party ) .

    Wish I was 40 years younger!

    • Thank you Bill. Re: “A new party based on cleaning up corruption by its nature will have little longevity (as most new parties have).”
      Firstly: There are various reasons why the new parties we have seen have had short duration. That is not sufficient justification to write off a new party even before it has begun.
      Secondly: Cleaning up corruption is not the only issue for a Centre Party. My proposal has a fully fledged policy agenda. If corruption was the only issue the party would ultimately have no purpose, if it succeeded. Having no further purpose it would decline; corruption would reappear. The fundamental purpose is balanced governance; cleaning up corruption, freeing funds to use elsewhere, is one of the first steps.
      “A third party would be difficult to germinate with the Greens seeing that as their role and remember the DLP”
      Some see the role of the Greens diminishing. I would put that down to leadership change and policy shuffling. Perhaps that culminated in their poor 2016 election result, but that election was a peculiar beast and I think it represented a major backlash against the LNP.
      My proposed Centre Party will have a full suite of policies and its central purpose will be balanced governance to replace the constant policy flip-flops and reversals of the present Duopoly.

  4. Sensible reply Barry. I note that the question of financial backing has come up in other comments. It is probably the key. Whilst Hanson works AEC with great success more than that funding is needed. There must be some backers out there with thoughts similar to yours. Bit of a pickle these days as wealth accumulation to the top 1% perpetuates the flow of dollars to the right. That has to be broken somehow. By a Centrist Party!

    • I don’t want corporate or wealthy individual funding. Those sources can dry up. I prefer local candidates to be funded locally, to be owned by their electorates and to be well aware of it.

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