So remember how last week I wrote about the Aussie Battlers and really couldn’t get a read on them, because on the one hand, they had an alarming number of Australian flags all over the place, and a party leader who was so fair dinkum that he was waltzing not just with Matilda, but also with the jumbuck and probably the squatter and the billabong too – and on the other hand, they had all sorts of well-meaning, but poorly-written and somewhat misguided policies about homelessness?
Well, sometime in the last week, they redesigned their whole website, removed almost all the Australian flags, got rid of all their policies, and wrote new ones. Which are terrible.
And I was about to go and read them and tell you all about them, but guess what? They’ve changed their policies again since last night – changed them completely, as far as I can tell. Unfortunately, I only glanced at them briefly, planning to tackle them today. Equally unfortunately, this all happened too fast for the Wayback machine to archive them. But fortunately for us, the Age did a piece on them on Thursday, when the second round of policies were still in place, so you don’t just have to take my word for it that they were there. Also, I did find one screenshot of one of their policies on Twitter.
For those who find that writing too small to read comfortably, it says:
Immigrants: Violent crimes, multiple crimes, no age restriction. One-way ticket to where you came from. Any further offence from your immediate family, and the family gets a one-way ticket. The parents understanding this risk will soon rein in their wayward kids!
Incidentally, if you think that this is maybe a little racist but contains the seeds of a good idea, consider how that’s going to pan out for anyone reporting domestic violence. Or how helpful this kind of legislation is for for child abusers: ‘You’d better keep this a secret, or it will be your fault if we all get sent back…’
Only 30 per cent of students at public schools could come from “non-English speaking backgrounds” in a bid to “eliminate educational deficits generated by lack of proficiency in English language”.
Also, they described the Safe Schools Program as ‘pro-pedophilia’ and ‘grooming’.
So what does the current suite of policies look like?
Basically sane, if slightly to the right of centre. I’m honestly not sure what value there is in analysing them, since the most generous possible interpretation of this party is that it is deeply confused and can’t make up its mind about its policies from one day to the next. There is no reason to believe that these policies will still be the same tomorrow or on election day, or that any elected representatives will follow them if they are.
And frankly, I’m not inclined to be generous. This looks to me like a bait-and-switch. Draw people in (and potentially recruit people to help the party get above-the-line representation) by looking harmless, then show their true colours, then get worried about the backlash and change again? This does not look like a party with integrity, frankly.
But just in case you want to know what they stand for this weekend, there are seven policies.
On child abuse – they are concerned about institutional child sex trafficking, want mandatory prison for child rape, whistle-blower protection for victims, and a public child sex offender register. Safe Schools is no longer mentioned.
On country transport – this hasn’t changed materially from their first policy. They want more of it.
On depression – banks need to have counsellors on staff ‘to share the file with the collections department if the person in hardship displays symptoms of depression or self harm and advised they are experiences mental health difficulties.’. And they want care plans not to have capped appointments.
On environment – they want to protect the environment, have more humane farming methods, reduce pollution, etc.
On healthier foods more affordable – they want more humane farming methods, free range eggs, and no more rapid growth hormone.
On Our firearms regulations are ok – our firearms regulations are ok.
On VEAC must be stopped – they want to keep state forests open to the public. And they are into recreational fossicking, which I think they stole from the Country Party. This is their longest policy, if you care. I don’t, because I don’t believe anything they say any more.
Look, at this point, I can’t think of any reason why you would vote for this mob. They clearly have no consistent policy on anything (except possibly shuttle buses for country towns, so I guess if that’s your pet issue, go for it?). Walter Mikac has done some admirable work on gun control and on the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, and might deserve your vote on but I have no idea what he is thinking associating himself with this rubbish.
Frankly, at this point the Aussie Battlers look as crooked as hell. I don’t generally say outright that you shouldn’t vote for someone, but seriously, don’t vote for this lot. You don’t know where they’ve been. Or where they will go next.
PS – and if you do happen to have screenshots of what they were doing earlier this week, please share them. I’d really like to know what they were up to before they got spooked by the media attention.