||A voice for Victoria
Don’t be a Dick, elect one.
|Themes:||Likes people and wants to make the world a better place. Particularly interested in addressing climate change, improving the government, teaching emotional intelligence in schools, and more infrastructure for rural areas.|
||Upper House: VIC (Ungrouped Independent)|
Policies & Commentary
Right, I think it’s about time we had a nice, palate-cleansing look at some of the independents adorning the Ungrouped portion of the Victorian Senate ballot! First cab off the rank is Max Dicks, who seems to be a lovely young man with the sort of name that does not produce very helpful results when typed into Google.
(I mean, I wasn’t going to make any of the obvious jokes, since I imagine he has heard all of them before, but then I scrolled down to the bottom of his website and found his second slogan, and have to say, I do have to approve of a candidate who goes, yeah, this is the cheap shot that everyone will be making, I’m going to go there first. Well played, Mr Dicks.)
His website starts by explaining why he is running for the Senate as an independent. Basically, he likes people, he wants to make Australia a ‘better, safer, happier place’ and he is disappointed with the current state of politics, as who as not. He doesn’t feel that he would be able to vote along party lines (‘my morals mean too much to me’).
“So that brings me here, to a backyard, with my friend’s mobile phone, and a funny name, doing my best to make a difference to Australia.”
Incidentally, after all my whingeing about parties with terrible web design skills, can we just pause to acknowledge that Mr Dicks has a visually appealing, sensibly set out, professional looking website? (We shall not see his like again…) Also, I find it quite endearing that he has a video version of the front page, captioned ‘I’d prefer to talk to you’, and then ‘Don’t worry, all videos have subtitles’.
Mr Dicks wants five things: a government we can be proud of, a government that listens, a planet we can be proud to show our great-grandchildren, to raise children who can fully express themselves, and better things for rural Australia.
On the subject of government, we begin with a rather unusual suggestion:
I want to create a system where political decisions are explained with a brief video, a video that can be understood by the average Australian and explains why the law was passed and what the government hopes to achieve.
The video will act like a Key Performance Indicator for the legislation be created semi -independent of government but with input from the government, the crossbench, the media and members of the public. I also hope that the concise nature of the video will make the laws of our country easier to understand for those who otherwise might struggle.
I can see pros and cons to this. I definitely like the idea of making legislation more transparent, and I appreciate the emphasis on accessibility. I do wonder how well the average piece of legislation would translate to a short video, and what important nuances would be lost (especially on a population that is not yet accustomed to thinking about legislation – I feel like there is a whole step around community education that you need to enact first, here). Still, perhaps it’s like a scientific abstract – if you can’t explain what you are doing in 250 words, you probably aren’t all that clear on it yourself?
Mr Dicks would also like do improve services through more automation in the public sector. He doesn’t want to reduce jobs, but he wants to ‘improve efficiency enabling everyone’s interactions with government departments to be as positive as possible without increasing the workload of the employees themselves.’
And then he wants to translate the lessons learned from this process to Australian business.
Under the heading of a Government that Listens, he wants Australians to have more influence over government between elections, by allowing them to propose new legislations ‘potentially through a service like mygov (which can be improved)’. I am quoting that last bit purely for the ‘which can be improved’ because boy howdy can it.
Also he would like Australian Citizens to be able to choose where 10% of their personal income tax goes. This is a fascinating and very appealing idea, and my heart wants to see it enacted, but my administrative brain is wondering just what effect this would have on the government’s ability to plan its budget…
Mr Dicks wants us to know that ‘Climate change is real and humans are a massive contributor. We need to act now to save our planet and our reef’.
I am not a climate scientist and it would be an insult to their years of dedication to pretend that I am. I will defer to the experts and I would implement their recommendations even if it has an effect on industry. However, we as a country need to be willing support our businesses through this transition.
God, this is a breath of fresh air after those One Nation climate policies I read yesterday. So nice to find someone who doesn’t assume that the scientists are conspiring against us all.
Anyway, Mr Dicks wants better recycling, more reusable or compostable packaging, and more green energy. He feels that these are sectors with untapped potential for job creation, and I think he is right.
On education, he has this to say:
I would like our education system to teach emotional intelligence to children to help them to be able to understand and vocalise their feelings and be more empathic as well as growing their communication skills.
Unfortunately, it’s an all too common occurrence for politicians to get involved with education and I apologise in advance to those whose life I’ll make harder. However I will leave the development and implementation of how to integrate this into the existing systems up to the experts, professional educators and psychologists and I will do my absolute best to ensure that it is well funded and not just something thrown on to the end of the curriculum and on to the shoulders of teachers with an already heavy workload.
Yeah, let’s just vote for this guy already. He’s lovely.
Mr Dicks also has the interesting idea of developing programs for students that are essentially domestic exchange programs, whereby rural students would have a chance to live in the country, and vice versa. He’s also interested in providing young people with the opportunity to assist overseas, which I’m slightly less sure about, because a lot of shorter-term overseas work winds up costing the place people are ‘helping’ more than it helps.
Finally, he doesn’t want rural areas to be neglected. He wants better roads, and funding boosts for farmers. In particular he wants to ensure that importers of produce are paying their taxes properly. ‘It’s essential that we aren’t in an unfair market due to avoidance of taxes and levies.’
Taking a quick look at Mr Dicks’ Facebook page, we find similar themes. He’s also concerned about accommodations for people with disabilities. And he likes the Avengers, apparently.
And that’s about it. It’s not a complete set of policies. I’d like to know where Mr Dicks stands on refugees, and his comment about his morals meaning too much to him make me want to know rather urgently where he stands on LGBTQIA+ issues, because that could go in either direction. But I have a pretty good feeling about this chap. I’ll be keeping an eye on how his website and Facebook page develop, because right now he’s looking like a pretty good candidate for the top of my ballot.
Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively
I was in two minds about whether I should assign Eurovision songs to the independent candidates, because it feels like a commentary on their personality in a way that it doesn’t so much with actual political parties. But I think I’ve made my generally positive attitude towards Mr Dicks pretty clear, so I’m going to go for it.
A few years ago, Iceland sent Pollapönk, an Icelandic punk-inflected children’s band, to Eurovision. Apparently, the group sets out to make music that will appeal to both children and their parents, which seems entirely like something that Mr Dicks would do if he were in a band. Also, their lyrics seem to fit with Mr Dicks’ emphasis on emotional intelligence and mental health, and the fact that he just generally likes people.
Life is way too short for short-sightedness
And tell me who has got the time for narrow-mindedness?
Listen to what I say
‘Cause every bububu… body looks the same on the inside
And it pupupu…. pays to wear a smile
Let’s do away with prejudice
Don’t discriminate, tolerance is bliss
We got to get together on this
Cross this problem off our list