Micro-political parties have always been a part of Australian politics. This election year, a host of new contenders have entered the fray. We've asked a range of minor parties to explain what they stand for in our minor parties series. Today Squirrel Main canvasses the best of the rest:
The primary plank of the NSW-based party is increasing investment in education. The party’s leader, James Jansson, said the party’s idea to create an Australian special economic city (named Turing) inspired by the charter cities movement.
“By having those slightly different laws, you can achieve a social or economic outcome you can’t achieve in other places…like attract skilled migrants,” Jansson told NM. The city itself would be state-of the-art, with underground roads and more public parks. “By starting fresh and allowing new planning laws, you allow high-value cities to be created,” said Jansson.
Other policies include increasing the capacity and efficiency of transport networks, reducing complexity in taxation systems and funding technology research industries.
Founder Jason McKenzie, a digital business consultant from Queensland, was tired of sitting in his armchair and complaining. “The existing parties are too full of career politicians,” McKenzie said, “they are missing opportunities.”
The Lamington party's main policy plank is the establishment of a billion-dollar technology hub. This “Silicon Valley of Australia” would be funded using money from the Federal Government's Future Fund. The party supports a 49 per cent tax for Australians earning more than half a million dollars as well as other centre-left policies such as legalising gay marriage and scrapping mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
Australian Sovereignty Party
This party has a long list of sovereignty-related goals, beginning with “defending our sovereignty against offshore entities that influence our government such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations.” The party aims to ensure the self-sufficiency of Australia in the areas of food production, with only surplus items allowed for export. It prioritises recalling troops while increasing defence spending. The website explains that “Good fences make good neighbours.” Other planks include an Australian Bill of Rights, mandating that immigrants learn English, removing fluoride from drinking water and instating a flat tax of 1 per cent paid on all payments.
Single Parents' Party
The Single Parents’ Party was founded with an aim to promote social justice and equality for more than 950,000 single parent families in Australia. Spokeswoman Kath Lee said that single parents have formed a party to show the government, “We’re not going away… [the Federal government]are not listening.”
Lee was most concerned about the Federal government’s decision to change the parenting payment to a Newstart allowance. “Newstart is meant for one person, you cannot raise children on Newstart…We are raising children, and those children are the future of this country.
The Single Parents’ Party website features the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights’ concerns that recent cuts will provide “…an institutional obstacle to the full enjoyment of human rights for people living in extreme poverty and an increase in discrimination against sole parents, the majority of whom are single mothers.”
The most recent newcomer to Australia’s microparty scene, the Stop CSG (Coal Seam Gas) Party has had 700 members join over the last five days. The Stop CSG Party will work to protect communities and farmland from invasive coal seam gas mining by pressuring government to ban CSG.
Stop CSG’s young leader Ahri Talon formed the party because he was concerned that coal seam gas was a minor issue on the major parties’ agendas. “There’s a lot of big issues that will be addressed at this federal election …unless CSG is front and centre of the election debate, it could get left out.”
Save the Planet
Founder Adrian Whitehead plans to preference according the climate policy of other candidates. White was clear on the party’s “no deal” policy: “A lot of parties trade preferences…we have no interest in doing that.” In the Senate, preferences will be given based on the strength of the party’s climate policies. In the lower house, White also plans to use political leverage by “holding certain candidates to account for their lack of action on climate policy.”
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