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A Labor Candidate


As I stood next to Labor South Australian Senate candidate, Michael Allison, handing out how-to-vote cards at a local pre-polling booth, we had a chat about what inspired him to run for government. As we were chatting, I noticed the Nick Xenophon Team volunteer was wearing a traffic-light-sized badge claiming a vote for his party is a vote for a real person. Xenophon’s claim that his candidates are ‘real’, and the major party candidates are not, is a typical ‘pox on both their houses’ tactic which allows minor parties and independents to claim they’re better than the majors without having to actually reveal their own ideas and values. The media lap this stuff up. But as I chatted to Michael, and found out more about his values, it was clear his values are Labor through and through.

Simply, Michael was inspired to run for the Senate to ensure his success in life is accessible to future generations of Australians. Growing up with his mum in public housing in regional South Australia, Michael says the policies which he hopes to fight for in a Labor government are the same ones which ensured he got where he is. A good public education, access to healthcare and vocational training at TAFE are what Michael believes led him to success in life. He seems exasperated that still the Turnbull Liberal government cuts from education and health, when these cuts will destroy the chance for more young-Michaels to reach their full potential.

I’ve met people who have come from similar backgrounds to Michael, who have gone on to success in their lives, who have very different ideas about the source of their success. To put in bluntly, there’s another perspective which goes something like this: I am successful because I worked hard. Even though I wasn’t rich, it was my motivation, drive and intelligence which got me where I am, and the only reason other people from poor backgrounds don’t get to where I have got is because they haven’t worked as hard as I have. To me, this attitude denies the role the community played in that person’s life. Sure, it takes commitment to get a good education, and well done to anyone who takes advantage of the opportunities a good education presented to them. But at the end of the day, motivation, drive and intelligence is wasted if it’s not nurtured with a good education, in a safe community, with access to vital services like healthcare. Michael gets this. He is grateful to the government policies which gave him the right foundation for him to succeed in life, and now he is motivated to ensure everyone else gets the same.

After training as an electrician, Michael joined a union. His passion for community values were soon transferred into his working life, where he supported his union in defending pay and conditions for his fellow workers. A Labor government, Michael explained, is as valuable to every Australian as a union is to its members; just as a union has their workers’ backs, a Labor government has the backs of every Australian whether they be workers, business owners, students, children, retirees, everyone.

Although some people might say Michael is a fairly typical Australian bloke, working in a trade, father of young children, living on a large block a long commute from the city, watching footy on weekends and passionate about his community, Michael doesn’t think there is such a thing as a typical Australian. The only typical thing about Australians, he told me, is that we’re all different. Young or old, born here or somewhere else, rich or poor, gay or straight, worker or business owner, retiree, student, male or female, Michael says the Labor party represents all people, equally. That’s when I realised why Nick Xenophon’s accusation of Labor candidates being ‘not real’ was even more unfair. The outcomes Michael wants to achieve in a Labor government are real outcomes for real people just like him. No stunts. No slogans. No protest votes. Michael is passionate about outcomes for real people, for real change, for real progress. What could be more authentic than that?


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  1. Freethinker

    Perhaps what the independents say about “real people” is base that they do not have to go by the party rules?
    When Hawk and Keating introduced their neoliberal economic reform IMO that was the end of the old Labor values.
    Those on the left that still there is because they believe and by being inside they can change things. IMO not.
    Yes the ALP have better social policies than the Coalition but they have not done enough or have done less since the reforms.

  2. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Michael sounds like a good guy for sure.

    However, there is a legitimate place for the smaller parties and Independents, as long as their principles, policies and procedures aim to represent the 99% and the environment.

  3. cornlegend

    Good article Victoria, but Michael Allison has one benefit in running for the Senate and that is, MSM don’t do the attack dog effort on Senators as they do H.O.R candidates.
    A case in point is the Labor candidate for Lindsay Emma Husar, who is out to unseat Tony Abbotts little favourite Fiona Scott.
    The Labor Party bio for Emma is a simple one
    “Emma has lived her whole life in the area and is now raising her three children in Penrith. As a local mum, Emma understands the challenges working families face.Emma has a track record of delivering for the region. Emma advocates for locals with a disability and has fought for improvements to local disability services. She is a member of Penrith Council Access Committee.
    Emma has served on P&C Committees of local schools and has led community fundraising efforts to support people with serious illnesses.
    Emma received the Penrith City Council Carer of the Year award for her work as a community advocate.”

    But in the last few days the MSM have started to ramp up the negativity on Emma, with all manner of rubbish, the latest being
    “Emma tries to hide condom pic” A reference to a 6 year old facebook picture of Emma and a giant red condom. No bother in explaining that it was an Aids Awareness promotion.
    Another sneaking suspicion as to the attacks on Emma could well be that Bill Shorten has chosen her seat to do the official Labor Party Election Campaign launch from there tomorrow.
    I can’t wait for my family and I to head up to Penrith later today to do a bit of campaigning for Emma and then, it is only one more sleep till we are off to the big ALP campaign Launch with Bill and the team

  4. Kaye Lee

    Unfortunately, despite having connected to the NBN bloody node thingy, I was unable to watch the debate ….all I got was the little blue circle turning around. Smart move by Bill to tell the facebook audience to hit like if they would prefer fibre NBN.

    Comments from swinging voters who were in the audience of the live debate…

    Paul Bartlett, a 49-year-old business owner from Lindsay, called Malcolm Turnbull a “snake oil salesman” while saying Bill Shorten was “more to the point”.

    Shanice Da Costa, 18, of Glenmore Park in western Sydney, said she was undecided before attending tonight’s debate.

    “I was a bit swayed (either way) because this is my first year voting,” said Shanice, who will vote in the marginal seat of Lindsay.

    In the end, she was convinced by Mr Shorten, especially because of his promise to legalise same-sex marriage.

    “Malcolm Turnbull could just do that right now but he hasn’t,” she said.

    David Piper, age 70 from Deakon, said he was surprised by the results of the debate, and that he thought it would have been a lot closer.

    “Malcolm Turnbull spoke in philosophical ways while Bill Shorten talked about what he would do,” he said.

  5. cornlegend

    Kaye Lee
    “Unfortunately, despite having connected to the NBN bloody node thingy, I was unable to watch the debate”

    Seems like that may have been the case in a lot of places
    The “Debate” had a viewing audience of 12,000

  6. Athena

    Gee it’s a bit like the ALP putting people first. What they fail to tell us is that the people they’re putting first are wealthy party donors. Take a look at the garbage being spewed about the NXT by Penny Wong, Christopher Pyne and those Liberal attack dogs, Family First. I’ve not seen anything from NXT anywhere near as nasty as what is being dished out to them from the major parties. NXT’s policies are also not a secret. They’ve held many public meetings throughout this campaign and are very willing to answer questions. I attended one such meeting a couple of weeks ago. We were told of various NXT policies, all logical and progressive, and questions were answered clearly and without hesitation or ducking answers. I used to vote for Penny but she’s become so irrational in recent months that it has turned me off. At least Nick Xenophon works hard for SA. Penny just toes the ALP party line. Keep spewing your poison Victoria. The major parties and their supporters are too stupid to realise that people are tiring of their continual mud slinging instead of working for the benefit of the electorate.

  7. cornlegend

    Victoria, that must be a record , 5 comments before it started.
    You and Trish Corry should have a wager on who get the quickest cpmment similar to “Keep spewing your poison Victoria”

    Athena, can’t respond to you bleatings till monday have to go out 😀

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Do we get brownie points for saying something noice? 😉

  9. townsvilleblog

    Well I can respond to Athena, she is obviously NOT politically aware, and knows little of the subject she speaks about, it is Labor who have promised to crack down on the corporations, who should have paid between $6-8 Billion in tax last financial year as reported by Oxfam, hardly a radical group. Imagine how far that money would have gone to Medicare, to State health&services to help the poor, understanding that we now have 2.5 million Australians living below the poverty line, our family being among those 2.5 million people. We need to vote Labor this time or we will lose Medicare to USA style privatization that the 2.5 million people will not be able to afford. Wake up girl, and smell the roses, a vote for NXT will be a vote ultimately for one of the two major parties after preferences are distributed, if your vote comes down for a vote for the LNP you will suffer for ever more, please follow the Labor how to vote ticket to make sure that your nation continues to be a progressive rather than a regressive country.

  10. Athena

    I’m actually disappointed that Victoria couldn’t multitask by slinging mud at the Greens and NXT in the same post.

  11. Athena

    Townsvilleblog, you need to take your own advice. Take a look at the political donations and see who the recipients are of ALP’s multi-million dollar contracts. The ALP is all talk about taxing corporations. They had plenty of opportunity to address the problem last time they were in government and chose not to.

  12. Jack Russell

    Give Labor a majority in the House of Reps, and a majority of Labor/decent Independents/Greens in the Senate and see the Coalition of criminals and their fascist sociopathic policies swiftly and permanently removed from the Australian landscape.

    If you love this country and its people, then do that at this election and give a future worth living to your children.

  13. Steve Laing -

    I agree Athena. I’m sure that Michael is a great guy, and would be of great benefit to the parliament, but we know that both of the big parties, Liberal and Labor, suck any kind of individual merit and ideas out of their backbenchers, and just expect them to do what they are told, and with no clear way to contribute. Just lobby fodder required to play the big game. (If you want proof, just ask Alannah McTernan of what she thought of her 3 years as a backbencher, following being a senior state minister in WA).

    Now before you jump on me, I recognise that this is in part because 1) that is how the LNP want it and 2) they have managed to “convince” the MSM that this is the way that things should be run. Dissent is death, so dissent is outlawed.

    The reason that Xenophon’s party, the Greens, and the other independents are taking so many primary votes from the major parties is that we are sick of everything being presented as being black or white. This is a false dichotomy and Labor seem happy to buy into it. Sure, as I’ve said, the MSM/Murdoch force their hand on this, but the more they bow down to appeasing the MSM, the more hollow they seem to be.

    The Labor party need to get with the times, or face being pushed into obscurity. In my home country, they already have been, with the SNP taking over the mantle of being the progressive party in Scotland. Labor’s kowtowing to a system that failed to look after a large sector of their constituency was finally enough, and they now have as many seats in Scotland as the Tories. Just twenty years ago if you had suggested that would be the future, people would have thought you nuts.

    So Labor needs to stop trying to placate the media barons and start setting the agenda. Stop courting a media which is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and start trying new and better ways to put forward their messages. Labor have got two weeks to make an impact, otherwise we look like we will be signing our nation’s future away.

  14. Athena

    “The Labor party need to get with the times, or face being pushed into obscurity. In my home country, they already have been, with the SNP taking over the mantle of being the progressive party in Scotland. Labor’s kowtowing to a system that failed to look after a large sector of their constituency was finally enough, and they now have as many seats in Scotland as the Tories. Just twenty years ago if you had suggested that would be the future, people would have thought you nuts.

    So Labor needs to stop trying to placate the media barons and start setting the agenda. Stop courting a media which is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and start trying new and better ways to put forward their messages. ”

    It’s no wonder that young people are favouring the Greens. The major parties can’t plan ahead further than the next election. The future must look very bleak for Australian teenagers right now, having their whole lives ahead of them but no secure future. For the first time in my life I’m glad I’m getting old!

    The ALP’s biggest threat is supposed to be the Liberal Party but they’re spending a lot of time and energy sniping at the Greens and Xenophon. What big business wants, big business gets.

  15. nurses1968

    I can understand why people would vote for Xenophon -I can’t understand why prople vote for Xenophon
    I just can’t make up my mind but then neither can Xenophon most times

    Voted a mixture of for and against same sex marriage
    Voted moderately against a carbon price
    Voted a mixture of for and against increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management
    Voted moderately against the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
    Voted moderately against implementing refugee and protection conventions
    Voted moderately for regional processing of asylum seekers.
    Voted moderately for increasing marine conservation.
    Voted a mixture of for and against increasing investment in renewable energy
    Voted moderately for privatising government assets
    Voted moderately against increasing Aboriginal land rights
    Voted strongly against decreasing the private health insurance rebate
    Voted moderately for increasing protection of Aboriginal heritage sites
    Voted a mixture of for and against live animal exports
    Voted moderately for the Intervention in the Northern Territory
    Voted moderately against decreasing ABC and SBS funding
    Voted a mixture of for and against increasing trade unions’ powers in the workplace
    Has never voted on government administered paid parental leave
    Has never voted on tobacco plain packaging

  16. Athena

    Looks like you can’t interpret that website either, nurses1968.

  17. Diane

    As I live – and will be voting – in Sturt, I need to consider which vote is most likely to topple the obnoxious Pyne. It would be nice if we could have negative voting, then I could vote -1 for Pyne, and cancel out the vote of someone who is gullible enough to believe the Liberal lies a second time, but failing that, and as the general populace of Sturt is never in a blue-rinsed moon going to vote in a Labor candidate, Xenophon may be the only chance of getting rid of the weasly,smirking little creep!

  18. Athena

    “Xenophon may be the only chance of getting rid of the weasly,smirking little creep!”

    That sure would be good. I went to an NXT Q&A evening a couple of weeks ago at Glynde and was pleasantly surprised to see about half of the people were retiree age (about 80 people present).

    One woman mentioned a recent letter that Pyne sent out to the electorate, inviting people to request postal votes. Also in the same envelope was a letter from Malcolm Turnbull promoting the Liberal Party. The woman said she asked several of the residents at her mother’s nearby nursing home and all thought that the AEC endorsed the Liberal Party due to the contents of the envelope. None of them realised it was sent out by the Liberals. Last I saw data, Glynde had the oldest average age of residents in Adelaide and Norwood (also in Sturt) was close behind, due to all the nursing homes and retirement villages in these areas. Is this how the Liberal Party encourages the elderly to vote for them?

  19. nurses1968

    AthenaJune 18, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Looks like you can’t interpret that website either, nurses1968.
    Would you care to enlighten us then as to how the website is to be I just took the records kept as recorded in Hansard by the site and the explanatory notes also provided by the site

  20. corvus boreus

    In my opinion, the interpretative ‘how they voted’ summary is the most flawed part of that site (
    The nuanced factors behind and around each motion are not accounted for in the arbitrary system of how they rate the overall ‘strength of stance’ of the various elected members on different ‘issues’.
    I recall recently reading that a Labor member (don’t remember who) successfully petitioned them to alter his record on these grounds that their summary conclusion misrepresented the main intent behind his voting record.
    I find the section with records of the voting on all specific motions (and the links to parliamentary transcripts) far more instructive, giving a fairly clear and detailed picture regarding the overall conduct of all the critters in Canberra.
    The ‘ policies’ grouping is a handy start;

    Nick Xenophon has voted for some ‘bads’, and registered a disturbing number of ‘absent from vote’ notations regarding motions regarding some of my more crucial issues, despite also showing some commitment and principle on other matters.
    On the strength of what I know, I wouldn’t be casting a vote for the NXT, but they are not really a factor where I live anyway,

  21. diannaart

    it was clear his (Michael Allison) values are Labor through and through

    Prefer ‘human’ values myself, am automatically suspicious of any one claiming the “values” ticket, be they Labor, Greens, Christian, or the local footy team’s.

    …and I did vote Labor for the HoR on Thursday, so nyah, nyah, nyah…

  22. Athena

    “In my opinion, the interpretative ‘how they voted’ summary is the most flawed part of that site (
    The nuanced factors behind and around each motion are not accounted for in the arbitrary system of how they rate the overall ‘strength of stance’ of the various elected members on different ‘issues’.”

    Also, when an issue drags on for a while with negotiations, amendments and several votes, politicians can be designated as voting moderately for or against when they’ve actually voted consistently for the issue but have chosen to vote against certain amendments. To get a better picture of where an individual stands one really needs to take a look at the AEC site. I’ve also found the They Vote for You site to be incomplete when searching for info on specific issues. It frequently doesn’t provide a detailed explanation of the vote, which can give quite a misleading impression when it involves amendments.

  23. Athena

    Murdoch’s rag in Adelaide today claims that the seat of Mayo (Jamie Briggs) is looking like it may go to the NXT candidate. Briggs is currently polling at 42% and Sharkie at 38%. Pyne is still looking safe in Sturt (50%) and Matthew Wright (NXT) is polling ahead of Matt Loader (ALP), with 21% and 17% respectively.

  24. Trish Corry

    Oh Corny
    You and Trish Corry should have a wager on who get the quickest cpmment similar to “Keep spewing your poison Victoria”

    I can’t stop laughing.

    Victoria wins! Mine was 7th comment yesterday. None today (shhh don’t say that too soon)

    Victoria PikeJune 11, 2016 at 9:42 pm Edit
    Trish Corry, you are an ignoramus…….blah blah blah

  25. paul walter

    There are all sorts of decent, obscured people standing.. got a flyer from the Greens this time, introducing a Senate candidate who I instinctively like the look of but have never seen before.

    Oh course, Kete Elllis looks reasonable for the House, for me it is really about who the right Senate candidates will be and definitely in Adelaide, Nick Xenophon, the inteligent centrist and shrewd opportunist complicates would prefer small l, unencumbered Xenophon to the Tories, but what are the practical chances of even good candidates against a dolt like Bernardi, for example. Do I want a right faction Labor Senator instead, or do I look to all the other groupings in the Senate if I’m not happy with a Joe Bullock type? Would I prefer a lefty ALP Senator to a Green or socialist or Xenophon candidate?

    You could laugh, “decisions, decisions”, why bother, but it’s too lazy, after three years of Abbott/Turnbull you can see how quickly the wrong people can damage people’s lives in the hundreds of thousands and I rather like something akin to a Considered Life where you solve these puzzles anyway.

  26. Athena

    “If Labor members/candidates were to utilise the unfolding revelations regarding the dodgy Liberal-Parakeelia donation-funding accounting shell games being conducted to create a strong narrative that clearly differentiated themselves from the Coalition in terms of policy on donations and corruption (beyond ‘a bit less dirty’).
    To do so might both help focus some media attention on the matter (thus damaging the LIB-NATS), and enable Labor to gain some votes from amongst the unaffiliated ethicists (a small but staunch demographic).”

    Ah but Woolworths, Coles (named by Sam Dastyari as two of the top 10 most influential businesses in Australian politics) and the AHA want Xenophon gone, so they can continue to prey upon people with poker machines in peace. So the ALP has to do their bidding. That’s the problem when a party accepts large donations from these groups. They expect something in return. According to a 2010 Australian Productivity Commission report, predatory gambling costs Australian society about $4.5 billion dollars per year.

    ““What poker machines do is entrench disadvantage,” Dr Livingstone says. “It provides a channel of money from disadvantaged people to the wealthy, including the shareholders of Woolworths. “It’s a good way to ensure intergenerational disadvantage.”
    Woolworths and Coles together are the largest owners of poker machines in Australia, with more than 15,000 machines.
    The gaming industry and the Australia Hotels Association are quick to point out the benefits of pokies by putting money back into the community. While state governments certainly rely on revenue generated by pokie machines for roads and hospitals, Dr Livingstone is sceptical about the real economic benefit they provide.
    “At the moment, cost-benefit appears to favour industry, but when you look closely, those benefits appear pretty hollow,” he said.
    Dr Livingstone said there was a grave social cost caused by problem gamblers that is difficult to quantify. “The consequences are divorce, crime, physical and mental harm, and in many cases suicide,” he said.
    Ms Hollamby works with a number of counselling groups in her home state of South Australia and echoes his concerns.
    “A lot more people are addicted than what is being reported,” she says. “People are killing themselves over these stupid machines.” ”

    Big party donors are more important to the ALP than the little people. I’m so glad that people like Trish, Townsvillebog and Cornlegend find this amusing.

  27. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said Athena,

    poker machines are a pox on our society.

    They are a strong example of when the economy is put as a higher priority than our society.

  28. totaram

    As I keep pointing out, we have a preferential voting system. If you think Nick Xenophon is great, go for him (although I do notice he votes with the coalition most of the time). However, please pay attention to who you prefer between Labor and the Coalition, and I think labor wins hands down. Especially after this last three years, when the IPA agenda has been starkly revealed.

  29. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear totaram,

    planning preferences that always put LNP last and Labor ahead while sending a strong message to Labor to abandon its neoliberalist costume, is the way to go!

  30. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Don’t forget the Greens have said they will pref Labor, so I’m putting Greens @#1 and Labor #2 with Liberals last and Nats penultimate for HoR.

    For Senate, I choose All the Greens, Muir because I like him, Dickenson as Vic Independent, All the Labor Senators, both the Australian Progressive candidates, the Pirate Party candidates and I’m open to suggestion for other progressive, reformist candidates.

  31. jantonius

    Further to Athena’s comments above, Labor are running trash-Xenophon ads, in true dog-whistling style. Who is paying for these?
    And also allied to her comments, I repeat the post I made elsewhere yesterday:

    “Where’s that preference deal between the Libs and the Greens that Labor ‘followers’ were going on about – across bloggers’ sites?
    The Greens denied it from the beginning. They received very little coverage for defending themselves.
    The claims have now been exposed as completely false. Where are the retractions? Irrelevant to the campaign?”

    They seemed to have ‘moved on’ in true John Howard style from those dirty lies. Presumably they have calculated that those lies have had their effect.
    However the attack-ads against Xenophon might misfire, as the gormless may not be quite gormless enough this time; or not gormless in such a convenient way. Labor seem to be presenting themselves as a front for rotten corporate interests; and may be rendering the evasive and unreliable Sen. X into a squeaky clean fighter for truth.
    What does Wilkie think of X’s support of his very serious attempt to curtail gambling interests? The attempt crushed by Labor.
    How many pokies has the originally No Pokies MP closed down? Zero. But he does have an important excuse. Part of that excuse is the strong, principled opposition by Labor.

  32. Athena

    I received a letter from Pyne on Friday containing how to vote info. Preferences went to the conversative candidates/parties for Sturt and the senate.

    Robert Brokenshire, one of the Family First numpties, had a go at Xenophon for not shutting down any pokies. I was pleased to see several people point out that if Family First really is concerned about families, they would be supporting Xenophon. FF’s founder, Andrew Evans, used to be 100% against gambling. I’ve heard him preach it from the pulpit. Now not one of them are speaking out against predatory gambling. Xenophon can’t get support for his gambling reforms currently due to the huge backlash from the businesses and interest groups that are profiting heavily from it. I hope NXT can get a few more people in the parliament and start wielding some power against them.

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