Meet the Independents: Alan Mull

Those last two commentaries went by pretty fast, and so we are moving along to Alan Mull just as my plane passes Muscat.  Is this a hint that I will need a drink before continuing?

(I do not, in fact, write these posts under the influence of anything except sleep deprivation.  I’m always like this.  I like to think that it’s part of my charm.)

Alan Mull wants you to know that he is an entrepreneur and retried farmer from pioneering stock, whose great-grandfather selected land in Tawonga in 1867.  I am resisting the urge to indulge in family history one-upmanship here, because while most of my family are recent immigrants, we do have an ancestress who was born here in 1815.  Ah.  Apparently, I’m not resisting that urge after all.  Oh well.

Mr Mull is running on a platform of honesty and integrity. Who would like to bet me that we are going to get references to government corruption on this page?  Perhaps even a hint of a Royal Commission?  I’m sorry, these posts are getting frivolous now. I’ve been on the road for a while…

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Meet the Independents: Geoff Lutz

Geoff Lutz, ah, Geoff Lutz – who are you, what do you want, and why should we vote for you?

Alas, as far as the internet is concerned, Mr Lutz is a ghost, a mere shadow, a wraith, with no discernable presence whatsoever.  The AEC tells me that he is a semi-retired orchardist.  Make of this what you will.

Clearly, he knows something about fruit.  But is he the apple of our eye, or just another political lemon?  The cherry on our political sundae, or a nut in our electoral fruitcake?

We may never know.

I choose to believe that all he is saying is give peach a chance.

(… yeah, I really have no idea, sorry, though I’m guessing he will be in favour of supporting farmers.  Everybody else is, and they don’t even have orchards.)

Meet the Independents: Stephen Juhasz

Passing Basrah now, as I drop in for a look at Stephen Juhasz, who is a bit of a ghost candidate, with no website, facebook page, or indeed web presence generally.  This does not seem like a good way to win votes.

The AEC tells me that Mr Juhasz is a student from Geelong, and that he has run as an independent before, in Bellarine, in 2010.

The internet tells me that he is something of a letter-writer and maker of submissions regarding banking (he seems to think that banks should be allowed to fail, but only in a way where the banks get penalised and the depositors are protected.  Not sure how he plans to make that work.).

In a letter to the Sunraysia Daily, he called for a Royal Commission on banking (drink!), as ‘the banks cannot, or will not, clean up their act’.

The last time we had [a royal commission on banking] was in 1937 and the last prime minister who really understood the problems with banking was Ben Chifley. 

He once said: “It has been said that I hate the banks. The only things I hate are want, misery and insecurity of any people in any country.” 

He is also sarcastic about smart cities and commutes, suggesting a helicopter Uber service for the likes for Bronwyn Bishop.

Smart cities? Great idea, but it will pose some challenges to achieve a maximum 30 minute commute for most people, especially in the larger capital cities. Maybe a new helicopter Uber service could help. Might be right up Dick Smith’s alley. Shame it wasn’t running a year ago when it could have saved us some money and Bronwyn Bishop her job!

So yes.  I think one can expect that Mr Juhasz would crack down on banking.  Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.  He might even be serious about the helicopters, in which case, he has my vote…

(somehow, I don’t think he is)

Edited to add: I have just had my attention drawn to Mr Juhasz’s Facebook page, which I searched for earlier and could not find.  Actually, when I search for it now, without following the link, I can’t find it. I have no idea what is going on there.  Mr Juhasz has a big yellow poster there with seven policies:

  • Save penalty rates and reduce casualisation of work
  • End government waste
  • Tax justice (make big companies pay their tax to fund healthcare, education and infrastructure)
  • Protect Australian business from unfair competition (???)
  • Cheaper housing (we need affordable housing and allegedly he will make this happen)
  • A new national approach to drug and gambling addiction
  • Make poverty and homelessness history

Essentially, another progressive candidate with very little detail on how he will deliver his goals.  But they are good goals, so you could certainly do worse.

Meet the Independents: Peter John Hawks

Only two hours to Abu Dhabi, and we are flying with Baghdad to our right and Tehran to our left.  Which means that it is time to look at Peter John Hawks, who is ‘echoing the concerns of the silent majority’.

I don’t know about you, but in my experience the ‘silent majority’ is never very silent, and I’m not at all convinced it is the majority.  But there you have it.  I am the Red Under the Bed, so what would I know?

Mr Hawks wants us to know that he is a successful business and family man, a life member of Apex Australia who gives to the community, a Financial Planner, and ‘a passionate and patriotic Australian’.

Something tells me that we are not going to get along.

Ooh, yes, here we go.  Policy number one is to get rid of Safe Schools – ‘children need to be taught reading, writing and arithmetic, not gender issues’.  He also wants to ‘uphold our Christian and family values’.  Who is ‘our’ in this sentence?

He is against ‘social engineering’ from the ‘extreme left’, and wants total freedom of speech, including repealing 18c.  I’m pretty sure this is the law about racial vilification, but I’m on a plane, I’ll check this when I land.

Yep. It is.

Mr Hawks seems to be rather big on personal responsibility – doesn’t like ‘money fixes’ for education and health, but wants to create more paperwork, sorry, more accountability for administrators and teachers, and wants to encourage people to provide for themselves.  He also wants lower taxes and to keep negative gearing, and there is a decided feeling of trickle-down-economics about all of this.

Like everyone, he supports small business.  And farmers.  And he wants to bring water south, but stops short of the underground pipeline from Queensland idea, which is a pity, because I think if you are going to start with this one, you should go big or go home.  (My personal preference would be for a giant waterslide tunnel from Queensland to Victoria.  This would also act as a tourist attraction, and an alternative to high speed rail!)  He also doesn’t trust our judicial system, but I read this as more Derryn Hinch than Men’s Rights.

Also, apparently, we should look after our volunteer firefighters.  No argument on that one.

On the whole, way too right-wing for my liking, and in a rather narrow, Christian, personal responsibility-without-mercy sort of way.

I won’t be voting for Mr Hawks.  I’ll be too busy socially engineering things from the left.  Or possibly doing health-related paperwork if medical research funding gets cut.

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. Continue reading

Meet the Independents: Glen Floyd

It is time now to leave the world of sensible, reasonable politicians with pleasing policies, and wade cautiously into the ENTIRELY CAPITALISED world of Glenn Floyd, who bills himself as “THE-UNTOUCHABLE”, and starts his website with the following words of wisdom in large, friendly letters:

DER! – IT’S HOMELESSNESS STUPID!
IT’S HOMELESSNESS!
IT’S HOMELESSNESS!
IT’S HOMELESSNESS!

INDEPENDENT-VICTORIA, I REFUSE ALL DONATIONS, YOUR SENATE ‘CANNOT BE BOUGHT’ WITH THESE BRIBES!

Righty-ho then.  I think he might be equating homelessness with being untouchable, but I’m not sure whether he himself is homeless.  Or, actually, of what he means.  But he is obviously anti-corruption, and pro-transparency.  And also pro-capital letters.  Never have I seen a candidate who was so fond of his caps lock key.

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Meet the Independents: Mark Francis Dickenson

Moving along as we approaching the Baltic Sea, we have Mark Dickenson, a candidate with both a GoFundMe page, a dubiously-titled Facebook page (Dicko for Senate is not the handle I would have chosen), and a rather strangely titled blog (is he a Terry Pratchet fan, perhaps?).  Clearly a man with a lot to say, and a slightly odd sense of humour.

Mr Dickenson has a press release about his campaign, titled ‘A political candidate with a social conscience‘, that begins as follows:

In an unprecedented step to regain voter confidence, an aspiring Senate candidate named Mark Dickenson is engaging the community as never before.

With a growing presence on social media and other media platforms, he actively engages his audience and is unafraid to answer the hard questions.

I’m not quite sure why I find this so hilarious, but it gives me a giggle every time I read it.  There is a certain grandiosity of language that reminds me of some of the more unfortunately-worded grant applications I have read at work.  But, hilarity aside, he does seem to want to do some good things, and there is a certain simplicity when he says ‘I’m one of you, not one of them [the politicians]’ that resonates with me even when I am tired and sarcastic.

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Meet the Independents: Christopher Beslis

Our next Independent, as we fly over Hungary and Romania, is Christopher Beslis, who is running for public office ‘on a platform with fresh ideas to improve our country’.  He is doing this because he feels the major parties are no longer listening to the public.  I’d say he has a point there.

It’s hard to summarise Mr Beslis’s policies, for the simple reason that most of them are single sentences.  However, his opening statement gives you a pretty good idea of where he is coming from:

I decided to run for public office because I want to serve the people of Victoria and the people around the country to improve society with policies to help those less fortunate such as: people in poverty, the hungry, the homeless, the physically disabled, the intellectually impaired and pensioners.

His policies are, as you might imaginem fairly socially progressive and left wing, which is how I like them.

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Meet the Independents: Karthik Arasu

The holiday is over, and I’m sitting on a plane on my way home to Melbourne*.  With 22 hours of flying time ahead of me, what better time to start investigating the smorgasbord of Independents that the Victorian Senate Ballot Paper has to offer?  I apologise in advance for any excess silliness in these pages – though, in all honesty, I’m pretty silly even when I’m not increasingly sleep deprived and experiencing turbulence.  But with only a few days left until Sunday, I cannot afford to let sleep deprivation get in my way!  

Onward, to the first candidate of this on-board political experience, Karthik Arasu.

Mr Arasu wants you to know that he is the first Indian-born independent senate candidate from Victoria, which is oddly specific now I write it out like that.  I wonder how many Indian-born politicians we have at present?  I suspect not a lot – none come to mind off-hand.  The other thing you need to know about Mr Arasu is that he is Working Today for a Better Tomorrow.  Good man.

I found this rather nice press release about him in News18 India, very much of the ‘local boy makes good’ variety, and with some interesting discussions of Australia’s electoral process (I found it interesting that they went out of their way to note that Australians do not tend to vote along ehtnic lines – I’m guessing that in India, perhaps people do?), in which we learn that Mr Arasu was born and brought up in Chennai, studied engineering there, then emigrated to Australia where he did a Masters, before becoming a business consultant and working with small self-help groups in Victoria.

I think we can safely assume that Mr Arasu is going to be fine on Immigration.

Mr Arasu’s policies are in fact Promises, and they are rather charming, and definitely full of kindness to both people and the environment.   Continue reading

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’.

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