Is it just me or are we seeing a large number of “single issue” parties and politicians emerging?
I remember decades ago laughing at the Italian parliament that had a menagerie of parties and single issue independents, not least the infamous former porn star known as Cicciolina, Ilona Staller who was elected in 1987 to the Italian Parliament. It made me wonder, are we that far away from this?
This week I thought I would look at the ‘single issue’ Animal Justice Party, which has a presence in the upper houses of NSW and Victoria.
In the recent NSW election the Animal Justice Party (AJP) swept in with two Legislative Council (LC) spots, adding to the one in the Victorian LC. It is definitely one to watch in the Federal election with a number of candidates running across Victoria. So what does the AJP stand for and why are we electing its candidates?
Visit its website and at least it is crystal clear what the party stands for, policies across three areas: Animals, Environment, Humans.
The Animal Justice Party has a long term vision for a kinder Australia but recognises that change will proceed in stages. Many of our policies recognise this and don’t simply describe our vision of the future, but the steps required to get there.
Animals as you would expect covers everything from animal and marine culling to greyhound racing, farming and live exports and zoos.
Environment includes wildlife and sustainability, climate change and natural gas.
Humans is a wide berth of issues from biosecurity to gun control, mental health, health, cultured meat and population to law and justice, employment and education and everything in between.
I am not sure the AJP’s appeal is going to go beyond people that want less animal cruelty, banning live exports and more sustainable environmental policies.
Wait a minute that is now encroaching on a bunch of people disenfranchised from the major parties and even minor parties like the Greens who some believe have not acted strongly enough to affect real change.
The reality is the AJP will be required to have a position on a number of matters that are raised in the Senate for debate. The AJP view is ‘the areas they do not have direct policy bearing on will be treated with a conscience vote’. However it does have position statements on areas of concern for many Australians across political lines, Marriage Equality, Asylum Seekers and Voluntary Euthanasia
The party does have an array of policy sheets on biosecurity, health, climate change, animal law, mental health, land clearing, the Great Barrier Reef and farming that are worth reading up on; some are more refined than others.
The AJP is running for 18 seats in the House of Representatives across Victoria: Ballarat, McEwen, Casey, Chisholm, Cooper, Corangamite, Deakin, Flinders, Dunkley, Higgins, Isaacs, Kooyong, Macnamara, Melbourne, Scullin and Wills. Ben Schultz is the lead candidate in the Senate, and Fiona Mcrostie is the second Senate candidate.
So who is considering voting for the Animal Justice Party and why?
I asked among my networks and found that AJP voters are smart people fed up with political decision making that is only in the vested interests of the industry. They wanted to protest vote and this was their statement. Some former Greens, ALP and Coalition voters just had enough with the major parties’ inaction on a number of issues including climate, animal cruelty and environmental sustainability.
Some believe that working the house of review (Senate) is the way to ensure balanced decision making on legislative reform and change. A house of review is meant to do just that, examine the impacts of a change or reform and seek amendments to deliver more transparent, accountable and effective outcomes for our society.
Consider the impact of people running for parliament genuinely seeking discourse and debate, instead of put downs and blocking? Inevitably deals will be made, but ensuring more unaligned or Independents are in both houses, I believe , will at the very least deliver greater accountability.
People are seeking greater action around apparently single issues. Major parties have failed to address important things like climate action, water sustainability, greyhound racing, puppy farming and culling of sea and land species. Granted this is at both ends of the spectrum with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers gaining momentum by representing single issues across farming and recreational pursuits, and of course One Nation representing, well, nationalist, right-wing interests.
Either way it is advisable to do your research and take your time in looking into the policies and positions of the party or individual you will vote for.
I love spending time on the Senate – I have favorites in the major parties as well as people in emerging parties, I feel democracy on election day that I decide who gets my preferences right til the end.
Let me know if there is someone you are keen to hear about.