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New Progressive parties offer hope

Two new Progressive political parties offer hope for change in Australia’s political governance.

For too long the country has laboured under the influence of what can only be loosely described as Left and Right political philosophies. Those philosophies have never been rigidly fixed and — since the mid-’70s — have been shifting.

Today we have the Liberal Party of Australia reaffirming Margaret Thatcher’s dry economics of some decades ago while at the same time echoing the nutty and radical Tea Party faction of the USA’s Republican party and even beginning to resemble a neoFascist State with increasingly Draconian limitations on freedoms and a cacophony of dog whistling. It resembles a three-ring circus.

Then we have the Australian Labor Party, drifting further and further to the Right under the rudderless leadership of a limp lettuce leaf — to the dismay of its rusted-on Left wing who cry out for reform because they don’t have the wits to look around for an alternative.

On the ABC’s RN Breakfast show this morning former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard said for decades Australian voters had been divided about 40-40% Liberal and Labor, with the remaining 20% swinging in the breeze. This had recently changed, he said, to 30-30%, with a larger 40% of swinging voters. This 40% — some of which is taken up in a bewildering array of small and usually special interest parties — holds the keys to the outcome of future elections.

There is little hope that either Liberal or Labor are going to change any time soon.

Two new parties — Australian Progressive Party and Australian Progressives do offer hope for a significant change in Oz politics. While avoiding the term Centrist, they claim they will govern for all Australian interests. Appealing to most of that 40% will not be enough — they will have to get votes from the 60% Lib/Labor who are rusted on to their historical favourites.

And they are not the only new parties. There is the Pirate party, with a clear agenda and broad policies, but an unfortunate name choice that conjures up an image of the skull and crossbones and all that goes with that.

Two versions of the Australian Democrats are maneuvering. Australia’s greatest political tragedy, I think, because AusDems seems to be just what this country needs.

And, of course, there is the Greens. They also have a broad range of policies, much broader than most realise because most don’t take the trouble to look. Here is a list of references to the bigger political parties’ policies. The Greens probably suffer the most from a bad Press.

Indeed, the bad Press — the news media in general, commercial and public funded — is the real holder of the keys that unlock the minds of the 40% and the other hangers-on.

Without getting the news media on side, all of these new political parties stand little chance of immediate success — even if they do appeal to the disaffected inhabitants of social media, whose numbers are small.

Another problem to be overcome is recruitment. A few months ago I launched The Centre Party of Australia, initially named The Third Party as a working title. Recruitment was too slow, but I think I gave up too easily. I came to the conclusion (rightly or wrongly) that people no longer commit themselves to political parties — another sign of disaffection with existing parties.

The most active people who signed on wanted to organise the structure and the policies. That was interesting for a while, until you realise that without members — and lots of them — you are organising only to avoid washing the dishes or doing some gardening.

Water under the bridge, but a useful learning exercise. I firmly believe that the federal election of 2016 will be the best opportunity in a very long time* for any new political party to really smash through and grab dozens of seats. A solid grass roots organisation working in several dozen carefully chosen electorates will do the job. Cathy McGowan’s campaign for the Victorian federal seat of Indi provides the model. Incumbent Sophie Mirabella won the primaries by a long shot, but the campaigning of McGowan’s supporters won the preferences and the seat by a margin of about 435 votes.

* I say it’s the best opportunity because Liberal leader Tony Abbott’s ideological wrecking ball has only swung through the scenery once and there’s much more to come. I can’t see how he’ll pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes a second time (damn them to hell if he does). And Labor has allowed itself to be cuckolded to such an extent that many people I have come to know and thought were rusted on are beginning to see the light and are looking for a change.

Getting the news media on side remains the greatest challenge. It will take nothing less than an internal revolt — something like the protest staged by the editorial staff of The Australian in protest against owner Rupert Murdoch’s campaign directives against Gough Whitlam in the mid-’70s. And it’s not just the news media that needs to be tamed, woken up or pulled towards the centre. It’s the morning talk shows, the panel shows, the couch sessions and even the comedians — all capable of tearing a political party to pieces.

28 comments

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  1. red

    “they claim they will govern for all Australian interests.” That’s their first mistake, it isn’t possible or even desirable. Good luck though.

  2. Lorraine Stansfield

    I would vote a resounding NO to this current toxic government. NO to this weak labour opposition. Hopefully a third party with integrity will raise its head.

  3. Kaye Makovec

    Tired of Parties working for their own benefits first then making up policies without any proper research.

    I want more Independents to make whomever is in office Stop and Think and Discuss properly in a well mannered way, before making decisions instead of just looking to spite the other side.

  4. Kaye Lee

    Labor Senator John Faulkner is a decent man. He just made a very good speech – he IS trying for reform but he needs more support. This is a small excerpt.

    “Our politics is the expression of our values, our beliefs, and our policy priorities. Politics is about the public good – not private interest.

    Widespread contempt for the practice of politics is not because Australians have lost faith in what politics really is. It is because too many Australians have come to see our parliaments, our governments, our political parties, and our politicians, as practising not politics but its opposite: a values-free competition for office and the spoils it can deliver.

    Without that trust politics is a contest of personalities, not ideas — a contest with no more relevance than an episode of Masterchef, for without trust in the political process how can any of us believe that the votes we cast influence the future direction of our country?”

    http://australianpolitics.com/2014/10/07/john-faulkner-alp-reform-speech.html

  5. heard that before

    oh why won’t rupert do the decent thing and spontaneously combust? at dinner. with tony and Peta.

  6. stephentardrew

    I thought the Falkner speech was great and I do like him.

  7. Cautious

    I would like more solid information about governance before pressing the PayPal button. The example of One Nation should be a caution, even though it was on the other side of the spectrum.

  8. steve

    I’d like to see every election candidate submit a cv to the electorate at election time. I’m sick of MPs just being highly paid lobby fodder. I’m proud to be a swinging voter – just wish there was a better selection of candidates to choose from as I wouldn’t employ most of them!

  9. Bob in Ngunnawal country

    I voted for the Land Rights for Gay Whales at federal elections, and for the Warm Tomato Party in local.
    Alas, they are not around any more.

  10. Roswell

    I like John Faulkner until last week. That was when I heard he was on the committee that supported the government’s outrageous media laws.

  11. Anne Byam

    First …. @ Barry Tucker ……. a good article, giving very much to think about – which is something we all have to do – ultra-quickly.

    …………….

    We used to be a 2PP system, structured on the Westminster system of Great Britain. Well – that’s how it WAS.

    We now seem to have a majority one party situation – which is tending fascist and supremely dictatorial. If ever the Labor party wake up to themselves ( my hope has reduced to the minutest flicker of a candle at this point ) …… we may yet return to the 2 PP system plus independents, and smaller parties – who can wield fairly strong power – – within the proper system.

    Trouble is, people are now sitting on their money. Big time. And who can blame them. They are ‘saving for a rainy day’ … and are understandably dubious about throwing money at any political party.

    Take Labor for instance ……… concessional ( presume that is pensioner ) is $16.50 per year with an option of renewing each year. …If my partner joined, he would be up for $81.50, renewable each year with just an email to confirm each year.

    The DLP ( which is still going ) … is $60 per year, single and couples, ….. and concession is $30. Similar arrangements

    The Greens are much more expensive …….. Concession $30 p.y …… for me, $60.00 p.y. and for my partner $135.00 per year. Similar arrangements for automatic renewal. ……… That’s not going to get them very far.

    The Liberals. They ask a whole series of personal questions BEFORE getting to the nitty-gritty of money. I have left the site without any further contemplation ….. ( only went there to see how much it cost ).

    Single Adult = $60.00
    Pensioner / Retired / unemployed / student …. $22.50.

    I laboriously went backwards through the Libs. Spanish Inquisition, and deleted all reference to myself.

    ———–

    There are many many thousands of Australians who will not donate or give willingly to becoming party participants. Not under any circumstances. Probably because it NEVER stops there, not to mention the cost of living and worry about where the next $ might come from, or whether there will be a job by the wage earners at the end of the week ?? . People are being very cautious.

    Once in to a party, there are many requests ( from all parties I would imagine ) for more donations, more events to attend ( at cost ), more time input, more requests for assistance, more attendances at meetings …. just – more and more monetary assistance in some way or other. How do I know. ? …….. I used to belong to the DLP to support on committee, a candidate – not so costly, but unutterably time consuming ……….. and my rather foolish sister is into the Liberal party right up to her neck, along with her husband who I believe ( but have no proof – yet ) that he intends to stand in one of the electorates – or at least be in pre-selection. ……… They are mad. !!! …. It costs them a mint. ( in the Victorian Liberal Party ).

    ———–

    While there is this instability, fear, insecurity, and worry, there will be NO money coming forth from anyone for Labor or the smaller parties. Only the Libs. will get more than their fair share from big and bigger interests.

    Not cricket, is it ?

    Having written this, I have absolutely no bloody idea what to suggest. …… was just passing on some information. …. If anyone can come up with a superb suggestion as to how to get say the Greens up and running as a contender, in reality … I think everyone would be very interested to know.

    There have been many superb suggestions to date – in all topics. But nothing cohesive that has been seen – – – – YET.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. !!!

  12. stephentardrew

    Roswell:

    Well thats put the slammers on that. Oh dear me John Faulkner.

  13. Anne Byam

    No slammers …. John Faulkners’ speech was excellent – with a bit of idealism thrown in.

    But he addressed continually, the subject of donations ( especially the big stuff ) ….

    Several comments stood out :

    1) ” Australia is changing, and the Party and unions have to change with it. We need to rebuild Labor from the grassroots – not the top down. ”

    2) ” The best way for Labor to demonstrate that we are genuine in pursuing reform is to reform ourselves. ”

    3 ) ” Labor has at our core the values which can revitalise our political system and restore faith and confidence in the power of democratic government to resolve our differences and surmount our difficulties.

    Having those values, we cannot turn our back on the problems our democracy now faces. ……It is our challenge, and our duty, to take the lead in restoring trust. —- We must start by reforming ourselves. ”

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,

    ………. and many other great comments, challenging Labor to become what they were – and at the core, still are ( I hope ).

    How to do it ? The big question.

    Replace Bill Shorten ? Shorten was very much a Labor ‘Union’ man …. but that was a while back. Dunno where that went ??
    However, if Shorten were to be ousted, it would play right into the hands of the right wing – big time. They would REVEL in it.

    ………..John Faulkners’ main 5 points were great :

    * to reduce the donations disclosure threshold from its current level of $12,800 to $1,000 and remove indexation;

    * prohibit foreign and anonymous donations;

    * limit the potential for ‘donation splitting’ across branches, divisions or different units of parties;

    * require faster and more regular disclosure of donations; and

    * introduce new offences and significantly increase penalties for the breach of electoral law.

    …………

    Enough for now.

  14. Barry Tucker

    RED says: “they claim they will govern for all Australian interests.” That’s their first mistake, it isn’t possible or even desirable. Good luck though.”

    The comment is made without providing any example, or proof or justification. As such, it is not helpful; it is worthless.

    Kaye Makovec says: “Tired of Parties working for their own benefits first then making up policies without any proper research.”

    One of the new progressive parties (Australian Progressive Party) has a policy committee and has been researching policies for well over a year. Another comment made without regard for the facts.

    The story was about two new progressive parties and some of the challenges they will face in their attempt to improve the political scene in Australia. This fact seems to have been lost on most of those who commented.

    Fans of the ALP will defend that party to the death and will fight against the very idea of any new party offering any competition or stealing any part of its quota of votes. This is largely due to loyalty, but it is also due to a psychological phenomena: the inability of most humans to imagine something of which they have no knowledge, or visual image or any other information. This makes it hard for almost all of us to imagine a different future and to move towards it.

  15. mikestasse

    Until and unless we get a party that acknowledges just how fast we are running out of time to react to Limits to Growth and Climate Change……. I’m not voting. I’ve lost all hope in the political system, the economic system, the media, and governance itself. We are well and truly f*cked…..

  16. Barry Tucker

    The Australian Progressive Party’s executive director, Kathryn Cosby, has pointed out that her party is a Centrist-Progressive party. The term is used on the party’s Twitter account and on the About page on the party’s website.

    The other party, Australian Progressives, says its does not define itself by such terms as “Right”, “Left” or “Centre”.

  17. Dazzzzzzzzzz

    Good people of Australia. Your constitution was removed in 1973 without a referendum . The constitution is based on the will of the people. That’s why they removed it. The last thing they want is for you to have any power. Anyway you can see the effects of this now.

    All levels of Government in Australia (Federal,State, Local) are foreign owned corporations registered and owned by the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, United States.

    The US Corporation called COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA is a commercial company conducting business alongside other orporations like KFC, McDonalds, Coca Cola, Coles, Woolworths and Telstra on the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

    All States of Australia are corporations registered with the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, United States and managed by the corporate franchise called AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY with CEO (Prime Minister) and board of directors called the PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA.

    All political parties masquerading as government with their policies and legislation is a system that belongs to the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, United States.

    Until the crown is restored and the RBA is removed you will never have your sovereignty and the country will be dis-functional.

    Unless a political party has the crown seal in their constitution they are illegal.

    See “Larry Hannigans Australia” for the proof.

    Also download “your will be done” by ARTHUR A. CHRESBY and learn how our democracy is supposed to work.

    You won’t regret it.

  18. Anne Byam

    @ dazzzzzz ….. are you referring to the uproar on 11th November 1975, when Whitlam was deposed and Sir John Kerr installed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker PM ?

    I can find no reference to our Constitution being ‘ removed ‘ in 1973. …… without referendum and without our knowledge. Please provide suitable links. There was however, a lot of legislation passed in that year. ????

    I have Googled the references without links, that you have mentioned.

    I am not at all convinced …. one suggested site, is very definitely a pro-religious argument ( not sure what religion it portrays ) …. and the other is a very long essay on what is and is not a Constitution, and constitutional rights and obligations.

    However, it seems to be revolutionary in it’s comments, and pro-republicanism – not at all sure about that either.

    Have heard before that somehow we are ‘incorporated ‘ as a commercial company, the “Commonwealth of Australia ” registered in the U.S. of A. In researching that, there is some doubt – especially in the wording of documents. There are many references, however.

    I will sit on this one, if you don’t mind.

  19. Dazzzzzzzzzz

    @ Anne Byam ……..It is difficult to get your head around because we are told the opposite. The devil is in the detail and an understanding of law goes a long way. It is complicated and it is made that way so that they can pull the wool over your eyes.

    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA IS A CORPORATION.
    .
    What follows is the complete explanation of the contempt by all Political Parties of the;
    Australian Constitution Chapter One, Part IV. — Both Houses of the Parliament.
    Section 44 and Section 46;

    Item (9).
    44. Any person who–
    (i. ) Is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power,
    or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a
    foreign power:

    (v. ) Has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service
    of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members
    of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons:

    shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting,
    as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

    46. Until the Parliament otherwise provides, any person declared by this Constitution to be
    incapable of sitting as a senator or as a member of the House of Representatives shall, for every day
    on which he so sits, be liable to pay the sum of one hundred pounds to any person who sues for it in
    any court of competent jurisdiction.
    .
    All political Parties and the United Nations are Non Government Organisations and as such would be
    the opposite to Section 44. (i. ) are under acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to
    a foreign power by sending armed forces to Afghanistan and Iraq and;

    What right has the Prime Minister to replace the Governor-General as the command in chief of the
    naval and military forces of the Commonwealth that is vested in the Governor-General as the
    Queen’s representative. Chapter 2. Section 68?

    Section 44. (v. ) in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more
    than twenty-five persons;

    The Parliament of Australia has more than 150 persons.
    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA (Corporation) registered in the
    UNITED STATES SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION as CIK (0000805157).

    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
    CIK (0000805157)
    SIC: 8880 – American Depositary Receipts
    State location: DC | Fiscal Year End: 0630

    Business Address
    1601 MASSACHUSETTS AVE NW
    C/O AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY
    WASHINGTON DC 20036

    NOTE; This is not the Constitutional Commonwealth of Australia, which is of one Electorate.
    And there is no provision in the Constitution for any political parties.
    The above Commonwealth of Australia Corporation was formed by the Political Parties.
    Under the Crimes Act 1914 Part 2 Section 24AA. Sabotaging the Constitution is treachery.

    Links to proof of information.
    http://sec.gov/
    http://sec.gov/about/offices/oia/oia_bilateral/australia.pdf
    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/805157/000134100410002039/0001341004-10-002039-index.htm

    This site also discuses in detail.

    http://peopleofthecommonwealth.blogspot.com.au/

    Larriy Hannigan is a Barrister. …..Religious stuff aside look at the essence of what he is saying !

    http://www.larryhannigan.com/

    Anne …..its a lot to get your head around and takes time and research.

  20. Anne Byam

    @Dazzzzz ….. thank you for your effort and time in posting some details of Constitutional law …. and the links ( which I will open ).

    I had seen – and taken note before, of the registration number CIK (0000805157) to be found at the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. I have to wonder why it is registered in the U.S. …. and if indeed ALL Commonwealths are registered there ? Why not be registered ( if it must be registered outside of Australia ) in Great Britain.

    As your 2nd last link conveys – the land of Australia is kept in trust by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll FOR the people of Australia. Judges, police, politicians etc. swear an oath to Her Majesty. How’d the darned U.S. Securities Commission get into all that. …… I cannot ask that question, any other way. …….. It probably sounds too simplistic …

    I also note the ‘ business address ‘ of the C’wealth of Aust, is the Australian Embassy ( written back to front with the address above it ) in Washington DC. The Australian Embassy is deemed to be Australian Territory, and anyone who steps over the threshold into that Embassy, is seen to be standing on Australian soil. This applies to all embassies the world over. So we have our own ‘territory’ there, but that most likely means diddly squat in the long scheme of things.

    Sounds ( so far ) like the U.S. has everybody over a barrel — and are indeed the Empire they see themselves as.

    I will not say any more on the subject, until I have read through all the links you have provided.

    Thank you for all that.

  21. Anne Byam

    @ Dazzzzzzzz ….. I have read much of all the links you offered. WHEW ! ….. mostly very scary stuff.

    I found the link http://peopleofthecommonwealth.blogspot.com.au/ most interesting. However, it stops at 2010 …. and I always suspect a website that does not, or is not able to update on proposals put forward …. and action being taken through courts etc. Of course, court proceedings can drag on for years ….. but that surely would not impact on many other links there … all of which seem to disappear between 2008 and 2010. The information might therefore be old, but I would suspect, still relevant to many degrees.

    The Memorandum of Understanding ??? between America and Australia was all legal speak, and I am not a lawyer, so had great difficulty with that one.

    I don’t know if you have received the recent article from AIM N …. called ” A crisis in our Democracy ” which has had many many comments to it. I suggest you have a look, if you haven’t already, and post the information you gave me – there. It would certainly get many people thinking and reacting.

    http://theaimn.com/crisis-democracy/#comments

    The Larry Hannigan website …. particularly on Federal Politics, which I stuck with ….. is quite extraordinary. Especially the questions about referendums and if we had them offered to us on many matters, and before the Constitution was allegedly ‘illegally changed’ in 1973.

    I use the word ‘allegedly’ because it is written by one man ( who is most likely correct in all that he says – and it is backed up by the people of commonwealth blogspot as well.) ….. but there is always a good reason to be cautious.

    In summary, it would appear from the information I have read, that we have already sold out well and truly to the Americans – a long time ago. And there’s not a damned thing we can do about it. Larry Hannigan has some suggestions, but I don’t think they are particularly practicable, not unless his website is viewed by absolutely all people – which of course would not happen.

    I do urge you to post these links on the AIM Network link I have provided here. It is particularly relevant on the subject of democracy.

    The Fabian Society ( Australia ) was very interesting – more like what we the people would want. It is expensive to join.

    Again, thank you.

  22. Daniel

    Just what we need, two more microparties based around egotistical individuals wanting to live off the deposits. Let’s face it, they have no hope of getting elected, so it’s basically just a grab for taxpayer dollars. Pauline Hanson has honed this into a fine art, wasn’t going to be long before the fringe left joined in too.

  23. Daniel

    Oh and Dazzzz that stuff is basically an elaborate hoax which preys on gullible people.

  24. Anne Byam

    @ Daniel …… those same thoughts cross my mind whenever I read blogs or essays on whatever – …….. which is why I said in my reply to Dazzzzzz …

    ____________

    ………….. ” but there is always a good reason to be cautious. ”

    ____________

    Must say … there is MUCH on the Net these days, that ‘ prey on gullible people ‘ …….. who’s right ? who’s wrong ? ….

    I think we should maintain our own integrity, powers of observance, and very much obey our own instincts – on many matters.

  25. Dispatches

    There seems to be considerable confusion surrounding the formation of both the progressive parties mentioned in Barry’s article.

    According to their own rather sparse blog posts, one of them (Kate Crosby’s, the APP) had a serious security glitch in membership sign-up forms which is hardly a happy way to get started.

    To follow this up the APP accused the other new party (Tim Jones’, the AP) of attempting to make a grab for prospective members who intended to sign up for the APP, not the AP. Days later, the most recent post states that Kate Crosby herself is retiring due to illness and invites emails applying for the directorship.

    Directorship of what it’s hard to say, since most of the APP website is walled off, apparently for a “build period” not scheduled to end until December.

    I thought perhaps someone in AIMN might help us poor sods out here in the public figure out what’s going on. How many of us with a lifetime of skills and experience to offer are living in desperate hope of making a contribution to change, but not knowing where to put our energies?

  26. corvus boreus

    I am thinking of forming a new political party called the Party(for) Progressive Australia(PPA).
    This party will be in no way affiliated or associated with the Australian Progressives(AP) or Australian Progressive Party(APP), who are both a bunch of revisionist splitters.
    I intend to use a purple logo with orange highlights.

  27. Kaye Lee

    New parties have no chance of making a difference in the House of Reps because support has to be concentrated into electorates.

    In my view, the best way to contribute to change is to inform the electorate of the truth and to get enough popular support to demand change from our politicians who are only our elected representatives, rather than the oligarchy it is fast becoming.

    And we need a federal ICAC to stop the rorts and corruption.

  28. Angel

    FYI, both parties have now merged, which is great news!

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