Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Lifestyle

Thinking about your business
Is a big part of ours

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?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
43 Responses to
Nicolle Burt, Secular Party for the House of Reps Canberra, Candidate Questionnaire, Election ’13
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
poetix 3:23 pm 06 Sep 13

davo101 said :

thebrownstreak69 said :

I personally doubt anyone will ever be able to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of a/their God.

It’s never going to happen. In order to disprove the god idea you need to be able to work it into a falsifiable hypothesis. Likewise, if you can’t disprove an idea then you can’t prove it either.

justin heywood said :

But if you HAD to take a scientific view, I think a proper ‘scientific’ approach would be agnosticism, given the lack of certainty.

No; the correct approach would be to ignore the god theory on the basis of it being an unnecessary auxiliary hypothesis.

Somehow that last sentence lacks the loveliness and chutzpah (if that’s the right word) of ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’. Just saying (-:

Vix 2:56 pm 06 Sep 13

Perhaps a member or supporter of the Secular Party should list for the RIOT-ACTers all the perks given to the religious elite/religions…no FBT for having a housekeeper is one that comes to mind with no effort at all…just went to my trusty Master Tax Guide’s index – now, let’s see – car parking benefits, capital gains tax exemptions, domestic employees, exempt income, as mentioned fringe benefits tax exemptions, GST free supply benefits… I’m thinking of starting up a “tree-hugging religion” – anyone want to join?

davo101 9:27 am 26 Aug 13

thebrownstreak69 said :

I personally doubt anyone will ever be able to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of a/their God.

It’s never going to happen. In order to disprove the god idea you need to be able to work it into a falsifiable hypothesis. Likewise, if you can’t disprove an idea then you can’t prove it either.

justin heywood said :

But if you HAD to take a scientific view, I think a proper ‘scientific’ approach would be agnosticism, given the lack of certainty.

No; the correct approach would be to ignore the god theory on the basis of it being an unnecessary auxiliary hypothesis.

Postalgeek 3:26 pm 23 Aug 13

Dilandach said :

MsCheeky said :

I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and will continue to do so until somebody can provide proof that he doesn’t exist. Ramen.

May his noodly appendage touch us all.

Ahh, another Noodlite apostate who blasphemes with his common use of ‘noodle’ to describe Our Great Past(or). I can only pray that your mouth be washed out by the cleansing sauces of The FSM.

Dilandach 2:58 pm 23 Aug 13

MsCheeky said :

I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and will continue to do so until somebody can provide proof that he doesn’t exist. Ramen.

May his noodly appendage touch us all.

bundah 2:34 pm 23 Aug 13

Thumper said :

Barcham said :

Baggy said :

To me, atheism IS a religion. It requires a steadfast belief that there is no god or gods.

Agnosticism is a much more logical approach. Accept factual evidence if and when it emerges. It’s applicable to every facet of pretty well everything, and a great way to live your life I reckon.

I can’t remember who said it, but I quite like the quote:

“If Atheism is a religion, then not playing soccer is a sport.”

Atheism is not a religion. Not believing in something is not believing in the lack of something, it’s just not believing. It’s not a “leap of faith” to not believe in something where this is no evidence to suggest one should believe in it.

Is not believing that the Matrix was real a religion? What about not thinking that a secret order of lizard-men control the world’s banks?

There are people who do believe those things, that doesn’t make NOT believing those things a religion, it just those who do kinda weird.

I would suggest that some people approach atheism with a somewhat religious like zealotry.

I’ll stick to agnostism, just in case 🙂

I’m inclined to identify with the agnostic atheist tag

MsCheeky 2:20 pm 23 Aug 13

I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and will continue to do so until somebody can provide proof that he doesn’t exist. Ramen.

thebrownstreak69 1:39 pm 23 Aug 13

justin heywood said :

johnboy said :

Hail Science!

Yes it does, or should. But given that you can’t prove or disprove the God/no god hypothesis (at least until you’re dead), questions of religious faith have little to do with science.

But if you HAD to take a scientific view, I think a proper ‘scientific’ approach would be agnosticism, given the lack of certainty.

The debate reminds me of one of Rowan Atkinson’s best clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91DSNL1BEeY

Having watched Brian Cox at the Royal Theatre last weekend, he fielded a question about free will, and admitted that there was plenty that the science couldn’t explain.

The trouble with science is that it can only go on the measurements and observations that can taken. As science improves, so do those measurements and observations, but it’s still fundamentally limited.

I personally doubt anyone will ever be able to conclusively prove or disprove the existence of a/their God. This doesn’t mean science is at fault, simply that some things are beyond human comprehension.

davo101 1:18 pm 23 Aug 13

poetix said :

Some things he says about Islam are neither smart nor nuanced:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/08/richard-dawkins-tweets-islam-muslim-nobel

I smell double standard. So if Richard Dawkins says it it’s “deliberately obtuse baiting”? What’s it called when Dr Mahathir says the same thing?

poetix 1:00 pm 23 Aug 13

johnboy said :

The trouble with Dawkins is he’s very smart and nuanced, and sadly the same cannot be said for his most ardent fans.

Some things he says about Islam are neither smart nor nuanced:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/08/richard-dawkins-tweets-islam-muslim-nobel

poetix 12:49 pm 23 Aug 13

NB2905 said :

7. Poetix, our view is that children should not be indoctrinated with one religion or another. We believe that children should be taught comparative religious studies and studies in ethics in the education system. I am told by some people that happens now in some schools. We believe that if parent wishes their children to have religious instruction, then ideally that should done out of school hours…nothing new in that. Remember Sunday School anyone?

At the personal level, I was raised in a Catholic family and it took me years to figure out what I was been told (indoctrinated) did not make sense- but I also accept that for others their faith is a fact. I recall as a seven year old child being told if I did not believe that I would burn in hell or at least do time in purgatory for my sins. On top of that was 6 cuts of the cane and the bashing by some lunatic nun whenever I asked questions about Jesus…or Mary’s virginity…guess what folks? I used my common sense to figure out…none of this makes any sense!

Now what was your objection to indoctrination again?

Lastly, as most of you have observed…I am a novice, but unlike most people who bitch about politics and politicians, I am prepared to have a go instead of whining…so for the stupid gits that like to hide behind their anonymous postings with their uninformed rants…well…you’re just a stupid git!

If anyone wants to find out more about the Secular Party, then go to the website http://www.secular.org.au and check it out for yourselves. Do your bloody homework! You will find the policies on the website…

I am appalled that your experience of religion was like that. Yes, that is indoctrination, and abuse. I have a total objection to that. But not to a child being raised within a religion.

I would just like to assure you that that could not be more different from the school my child attends. They have religion and philosophy classes where there are argumentative atheists aplenty whose views are not suppressed! They also study all the other religions. But we chose it because it is a Christian school, allowing her to express her beliefs. I see that as a true part of education, which is not just exposure to facts or even theories, but something in which all parts of the person can be nurtured and challenged. People do have a spiritual nature, as well as an intellectual and physical one. She was religious before me, incidentally.

I did check out your policies but can not support them. I like the way you answer, though.

Spiral said :

… I can’t go and talk to Jesus for example.

Mmm, well…No, must show restraint. I’ll start to sound American or something. (-:

justin heywood 12:31 pm 23 Aug 13

johnboy said :

Hail Science!

Yes it does, or should. But given that you can’t prove or disprove the God/no god hypothesis (at least until you’re dead), questions of religious faith have little to do with science.

But if you HAD to take a scientific view, I think a proper ‘scientific’ approach would be agnosticism, given the lack of certainty.

The debate reminds me of one of Rowan Atkinson’s best clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91DSNL1BEeY

davo101 12:14 pm 23 Aug 13

johnboy said :

Most anti-theists self identify as atheists.

Once again about 100% by definition. But that’s not the point here. How many atheists are also antitheists? Christopher Hitchens was, with no doubt, an antitheist but Richard Dawkins is more from the school of “oh so you believe in God–you must really be a knuckle-dragging simpleton then”.

    johnboy 12:29 pm 23 Aug 13

    The trouble with Dawkins is he’s very smart and nuanced, and sadly the same cannot be said for his most ardent fans.

davo101 11:57 am 23 Aug 13

johnboy said :

Many atheists just don’t believe in god.

By definition about 100%. Someone who is opposed to the belief in God is a antitheist which is not necessarily the same thing.

Thumper 11:38 am 23 Aug 13

Barcham said :

Baggy said :

To me, atheism IS a religion. It requires a steadfast belief that there is no god or gods.

Agnosticism is a much more logical approach. Accept factual evidence if and when it emerges. It’s applicable to every facet of pretty well everything, and a great way to live your life I reckon.

I can’t remember who said it, but I quite like the quote:

“If Atheism is a religion, then not playing soccer is a sport.”

Atheism is not a religion. Not believing in something is not believing in the lack of something, it’s just not believing. It’s not a “leap of faith” to not believe in something where this is no evidence to suggest one should believe in it.

Is not believing that the Matrix was real a religion? What about not thinking that a secret order of lizard-men control the world’s banks?

There are people who do believe those things, that doesn’t make NOT believing those things a religion, it just those who do kinda weird.

I would suggest that some people approach atheism with a somewhat religious like zealotry.

I’ll stick to agnostism, just in case 🙂

Barcham 11:13 am 23 Aug 13

Baggy said :

To me, atheism IS a religion. It requires a steadfast belief that there is no god or gods.

Agnosticism is a much more logical approach. Accept factual evidence if and when it emerges. It’s applicable to every facet of pretty well everything, and a great way to live your life I reckon.

I can’t remember who said it, but I quite like the quote:

“If Atheism is a religion, then not playing soccer is a sport.”

Atheism is not a religion. Not believing in something is not believing in the lack of something, it’s just not believing. It’s not a “leap of faith” to not believe in something where this is no evidence to suggest one should believe in it.

Is not believing that the Matrix was real a religion? What about not thinking that a secret order of lizard-men control the world’s banks?

There are people who do believe those things, that doesn’t make NOT believing those things a religion, it just those who do kinda weird.

    johnboy 11:23 am 23 Aug 13

    Hail Science!

    *Some* people take to atheism with apostate zeal.

    They’re gonna believe in something with that fierce fire. If it has to be richard dawkins and a scientific ideal they don’t actually comprehend then so be it.

    Many atheists just don’t believe in god.

Spiral 10:30 am 23 Aug 13

Baggy said :

To me, atheism IS a religion. It requires a steadfast belief that there is no god or gods.

I agree and disagree.

Yes to most people (myself included) atheism is like a religion in that I am believing the word of the people promoting it and thus I have faith that they are correct and truthful.

However unlike religion in theory I have access to the same evidence of the experts and could look at that evidence and make up my own mind. For example I could devote years to studying the evidence for evolution my self. I could even go out and participate in digs.

Religion always seems to come down to believing what someone tells you without being able to verify it yourself. I can’t go and talk to Jesus for example.

Religion is unverifiable faith. I can’t go and verify its claims no matter how much I want to.
Atheism is based on faith because I choose not to go and verify its claims. But I could if I really wanted to.

Baggy 9:31 am 23 Aug 13

lostinbias said :

I’m incredibly skeptical of “new Atheism”. I couldn’t stand Christopher Hitchens and I can’t stand Richard Dawkins. I’m supportive of less religion in politics but we live in a democratic society and I think common sense will prevail in the end on many social issues. Religious people are not irrational idiots and they are very capable of contributing to debate in this country.

To me, atheism IS a religion. It requires a steadfast belief that there is no god or gods.

Agnosticism is a much more logical approach. Accept factual evidence if and when it emerges. It’s applicable to every facet of pretty well everything, and a great way to live your life I reckon.

NB2905 9:15 am 23 Aug 13

Hi everyone,

as the Secular Party Candidate for Canberra, I want to thank everyone for your feedback – both positive and negative comments are welcome. That’s how we learn…as we are not pro or anti ALP, Coalition or Greens. As some people realise, we believe in reasoned and thought through policies and seeking feedback on them.

That’s way I responded to the questions that were out forward in the RIOT ACT and nothing else.

In light of the feedback, I should make some clarifications and address your concerns.

1. We are still a micro party, so, obviously, we are still working through developing our policies. Our policies are based on research…and not just political banter and catchphrases designed to get the voters attention. I accept that logic and reason is scarce in modern political discourse.
And of course as a local candidate I do all my own legwork with my $320 budget…outside of my full time working hours!

2. I reiterate my response to question 8. Since joining the Secular Party, I have not yet found an issue that I didn’t agree with. That’s why I joined. Having said that, the use and application of reason and evidence in policy development and application is very difficult to argue against. If the facts and evidence support a particular proposition, then why would you argue against it?

That goes for “toeing the party line” as well.

Of course, that’s not to say that there might be an issue I don’t agree with in terms of the party stance, but I’ll deal with that when it happens….and it hasn’t happened yet.

3. The response on registering cyclists (or not). This issue is a local one and nothing to do with a federal election, but still worth the response. I know it’s a touchy one here in the ACT.

4. The SPA is not about no religion in government – but separate out church from state. As our website says: Both socially and economically liberal, we are the only party that stands for comprehensive secularism. We fight for the separation of religion from state institutions, impartiality between religions and the protection of human rights from violation on the basis of religious doctrine…

We accept that it is almost impossible to get religion out of government. But we can try.

5. Our policies on immigration are not what WildTurkeyCanoe has stated. For clarification and for your information our policy is:

Migrants to Australia must agree to respect certain values, including the equality of men and women, as part of the Australian Values Statement in the immigration application form. It is our policy to gain a commitment from prospective migrants that they will be required to respect these values and to comply with Australian law before any religious law. Evidence of compliance with the Australian Values Statement, such as witness statements, should be provided before permanent residence visas and citizenship are granted.

Oh…and by the way WildTurkey, you will find more information about the Australian Values statement on the Department of Immigration website.

6. I also note WildTurkeys comment that ” 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 ‘…Incorrect. We advocate freedom or and freedom from religion. Of course there are folks who advocate the latter…and they come from all walks and not just the Secular Party.

However, our view is that faith is a private matter and has no role to play in a secular (and pluralist) state. We believe in the strict separation of church(es) and state.

Insofar as the UN Declaration is concerned, we believe that the UN International Convention on the Rights of the Child should be enshrined in legislation so that children receive fair and equitable treatment, without being taken advantage of or being abused. Why would anyone reject or have a problem with that?

7. Poetix, our view is that children should not be indoctrinated with one religion or another. We believe that children should be taught comparative religious studies and studies in ethics in the education system. I am told by some people that happens now in some schools. We believe that if parent wishes their children to have religious instruction, then ideally that should done out of school hours…nothing new in that. Remember Sunday School anyone?

At the personal level, I was raised in a Catholic family and it took me years to figure out what I was been told (indoctrinated) did not make sense- but I also accept that for others their faith is a fact. I recall as a seven year old child being told if I did not believe that I would burn in hell or at least do time in purgatory for my sins. On top of that was 6 cuts of the cane and the bashing by some lunatic nun whenever I asked questions about Jesus…or Mary’s virginity…guess what folks? I used my common sense to figure out…none of this makes any sense!

Now what was your objection to indoctrination again?

Lastly, as most of you have observed…I am a novice, but unlike most people who bitch about politics and politicians, I am prepared to have a go instead of whining…so for the stupid gits that like to hide behind their anonymous postings with their uninformed rants…well…you’re just a stupid git!

If anyone wants to find out more about the Secular Party, then go to the website http://www.secular.org.au and check it out for yourselves. Do your bloody homework! You will find the policies on the website…

Section44 9:06 am 23 Aug 13

lostinbias said :

poetix said :

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.

I’m incredibly skeptical of “new Atheism”. I couldn’t stand Christopher Hitchens and I can’t stand Richard Dawkins. I’m supportive of less religion in politics but we live in a democratic society and I think common sense will prevail in the end on many social issues. Religious people are not irrational idiots and they are very capable of contributing to debate in this country.

I think that last sentence should be. Most religious people are not irrational idiots and they are very capable of contributing to debate in this country.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site