Saturday, August 31, 2013

22 policy areas of concern to Christians feature on Australia Votes website

Australia Votes, policies, election, election campaign, Christian voters, Australian Christian Lobby
Homelessness, abortion, national curriculum, internet safety, sharia law and prayer in Parliament are some of the 22 policy areas canvassed by a political party questionnaire on the Australia Votes website.

Unlike the more common 'tick-a-box' policy responses, the policy pages on Australia Votes contain detailed policy notes written specifically for the site and providing some fascinating insights into policy.

Framed and distributed by the Australian Christian Lobby, the Australia Votes questionnaire avoids broader issues of voter interest and focuses on policy areas that may be critical to Christian voters, depending on their specific interests:
'ACL recognises that Christian voters will share many concerns with the general electorate and has tried to avoid duplicating those. Instead this questionnaire aims to reflect the main concerns of this constituency on topics such as refugees, abortion, marriage, family, classification standards, sexualisation of children and religious freedom.'

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Election campaign rage takes a tune for the worst, or better, depending on your musical choice

rage, playlist, Adam Brandt, Anthony Albanese, Julie Bishop
About the worst election campaign rage we've seen so far is a miffed make-up artist and the now famous 'does this guy ever shut-up' quip which TV journos, scouring for excitement, optimistically labelled 'fireworks'.

But the rage turns up a notch from Friday, August 31, 11.30pm when three of the nation's top political 2ICs feature on ABC music show, rage.

Not so much their furious faces, but their fascinating selection of music with each pollie given 20 songs to select in the nocturnal music program.

The rage website says:

'Deputy Prime Minister Anthony “Albo” Albanese, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition Julie Bishop and Dr Adam Bandt, the Deputy Leader of the Greens will be hosting rage in an Election Special. In a rage first, sitting Members of Parliament will guest program the show offering a rare insight into politicians and their relationship with music. Each of the deputies picked 20 of their favourite songs, and share tales about hearing them for the first time, live gigs, run-ins with musicians and dancing around their living room. Which deputy had a song dedication from Bono at a U2 concert? Who’s the PJ Harvey fan? And which pollie has a penchant for French house music?'
Now there' some better questions than your average Q and A... The full playlist is due to be posted on the website sometime on Friday, August 31 but in the meantime, Daily Life reported having seen the lists and that:
  • Adam Bandt's playlist includes Talking Heads’ Girlfriend is Better and Bloc Party's Banquet.
  • Anthony Albanese's playlist includes The Pixies' Here Comes Your Man and The Triffids' Wide Open Road.
  • And Julie Bishop's playlist includes Queens' Bohemian Rhapsody and Madonna's Like A Virgin...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

If only we could vote for policies, not politicians and parties

Christian voters, like many other value-driven voter groupings, most likely progressively tear their hair out the longer an election campaign goes on.

With each day of wall-to-wall election coverage comes new policy bombs that blow up the settled belief that you know who to vote for.

The candidate or party whose policy on one issue sounded reasonable yesterday suddenly make statements on another issue today that you could never support.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Young Harry Potter readers likely to be Rudd voters says SMH editorial

Harry Potter, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, election, election 2013, voters, young voters
'83 per cent of those who had read Harry Potter regarded Bush poorly' reports the Sydney Morning Herald of research into younger voters views in the US Presidential election between George Bush and Barak Obama.

On that basis, says the Editorial headline, 'Harry Potter generation likely to have preference for Rudd' mainly on the basis that they've never had a chance to vote for him and so he may be considered as the 'new' option.

Kevin Rudd, Harry Potter, look alike, electionWhether or not that is true is a matter of conjecture but what is interesting is the assessment of the key messages of Harry Potter and the impact on younger Australians:
'Most of them have, however, read the Harry Potter books and taken in their messages about tolerance, diversity and scepticism of authority.'
And if you aren't convinced about the Rudd/Potter connection, then maybe it's the resemblance that will push you over the line.

For more discussion of Harry Potter, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and our electoral future,  check out the Sydney Morning Herald

Friday, August 16, 2013

Record 1717 federal election candidates is 43 per cent increase

A record 1717 candidates have nominated to contest the 2013 federal election, Electoral Commissioner, Ed Killesteyn announced today.

This compares to 1198 candidates who contested the 2010 federal election, and represents an increase of 43 per cent.

This national figure includes 529 Senate candidates for the 40 Senate vacancies and 1188 candidates for the 150 House of Representatives seats across Australia.

Mr Killesteyn said the candidate nominations were officially declared at 12 noon today at public events held around Australia.

He said that the secure printing of about 44 million House of Representatives and Senate ballot papers would now start, with early voting to begin next Tuesday, August 20.

Click to see a state by state breakdown
Click to see a complete list of candidates

Source: Australian Electoral Commission

Monday, August 5, 2013

Early casualty of electoral war - overseas aid a 'soft target' says UNICEF

'...all of the basic programs will have to take a cut... and really there is so much need in our very near region. So much progress has been made, there are 14,000 more children under five survive today than two decades ago, why stall that progress now?'

That's the message from UNICEF in response to the Federal Government's decision to cut overseas aid by nearly $1 billion over four years, redirecting $420 million over four years to Papua New Guinea as part of refugee assessment and resettlement arrangements.

Leaving aside the question of how refugees should be treated,  a key issue for Australian Christian voters, the aid reduction will again delay Australia meeting its commitment to meet that Millennium Goals target of devoting 0.5 per cent of gross national income to foreign aid.

This target was to be met in 2015-16 and has been optimistically deferred to 2017-18. But UNICEF is not convinced:

'It would mean an enormous balloon payment at the end of the period,' UNICEF's Norma Gillespie told the ABC.

'The aid budget makes up just 1.5 per cent of the total government budget and yet over the last three years the sector has taken cuts of 14 per cent. That's a big disproportionate cut, which tells me there really isn't principle behind this, that this is a soft target.'

There almost certainly be many more soft targets in the relentless campaigning of the next 33 days...

The word on this issue from Micah Challenge

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's Kevin (September) 07 as Rudd announces election on National Threatened Species Day

federal election, September 7, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Australia votes, Make it Count, ACL, Yom Kippur
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the federal election will be held on September 7, a week earlier than previously announced by Julia Gillard and three years and 17 days after the previous election.

The five week formal campaign is predicted to be the most intense yet seen in Australia coming as it does after a highly contentious hung parliament and the ALP's own implosions followed by a last minute resurrection under Rudd.

September 7 is also National Threatened Species Day which seems fitting given that it is unlikely either major party leader could survive electoral defeat.

And the first thing to become extinct is the planned referendum on recognising local government in the Constitution as the earliest it could be held was September 14.

The Jewish community will appreciate the election being moved away from its holy day of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on September 14 but the Australian Christian Lobby will have some reorganising to do.

The ACL has organised a Make It Count election panel for Wednesday, September 11 which was to provide: 'a unique opportunity for the church to be informed about Christian perspectives on policy issues.'

Presumably the ACL will endeavour to move the panel a week earlier - stay tuned for details: August 5 update - the Make it Count webcast will now occur on Monday, September 3, 7.30pm (EST).

Ironically, Kevin Rudd contributed to some reorganising of the last Make it Count event held on June 21, 2010. Rudd was deposed by Gillard three days after appearing in Make it Count alongside Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Julia Gillard kindly recorded a late message to go on the website.

Perhaps worried that their plans might have again be thwarted by leadership instability, the ACL this year opted for a panel of eminent Christians to speak on issues relevant to people of faith and avoided current politicians altogether.