Independent candidates who run and are elected into the Senate or House of Representatives have the power, right and often the inclination to independently decide whether to support, reject, debate legislation or policy positions, so the more of them the better – right?
Independent voices are important to add accountability when a Government might attempt to rush through poorly formed policy /legislation. With Independents or micro/minor parties in Parliament, they must negotiate with all who are eligible to vote, thus negotiate with the independents in order to gain majority support for the bill. Thus, the more independents with the power to vote in parliament will make it harder to pass poorly formed bills in Parliament. This shoulda greater layer of accountability and acts like a democratic filtration system. Conversely, it will make passing of ALL legislation more difficult, which could negatively impact the productivity of Parliament. The question Australians need to ask is — could it get any worse than it already is?
Theoretically, independents have the power and right to regularly poll their electorate, and ask them directly about their thoughts on major policy decisions. Technically there is nothing preventing the “will of the people” to be the basis for all decisions made by an Independent, because an independent representative is not compromised by a need to “toe a party line” or suffer undemocratic interventions like cabinet solidarity*.
The issue- not all of them actually DO.
Not all Independents are there to represent the best interests of the majority of Australians. There are a select few looking out for a very niche or narrow set of interests.
While we are talking about Mr Katter, it’s important to judge him by the facts. There is no better way to judge Mr. Katter than by the motions he has voted strongly against. For example;
- His is AGAINST Restricting donations to political parties
- His is AGAINST Doctor-initiated medical transfers
- His is AGAINST Ending immigration detention on Manus Island
- His is AGAINST Ending immigration detention on Nauru
- His is AGAINST Increasing availability of abortion drugs
- His is AGAINST Increasing funding for legal aid
- His is AGAINST Privatising government assets
- His is AGAINST Stem cell research
Now you might be OK with that, and if you are, then you vote accordingly in May. But the point we are attempting to raise, is that “Independent Voices” can play an incredibly powerful and beneficial role in shaping our future (especially the ones who engage with the community and represent the best interests of their electorate), but they can be equally dangerous.
Most people know about Pauline Hanson, so it’s hardly worth going into detail about her role in this conversation, however for shits and giggles, lets have a gander into what Pauline has voted against on our behalf.
Voted very strongly against
- She is AGAINSTA fast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy
- She is AGAINSTChanging the date of Australia Day
- She is AGAINSTDecreasing the gender pay gap
- She is AGAINSTDoctor-initiated medical transfers
- She is AGAINSTEnding immigration detention on Manus Island
- She is AGAINSTE nding immigration detention on Nauru
- She is AGAINSTImplementing refugee and protection conventions
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing Aboriginal land rights
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing federal government support for child care
- She is AGAINSTI ncreasing fishing restrictions
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing legal protections for LGBTI people
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing parliamentary entitlements for current MPs and Senators
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing penalties for breach of data
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing protection of Aboriginal heritage sites
- She is AGAINST Increasing the diversity of media ownership
- She is AGAINST Increasing the initial tax rate for working holiday makers to 19%
- She is AGAINSTIncreasing the Newstart Allowance rate
- She is AGAINSTMaking sanitary items GST-free
- She is AGAINSTMore scrutiny of the Australian Defence Force
- She is AGAINSTPill testing
- She is AGAINSTProtecting the Great Barrier Reef
- She is AGAINSTProtecting threatened forest and bushland habitats
- She is AGAINSTRequiring every native title claimant to sign land use agreements
- She is AGAINSTRestricting donations to political parties
- She is AGAINSTStrengthening gun control laws
Hopefully the point has been made.
We need to attract people who are keen to make difficult, well informed decisions designed to improve our country. People who aren’t there for self-interest, power or ego, who are not influenced by party agenda, distracted by newspoll feedback or party politics.
Takeaway: Vote Independents first, but make sure you do your homework! And don’t feel bad about voting Independents who you think will damage your rights, last!