In the final day of the Canning By-Election, Pirate Party Australia’s candidate Michelle Allen is making her final pitch to voters. Whilst both major Parties are offering more of the same, the IT Manager is putting forward a different way of tackling the social issues faced by the people of Canning.
The following is a statement to the Canning electorate from Michelle on behalf of herself and the Pirate Party.
Hello Canning voters, my name is Michelle and I’m standing for the seat of Canning on behalf of Pirate Party Australia. Today is international Talk like a Pirate day, and I’d urge you to turn it into Vote like a Pirate day, I’m not only here to say “Arrrr”, I’m here with policy substance as well. For me Talking like a Pirate means to talk about sensible scientifically driven, evidence based ideas, that are the best ideas for our country’s future and which are designed to derive the most social benefit for our people. In other words, for you and me.
The Pirate Party is a political movement founded primarily upon concerns about civil liberties, digital rights, equality, fairness, personal privacy, government transparency and participatory democracy. These are all principles that reach all the way down to the local level, including for the people of Canning. Our full and growing platform can be found at http://platform.pirateparty.org.au/ I think you’ll find that most of what is in there makes good sense and should ring true to you. Today I’d like to focus on how some of these polices can be applied to the issues that I’ve been hearing are of concern to people in Canning and which the major party candidates have been making quite a bit of noise about.
We have been hearing all of the usual rhetoric from the major Parties in this campaign. The Liberal Party candidate Andrew Hastie has called for a crack-down on Ice, with harsher penalties and more enforcement. The war on drugs has raged for my whole life and probably yours as well. If the solution was more punishment, then this issue would have been solved decades ago. We believe drug addiction should be treated as a health issue. Criminalising users only makes more prisoners, it does nothing to tackle addiction or the social dislocation that creates addicts.
The Pirate Party offers an alternative vision. In Portugal we have seen the benefits of drug decriminalisation and addiction rates have plummeted. The streets are safer and the risk of drug users overdosing has significantly decreased. We believe that a similar approach in Australia would make more of a difference than another ‘tough on crime campaign’. To tackle social dislocation, a driving factor in people turning to drugs, we propose a guaranteed basic income instead of the meagre payments people can access while unemployed. This enables people to survive whilst learning new skills and removes the stigma attached to being out of work.
Meanwhile the Liberal party assault on young Australians who are victims of the governments own economic failings continues, with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison reintroducing his bill to extend waiting times for jobseekers to access Newstart payments.
If the Liberal party were serious about finding solutions to crime, why introduce a Bill that could force young people to choose between crime, or hunger and homelessness. I ask Andrew Hastie, does he share Morrison’s view that denying welfare to jobseekers somehow magically creates jobs that previously did not exist? If they are serious about welfare reform, why not look at the entire system and not just look at ways to make it tougher on Australians already doing it tough?
If the track record of this government continues, unemployment is only going to get worse. Not only have Hastie’s friends in Canberra attempted to peg the economy to a waning resources boom, they have aggressively set about destroying possible new areas of innovation and job creation by smashing our local renewables industry. Manufacturing has been abandoned and sent offshore, while CSIRO funding has been slashed. The disregard for science and innovation by this government has been obvious to everyone from day one, they didn’t even bother to appoint a minister for science.
Science, innovation and investment in new industries such as the renewable sector is essential for the future of our country. We cannot rely on mining forever, and nowhere is that more starkly obvious than here in WA. We stand to suffer greatly from any further downturn in the market for resources. Comprehensive investment in education and science is essential. The Pirate Party education policy not only enshrines this focus on science, but advocates for a national science plan. Allowing people the education, skills, freedom and ability to explore new innovative and creative business ideas is one of the ways we can better prepare ourselves for a changing economy.
The Pirate Party policy for a Basic Income through reverse taxation is the kind of bold innovative reform to welfare and taxation that our country needs. Not only will this ensure people have the freedom to try out new innovative business ideas, but its simplification of the current morass of different welfare payments and taxation systems will spark investment, save money spent on bureaucracy, empower people to take control of their own destiny and help protect the Australian people and economy from market fluctuations, automation and the offshoring of jobs. A basic income is an idea that has ben trialled with success and is getting more attention as we move into a future of increased automation and labour market change.
Both the Liberal and the Labor party offer more of the same old simplistic solutions to complex issues, with some differences to each other around the edges. Canning does not have a monopoly on these issues, but some are felt harder here than elsewhere in the country. These are issues which have their roots in national and even global forces. I don’t refute the fact that both Andrew Hastie and Matt Keogh probably mean what they say when they claim that they will work hard, “roll up their sleeves” and dedicate themselves to tackling crime, ice, drugs and jobs in Canning. But while their promise of hard work are commendable traits, and I’m sure every candidate on the Canning ballot will put in hard work and dedicate themselves to the people of Canning, I know I would, hard work alone is not enough to solve these issues. They need new ideas and new approaches first.
Andrew Hastie for instance seems to think he can bring to bear his military training to solve these issues through brute force of will and via his toughness forged in combat. Matt Keogh has shown himself all to willing to be just another cog in the Labor party machinery. Both major party candidates offer more of that same and that is no longer working for our nation.
Tougher sentencing, war on drugs, harsher treatment of welfare recipients, increased surveillance, harsher penalties, more policing… it is the same thing over and over again that has been tried and failed over and over again. We need new solutions, and a new way of doing things if we are to really tackle the problems we face. The answers aren’t the simplistic and easy answers that the major parties want to distract you with. This by-election gives you, the people of Canning, an opportunity to show the major parties that we are sick and tired of trying the same failed tactics over and over again. Let’s show the major parties, and the career politicians behind them, that we are willing to try to do things a smarter way, to end the delusion that doing the same thing that has failed elsewhere will somehow work here. If we keep swapping our “1” votes between the two major parties, they will continue taking us for granted. I’d like to think we are all better than that.
Pirate Party Candidate for Canning.