Meet the Small Parties – Australian Defence Veterans’ Party! (Veterans Party)

I’ve been saving the Australian Defence Veterans’ Party for last, because they’ve had a note up on their website all week promising that they would release their full policy document today.  Alas, as of 9:20pm this evening, they haven’t done so, and since I really need to spend tomorrow packing for my trip (which, aargh, I have not yet started doing!), I’m going to have to piece together what I can from the information currently available, both on their site and on their Facebook page.  So please do bear in mind that this particular commentary will be less thorough than some of the others, and if this party sounds like your cup of tea, I’d encourage you to revisit their website closer to the election date.

The ADVP tells us on their front page that they are:

Protecting Australian values and the Australian way of life.  In the Spirit of True Mateship.

Alas for my frivolous soul, I now have this song from Keating! The Musical on endless repeat in my brain.  This is not helping…

Scrolling down a bit, we learn that their vision is:

To represent all Australians, with a special focus on the ageing community and those who have served their community or country within Australia and abroad. 

Our values are Australian to the core, and include trust, loyalty, integrity, respect and mateship. Quite simply, we believe that should treat everyone as you would treat one of your mates. 

We’re here for Australia’s protectors and defenders, for Australia’s farmers and teachers, for emergency responders, Defence members and police. We’re here for all Australians.

(on the matey matey matey matey mate-ship!)

I’m sorry.  I know it probably makes me un-Australian, but I do wish we could retire the word ‘mateship’.

Their constitution tells me that they want to ‘uphold loyalty to the nation and to follow the Westminster system of government and the Australian Constitution’.  Drat, I really hate speculating on so little information, but that reads to me like they are pro-Queen and anti-republic. And while this is drawing an even longer bow, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were a little suspicious of immigrants (it’s the ‘uphold loyalty to the nation’ bit).

They also want to provide ‘an honest and accountable alternative political option for the Australian people’, but also to hold whoever forms government accountable to honour their pre-election promises.  I am in favour of this.

And, once again, they particularly mention a focus on providing a voice for ‘defence veterans, emergency service veterans, corrective service veterans, their families and, by extension, the wider community’.

Not a lot else to be gleaned from the constitution. In their ‘About Us’ section, they also mention supporting teachers and farmers, and wanting to speak out about the physical and mental trauma suffered by many.  Good on them.

They plan to have policies across education, health, taxation, immigration, national security, and ‘a broad spectrum of other matters of importance to Australians’, so once again, they are positioning themselves as a true third party, not a single-issue micro-party.  And there’s a nice line about their approach:

Our approach will be collaborative, constructive and effective. We do not intend to engage in political point scoring and time wasting.

I hear you, guys.  I’ve watched Question Time, too.

Their policy summary is brief, and thus so is my commentary.  They want a special insurance scheme for first responders, which sounds excellent.  They are cautiously in favour of Euthanasia, and want to improve conditions in Aged Care.  They want better aviation services in the regional areas, and better mental health services everywhere.  They want to fix problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs (from comments I’ve seen elsewhere, they seem to feel that the people working at the DFA are doing their best, but the policies are a problem).  They want Australia to maintain a merchant Navy.

There is a policy on Border Protection, but all they are saying about it is that it ‘saves money and redeploys funds to where they are needed.  This policy will differ to that offered by the Government, the Opposition and The Greens’.  The fact that they are calling it Border Protection rather than a Refugee policy tends to suggest that it will err on the side of strictness, but again, it’s really not possible to speculate from what I have here.

They also intend to ‘address numerous social and economic issues that are crippling some [indigenous] communities and we will… ensure better equality and a vision for cost savings in the future’.  This sounds well-intentioned, but could mean just about anything in practice.

Since this doesn’t give us a huge amount to go on, it’s time to see what else the internet can tell us!  I did a bit of Googling of Ron Evans (who is the President of the ADVP), and found his Twitter stream, which tells me that the ADVP stands for tolerance, respect and inclusion, that they support penalty rates, that they are against fracking, against removing bulk billing for Pap smears, and that they are  support marriage equality (in fact, their candidate for Brisbane is Bridget Clinch, a transgender woman and former army captain – this article, despite the title, seems to be quite an intelligent and sympathetic look at her story).

I have to say, the ADVP is swerving far closer to the left – especially on gender issues! – than I was expecting from a party that was so big on mateship and the military, so kudos to the ADVP for subverting my expectations.

This is still handwaving, but I get the impression that the ADVP really does believe in what I am positive they would call a fair go for the little guys.  They want to look after low income workers (with penalty rates), women (pap smears) indigenous Australians and LGBTI folk (marriage equality, and generally putting their money where their mouth is in Brisbane).  And veterans and first responders, of course!  They do seem to be fairly keen on keeping costs down, and I’d love to know what they think about things like foreign policy and refugees, but I have to say, I’m liking this lot far more than I expected to.

The devil is in the details, though, and I do wish I see their full policies in order to find out how they plan to go about achieving their aims.  But they look like very decent people, which is a fine start, and I find their principles of tolerance, respect and inclusion heartening.

8 thoughts on “Meet the Small Parties – Australian Defence Veterans’ Party! (Veterans Party)

  1. “And I remember Kirribilli…” Damn you Casey Bennetto, you write really good ear worms.

    I am going to have to check out their full policies, this party intrigues me. They really do seem to be a bit across the spectrum, which is interesting. Anyone wanting to engage in constructive debate though has my full attention.

    • Yes, I really was pleasantly surprised. I got the impression, based on comments I saw online, that there has been a change of leadership, which has brought with it a more liberal approach to some things, but I feel like I have already speculated far beyond the evidence, so I don’t want to add more confusion.

        • Hi Ron, I’m now travelling. Are you going to put the policy doc up publicly at some point? I really think that would be beneficial to your party – I think quite a lot of people are wary about contacting political parties for fear of ending up on the mailing list for something they really don’t agree with!

          (In my case, it was partly a time issue partly not wanting to treat one party differently to the others, and partly not wanting to give my contact details to an unknown quantity. I do, unfortunately, get the occasional death threat on this blog and so I’m wary of inviting contact from people when I don’t know a lot about them.)

  2. Hi Cate, this is André from Blatantly Partisan Party Reviews. I’ve been starting to draft my reviews ahead of firing up my blog again and thought I’d check in to see if you’d begun your reviews – only to find you’re well ahead of me and have got through all the newbie parties already!

    This party frustrates me. Their strategy of drip-feeding policy seems completely wrongheaded, based on an unwillingness to give their opponents their full platform (self-importance much?) rather than attracting voters. Some left-wing voters will immediately see their name and the rhetoric on the homepage and be put off. If you don’t dig around you wouldn’t know that this party actually may be more broad and progressive than meets the eye.

    • Hi André – great to see you back! Yes, I had to start early, as I’m now overseas and really did not want to spend my holiday on politics blogs. I agree about the frustration with this party – initially, they wanted people to email them for a list of policies, then they had the announcement that there would be policies soon, so I waited… I don’t have a great connection so I’m not going to check back now. But yes, I think they are really shooting themselves in the foot, which is a pity.

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