Meet the Small Parties: 21st Century Australia Party

Welcome to the 21st Century Australia Party, which bills itself as the Party of the Future. Their banner has a picture of Australia with the flag superimposed on it and colourful call outs saying “Financial planning commissions banned”, “Banish mining tax”, “Establish a sovereign wealth fund”, “Remove Stamp Duty” and “Provide Australia with a value for money National Broadband Network”, and they tell us they are “Bringing Australia’s education and political systems into the 21st century”.

Also, you can enter your email to ‘access free magazines, books and political resources, including our policy document’, which has to be the classiest way of saying ‘click here and we will spam you for eternity’ that I have ever seen.

Apparently, this year I am a curmudgeon about websites, so I’m just going to say now that this is a very busy one.

The party’s founder is Jamie McIntyre, and he is very eager to tell you about himself.  Here’s a little bit about him:

It was almost 20 years ago that Jamie found himself in an unenviable position. He was completely broke, in debt to the tune of $150,000, had no job prospects and was sleeping on a friend’s couch.

Jamie grew up on a farm in rural New South Wales, Australia and from an early age had dreams of being successful, however he soon discovered that no part of his education had actually taught him the skills he needed to succeed.

15 years ago Jamie McIntyre decided the world needed a modern day ’21st Century’ education to replace the outdated 19th Century education system. A “21st Century” education that was better than school or university and taught by those with a PhD in Results, not just theory. An Education – For Life!

Only 5 years from being almost bankrupt, he had succeeded – Jamie had become a self-made millionaire.

It’s the great American dream!  Jamie is an entrepreneur, the founder of 21st Century News, and Think and Grow Rich Inc and is also a ‘success coach’ and ‘the author of numerous globally applauded publications such as the best-selling books ‘What I Didn’t Learn At School But Wish I Had’ and “Think & Grow Rich For The 21st Century” and is the founder of 21st Century TV, which provides a “21st Century” education and entertainment to over 500,000 subscribers worldwide.’

Wow.  This is reminding me very much of Landmark, I have to say – one part self-improvement, nine parts cult.  But perhaps I am being unfair…

… OK I’m going to be unfair for just a little bit longer, because he has a testimonials page, and a photos page, and this really is feeling more like a sales pitch for a product that I don’t trust one bit than a political party.

To be fair, that’s a pretty good description of politics in general.

But let’s stop the mockery and actually see what sort of policies young Jamie has to offer us, because it turns out that he has 25 ways to improve Australia, and I’m going to be here all night…
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Meet the Small Parties – The Australian Antipaedophile Party

It probably makes me a terrible person, but I cannot look at the name of this party without being irresistibly reminded of Tom Lehrer’s introduction to his song about the Folk Song Army: “It takes a certain amount of courage to get up in a coffee-house or a college auditorium and come out in favor of the things that everybody else in the audience is against like peace and justice and brotherhood and so on”.

Fortunately, I feel reasonably certain that most Australians feel comfortable uniting against paedophilia, and I think we can all be glad that there isn’t a song about this.  Unless you count this one.  Which is awesome.

So, The Australian Antipaedophile Party.  Can we guess what their policies might be about?

(I’ll stop being frivolous in a moment, but I do need to take one more moment to comment on the fact that this is another somewhat poorly-designed website – it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t, in fact, broken, because when you click on the links to ‘Mission Statement’ or ‘Aims’, everything new loads underneath all the information on the front page, including the donate button and facebook button.  You have to scroll past a whole screen worth of stuff to get to the new bits.  This is not a good way to get people to read your your information.)

Here’s a little bit about them:

Our mission is to change the approaches to child protection for children in Australia in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child through cultural, political, procedural and legislative reform. We seek to respond to and prevent child sexual abuse through raising educational and cultural public awareness and demanding accountability, and the effective and just management of child sexual abuse including influencing the legal processes so that justice is not only done, but is seen to be done, for the safety and wellbeing of all Australian children.

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Meet the Small Parties – Non Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

The Non Custodial Parents Party is not, in fact, a particularly new party, but so far they have had the good manners to stay off my ballot paper and thus off my radar.  This year… well, they do have one candidate in Gippsland and they are talking about running in every state, so I’d better take a look at them.  I’m going to say up-front that I’m not looking forward to doing this, because they have a whiff of Men’s Rights about them, and they are, at best, apparently oblivious to family violence and the sort of power dynamics that can make it both difficult and dangerous to expect families to work out custody arrangements between themselves.

Their tag-line is “…because children need both parents”  and they introduce themselves as follows:

The party’s membership mainly consists of divorced and separated parents, their spouses and partners, grandparents, relatives, friends and anyone else who believes that children have a right to be cared for by both their parents.

Everyone is very welcome to join the Party – this is regardless of your marital or relationship status and regardless if you are have a different or same sex background. No questions are asked in that regard.

All parents, spouses, partners grandparents, relatives, friends and any interested persons are encouraged to join our political party. We are the only political party that specifically supports family law and child support issues.

I’m mildly amused by ‘no questions are asked in that regard’ with reference to same sex relationships.

Their aims are as follows:

The Aim of the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)  is to:

a. Minimise government interference in decisions that affect separated families.

    and to

b. Maximise the initiative of individual parents to make those decisions.

The parents and the guardians of their children are the best people to determine what is the right thing to do for their children – not someone from either the Government or the Family Court.

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Meet the Small Parties – John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party

Continuing our theme of high profile independents who recently started their own parties, it’s time to investigate John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party!  John Madigan was originally elected as a member of the Democratic Labour Party, who, for those of you who have just tuned in, is the super-Catholic/anti-communist branch of the Australian Labor Party.  He quit the party in 2014, blaming a ‘cancer of political intrigue’, while the DLP angrily demanded he give back his seat and pointed to the extraordinarily high staff turnover and levels of stress leave in his office.

Having served as an independent, Madigan has now founded his own party, which is all about “Practical politics, putting people first”.

We believe it’s time that Australia acknowledges our farmers and our manufacturers as the foundation of our economy.  Without our farmers and manufacturers and workers, no other economic activity is possible. This is a party to unite all Australians behind that which has and will continue to make this country great. This is a party to encourage debate about manufacturing and farming, and to encourage better support for these two vital sectors of our economy. Additionally we stand for honesty in politics – and a fair go. People matter. Communities matter. The question is not can we afford to buy Australian-made, but can we afford not to?

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Meet the Small Parties: Nick Xenophon Team

I think today is going to be my day for small parties headed by high profile independents, which means that it’s time for everyone’s favourite monkey-pyjama-wearing pollie, Nick Xenophon and his Team.

The Nick Xenophon Team has a hugely annoying website.  Sorry, Nick.  It’s pretty, but it’s driving me bonkers, it really is.  (It works, but it’s a pain to navigate.  Maybe I’m too old-fashioned?) We are told that the NXT is “A common sense, fair alternative”.

For us, it’s all about looking at issues on their merits and working out the best outcome for everyone. Politics should never just be about left or right, it should always be about right or wrong.

NXT stands for honest and responsible government and the national interest, and their core focii are predatory gambling, Australian Made and Australian Jobs, and Government and Corporate Accountability.  One could do much worse.  Unlike the JLN, NXT does think of itself as a party who will vote together on issues.  They are not directing preferences and are not trying to form government, they are simply trying to increase the number of voices in the Senate that support their policies.  The policies themselves are laid out quite nicely – they provide a guiding principle, and then a few examples of how the policy would work.

Let’s see what these policies are, then…

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Meet the Small Parties: The Jacquie Lambie Network

Ah, the Jacqui Lambie Network.  I don’t always agree with Jacqui Lambie, but I do like her.  For the twelve people who don’t already know this, Jacqui appeared on the political landscape as a successful Senator for the Palmer United Party in 2013, but quickly broke ranks to become an Independent.  Like my other Senate favourite, Ricky Muir, she came into the Senate with no background in politics, and intially did say a number of foolish things.  She also has a fairly broad, working class accent, which has, unfortunately, made it easier for people to dismiss her as stupid.

But (again like Ricky), Jacqui learned on the job, and has become an effective and popular Senator for Tasmania.  She is also, in my view, an argument in favour of our unofficial Senate lottery system – as a non-politician suddenly forced to learn the job of being a Senator, she brings a refreshingly non-partisan perspective to the Senate, and takes the view that her job is to put her State first.  Because she is not beholden to a major party and their policies, she is actually in a position to do this.  I wish we had a whole lot more senators like her – and behold, here is the Jacqui Lambie Network, which promises just that!

Would you like to vote for an independent Senator, who’ll always put their state first? 

The first rule of the JLN is that you must always fight for your State’s interests in Federal Parliament, before any political party interests.

(The first rule of the Jacqui Lambie Fight Club is that you must never talk about the Jacqui Lambie Fight Club)

I do note that this approach does require the ability to discern what is in one’s State’s interests, but a reasonably intelligent person who is willing to pay attention should be able to make a fair job of it.

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Meet the Small Parties – Seniors United Party!

The Seniors United Party is a new political party, formed by a group of octogenarian retirees who are not impressed with the way retirement villages and nursing homes are run.

There is not a lot of information on their website as yet, so this post will be put together from articles I have found elsewhere, notably, The Daily Telegraph, and Seniors Housing Online.

The Seniors United Party website is still about their initial party, which was NSW-based only.  I’m not sure if they will be running candidates in Victoria.  Here’s where they are coming from.

We seek your support on behalf of a large group of concerned senior citizens, who, after years of expensive frustrations with State politicians, government departments and Tribunals, have collectively come to the conclusion that, irrespective of lip-service politicians may pay, seniors’ interests will never receive fair and equitable treatment from any Government or Party without strong representation.

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Meet the Small Parties – Australian Equality Party

OK, I think we need a palate cleanser after that, and since I’m still in Eurovision mode (yes, I’m watching the show a second time tonight), and I’ve heard at least two people this weekend refer to Eurovision as ‘Gay Christmas’, what better time to visit the Australian Equality Party – which is listed on the AEC website as the Australian Equality Party (Marriage)?

According to their front page “The Australian Equality Party is a proud new voice in Australian politics that aims to promote fairness, human rights and equality for all Australians.”

I am on board with this.  I am on board with this entire party.

The Australian Equality Party is a broad based human rights party that has the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) Australians at its heart.

This also works for me.

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Meet the Small Parties: Australia First Party

Alrighty.  It’s time to take off our Eurovision costumes, don our Personal Protective Gear, and wade into the pit of dubiously directed enthusiasm that is the Australia First Party.

This post might turn out to be a little bit incoherent, because I keep starting to write this post and then stopping because I spot something else on their site which kind of stuns me into silence.  There is a LOT on this site – policies, rallies, campaigns, questions about Australia’s future, national restoration.  So many articles.  And the articles have brilliant titles like ‘ABC Fairfax Leftie Communists’, ‘Elitist Aristocratic Entitlement’, ‘Economic eggs in one China basket case’, ‘Government Fritter and Waste’, ‘Leftists hate our sovereignty’, ‘Mining Industry Fascism’, ‘Laberal merry-go-round sapping Australia’s wealth’ (yes, they have coined the word ‘Laberal’) ‘Offshoring is Fully Imported Scabs’ and, my personal favourite, ‘Australian farmers may be forced to plant rice and noodles’.  (Think about that one for a moment.)

I already have an inkling that I’m not going to like their policies, but whoever is writing their headlines deserves a payrise, because each and every one of these links makes me want to click on it (or at least yell it out in a horrified and dramatic voice to my husband, who is trying to do other things with his life right now, but no, he is out of luck, because this whole website cries out to be… cried out).

I cannot possibly cover everything on Australia First’s website – their media people are clearly very hardworking, so I’ll stick mostly to their policies, unless I become irresistibly tempted to click on something that is guaranteed to raise my blood pressure.

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Meet the Small Parties: The Australian Mental Health Party!

The Australian Mental Health Party is a very new party indeed – so new, that their website hasn’t entirely caught up with the fact that they have successfully registered with the AEC (congratulations, guys, you have!).

As such, they have, at this stage, a single policy statement, rather than a larger raft of policies, and they do not yet have any candidates listed.  (This is where it’s a pity I’m going to be overseas for five of the next six weeks, because this post cannot really do them justice – so if you think that a single-issue mental health party might be your cup of tea, I’d strongly encourage you to visit their website again closer to the election).

The AMHP also has a Facebook page, which is more up to date, and mostly seems to collect news about how various policies affect the mental health sector.  Quite a useful resource, actually.

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