Anthony David, the Australian Democrats number 2 candidate for the Senate is our second candidate to return answers to your questions:
1) whitelaughter asked: Would you support abolishing self-government in the ACT? Please include a “yes” or “no” in your answer.
In a word – No.
Further, the ACT has shown that we can govern ourselves. How to effectively deliver services at the local, Territory and regional levels is an ongoing process. Looking back, the ACT is definitely better governed that the earlier years and I expect improvements as we go. There are always going to be mistakes so accountability for decisions is essential. In decades to come, I would like to see an alternative to the Westminster system-based Assembly. There is more than enough work to be done without doubling up on responsibilities.
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?
I joined the Democrats in 2000 because I was sick of whinging about Richard Alston and his luddite filtering policy. The Labor party then comes up with this stupid idea and a decade later we have to go through the same rubbish and worse. I have evaluated, implemented and managed filtering in a few Govt Internet gateways. I find it hard to believe that what can be reasonably managed in a work environment is being proposed for the entire nation. An efficient reporting mechanism for genuine illegal content websites and extending international treaties and operations to prosecute the producers,profiteers and consumers makes more sense to me. As for the Data Recording Directive, I confess to voting Liberal in 1995 because the Labor party had a proclivity of controlling, monitoring and proscribing people’s lives. Nothing much has changed.
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?
To quote from our balloted policy “We support the indexation of veteran’s pensions and compensatory payments to Male Average Weekly Earnings or CPI (whichever is greater) as we do in regard to Social Security pensions. The Democrats have long argued that all pensions, including the War Widows Pension and the Service Pension, should be indexed quarterly”. To fund it, I want to see the next government seriously address the recommendations of the Henry Tax Review and the Intergenerational Reports to address the funding of this policy.
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?
Thomas Griffith Taylor got hounded out of Australia in the late 20’s for suggesting the maximum capacity was around 25 million. His argument was principally water resource-based. To consider what is a reasonable population target now, the following points are just some that need to be considered. The last global population projections that I read was around 9 billion people by 2050 where the effects of lowering fertility rates kick-in. Fertility in Australia has kicked up, bucking the global trends. Immigration was historically high under the previous government and has up until now, been left to run. Our humanitarian obligations to refugees is a small proportion of that total. The city of Perth is mining its ground water supplies and is the major Australian city to be affected by climate change-driven drops in rainfall average. Desalination is being deployed to address water problems, but the energy requirements are huge. Thinking about just these points and considering how slow Australia is responding to many of these issues in a sustainable manner, there is no way I can put a number much above Griffith Taylor’s. That being said, a government that wants a larger population has to develop a coordinated vision, deliver appropriate infrastructure and provide market conditions to ensure the vision and our behaviour/lifestyle is congruent. All this has to happen way beyond the next election cycle. We need a Parliament that is focused on these important issues.
5) Primal asked: Why were you deemed the best candidate for your party in the seat you’re contesting?
I’m the second best 🙂
6) Jivrashia asked: If a man says something, and the wife isn’t there to hear him, is he still wrong?
After 26 years of marriage, I am getting used to the whole concept of admitting guilt to my many failings. Just the other day my wife looked at my placement of the ironing board and the card table in the laundry. She suggested I was lazy. I responded “Sometimes I am”. She laughed. Getting back to the question; It’s complicated.
7) colourful sydney racing identity asked: Did you prepare this response to RiotACT questions yourself or was it done by your party office?
Yes and Yes (if you call the “party office” my kitchen table).
8 ) p1 asked: Do you think that the Commonwealth Government should be able to overturn laws passed by the ACT?
No. Self government means exactly that, with the proviso that laws passed in the ACT are Federally constitutional.
9) bd84 asked: What are the top priorities or projects for Canberra that you will be lobbying the new Government for?
I am pleased that mental health has become an issue in the media and I will work hard to ensure Federal support for innovative programs such as ACT Health’s “ACT Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Strategy 2010- 2014”. Pleasingly, this strategy aims to implement many of the Australian Democrats’ policies, particularly with respect to the issues of indigenous peoples, prisoners and the often common link between mental health and the above substances.
Effective education is the cornerstone of our civil society. I am particularly concerned at the shortage of science and mathematics trained teachers, especially in primary schools . The Federal government has a role in the development and deployment of these resources in the ACT.
The Nation’s Capital needs Federal investment in a modern transport infrastructure such as the bus system, light rail and a fast intercity rail link. Canberra needs easier ways for getting around, for both visitors and residents.
10) Pommy bastard asked: Witches on Mt Ainslie, should their freedom of expression be protected from interference by fundy nutsacks?
Mount Ainslie is a public place and people should behave civilly and according to law. I don’t condone harassment of others on the basis of belief, non-belief, hair colour or any other thing that some people confect outrage at.
The Eleventh Question
#2 colourful sydney racing identity asked: Are you a creationist, and if so, do you believe the world is less than 10,000 years old?
In the 46 years I have had an interest in science and the natural world, I have not found any evidence for creation or a 10,000 year old world. I do enjoy taking school groups through the National Dinosaur Museum and I am a fan of the “Age of Fishes” Museum in Canowindra. I confess going to a Duane Gish public talk in the early 80s. It took quite a while to figure out the stupidity of his claims.
#9 Thumper asked: do you drink VB? If so, why?
I have drunk VB. In fact I have had a VB this year. My view is that it is a big world out there and life is too short and there are too many beer varieties to be wedded to one brand. That being said, as an ex-South Australian I confess to a significant frequency of drinking all things Coopers.
Feel free to visit http://www.democrats.org.au/policies and let me know about any discrepancies between the above answers and my party’s position.