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Election ‘10 Candidate Questionaire – Darren Churchill for the Senate

By johnboy - 4 August 2010 11

Darren Churchill

Darren Churchill, the Australian Democrats lead candidate for the Senate answers your questions in this election series.

1) whitelaughter asked: Would you support abolishing self-government in the ACT? Please include a “yes” or “no” in your answer.

No. The Australian Democrats worked hard as advocates of self-government in the old House of Assembly. The system of government we now have in the ACT works quite well and gives democratic representation and delivery of services at the local level. We can continue to work on improving the Committee system and the way public consultation is undertaken.


2) neanderthalsis asked: Do you support the proposed internet mandatory ISP filter and Data Recording Directive that record the browsing history of all internet connections?

No. I believe that mandatory filtering is the first step towards totalitarianism. The idea of imposing this form of censorship is abhorrent to anyone who believes in basic freedoms.

The same goes for the Data Recording Directive, which raises serious privacy concerns.

It is totally inappropriate for “Big Brother” governments to attempt to control information. It is the right and responsibility of all individuals, especially parents, to determine for themselves and their families what is acceptable.

My previous media on these matters can be found here:

http://darrenchurchill.wordpress.com/category/censorship/


3) 54-11 asked: Comsuper and DFRDB pensions are indexed by the CPI rather than by a wage-based index. The former Government, with the full support of the then Labor Opposition, stopped using the CPI to index the Age Pension more than a decade ago because it was considered an unsuitable and unfair way to adjust pensions. As a politician, your super is indexed to the increase in Parliamentary salaries and allowances, which is far more generous than for anyone else. Do you support, and will you actually do something about, fair and equitable indexation of all pensions?

Veterans’ pensions and compensatory payments should be indexed to whichever is higher of Male Average Weekly Earnings or the CPI. This is Australian Democrats policy. We have long argued that all pensions should be indexed quarterly.


4) Thumper asked: What do you consider to be the maximum sustainable population for Australia and how do you intend to ensure that that this maximum is not breached whilst continuing to encourage immigrants as well as accepting genuine refugees?

There are very good arguments for suggesting that Australia’s maximum sustainable population would be around 23-25 million. We have a serious problem with the scarcity of water in this country. It is probably our biggest natural problem. Increasing population will not solve it. We need to address how we reduce overall immigration numbers. Probably in the long-term that would mean reducing skilled migration and putting some money into training our own people.

By doing this we would be in a much better position to meet our humanitarian obligations for what is really a small number of asylum seekers.


5) Primal asked: Why were you deemed the best candidate for your party in the seat you’re contesting?

I had to meet certain conditions in relation to membership status, residential and age requirements, policy knowledge, acceptable philosophy, and public presentation skills. I was then assessed by a committee and secretly balloted by the members. My preselection ballot apparently drew the largest voter turnout in some years.

6) Jivrashia asked: If a man says something, and the wife isn’t there to hear him, is he still wrong?

I think a person should focus on saying what is right, rather than whether his partner will find it wrong.

Having said that, I am happily single.


7) colourful sydney racing identity asked: Did you prepare this response to RiotACT questions yourself or was it done by your party office?

That depends on which hat I’m wearing at the time.


8 ) p1 asked: Do you think that the Commonwealth Government should be able to overturn laws passed by the ACT?

No. Self-government means self-government. I do not support the Commonwealth overturning the laws passed by our democratically elected Assembly. If the laws are constitutionally valid and meet the requirements of the ACT Human Rights Act 2004, the Commonwealth should not overturn them.


9) bd84 asked: What are the top priorities or projects for Canberra that you will be lobbying the new Government for?

The proper funding and provision of mental health services at all levels is a priority. Along with that is proper support for mental health workers.

I will also give support for the construction of a Very Fast Train system to link Canberra to Sydney and Melbourne; support for low-carbon energy sources to give us a clean reliable sustainable energy future, and support for increased investment in high-tech export products from the ANU, the CSIRO and local manufacturers, to help give Australia an alternative to agriculture and mining exports.


10) Pommy bastard asked: Witches on Mt Ainslie, should their freedom of expression be protected from interference by fundy nutsacks?

Yes. Provided their right to freedom of expression does not unfairly impinge of the rights of others to enjoy their own freedom of expression.


The Eleventh Question

#9 Thumper asked: do you drink VB? If so, why?

Yes, I have. But there are lots of other drinks to enjoy (responsibly), so I can’t say VB is my drink of first choice. I am quite partial to Coopers – it’s a Democrat thing…

#25 Thumper asked If elected would you and your party support (and fund) the building of a 50 foot tall statue of Jim Morrison that straddles the Federal Highway neat the old Canberry fair site?

It’s not actually balloted policy. But, tempting,…very tempting…..

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Election ‘10 Candidate Questionaire – Darren Churchill for the Senate
Bosworth 2:44 pm 05 Aug 10

housebound said: “We were so jealous of marginal seats. From that experience, I can almost guarantee that voting Humphries out, as the only non-ALP/Green, would be the end of any chance of Labor or Libs ever spending here – and those 3000 homes in Gungahlin will count themselves lucky that they get their faster broadband.”

We do have an (arguably) marginal seat, and that is the second senate position. It doesn’t matter if Humphries stays in or is kicked out, if the margin is narrow, it is marginal.

housebound 5:03 pm 04 Aug 10

I’ve heard the Democrat’s annoyance at the Greens from a few elections ago, so obviously something still stings there.

As for the Greens siding with the Libs locally. Perhaps on minor issues, but on matters of substance? Very funny. They put Stanhope back because (they said) their members would never support the Libs, kept the Costello review secret (such a *right* decision), and it’s rolled on from there – last Sunday’s CT reported the Greens sided with Labor to delete an assessment of political pandering by TaMS to ministers.

For the record, I have lived all my life in a safe seats (Lib, Nationals, ALP). Not one of them got money. One side realised there was no point, the other side knew they didn’t need to. We were so jealous of marginal seats. From that experience, I can almost guarantee that voting Humphries out, as the only non-ALP/Green, would be the end of any chance of Labor or Libs ever spending here – and those 3000 homes in Gungahlin will count themselves lucky that they get their faster broadband. The rest of the country will still dump on Canberra for a cheap headline. You can’t really blame Humphries for that, or Darren for that matter.

In the end, it’s really just a matter of where your cynicism and my cynicism come to rest. I am cynical about all the parties, and no longer have faith in any of them, and you seem to still believe in the Greens.

Gungahlin Al 4:00 pm 04 Aug 10

Thumper: Gary has been there and has made no difference, because he has not been perceived by the ALP as something of a threat. Having a Green in their *would* be perceived as a threat by ALP as it would more likely draw away from their own support base. Not enough to lose them seats, but enough to hurt their first preference federal funding perhaps?

housebound said :

The decision to preference the Libs is probably a better tactical decision than many realise. It gives room to those who want to give a minor-party vote to someone that won’t direct it to Labor. So ALP protest votes can go to the Greens, and Lib ‘protest’ votes can go to the Democrats.

So the Greens are probably not happy because of the perceived effect of this on their grab for Humphries’ seat. Poor dears. The only real way to ever get anything spent on Canberra federally is to make the ALP feel a bit vulnerable. Voting out the only other party MP, and replacing him with the Greens (who support ALP anyway) won’t do that.

So good on the Democrats for thinking a bit differently about it all.

Housebound: The facts don’t support your assertion:

1/ The Dems have a constitutional requirement to issue split tickets except in extraordinary circumstances. But even then they could have placed Lib above ALP, but after other progressive parties. Darren has replied to me:

“In the end discussions with the Greens indicated that giving our preferences to them would be a one-way affair, ie. the Greens gain but the Australian Democrats get nothing.”

Well hello reality check. For starters, the Greens *have* put ADs above the others, making a lie of this claim. But it was always the opposite case for many years when the Greens were the also-rans and the ADs were stronger. The Greens still always put the ADs above either of the old parties, even though there was seldom any chance in those days of the flow going that way. Now it is the reverse.

2/ Clearly the Greens do not always support the ALP. The best example is opposing the ALP’s butchered deal with Turnbull on the ETS, with ridiculous subsidies included for many of the worst polluters, at the public’s expense. Locally the Greens have sided with the Libs on a number of bills and motions in the Assembly. I put it to you that the difference is they put the *right* decision ahead of the strategic decision.

The ADs have not a hope in hell of getting a stronger senate vote than the Greens in the ACT. But if the last election’s AD vote is repeated, there is a slim chance this decision by them could make a major difference. The ADs got 4144 first preferences in 2007. Humphries got over the line by *(I think I have read) 1650 votes after preferences.

Re-electing Humphries changes nothing. Zip. Same ol same ol. Booting him changes everything. Balance of power change immediately (not next July like other Senators). A carbon tax by Xmas anyone? And guaranteed the next federal government (whoever they are) would pay a hell of a lot more attention to the needs of people (all people) in Canberra. Instead of dumping on us whenever they need a cheap headline in the Sydney and Melbourne press.

That’s what Darren’s spite is putting at risk, and why I am royally cheesed off about it.

Spectra 3:57 pm 04 Aug 10

(NSW voters have over 80 boxes to fill out below the line this year).

Sure, that’s quite a few boxes. But even so, this is something people are given the opportunity to do once every 3 years, and even if you agonised over each box for 5 seconds (quite a long time if you’re doing it for every box) that’s still less than 7 minutes. Surely 7 minutes of your time every 3 years to make the best choice about who’s going to be running the country isn’t that huge of an ask?

To answer my own question, here’s a quote from an article I was just looking at:

At the last election, only 2.05 per cent of Victorian voters voted below the line in the senate elections.

Well, I guess it is too much of an ask. People are quite happy to bitch and moan about the leaders they elect, but can’t be arsed spending a few minutes every few years to do just a little bit more than the absolute minimum they could do to make a difference. And until that changes, the sad state of politics that everyone claims to hate isn’t going to change either.

caf 2:41 pm 04 Aug 10

Particularly since we only have 9 candidates on the ballot this time – filling out 9 boxes below the line ain’t exactly taxing (NSW voters have over 80 boxes to fill out below the line this year).

Spectra 1:17 pm 04 Aug 10

The decision to preference the Libs is probably a better tactical decision than many realise. It gives room to those who want to give a minor-party vote to someone that won’t direct it to Labor.

Why, god? Why? Why do so many people think that they are not in control of where their preferences go? People have all the “room to move” on their preferences that they want. You know those boxes “below the line” on the senate paper? Yeah. Fill them in with numbers in the order you want your preferences to go. Voilà! Parties only control your preferences if you let them.

housebound 12:49 pm 04 Aug 10

The decision to preference the Libs is probably a better tactical decision than many realise. It gives room to those who want to give a minor-party vote to someone that won’t direct it to Labor. So ALP protest votes can go to the Greens, and Lib ‘protest’ votes can go to the Democrats.

So the Greens are probably not happy because of the perceived effect of this on their grab for Humphries’ seat. Poor dears. The only real way to ever get anything spent on Canberra federally is to make the ALP feel a bit vulnerable. Voting out the only other party MP, and replacing him with the Greens (who support ALP anyway) won’t do that.

So good on the Democrats for thinking a bit differently about it all.

Thumper 12:41 pm 04 Aug 10

Such short memories to forget the damage wrought under John Howard, Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews, and yes Tony Abbott, et al. Not just in ACT but nationally.

And then…

There’s an outside but very real chance that this election could see Canberra go a little bit marginal, and that can only be of immense benefit for putting a halt on this town being used as a regular whipping post.

I’m confused Al. On one hand you get stuck into the Libs, and on the other you suggest the ACT could become marginal. And yet the only way we’ll end up with marginal seats in the ACT is if people vote Lib.

Unless, of course, you think the Greens will challenge the ALP and become the number two party.

S4anta 12:11 pm 04 Aug 10

efficient use of water resources and limiting immigration in the one sentence… wtf?

Gungahlin Al 11:56 am 04 Aug 10

Personal opinion, seeing Darren keeps wiping my comments on the topic from his FB page:

It is a great shame to see the party that I put so much into supporting through 1996 – 2000 descend to this. To support one of the ‘old’ parties above progressive minor parties is the anathema of everything I and many others worked towards in the Dems.

Such short memories to forget the damage wrought under John Howard, Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews, and yes Tony Abbott, et al. Not just in ACT but nationally.

The reasoning given is just bunkum and seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of how preferential voting works. Or it’s just a dummy spit against the Greens – of the sort that poisoned all dealings Kernot, Lees and Cherry had with the Greens, and eventually led to the party’s downfall.

Humphries has grandstanding down pat. He may have crossed the floor, but it was only when the vote would make no difference.

Gary has claimed publicly there “is some bad blood between us”. Not true Gary. But it is true that I lay two critical outcomes at the feet of the government that you were a part of that will impact Gungahlin’s future for many years: selling the airports with such open-ended contracts so as to allow the undermining of the future employment base of Gungahlin and indeed the other satellite city centres (and screwing up sound town planning in many other cities to boot); and failure to steer any Federal Government departments into Gungahlin at the town centre’s inception, rendering moot any subsequent chest thumping by you about Labor’s similar poor performance.

There’s an outside but very real chance that this election could see Canberra go a little bit marginal, and that can only be of immense benefit for putting a halt on this town being used as a regular whipping post.

I only hope that the Dems in the ACT have decended to such a low ebb that they have no influence on the ACT Senate outcome.

Bosworth 11:23 am 04 Aug 10

Below are the Democrats Senate Preferences in the ACT. So, if you vote 1 above the line for the democrats, this will be your vote.

1 Darren Mark Churchill Australian Democrats
2 anthony John David Australian Democrats

3 Gary Humphries Liberal
4 Matthew Watts Liberal

5 John Glynn Independent

6 Lin Hatfield Dodds The Greens
7 Hannah Parris The Greens

8 Kate Lundy Labor Party
9 David Mathews Labor Party

The only contest that is less than 99.9% certain in the ACT is for the second senate seat, between the greens and libs.

So, an above-the-line vote for the democrats is actually a vote for the libs in the contest for the second senate seat.

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