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Nicolle Burt, Secular Party for the House of Reps Canberra, Candidate Questionnaire, Election ’13

By Barcham - 20 August 2013 43

Nicole

The Secular Party’s Nicolle Burt was our second cab off the rank, thanks Nicole.

Candidates, the readers of RiotACT are your voters and they have questions for you! If you’d like to answer those questions and prove you care what your voters think then email us at contact@the-riotact.com.

You can find the questions here.


1. What are your views on euthanasia?

It is unethical that in this day and age Australians who are suffering through irreversible injury or disease are prevented from undergoing a peaceful and dignified death in the company of loved ones. Each individual should have control over his or her own destiny. Religious lobby groups have repeatedly blocked appropriate legislation on voluntary euthanasia in various states.

It is the policy of the Secular Party that voluntary euthanasia be legalised, at state and federal levels, in cases where the individual is undergoing unbearable suffering with little or no hope of improvement. It is also our policy that this legislation should include adequate safeguards to prevent abuse. This would include, but not be limited to, independent and unbiased psychological evaluation, independent and unbiased medical evaluation, a “cooling off” period, and the right of the patient to change his or her mind at any stage of the process.


2. Do you support a High Speed Rail Link between Sydney/Canberra/Melbourne?

At this point in time, we do not have a specific policy response in this regard. However, in terms of policy direction, we would be likely to encourage a detailed study of the costs, benefits and viability of any proposed high speed rail link.


3. Are you comfortable with the distribution of wealth in modern day Australia?

The Secular Party recognises that the age-old struggle between the forces of labour and capital is no longer the major determinant in political economy. Unlike the major parties, we have no allegiance to the sectional interests of labour or capital. The Secular Party bases its economic policies on judgements concerning the long-term public interest and the interests of global humanity.

In doing so, we are guided by the heritage of the classical economists of the Enlightenment, including both Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham. The Secular Party is also not so constrained by ideology as to suppose that the macroeconomic management insights established by J. M. Keynes will never again be relevant.

We maintain that balanced government budgets, over the long term, as well as a balanced foreign trade account, are legitimate concerns of government policy.

We recognise that the benefits of capitalism are derived neither by exploitation, nor by the exertion of monopoly power of any kind. Such benefits, as are apparent in the continuous rise in living standards that have been sustained for over two hundred years, are due not to any religion for example, but to what is in fact a humanist phenomenon — technical progress and commercial innovation. The Secular Party has as its core philosophy the development and maintenance of economic policies that support this process.

The major economic challenges that lie ahead derive from international inequity and environmental problems associated with oil resource depletion and global warming. Insufficient provision has been made in Australia for looming environmental problems, especially in terms of water conservation and addressing dry land salinity.

Eliminating Australian and world poverty is a feasible goal, requiring the fostering of aid, trade and good governance, but will not be achieved without a far greater degree of local and international goodwill and co-operation.

We are also most concerned that the continuing and egregious nature of global religious conflict is a severe impediment to achieving the co-operation required. Secular values must be promoted and secular policies implemented far more widely in order to achieve this.


4. Recent polling (Auspoll) shows housing affordability to be a critical issue for a majority of Australians, with 84% of respondents saying it was important to them or their families, putting housing affordability ahead of issues such as education, border security, the NBN and NDIS.

The same poll also revealed that 84% of respondents also believe that Australia is not performing well on housing affordability. Australian Governments are failing badly on this issue of critical importance to Australians.

What would you do to improve housing affordability?

The Secular Party recognises the crisis in housing affordability. We also recognise the need for Government intervention, including the need for the provision of public housing.

We are a very small voluntary organisation and policy development in this area is ongoing, as we believe it to be an important and major issue affecting numerous Australian families. As such, this matter requires the proper research and analysis of the multiple, complex factors that contribute to this problem so we will not be making any major policy decisions or announcements at this point.


5. To me the NBN seems like a great idea, can you tell me why you think it’s ace/a dumb idea.

We don’t as yet have an official policy on the NBN, and will probably not be making any major policy decisions this year again for the reasons given previously. However, in terms of policy direction we do have an unofficial position on the NBN. We believe that Labor’s policy offering fibre to the home is superior to that offered by the Coalition. The reason for this is that we do not feel that the savings suggested by the Coalition’s plan justify sacrificing Australia’s future needs. It is likely to cost more in the long term.


6. Do you think cyclists should be registered?!

Although we don’t have an official policy in this area as part of our federal election platform, we understand that registering cyclists could be viewed by locals as yet another administrative burden placed upon them. In terms of policy direction, we suggest a proper local review by TAMSD would need to be done in order to quantify the costs and benefits of this proposal.


7. What is your position on gay marriage?

Yes…we fully support equal marriage rights in a secular state. It is our view that marriage is “…a voluntary union entered into for life by two people to the exclusion of all others”


8. Would you be willing to cross the floor on matters of strong personal conscience or of significant concern for your electorate?

Given the humanist and sensible views of the Secular Party – being based on the use of reason and evidence in policy development and application – I cannot foresee the need to do so.


9. What are your views on the NSA collecting private information of Australian citizens and corporations, of the Australian government’s participation in similar programmes, and of the apparent silence of Australian politicians on the matter?

We assume that you are referring to the National Safety Agency (NSA).

The Secular Party has not yet developed a specific policy about this particular matter.

However, we have observed that the rights of citizens have been curtailed as a result of the “war on terror”. There is a risk that these laws will produce greater alienation amongst target groups. Citizens therefore need the protection of legislation that protects human rights.

The Secular Party endorses and supports a proposed Bill of Rights Act. The purpose of this act is to formalise in Australia rights that have already been agreed to in international treaties that Australia has signed and ratified. Personal freedoms should be based on modern secular humanist principles and it is our policy that all laws be enacted such that they apply equally to all citizens.


10. We hear so much negativity about the opposition when election time rolls around– what three things do you consider to be positive about any of your opponents and why?

At the personal level, I find that:

1. The larger parties have greater resources, budgets and access to expertise across a wide spectrum of policy environments so I have been in a position to learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes

2. Many candidates have extensive career and other life experiences outside of politics. Some of them are very interesting to talk to and share our common experiences as candidates in the federal election

3. The collegiate atmosphere I have experienced from my interaction with other candidates from other political parties has been very informative.

What’s Your opinion?


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43 Responses to
Nicolle Burt, Secular Party for the House of Reps Canberra, Candidate Questionnaire, Election ’13
BimboGeek 2:39 pm 21 Aug 13

Poetix me too. My religion is heavily persecuted by the government where it was previously based and is now dealing with an indifferent government that has allowed a great deal of theft but generally recognises us and provides legal structures to settle our problems.

I don’t want to be the official religion (there’s only a few dozen of us here anyway) and I don’t mind indifference but an official government “no religion” policy has done a lot of damage in other countries. I just don’t think there’s any risk of Secular Party actually trying to achieve that in such a heavily religious country. They would rather just not know about it and that’s fine by me.

BimboGeek 2:05 pm 21 Aug 13

I think what she failed to communicate is that Secular Party believes in evidence based policy so it’s pretty much against their values to even acknowledge that a train is a good idea because they intend to make whatever decision is economically and socially sound.

I think it would be great to have a few people like this in Parliament demanding to be convinced why this or that proposal is a good idea. Would sure make a refreshing change from “we oppose all those things our opponent supports!”

Unfortunately I’m not convinced she’s the exact person to do it.

poetix 1:01 pm 21 Aug 13

I dislike the implied idea that people with a religious belief are incapable of reasoning, or of supporting the institutions of a secular society. They speak of children being ‘indoctrinated’ in religion, and of this being against the rights of the child. How is this defined? Is it being baptised? Going to a mosque or church? Reading or studying the Koran or the Bible? These are quite normal things for a child to do, and quite different from bringing up a young person to hate others, or to be intolerant of different beliefs/people with no religious beliefs.

Well done to them on question 7.

wildturkeycanoe 12:55 pm 21 Aug 13

davo101 said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

Interesting to note that apart from their “No religion in politics” catchphrase, it appears they also want no religion at all.

I think you may be over-egging their argument. As far as I can tell they appear to be strongly in favour of a very strict separation of church and state. The best model of this would be France and the last time I was there I saw plenty of churches, synagogues, temples and mosques; so it’s not as if they can’t both coexist.

wildturkeycanoe said :

In their policies on immigration they want people coming here for refuge to adopt an “Australian” way of life and integrate.

Funny that all I can see is no different to the current requirements.

So why are they campaigning to achieve what we already have then? Perhaps it’s more about enforcing the current policies upon us poor deluded religious types, by force perhaps if not in [secular] law.

davo101 12:34 pm 21 Aug 13

wildturkeycanoe said :

Interesting to note that apart from their “No religion in politics” catchphrase, it appears they also want no religion at all.

I think you may be over-egging their argument. As far as I can tell they appear to be strongly in favour of a very strict separation of church and state. The best model of this would be France and the last time I was there I saw plenty of churches, synagogues, temples and mosques; so it’s not as if they can’t both coexist.

wildturkeycanoe said :

In their policies on immigration they want people coming here for refuge to adopt an “Australian” way of life and integrate.

Funny that all I can see is no different to the current requirements.

wildturkeycanoe 11:59 am 21 Aug 13

Interesting to note that apart from their “No religion in politics” catchphrase, it appears they also want no religion at all. In their policies on immigration they want people coming here for refuge to adopt an “Australian” way of life and integrate. Welcoming boat people and then wanting them to leave behind all that makes them who they are is not a very nice proposition, nor is removing Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Islamic, Catholic, Hindu, Satanic, Scientologist, Jedi or any other religious values from our current or future societies. As much as I am sometimes in fear of the other religions in the world due to the images portrayed in the media on extremists and the such, freedom of worship and religious belief is one of the core values of this nation. If you take these away, you pretty much have a dictatorship. What will be next on the chopping block, drinking, poker nights, church picnics, automobile clubs, strip clubs?
Their views on Civil rights are admirable, although not referencing directly the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to which around 72 countries are party to, they seem very much to be in support of this doctrine when it suits them in attacking religion in education.
One thing they omit from their campaign though, is that the UDHR gives everyone the freedom of religion, whereas the Secular Party seems to want religion to cease to exist.
I cannot see too many votes going to these guys.

Mike Crowther 7:48 am 21 Aug 13

When I saw ‘Secular Party’ my ears pricked up. Then… no policy, no policy…no policy. Sorry, but I cant vote for someone without some indication of which way they might jump on my behalf. Get the party to come up with some thought-out policy and next time you might get my vote.

But echoing others here, good on you for putting yourself out there. It’s a lot harder than many of the rusted on shiny arses in this town realise.

Anna Key 10:27 pm 20 Aug 13

I’m worried about the National Safety Agency too, especially given their links with the Do Safety Directorate in Russell

joingler 7:22 pm 20 Aug 13

Too much toeing the party line. Sure, tell us there is no policy on the issue but at least give us your own personal view. If someone states that they are willing to cross the floor when they see necessary, they are much more likely to get my vote.

Good on her for answering, that alone, automatically puts her ahead of lots of other candidates

Ronald_Coase 6:00 pm 20 Aug 13

Good luck! Society is better off when people participate, but if you want my vote please stop hedging your bets. If you’re in favour of something and the party hasn’t decided, tell us what you think with a caveat re the party. Why play it safe? You’re always going to alienate some (see RA threads on cyclists).

harvyk1 4:45 pm 20 Aug 13

Answer 8 is a little naive / utopian. Assuming that she is in a party of more than 1 there will be issues which she does not agree with the parties position. In any politics type game no two people are likely to agree on every point / issue.

Whilst she may take the position of tow the party line, no doubt there will be some issues which the party makes up it’s mind and it’s different to hers.

thebrownstreak69 3:57 pm 20 Aug 13

So, to summarise:

1) Yes (and let’s have a poke at religion)
2) No policy
3) Some waffle (and another poke at religion)
4) No policy
5) No policy
6) No policy
7) Supportive, and a reasoned position
8 ) No
9) No policy (and got the acronym wrong)
10) Quite a tricky answer.

I am not impressed by these answers. I am extremely impressed that a candidate took the time to engage with the community and answer these questions.

Deref 3:24 pm 20 Aug 13

Quite thoughtful responses. Impressive.

pepmeup 2:56 pm 20 Aug 13

that was a boring read, good luck in the election Nicolle, good on you for running

Holden Caulfield 2:17 pm 20 Aug 13

At this point in time, I do not have a specific policy response to these comments. However, in terms of policy direction, I would be likely to encourage a detailed study of the costs, benefits and viability of any proposed feedback I might give.

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