Meet the Independents: Dennis Hall

My plane is now flying over the Middle East. On my left, I have the Tigris River.  And on the right, I rather fear, I have Dennis Hall, who wants Independent Nationhood for Australia – yes, it’s Brexit all over again, and just when we were breaking into Eurovision, too…

Mr Hall earns my instant ire by advising people continually ‘remember to number 1-12 candidates  below the line, and forget the rest.’

No.  Do not forget the rest.  Particularly do not forget the rest if you are voting for independents or small parties.  If you do, you risk your vote exhausting and someone you like even less getting into the Senate.  Seriously, people, 12 is the minimum, and that’s great, because now you don’t have to be afraid of voting informal by accident.  But for heaven’s sake, number all the candidates you can!

Oh yes, that’s right.  I need to talk about Dennis Hall…

Mr Hall has a Facebook page only, not a website, which makes his policies a bit tricky to track down, but he has a profile and some useful statements, so I’ll be mostly using those here.  Here’s what he says about himself.

I consider myself an everyday Aussie. Born in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland and growing up in regional Victoria.

In the early ‘80s I discovered an interest in the Australian Constitution, that interest quickly became a passion and now I am an advocate for constitutional change that is in the best interest of all Australians.

He likes footy, pottering around in sheds, and democracy.

Am I the only one having an attack of ‘On The Mateship’ from Keating the Musical?  It’s that whole ‘I’m just a bloke / an Aussie bloke’ vibe.  Oy.

Are you over the political parties and feel marginalised with their representation of you in the Parliament of Australia? Take up the challenge and VOTE BELOW THE LINE. It is easy, you only have to vote for 12 different candidates of your own choice below the line and forget the rest. You don’t have to vote along party lines, although you may vote for 1 candidate from a political party but not the whole party.

Wait, what?  That is not how it works!  Or is that what he is telling people to do, not what he thinks is the only way to do it?  Either way, it’s bad advice.  Do not take it.  Really, even if you like his policies and put Mr Hall first, don’t follow this advice, because you want your vote to count as much as it can!

Anyway, Mr Hall wants people to vote below the line so that the government does not hold both Houses and the Senate is a house of review.  I can agree with him on that, at any rate.

Mr Hall says that he doesn’t want to frustrate the government of the day, but wants to review bills ‘from the eyes of families, people, country Australians and small business’.  So we can probably assume that he is going to be on the conservative side of politics, which is not really a surprise.  He’s also advocating only voting for the independents:

It is easy to find the independent candidates, they are at the very right hand side of the Ballot Paper and BELOW THE LINE. So go there first and begin your vote and work back to the left. But remember you only have to vote for 12 of them and forget the rest. Also, as there are 116 candidates and only 12 seats available, you may enjoy whom you don’t give a vote. Advance Australia.

I’m mildly amused by this, even though YOU SHOULD NUMBER ALL THE BOXES, but I can’t help feeling that ‘Advance Australia’ is a harbinger of a rather concerning sort of nationalism.

His FaceBook page is fond of extremely un-funny riddles like this one.

Question: What is the difference between Democracies and Apathy?
Answer: In a democracy we get to vote on our own future. Apathy relinquishes our vote to the elite and experts who tell us what our future will be.

Incidentally, Mr Hall really does not like experts, which I find concerning (particularly after Brexit).  People become experts because they have put a lot of thought and time and work into mastering a subject – surely this makes them worth listening to on that subject?  But apparently Mr Hall disagrees with me about this.  And probably about many other things.

He is a bit concerned about the recommendations from the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  On the one hand, he thinks they deserve recognition in the Constitution – but then, everyone deserves that, don’t they?  And he sees that they have been disadvantaged and need ‘some positive assistance, for example, education and health’, but he also seems to feel that singling them out for special help has the potential to be racist and divisive. ‘All Australians must be treated as equals in our constitution and at law’.

It’s very ‘All Lives Matter’, actually. Mr Hall really does not get that equality and equity are not the same thing, but I’m not going into that one again, because I’ve already posted about that ad nauseum elsewhere.

He also clearly does not see the point of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages as Australia’s original languages.  I don’t think our all-Aussie Mr Hall has much truck with symbolism.

He would prefer this preamble, which he wrote himself:

We, as all the people, of the diverse original inhabitants, the forced colonists, the free colonists, the various immigrants, the new generations therefrom and the Federation of the States of, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Territories; humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God for peace and happiness, unite as equal citizens under this one indissoluble constitution of the DEMOCRATIC COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA.
DEMOCRATIC in this title enshrines our right to vote, of the people, by the people, for the people.
COMMONWEALTH in this title enshrines the National WEALTH of Australia must be shared in COMMON for the benefit of all Australians.
AUSTRALIA in this title enshrines all of the people below within its boundaries as a Nation.

This is actually not bad, and I quite like the inclusion of all the groups in the first sentence, though I think we should really keep God out of our constitution, given that we are a secular country.

Mr Hall really wants to ADVANCE AUSTRALIA.  This is everywhere on his page, and he uses it as a sign-off, which I really do find disturbing.

To the policies!  Mr Hall is very interested in the constitution, and Independent Nationhood.   He has written an ebook about this, but life is too short to read all the ebooks by all the candidates in this election (there are an alarming number).  What he seems to mean is that we keep the Constitution, but lose the Queen.

Its Ausxit!

(Or perhaps Outstralia?)

He doesn’t want an American-style presidential democracy, and is more inclined to make our Governor General the head of state.

Improve the Head of State’s position. Evolve the position into a true Australian Head of State as an umpire of our democracy, of our Constitution and of our Parliament. The Independent Nationhood model places the office of Governor-General under the Constitution, not above the Constitution, as a steward of guardianship for the Sovereignty of the people.

In this model, the Governor General should be neutral and not beholden to either party, which sounds reasonable, and preferable to a politician as President (though of course, we don’t know who we would get as a GG).  He also feels that children should learn about the Constitution, which also strikes me as reasonable.

Mr Hall is against Safe Schools, which he feels is about grooming paedophiles and will actively work to bring it down if elected, and he is against same sex marriage, though OK with civil unions.  Just when I was beginning to like him, too.

He is pro-military – apparently Australia needs a strong defense – and he wants more attention paid to the health (including mental health) of returning servicemen and women.

He’s quite interesting on trade, and has some rather good ideas here:

Trade with other countries is paramount to our prosperity, jobs and freedom as a nation. But enough of these so called ‘Free Trade Agreements’. Who believes them? Are you sick of FTA’s that only look after corporations and CEO’s? The issue is, ‘what type of trade’? I propose ‘Like for Like trade’. For example, imported items must be manufactured or grown to our standards. At present they are not. Another example of Like, for Like Trade is, we would continue to trade with China. But China prohibits us from owning land in China so, we should prohibit Chinese from owning land in Australia. Fairs fair.

And that’s about it for Geoff Hall.  He’s a fair way further to the right than I’m comfortable with, but no further, I think, than the Liberal or National parties, for example.  And he has clearly put a lot of thought into our constitution.

His goal, he says, is to ‘leave it better than we got it’, which is admirable.  I’m just not sure his policies would do that for all Australians.

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