[If you think it reasonable for candidates to answer questions from the public then please email the recalcitrants]
1) whitelaughter asked: Would you support abolishing self-government in the ACT? Please include a “yes” or “no” in your answer.
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No, the Australian Greens support self-government in the ACT.
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?
Like the entire ICT sector, the Australian Greens considers that the filter will not achieve its stated objectives, but could potentially cause problems with internet speeds and reliability, and it runs the risk of restricting freedom of information and expression beyond what is acceptable to much of our community.
Senator Ludlam, the Australian Greens spokesperson on ICT has proposed an alternative approach based on opt-in PC-based filtering, further research into cyber safety risks, strengthened law enforcement, and net literacy education. You can read a recent media release on these issues here.
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?
As an ex-public servant myself, I am proud that the Australia Greens are supporting the campaign by Commonwealth public servants and military personnel to have their superannuation pensions linked to wages rather than the consumer price index as is presently the case. Latest forecasts indicate wages growth in the next two years will be around 7.9%, compared with a projected consumer price index increase of 5.1%. Because the CPI measures inflation rather than the real cost of living, many retirees are now struggling as their pensions have not kept pace.
In July this year, ACT Greens Senate candidate Lin Hatfield Dodds issued a media release on the issue entitled Give Commonwealth and Defence Retirees a Fair Deal.
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?
Population is a complex area that incorporates questions of how we live, how we are distributed across the country, our resource use, urban planning, service delivery, transport, and many other issues. It is therefore not possible to nominate a maximum number on population for Australia because it depends on how and where we live. However, we do not support a ‘big Australia’ for the sole purpose of supporting ecologically unsustainable economic growth.
Australian Greens Leader, Senator Bob Brown, has called for an independent national inquiry into population to consider the full range of relevant issues in consultation with the Australian public and make recommendations for a national population policy. This would provide a platform for a more considered, transparent, apolitical approach. Unfortunately, Senator Brown’s motion in the Senate in May 2010 seeking such an inquiry was opposed by both major parties. However, we remain committed to this approach.
A media release from Senator Brown on the issue is available here and the Greens population policy can be found here. Until recently the Greens were the only political party with a comprehensive policy on population and related issues.
5) Primal asked: Why were you deemed the best candidate for your party in the seat you’re contesting?
The ACT Greens do their pre-selection process via postal-ballot.
6) Jivrashia asked: If a man says something, and the wife isn’t there to hear him, is he still wrong?
If the man is advocating for an ecologically sustainable, peaceful and socially inclusive society, how can he be wrong?
7) colourful sydney racing identity asked: Did you prepare this response to RiotACT questions yourself or was it done by your party office?
This response was drafted by a volunteer and adapted to reflect my own thoughts. The huge number of emails we receive means that, at times, we do develop similar answers for different people – purely as a way to stop us spending all day on answering emails. It is fantastic that we are getting these emails and question through organisations like the RiotACT – it is great that people are interested in learning about the issues in this election and not just relying on the spin from the major parties. Please keep it up.
I am a Green for a reason: I agree and are committed to Greens policies and positions on issues. You can check out all of our policies on our website: www.greens.org.au
8 ) p1 asked: Do you think that the Commonwealth Government should be able to overturn laws passed by the ACT?
No. ACT residents have the right to determine how we wish to govern ourselves in much the same way that people in other states do. The Commonwealth has too many powers with respect to the ACT and this has worked to our detriment – for example by previously blocking progressive moves to permit same-sex couples to be married.
I am a firm believer that the ACT is under representated in our Commonwealth Parliament — we have some of the largest consistencies in the country. I believe it is quite unjust that Tasmania, with a population of just over 500,000 has 12 senators and five lower house members, while the ACT with a population around 350,000 has only 2 lower house members and 2 senators.
9) bd84 asked: What are the top priorities or projects for Canberra that you will be lobbying the new Government for?
As an ACT Greens Senator my priorities will be those close to the hearts of all Canberrans: getting effective action on climate change, improving public health and education services (particularly campaigning for the inclusion of dental care in medicare) and ensuring that our public service remains a health and vibrant institution capable of serving the Australian public with all the services we expect from Government.
10) Pommy bastard asked: Witches on Mt Ainslie, should their freedom of expression be protected from interference by fundy nutsacks?
The Australian Greens support freedom of expression and the diversity of forms it may take, as well as supporting the right to protest. We may have different views on what is appropriate forms of expression, but as long as people exercise their responsibility of non-violence and non-harm to others then they should be free to express their thoughts however they want.