If you’re voting below the line, you need to know what you're voting for. NM has been asking minor parties to tell us what they stand for. What are their policy positions on key election issues and what lies behind their preference decisions. Today, the Secular Party and the Pirate Party have their say.
The Secular Party
The Secular Party stands for separation of church and state. This means freedom of religion, but not state funded advancement and promotion of religion. The billions or dollars per year in tax concessions and subsidies to religious organisations, plus the indoctrination of children in schools, means that Australia is no longer a secular country.
The first issue key issue for our constituents that is being neglected in the current debate is the cost to taxpayers of government promotion of religion in Australia — amounting to over two thousand dollars per person per year. The main problem is the archaic definition of charity, which specifically excludes religion from having to provide any public benefit.
The second is the promotion of religion in schools, which is divisive and runs counter to evidence-based rational criteria. Unregulated indoctrination of children in government funded religious schools undermines future harmony and may even lead to the fostering of a new generation of home-grown terrorists.
Finally, the discounting of relevant truth criteria in relation to religion fosters a wider perception that scientific evidence can be ignored in favour of mere ideological preferences. This may have catastrophic consequences in relation to climate change, where denial of the science threatens future civilisation.
Our preferences are directed towards parties according to our assessment of how secular their policies are. In terms of major parties, we favour the Greens, then Labour, then Liberal, with religious parties last. Our decisions on preferences are based entirely on secular principle. We do not compromise principles to negotiate deals with other parties.
The current obsession with the budget surplus is the result of fear campaign contrived by the Liberals and inadequately refuted by Labor. The job of the government is to manage the economy, not achieve a surplus. In future however, we will definitely need to cut back on excessive middle (and upper) class welfare. See more here.
Carbon pricing is necessary and desirable. It will shift energy production into cheaper alternative energy, A carbon tax is actually better than a trading scheme because secure long term prices are needed to secure long term investment in alternative energy. We also need a tax on coal exports, in cooperation with other coal exporters. See more here.
Asylum seekers/border security
The current policies are inhumane. We propose greater cooperation with Indonesia. See more here.
We are opposed to the funding of religion in schools, School funding should be reorganised on an equitable and secular basis. See more here.
Private health insurance rebate
The private health insurance rebate is another example of middle class welfare that undermines distributional equity and efficiency in service provision. It diverts resources away from the public health system, increases costs, and has lead to a two tier system of health in Australia. Overall outcomes are worse as a result. See more here.
The Pirate Party
Pirate Party Australia is part of a global movement supporting civil and digital liberties, free speech, participatory culture, evidence-based policy, and government transparency. We seek to reform our legal and political structures and oppose infringements of civil liberties undertaken in the name of copyright enforcement and counter-terrorism.
Pirate Party Australia seeks to broaden our national discussion about civil liberties. Issues such as data retention, internet filtering, secret co-operation with the NSA, and more aggressive copyright laws all warrant much more debate than they currently receive.
Australia’s governance and institutions are facing a crisis of confidence. Reforms are needed to improve transparency, accountability, and ensure evidence and balance in policy making. Continual amendments to intellectual property laws are threatening many human and civil rights. Intellectual property laws need to be reformed and balanced to ensure they properly benefit artists, inventors, and the general public.
The parties receiving high preferences from the Pirate Party include the the Greens, the Wikileaks Party, Australian Democrats, and the Secular Party. Our preferencing order was determined by our party's membership in a transparent ballot, ensuring that our preferences aligned to the views and goals of our individual members. Our party seeks to establish new and more participatory forms of democracy, and we embody these principles in our own internal decisions. The main determinate for most members in this decision was closeness to our own policies and aims.
Pirate Party policies would save significant sums by reducing government overreach. We propose the dismantling of much of the surveillance and monitoring infrastructure imposed over the past 10 years, ending the expensive and failed war on drugs, legislating a simpler and more transparent tax system, creating a more streamlined and customisable welfare system, and applying a universal means test to cut out middle class welfare.
We will also reduce costs by phasing out taxpayer subsidies to highly profitable industries (notably coal), and reforming pharmaceutical patents to reduce spiralling costs on the PBS.
The Pirate Party is supportive of carbon pricing as a necessary and cost-effective interim measure to address climate change. However, our primary policy in this area is the adoption of the Beyond Zero Emissions blueprint for 100 per cent renewable energy in 10 years.
A large scale renewable roll-out will place our economy on stronger foundations by combining stimulus in the short-term with energy price stability and independence in the long term. Pirate Party policy would ultimately remove the need for carbon pricing. See the full policy here.
Asylum seekers/border security
The Pirate Party proposes a regional solution in which participating nations receive support and aid in exchange for accepting and sheltering asylum seekers. Assessment and assignment of asylum seekers would occur under a UN sponsored process in order to avoid the current blame shifting and dysfunction. The plan would include refugee convention signatories who have capacity to provide proper humanitarian treatment. Asylum seekers allocated to Australia under this process will receive support and assistance in settling.
We believe the business model in which smugglers promise settlement in Australia can be broken without imposing inhumane treatment. See the full policy here.
The Pirate Party supports transparent and adequate school funding. We are aware of concerns that state “deals” risk undermining the transparent, nationwide funding model proposed in the Gonski report. The Pirate Party intends to develop a funding policy with the benefit of full information on the impact and effectiveness of current reforms. As a general rule, we believe that secular, rigorous and credible science curriculums should be a precondition for any delivery of state funding. We also seek to replace the school chaplains program with a secular program which funds properly trained counselors. See the full policy here.
The Pirate Party has the most wide-ranging civil liberties platform of any party this election. Our priorities include:
- Legislating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into law
- Enacting a referendum on a bill of rights to protect individual liberties including speech and assembly.
- Ensuring any monitoring of the general public requires a warrant
- Legislating stronger privacy protection
- Strengthening journalist shield laws and whistblower protections
- Legalising euthanasia and decriminalising assisted suicide subject to safeguards
- Opposing internet censorship, data retention and web-blocking.
Private health insurance rebate
Our current platform does not include a specific stance on this issue. We will be seeking to consult and develop policy in this and other areas in the future.
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