Mixing business with politics

Written by Jonathan Jackson on June 25th, 2013

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Three larger-than-life individuals will be contesting the next federal election. Clive Palmer and Bob Katter have their own visions for Australia, as does Jamie McIntyre, but they are not the only ones. TGR looks at some fresh policies from those who feel they can offer more than Labor and the Coalition.

In a sense, Australia is no longer a two-party preferred country. Sure, either Labor or Liberal will win the next election and with Labor’s popularity in extreme decline, the Liberal Party may get through without the backing of too many preferences. However, Australians are now more aware than ever that they have a choice in candidates and it is likely to become apparent when they vote in September this year.

So let’s have a look at a few of the parties that believe they can attract Australian votes.

clive palmer 2The Palmer United Party

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for billionaire Clive Palmer. The Palmer United Party began life as a reformation of the Menzies-era United Australia Party, which was dissolved in 1945, but the name was changed to avoid a legal stoush with the Australian Electoral Commission and confusion with the Uniting Australia Party – another Queensland invention. Mr Palmer believes what his party stands for is more important than the name, however while his policy document does make some valid points, it is minimal.

Palmer United Party stands for and is committed in its efforts and vision to carry out the following functions.

• Party officials should not be lobbyists, thereby taking a strong position on paid political lobbyists saving tax payers dollars and introducing fair policies.

• Abolishing the carbon tax.

• Revising the current Australian Government’s refugee policy to ensure Australia is protected and refugees are given opportunities for a better future and lifestyle.

• Creating mineral wealth to continuously contribute to the welfare of the Australian community. This will be achieved by utilising mineral resources from Queensland and Western Australia, and incentives from the Commonwealth of Australia to establish downstream processing in the states of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia; and exporting products at a higher dollar value, thereby creating more revenue , jobs, tax and more facilities.

• Establishing a system where people create wealth in various parts of the country and for that wealth to flow back to the community. This way we develop the whole country and not just Sydney and Melbourne, but we develop right across Australia where the wealth is.

Despite its lack of detail, Mr Palmer is confident that he can steal votes away from the major parties. He also believes that after the federal election, state LNP MPs will desert the party for his own.

“I think you will find a lot of them joining us after the next federal election because that’s what politicians are like. They are all worried about their skin,” Mr Palmer told Channel Ten’s Meet the Press.

“In the coming dates ahead, which are all planned, you’ll see prominent members of parliament, you’ll see prominent Australians, come out to support the United Australia Party,” he said in the interview, while refusing to reveal any potential turncoats.

“There’s over $5 billion or more of the Australian Budget being spent blockading Australia.”

According to Mr Palmer, a better and cheaper idea would be to let refugees fly here and then deal with them at the airport.

“You can have the facilities there to meet them, rather than chase them all over the Indian Ocean, and as soon as they get off the plane, you can have them assessed, and if there’s a legitimate refugee claim that can be dealt with then, and appropriately, and the families can be kept together,” he said.

“If they’re a queue-jumper, or someone that doesn’t have a legal entitlement to come here, they should go back in the very next plane.

“And if the law needs to be changed to do that, we’ll do it.”

“It will save us a lot of money.”

So far he has faced a battle with the Electoral Commission, a very short-lived alliance with disgraced parliamentarian Peter Slipper, a name change and the usual dismissals of his eccentricities. However, there is one thing for certain: despite his constant grabs for media attention, he  should not be dismissed so easily.

bob katterKatter’s Australian Party (KAP)

Everybody loves Bob Katter. Well, we love the fact that his foot is often in his mouth. But he is a humorous rogue. Katter will win seats, particularly in Queensland.

KAP performed well at the last Queensland election (11.5% of the vote and now three members of parliament) and could very well have an impact in the 2013 election. The party is based around populist protectionism and social conservatism.

We won’t list all of the KAP’s 21 policies, but here’s five of choice.

1. Governments should develop and promote policies which maintain and advance a modern mixed economic system that will ensure economic growth, full employment, equitable distribution of income, rising living standards, prosperity, opportunity and equality of access to such opportunity for all Australians.

2. Australia’s sovereignty and independence as a nation requires Australia to:

– have a sufficient defence force to deter invasion and to prevent any territorial intrusion or threat;
– maintain strategic defence industry capabilities to ensure Australia is self-sufficient in the manufacture of strategic defence requirements;
– establish and nurture relationships and alliances to secure support and assistance in times of peril.

3. Governments must ensure that every Australian is, and in particular employees, farmers and franchisees are, able to bargain collectively to protect and promote their economic interests and that all, wherever practicable, have access to compulsory arbitration.

4. Governments should provide essential services such as airports, water, electricity, gas, health services, road networks, public transport and communications. Where such services are not provided by government, government should ensure that the services are affordable for all and of a reasonable standard.

5. Australians must have the freedom to pursue outdoor recreational activities of their choice including hunting, shooting, fishing, boating, camping, 4-wheel driving, horse riding, rock climbing, and bushwalking without unnecessary limitations and restrictions.

Like Palmer, Katter has been through some problematic periods. The most significant problems include accusations that the party is imploding.

The Courier-Mail reports that at least five KAP state shadow ministers had either stepped down from their positions or were on the cusp of doing so.

This comes on the back of the resignation of national director Aidan McLindon and party vice-president and chair of finance Kevin Brown. Other resignations include Carl Rackemann as Shadow Agriculture spokesman, Lyn Bishop as Health spokeswoman, Keith Douglas as Shadow Tourism Minister and Michael Bates as Shadow Attorney-General.

Mr Bates said there was a feeling of “radical change” in the air that would lead to either “collapse or renewal”.

And while Mr Palmer was sympathising with Mr Katter’s problems in getting his party up and running, he was also stealing KAP members. The Palmer United Party snagged former KAP faithful Bevan Collingwood, who said he left Mr Katter’s political outfit feeling “very let down”, with aspects of the party being “set up to fail” and members “squabbling” over Senate spots.

“In the end it was just about who was going to be the top of the senate ticket,” he said, claiming that party membership had fallen from more than 3500 to what he estimated to be about 350.

Looks like Mr Katter should remain an independent.

jamie mcintyre business politics21st Century Australia Party

Business tycoon and self-made millionaire Jamie McIntyre recently announced that he would be running for the seat of New England in the 2013 September elections and has received extremely positive response and feedback for his movement.

In a recent online poll held by the Armidale Express, Mr McIntyre was voted as the most likely candidate to win the election for the seat of New England in 2013 with a whopping 48.5% of the vote. Barnaby Joyce scored 23.9% of the vote and Tony Windsor just 18.5%.

Mr McIntyre has launched and registered the 21st Century Australia Political Party which will overhaul what he claims to be an out-dated 19th century political system that needs to be modernised for the 21st century.

On the website of 21st Century Australia Party, Mr McIntyre elucidates the key changes the country requires focusing on a 25-point plan to improve Australia and an opening statement explaining the changes the country needs.

The new 21st century political system is pushing for voters to vote directly on major policy with the advent of new technology now available from the US and for government spending to be put in the hands of an independent board and removed from the hands of what he says are the ‘incompetent politicians’.

Moreover, he is calling for elimination of both state governments and compulsory voting. In the opening speech of the 21st Century Australia Party launch, Mr McIntyre says: “It is my vision (and that of 21st Century Australia Political Party) to assist in the transformation of Australia into a more abundant and prosperous nation for every single Australian and to bring it truly into the 21st century by providing an economically successful environment that encourages, inspires and supports all Australians to perform at higher levels; thus adding even more value to our society and great country.”

He goes on to say: “Australia is truly a blessed and lucky country however we should not rest on our laurels and take what we have for granted.”

According to Mr McIntyre, what sets 21st Century Australia Party apart is the fact that he looks at it as a lifetime challenge – the beginning of a 10 to 20 year and beyond project to help Australia achieve its full potential. Therefore, he says, “21st Century Australia Party (21CAP) is more than just another political party.

“It is a movement about changing our entire 19th century, heavily outdated, industrialisation era, education system and redesigning it into a modern day, 21st century, education system. It is a movement also about changing our heavily outdated 19th century political system; a movement to redesign and bring our political system into the 21st century and to return the power to the hands of many disillusioned voters.”
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