I don’t have time to read all of this!
With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket
The Shooters and Fishers have put the Liberal Democrats either first or second on every ticket, and Transport Matters in their top five in every region. The DLP and Hinch’s Justice Party are also popular.
The Animal Justice Party, unsurprisingly, can be found at the very bottom of every ticket. Directly above them are Labor, Liberal and the Greens, all jumbled up together in an order that I suspect is random. Fifth from the bottom is usually the Victorian Socialists, but they make an exception for the ungrouped independents in Western Victoria and Western Metropolitan, and in Northern Metropolitan, where Walter Mikac is running on the Aussie Battler ticket, they make a point of putting him in their final five.
Given that apparently Druery has been heavily involved in putting together some of these tickets, I’m no longer sure just what we can learn from these, but I do think the LDP is a philosophical match, and I have no doubt whatsoever that the AJP didn’t find their way to the bottom of the ticket by accident.
The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations
I would note that Ricky Muir, accidental Senator and former member of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party, is on their ticket for Morwell. I have mixed feelings about this. I actually really liked Muir when he was in Parliament – he struck me as a decent, reasonable human being who was determined to do an honest job of being a Senator. I liked his willingness to read and judge each piece of legislation on its merits, without partisanship. I don’t think he got it right every time, but he worked very hard and with integrity, and I have a lot of respect for that.
Sadly, while I miss Muir’s voice in Parliament very much, the one part of him I don’t miss is his enthusiasm for guns. So there’s that. I have to admit, though, that if I were in Morwell, I’d be giving serious consideration to voting for him regardless. Honesty and integrity in politics are rare qualities, and I’ll put up with a fair number of foolish ideas if it will buy me that.
But let’s have a look at the party itself! The SFFP’s slogan is ‘It’s your powerful voice’, which I am finding slightly hilarious. There’s something about it that just doesn’t work as a slogan, and I’m finding myself wanting to re-write it. ‘A powerful voice for you’ might be better. Though it’s still not good. Modifying ‘voice’ with ‘powerful’ sounds like you are judging a singing competition, or possibly telling a child to settle down. (‘You need to use your inside voice now, not your powerful voice.’).
Anyway. What I think they are trying to get at here is the idea that the party can speak powerfully for you. And they are trying to ascribe some of the ownership of that power to you, and now I’m giggling again, because, well, it sounds like someone is trying very hard to reassure themselves about their masculinity, and the jokes just write themselves. Which is a pity, because of all the many, many gun-loving parties out there, the SFFP is by far the least toxic, the most honest and the most reasonable. I mean, they are not going to the top of my ticket, but there is plenty of space below them on my ticket at present.
Their Facebook page has a much better, if more militant tagline:
No more National Parks. Hunters Rights enshrined in law. Protecting the future of outdoor sport in Victoria.
This is less a slogan than a statement of intent, and it’s a good, straightforward one that gets to the heart of what they stand for. Good job on that.
(Bad job on your desktop publishing, though. I know you had a very suitable picture behind your text, and you didn’t want the text to camouflage with it, but swapping your text from white to black and back again mid word just makes it look like you have some sort of hidden code. But I’m fairly sure ‘Par/rined/tdoor’ isn’t code for anything except ‘help, we need a graphic designer!’)
The SFFP don’t have a specific policy section for Victoria, so we are redirected to their federal policies, of which there are eight, all pleasingly brief.
(I think I have an optimal policy length of about 2/3 of a page. Less than that, and you have no idea what they want. More than that, and usually the weirdness starts to creep in. Also, it’s a bit of a slog for people like me who insist on reading everything…)
- Expand public land hunting programs and opportunities across Australia
- Expand sustainable, nature-based tourism
- Promote the expansion of private game reserves and remove red tape regulation for said reserves
- Oppose the vilification of four-wheel driving and motoring enthusiasts
- Promote shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities…
So I have some questions. Question number one is does nature-based tourism mostly involve shooting at it? I am assuming not, but honestly, it’s hard to be sure.
Question number two is about the alleged vilification of motoring enthusiasts. I am *fascinated* about this. Who is vilifying them? What are they saying? ‘Your mother drives a Daihatsu Charade!’? ‘You hoon like a little old lady in a Kia hatchback!’? ‘Your engine is so quiet it might as well be a hybrid!’? ‘Your mid-life-crisis-mobile is a Volvo!’? ‘You drive at 99 in 100 zones!’? ‘You swerve for man-hole covers!’?
(…I don’t even have a driver’s license so I just texted a friend who is quite into fast cars and 4 wheel driving for help generating insults. There is a real risk that this entire post will degenerate into driving-related insults. No wonder the SFFP has to have a policy about it. I am clearly part of the problem…)
Or are they feeling attacked because they love forests and the great outdoors and don’t like having people telling them that their actions might be extremely bad for the environment?
Because the paradox, as always, with the SFFP is the fact that they clearly do really love being outside and getting out into the bush and interacting with it. They want to do more of it, and they want everyone to get a chance to enjoy it. But they seem really oblivious to the idea of an ecological footprint and the ways in which their actions, if pursued by everyone with the degree of liberty that they would like to allow, would damage the very thing they love and want to share with others.
I honestly don’t understand this disconnect – it seems to extend to a profound distrust of any ‘green’ initative whatsoever, even the ones that don’t impinge on their desire to hunt things and do manly activities in national parks. I keep waiting for the SFFP to figure out that the things they want to do are unsustainable given our current population, but they haven’t so far.
Safeguarding our Environment
The SFFP really does care about the environment. But they feel that the fact that our natural environment is still being degraded shows that current management isn’t working, so they want laws that ‘strike the appropriate balance between responsible usage and preservation’, which is best done not by restricting access but by ‘actively manag[ing] our landscape to conserve and enhance biodiversity. And they want this to be a ‘shared responsibility between individuals, the community and all outdoor users’.
Honestly, the SFFP makes my head hurt. Their hearts are in the right place. They clearly care about conservation. But their logic is awful. I sort of want to lock them in a room with some really nice ecology professors or something.
The SFFP believes in domestic energy self-sufficiency, which involves using our ‘vast reserves of gas, coal, uranium and oil shales’ to maintain our economic advantage.
Guys, you get that we are running out of these things, right? It’s not just about greenies and the environment anymore. We literally are not going to have these resources forever, and we need to come up with alternatives before we run out.
Also, again, if you expand mining everywhere – and yes, I see that you want to make sure prime agricultural land and water systems are not permanently affected, but still – you are not going to have any natural, outdoor areas left to hunt and hoon in.
They also want to rebuild a sustainable timber industry.
Interestingly, they do support the Tasmanian renewable energy market, because apparently it is commercially viable without subsidisation, and they are OK with nuclear energy, so I’m honestly having a bit of trouble working out the logic of this policy.
Farming and Land Management
The SFFP is a wee bit protectionist. They are worried about foreign ownership of our farmlands, and about food and water security. They are also very keen on protecting farmers, who are ‘environmental stewards who collectively manage most of Australia’s land mass’, and deserve better recognition and security. And a rural development bank, to provide farming enterprises with a source of financial support. These are all very far points. But oh dear…