Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Does the Constitution in its reference to representative and responsible government protect free speech?

July 16, 2018

Does the Constitution in its reference to representative and responsible government protect free speech?

 

Sections 7 and 24 of the Constitution, read in context, require the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives to be directly chosen at periodic elections by the people of the States and of the Commonwealth respectively. This requirement embraces all that is necessary to effectuate the free election of representatives at periodic elections. What is involved in the people directly choosing their representatives at periodic elections, however, can be understood only by reference to the system of representative and responsible government to which ss 7 and 24 and other sections of the Constitution give effect.

 

That the Constitution intended to provide for the institutions of representative and responsible government is made clear both by the Convention Debates and by the terms of the Constitution itself. Thus, at the Second Australasian Convention held in Adelaide in 1897, the Convention, on the motion of Mr Edmund Barton, resolved that the purpose of the Constitution was “to enlarge the powers of self-government of the people of Australia”.

 

Sections 1, 7, 8, 13, 24, 25, 28 and 30 of the Constitution give effect to the purpose of self-government by providing for the fundamental features of representative government. As Isaacs J put it:

 

 

“The Constitution is for the advancement of representative government”.

 

 

Section 1 of the Constitution vests the legislative power of the Commonwealth in a Parliament “which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives”. Sections 7 and 24 relevantly provide:

 

 

 

“The Senate shall be composed of senators for each State, directly chosen by the people of the State, voting, until the Parliament otherwise provides, as one electorate.

 

 

 

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of the senators.”

 

 

Section 24 does not expressly refer to elections, but s 25 makes it plain that the House of Representatives is to be directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth voting at elections. Other provisions of the Constitution ensure that there shall be periodic elections. Thus, under s 13, six years is the longest term that a senator can serve before his or her place becomes vacant. Similarly, by s 28, every House of Representatives is to continue for three years from the first meeting of the House and no longer. Sections 8 and 30 ensure that, in choosing senators and members of the House of Representatives, each elector shall vote only once. The effect of ss 1, 7, 8, 13, 24, 25, 28 and 30 therefore is to ensure that the Parliament of the Commonwealth will be representative of the people of the Commonwealth.

 

 

 

Other sections of the Constitution establish a formal relationship between the Executive Government and the Parliament and provide for a system of responsible ministerial government, a system of government which, “prior to the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 … had become one of the central characteristics of our polity”[33]. Thus, s 6 of the Constitution requires that there be a session of the Parliament at least once in every year, so that 12 months shall not intervene between the last sitting in one session and the first sitting in the next. Section 83 ensures that the legislature controls supply. It does so by requiring parliamentary authority for the expenditure by the Executive Government of any fund or sum of money standing to the credit of the Crown in right of the Commonwealth, irrespective of source. Sections 62 and 64 of the Constitution combine to provide for the executive power of the Commonwealth, which is vested in the Queen and exercisable by the Governor‑General, to be exercised “on the initiative and advice”[35] of Ministers and limit to three months the period in which a Minister of State may hold office without being or becoming a senator or member of the House of Representatives. Section 49 of the Constitution, in dealing with the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate and of the House of Representatives, secures the freedom of speech in debate which, in England, historically was a potent instrument by which the House of Commons defended its right to consider and express opinions on the conduct of affairs of State by the Sovereign and the Ministers, advisers and servants of the Crown. Section 49 also provides the source of coercive authority for each chamber of the Parliament to summon witnesses, or to require the production of documents, under pain of punishment for contempt.

 

 

 

The requirement that the Parliament meet at least annually, the provision for control of supply by the legislature, the requirement that Ministers be members of the legislature, the privilege of freedom of speech in debate, and the power to coerce the provision of information provide the means for enforcing the responsibility of the Executive to the organs of representative government.  In his Notes on Australian Federation:  Its Nature and Probable Effects, Sir Samuel Griffith pointed out that the effect of responsible government “is that the actual government of the State is conducted by officers who enjoy the confidence of the people”.  That confidence is ultimately expressed or denied by the operation of the electoral process, and the attitudes of electors to the conduct of the Executive may be a significant determinant of the contemporary practice of responsible government.

 

 

 

Reference should also be made to s 128 which ensures that the Constitution shall not be altered except by a referendum passed by a majority of electors in the States and in those Territories with representation in the House of Representatives, taken together, and by the electors in a majority of States.

 

 

Freedom of communication on matters of government and politics is an indispensable incident of that system of representative government which the Constitution creates by directing that the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate shall be “directly chosen by the people” of the Commonwealth and the States, respectively. At federation, representative government was understood to mean a system of government where the people in free elections elected their representatives to the legislative chamber which occupies the most powerful position in the political system.  As Birch points out, “it is the manner of choice of members of the legislative assembly, rather than their characteristics or their behaviour, which is generally taken to be the criterion of a representative form of government.”  However, to have a full understanding of the concept of representative government, Birch also states

 

 

 

“we need to add that the chamber must occupy a powerful position in the political system and that the elections to it must be free, with all that this implies in the way of freedom of speech and political organization.”

 

 

 

Communications concerning political or government matters between the electors and the elected representatives, between the electors and the candidates for election and between the electors themselves were central to the system of representative government, as it was understood at federation. While the system of representative government for which the Constitution provides does not expressly mention freedom of communication, it can hardly be doubted, given the history of representative government and the holding of elections under that system in Australia prior to federation, that the elections for which the Constitution provides were intended to be free elections in the sense explained by Birch. Furthermore, because the choice given by ss 7 and 24 must be a true choice with “an opportunity to gain an appreciation of the available alternatives”, as Dawson J pointed out in Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v The Commonwealth, legislative power cannot support an absolute denial of access by the people to relevant information about the functioning of government in Australia and about the policies of political parties and candidates for election.

 

 

 

That being so, ss 7 and 24 and the related sections of the Constitution necessarily protect that freedom of communication between the people concerning political or government matters which enables the people to exercise a free and informed choice as electors. Those sections do not confer personal rights on individuals. Rather they preclude the curtailment of the protected freedom by the exercise of legislative or executive power. As Deane J said in Theophanous, they are “a limitation or confinement of laws and powers [which] gives rise to a pro tanto immunity on the part of the citizen from being adversely affected by those laws or by the exercise of those powers rather than to a ‘right’ in the strict sense”.  In Cunliffe v The Commonwealth, Brennan J pointed out that the freedom confers no rights on individuals and, to the extent that the freedom rests upon implication, that implication defines the nature and extent of the freedom.  His Honour said

 

 

 

“The implication is negative in nature:  it invalidates laws and consequently creates an area of immunity from legal control, particularly from legislative control.”

 

 

 

If the freedom is to effectively serve the purpose of ss 7 and 24 and related sections, it cannot be confined to the election period. Most of the matters necessary to enable “the people” to make an informed choice will occur during the period between the holding of one, and the calling of the next, election. If the freedom to receive and disseminate information were confined to election periods, the electors would be deprived of the greater part of the information necessary to make an effective choice at the election.

 

 

 

In addition, the presence of s 128, and of ss 6, 49, 62, 64 and 83, of the Constitution makes it impossible to confine the receipt and dissemination of information concerning government and political matters to an election period. Those sections give rise to implications of their own. Section 128, by directly involving electors in the States and in certain Territories in the process for amendment of the Constitution, necessarily implies a limitation on legislative and executive power to deny the electors access to information that might be relevant to the vote they cast in a referendum to amend the Constitution. Similarly, those provisions which prescribe the system of responsible government necessarily imply a limitation on legislative and executive power to deny the electors and their representatives information concerning the conduct of the executive branch of government throughout the life of a federal Parliament. Moreover, the conduct of the executive branch is not confined to Ministers and the public service. It includes the affairs of statutory authorities and public utilities which are obliged to report to the legislature or to a Minister who is responsible to the legislature. In British Steel v Granada Television, Lord Wilberforce said that it was by these reports that effect was given to “The legitimate interest of the public” in knowing about the affairs of such bodies. Whatever the scope of the implications arising from responsible government and the amendment of the Constitution may be, those implications cannot be confined to election periods relating to the federal Parliament.

 

 

 

However, the freedom of communication which the Constitution protects is not absolute. It is limited to what is necessary for the effective operation of that system of representative and responsible government provided for by the Constitution. The freedom of communication required by ss 7 and 24 and reinforced by the sections concerning responsible government and the amendment of the Constitution operates as a restriction on legislative power. However, the freedom will not invalidate a law enacted to satisfy some other legitimate end if the law satisfies two conditions. The first condition is that the object of the law is compatible with the maintenance of the constitutionally prescribed system of representative and responsible government or the procedure for submitting a proposed amendment to the Constitution to the informed decision of the people which the Constitution prescribes. The second is that the law is reasonably appropriate and adapted to achieving that legitimate object or end. Different formulae have been used by members of this Court in other cases to express the test whether the freedom provided by the Constitution has been infringed. Some judges have expressed the test as whether the law is reasonably appropriate and adapted to the fulfilment of a legitimate purpose. Others have favoured different expressions, including proportionality. In the context of the questions raised by the case stated, there is no need to distinguish these concepts. For ease of expression, throughout these reasons we have used the formulation of reasonably appropriate and adapted.

 

 

It would seem the answer to the proposed question is answered with a yes, even if it is less a protection and more a correction to any law of our nation that would seek to undermine free speech.

 

What has yet to be argued is the application of S34, which in the most empowers most adult Australians the right to nominate for the various houses of parliament. This ought to ensure the protections initially defending the free speech of elected members and candidates should flow to all Australian citizens, albeit of voting age.

 

 

We may have a legislative agenda in this country, that seeks to undermine our right to free speech, but we still retain a constitution that can invalidate that agenda, in much as it is in conflict with that speech, where it is required to protect our represented democracy.

 

 

Mark Aldridge, “work in progress”

Much of the wording has been stolen from high court judgements

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COME ON RAMSAY, LETS LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

March 9, 2018

WOULD RAMSAY VOTERS LIKE THEIR “OWN REPRESENTATIVE” IN PARLIAMENT  No not a representative of a political party, a representative for YOU!

Some one who will work 24/7 using their power in parliament for YOU, their spare time for YOU, their income to make things Better for YOU.

We can work together, not just to make Salisbury great again, but we can lead the way as a community and set a great example for the rest of the state.

I am already increasing my “Farm Direct Markets”, to create even more jobs, and increase savings on genuine fresh produce, promoting healthy eating and helping lower the cost of living.

My markets already feed around 15,000 families, but we can do more.

I would like to expand my support of local schools, who utilise my markets to teach about healthy eating, and can do even more if elected.

I will work to support local small businesses, by ensuring they get council and government contracts, creating real local jobs in Salisbury and teaching skills to our children.

We can demand all government infrastructure investment employs South Australian workers, by saying no to the increase in 457 visa workers.

Ensure all animal rescue is supported by no kill ethics, we can work together to lead in animal welfare reform. I am already involved in rescue and run the local native wildlife sanctuary.

Support me in the development  “Feed the north” program to ensure our vulnerable are fed and supported. I will fund this either through donations or my parliamentary wage if elected, my market stall holders will help supply the produce.

I will Lobby to clean up and beautify our streets, parks and reserves, and get those shopping trolleys out of our streets with compulsory coin deposit systems.

If we cannot educate which ever government that is elected, to correct current power prices and reliability through investment in base load power renovation, we can set up our own consortium, so we can enjoy reliable and affordable power.

I can use my vote to ensure the roll out of subsidised solar initiatives are offered in an equitable way to all Ramsay residents.

We must restore the Salisbury police station to a 24-hour service, and lobby for increased local services.

Working together, we can lobby to increase staff levels and upgrade equipment at the Lynell McEwin Hospital to improve emergency department waiting times and elective surgery lists, which are now the longest in 20 years. If you or your child becomes sick or injured, we need to know immediate help is available, as it used to be.

I will demand emergency department workers retain their penalty rates, to ensure we retain after hours services, and reduce waiting times.

We should all work to create genuine anti-bullying programs, including the empowerment of local police services to deal with online bullying.

I will continue to lobby to expand the wet lands projects to increase our ability to store potable water by utilising our aquifers, while also restoring “Native habitat”.

We need to precure funding to upgrade Kings road and Salisbury interchange crossings to improve traffic flows, and I will do all I can to get increased commonwealth funding for local road works and upgrades.

I will work with the government in return for increase public transport services for the Salisbury area, in each case reporting to you on any decisions.

I would like your views on creating off-road bike parks and skid areas, away from residential areas, to get hoons of our streets.

I will continue to lobby to reform electoral law, to introduce optional preferential voting and improve the general conduct and accountability, something I am well studied to demand.

This is all very achievable if we work together as a team, with me using my balance of power position and parliamentary income to increase services and investment for you, the people I will represent.

If you do not support me, I will still lobby for all these reforms, and invest my time and money to achieve them.

I have always tried to achieve my promises even though I have not been elected, but if you show me some faith and give me a chance, I can do even more as your paid representative in government.

I promise I will make you proud you supported me, and I will earn the title of honourable.

If you have any questions, you can either phone and have a chat, or google my name and the topic of interest to you.

 

Mark Aldridge Independent “Representing You”

Independent calls to “Keep Facebook Advertising sites” FREE

March 4, 2018

Independent candidate calls to keep Facebook advertising sites a “Free Service”

Facebook is getting ready to let media and advertising outlets charge readers for access to their news stories or marketing sites.

Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for the South Australian seat of Ramsay, is opposed to any cash grab from his sites members.

I have spent years setting up my pages, including FB FREE VEHICLE ADVERTISING, said Mark, and I did that to offer people a “Free Service” not so my hard work can be hi-jacked.

Many others have great sites, offering a range of service to the Facebook community in their respective areas, one would think they ought to retain the full rights of use for their groups and pages.

Setting up basic rules, keeping our pages spam free, and the many hours each week we invest in monitoring, ought it have earned us the right to control access as we see fit.

Facebook social networking management, has started briefing the largest publishers on the forthcoming subscription service and hopes to start testing it by October, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While details are still to be ironed out, Facebook is currently telling news service publishers, they will be able to show at least 10 free articles per month before the paywall kicks in.

“The current agenda is aimed at the larger media services, but we all know they look to regain lost ground in relation to advertising income” said Mark.

Facebook users, enjoy being able to access a range of products through their timelines, if the big publishers wish to charge a fee, that is up to them. What we don’t want to see, is a cash grab from sites privately owned.

“The concept is to have split feeds, which may undermine small players like me, even though my main page has over 65,000 South Australian members” Mark said.

We all know if they can split feeds, the premium feed with be beyond those of us who wish to keep our service free.

I have also have had meetings with Business and Consumer affairs relating to how local legislation is to be applied.

It appears even local authorities in South Australia are considering their position in relation to the usual red-tape the big advertisers are forced to comply with.

At first, I was asked to ensure registration numbers were shown in the text, but I now find a rego number in the main photo, seems to work.

I feel from my meetings however, greater scrutiny is being considered as well, something I think is out of place on Facebook.

I am sure we can adapt to the red-tape, in fact most sites including mine already have good guidelines in place. But I will stand against any rules that exceed common sense.

Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, confirmed the subscription service has already been discussed recently at an industry conference in New York.

“From my studies Facebook, will have subscription services through a pay wall set up, then work towards the dual feed system, which will only go to empower, those who can pay for the premium feed.” Said Mark

Its not just about protecting me, or my members, its about the damage this will do to so many struggling small businesses.

“I will not be opposed to the big media, charging for their service, but I will oppose any attempt to undermine those of us who wish to keep our pages services free to our members.” He concluded.

Independent calls to abolish “how to vote cards” .

February 25, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

MARK ALDRIDGE, INDEPENDENT.

 

Independent calls to abolish how to vote cards.

How to vote cards undermine the voter’s right to cast an informed and free vote.

They are only produced to promote the backroom deals done by the parties and candidates, where democracy ought to promote a more informed process.

Over the past decade we have seen an increase in issues arising from the use of How to vote cards, where the process has been abused by the parties with the sole intention of gaming election results, something we can all do without.

We have seen an increase in dodgy how to vote cards by various parties and candidates, designed deliberately to undermine our electoral process, this needs to stop.

It is the electoral commission’s job to educate all voters on their rights and on how to cast a valid vote.  The increase in political parties delving into electoral process itself, has only worked to undermine the process.

We see parties telling voters how to vote, how to preference and getting too heavily involved in other processes like, postal ballot applications, the decoration of polling booths and even intimidation of electors lining up to vote.

Candidates ought to stick to selling themselves and their policy’s, and let the electoral commission as an independent authority, handle every aspect of the process.

Voters can surely handle the process of marking the ballot papers in an order that suits them, without having to endure a tirade of people sticking pieces of paper in their faces at the polling stations.

If any voters have questions, let the Electoral Commissions independent experts answer any questions they have.

Sadly the very people that have the most to gain from structural biases in our electoral system, are being allowed to write electoral law, it is this problem that undermines the concept of a genuine free and informed vote, for all electors.

It’s past time the electoral commission was offered better resources and powers over the entire conduct of the election process. Then for we the people to demand the candidates keep their noses out for the process

Until then, I call for all voters to either refuse the how to vote cards, or to simple tear them up, and let them vote from the heart for the candidates in their own order of preference.

Mark Aldridge

Independent candidate for Ramsay (Representing You)

How to vote properly in SA’s, March 2018 election.

February 25, 2018

HOW DO POLITICAL PARTYS GAME YOUR VOTE?

SHARE HOW EASY IT IS, TO EMPOWER YOUR VOTE PROPERLY!

So who will your vote reward, is a vote for the Greens really a vote for Labor, is a vote for an Independent wasted, Who will Nick Xenophon Preference, how can you be sure?

What happens if I don’t preference all the candidates?

How are ballot papers counted?

Firstly you need to know the choice is totally yours, and you can use your vote in a variety of ways, but the major parties do not want you to realise.

To cast a valid vote you MUST preference every candidate, even those you do not like or oppose, this is because of what they call a two party count, this exists because the two major parties control electoral law, so write it to empower themselves, not YOU.

So let’s start with the most important fact, “You can control every aspect of your vote”.

My first warning is to remind you, you must number every box on the ballot paper, if you do not, two things may happen, either your vote will be deemed invalid, and not counted, or the electoral commission will guess what your intention may have been, and count it their way. Yes really!

The most important point, it is you who decide where your preferences go, not the parties!

The first thing to do is “SAY NO” to how to vote card’s, they represent back room deals made by the political parties. They have nothing to do with your best interests, only theirs.

Far too often in recent time, parties have created “Fake” how to vote cards to try and steal seats, another reason to “Abolish how to vote cards”.

You only have to number say 1 to 6 on the ballot paper in your electorate in the boxes besides the names of each candidate running.

So let me give you an example how the placement of each number is important.

Let’s say you are a Labor voter, if you put a 1 in the box next to the candidate representing the Labor party, your vote will rarely go any further, but if say you put a 1 in a minor party or Independents box, then a 2 in the Labor candidates box, it is highly likely your vote will still count for the Labor party, the only difference, is Labor will see that result and are more likely to offer your electorate more come next election.

This kind of “Protest vote” empowers your electorate.

If say you voted for me with number 1, then Labor, the count will exclude me, I will explain below, but if I actually got in, if Labor still win government, everything they offered, will not change, I would simply be your representative, an Independent voice representing you not a political party………yes little plug there 😊

So how does the counting work?

The count is designed to ensure your vote ends up with one of the major parties, as I have said, because they write electoral law. So let’s use a basic example to explain, imagine there are 4 candidates and 100 voters.

So 98 people cast valid votes, the result is candidate (A) Gets 22 votes, candidate (B) Gets 26 votes, candidate (C) Gets 23 votes and candidate (D) gets 27 votes.

Candidate (A) gets excluded as having the lowest vote, and the votes cast for that candidate are redistributed. After that distribution, once again the candidate with the lowest vote is again excluded, and the votes for them are redistributed.

(Sadly during the election night counting, they ignore who you preference, and go by what the party preferred you should do, another reason to never follow the how to vote recommendations)

These distributions are meant to be based on how YOU preferred your candidates.

So if you had given candidate (A) your number 1 vote, and candidate (B) your second preference, your vote will pass onto candidate (B).

This is not a bad system, except for the fact if the majority had preferred candidate (A) with their second preference, which would show (A) was the most preferred, it would not matter, the concept is to ensure the major party’s candidates are most likely to get your vote in the end. (2 party preferred)

I so hope that made sense.

So you control where preferences go, you decide in what order you put candidates, and you can use that in a variety of ways, the more informed the vote, the better the outcome.

Now finally the most important issue is to cast an informed vote, and that is not so easy.

There may be only 6 or 7 candidates, but you will have little chance of knowing much about them. That is where the major parties pull ranks and usually get your vote, because they have more media pull and huge resources, and to be honest, most of the voters choose based on the political parties marketing, rather than who the candidates actually are.

Sadly this undermines electorates getting the best representation at a grass roots level, but that’s politics for you 😊

So to cast an informed vote is a lot of work, but if you care about your community it is worth it. As the Democrat’s used to say, you need some voices in there, just to keep the bastards honest. The more independent the voice, then better the result for your electorate.

There are so many more dodgy practices I could expose here, but the list is long and arduous, and the back room deals go beyond this overview of how to vote in the lower house.

Of the 6 of 7 candidates in each electorate, only 2 or 3 have any chance, the rest are there to do deals, in the hopes of getting a seat in the upper house (The Legislative council) The sad reason many have no hope is that we the people have not been taking the decision of who represents us very seriously.

Unless you are 100% happy with the governments performance, putting their representative first, is rarely a good option, those you most oppose, in terms of their ideals, ought to be last, and the order in between is rarely relevant beyond the first major player you preference.

I am sure many people knew all this, but democracy is best served by everyone knowing.

My sole interest is to empower your vote, so to me a lot needs to change.

In an ideal world, democracy could be easier; Optional preferential voting, so you are no longer forced to preference those you oppose. A booklet that explains all this, that provides a list of all the candidates and a brief overview of who they are and what they stand for, should be in your letter box weeks before any decision must be made.

No more how to vote cards, abolish those terrible campaign posters, improve security beyond a pencil and a piece of paper, maybe even ask for ID, to restore democracy to something that protects much better outcomes for us all.

But I do dream 😊

Mark Aldridge

Indigenous children in care continues to rise, since the stolen generations “apology”

February 25, 2018

The number of Indigenous children in out-of-home care has doubled in the decade since the 2008 apology to the stolen generations, according to figures released by the Productivity Commission.

The report on government services, released on Thursday, said there were 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in 2016-17, compared with 9,070 in 2007-08.

Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for Ramsay in SA, said the “shocking” figures reflected the failure of Australian governments to address generations of bad policy.

“[The system] keeps failing Aboriginal families and communities because it is punitive, not supportive.

“We are spending the money in the wrong places”.

Separating Children from their families and not putting any strategies in place to help them get their kids back.” Has proven to be inept policy.

The rate at which Indigenous children were removed from their families increased by 80% between 2007-08 to 2016-17, from 32.7 per 1,000 to 58.7 per 1,000.

Meanwhile, the proportion of children placed in accordance with the Aboriginal child placement principle, which states that children must be housed with Indigenous family members, other kin, or with an Indigenous foster carer, decreased from 74% in 2007-08 to 67.6% in 2016-17.

Our children need to be with family to overcome the anxiety of separation from their parents, every parent knows this, so why can’t our government understand “says Mark

The number of non-Indigenous children in care between 2007-08 and 2016-17 grew 36%, from 22,096 to 30,069, while the rate of removal increased just 24% to 5.8 per 1,000.

The total number of children in out-of-home care grew 53.7% over the period, from 31,166 to 47,915, while the total rate of removal increased 38% from 6.3 per 1,000 to 8.7 per 1,000.

The growth in child removal indicates that Australian governments have not learned the lessons of the stolen generations, Mark Aldridge said as a reminder to all politicians.

All Australian parents must come to realise, this issue is not restricted to indigenous children, the Mulligan inquiry in SA, exposes similar if not worse issues with the treatment of all children taken into state care.

“[The apology] was considered a clear statement of regret and empathy with Aboriginal people that had seen their children taken by state and territory governments that didn’t care about the damage being done to Aboriginal communities and cultures,”

report by Indigenous organisations in November warned that the number of Indigenous children in out-of-home care would triple by 2036 unless the funding was focused on early intervention and support.

Early intervention and support services are the only way we can improve the outcomes and ensure the numbers of children n “Out of home care” start to decrease.

“The best way of achieving equitable placement with Aboriginal carers and kin would be to simply start to reduce the number of Aboriginal children taken in the first place,” Mark said.

keeping children culturally connected to their community and ensuring they are reunified with their families as quickly as possible, should be the primary goal on any legislative agenda.

Before we vote at the SA state elections, just maybe we ought to ask the budding candidate where they stand on this important issue.

Mark Aldridge is an Independent candidate for the lower house seat of Ramsay in the northern suburbs around Salisbury.

Mark Aldridge finished by saying, “This issue may be as big an issue to my electorate, but any candidate hoping to represent any community, should have a strong sense of Family, and the protection of all our children”

CAN YOUR VOTE, CHANGE YOUR FAMILIES FUTURE? Ramsay 2018

February 22, 2018

 

Your vote can change your future, but only if you consider changing how you vote.

Firstly, you need an independent representative that is devoted to your best interests, one who has pledged allegiance to a political party, will have less power to bring change.

I am sure you have been told, Independent candidates are a wasted vote, well of course you have.

The most well-resourced electorates in the country are held by Independents.

So, what would I do that is different and what experience I have are worthy questions.

Most are answered by what I already do for my community but let’s look at how I think.

When I secure infrastructure spending, I will also fight to ensure local workers get the work, where you now see imported workers reaping the rewards.

When I lobby the local council for improved upkeep and beautification, I will also be demanding local workers are first on the list.

When I convince the government, we need a 24 -hour police station, I won’t stop there, as that station will need improved services. I argued this in 2012 at the bi-election, but I came second to Labor, since then, services have continued to decline.

I think the current regime of representatives do not understand the importance of feeling safe in our homes and walking the streets.

When I argue for increased mental health spending, I will want them to set up in my electorate, the same will apply to any increase in essential services.

As I expand my Farm Direct markets, I will do so offering improved support for local businesses.

I am vey well known for my support of our primary industries, especially our farming sector, and have stood up to protect them for over 20 years. I maintain the belief that some assets in this country are strategic to our future and should be protected and remain in our hands.

While I lobby for increased renewable energy, I will want to ensure at the same time we protect economical baseload power, so power bills are kept affordable.

If I have trouble achieving state government support for any important issue, I will seek a way to get it done myself, without their help, but I will ask for yours.

When I lobbied to protect local community events as a concerned local, and my calls for government support failed, I headed to court and did it myself. Even though a simple and fair amendment would have done the job.

If there are issues with the local council, I will go into bat for you.

I can call for rate caps, if they are not forth coming, I will look for other ways to address the cost of living.

Our local hospitals have the room and the beds we need, what they lack is the staff to “open up” those beds and reduce waiting lists, I will push to achieve that, and I will push hard.

The commonwealth fund local infrastructure like roads, they do so by applications through state government which directs the money to local councils, I will push to streamline that process and increase spending in my electorate.

Additional education programs for our schools will be a strong point in my parliamentary negotiations, where I fall short due to budget restraints, I will find other ways, like increasing my Farm Direct markets ability to teach healthy eating and setting up programs with other local industries.

When parliament needs my vote, I will use that as bargaining power to get more for you, where that negotiation means I must sacrifice my ideals, I will report to you, and ask you for your opinion.

Everything I do, will be transparent, so debate on line will be a part of my decision making, rather than the usual back room deals party politics makes compulsory.

I will fight to restore democracy, where any amendments to electoral law, empower you, rather than the political parties themselves.

We still use a pencil and a piece of paper to vote, in a system called two party preferred, even when neither party always is, and you still MUST presence every candidate, and I will continue to ask why you must.

I have clear vision to restore affordable justice, to ensure you maintain your rights and liberties. That means demanding your right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence and affordable access to competent representation.

I have studied electoral law, have a firm understanding of our judicial system, and can read and understand legislation, so I know what to look for and how to address changes that empower your rights and freedoms.

My wife and I own a native animal sanctuary, I preform animal rescue, and I am well versed on animal welfare law, so there is no better candidate to represent the best interests of our animals.

I have spoken all over this nation, on a range of topics, in each case they are issues that empower your best interests.

I truly believe I am Ramsay’s best choice, if you indeed want to see change.

I am not always loved for everything I do, but everything I do is because I care for and love you all.

 

Mark Aldridge

Independent “Representing You”

aldridgemark@bigpond.com

0403379500

Written and authorised by Mark Aldridge of 201 Taylors rd. Penfield Gardens.

VOTING FOR A “BETTER SALISBURY” Ramsay electorate 2018

February 22, 2018

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Election time has come back around, those in the Salisbury area must again chose a candidate to represent them, the Ramsay electorate takes in Salisbury and parts of the surrounding area.

Casting both an informed and valid vote, takes just a little research, so here is a reminder of how best to achieve that.

There will be several candidates, I am an Independent, my job is to “Represent You”

There will be other candidates who are endorsed by political parties to represent those party’s in your area.

The Major parties, Labor and Liberal designate seats as safe or marginal, they choose which of their people will be candidates and where, based on that fact. The minor parties mostly do not think they have a chance, some run candidates with the sole hope of getting votes in the upper house (The Legislative Council) where they have some chance of getting one of their representatives elected.

This creates  culture where preferences are one, ie; an exchange of preferences in the lower house seats for deals in the upper house. These back room deals only work if you follow “How to vote cards” and you do not have to.

Safe seats in the most are not so well represented, the party who believes they will win that seat easily, rarely offer much to that electorate in terms of campaign promises, they will also not send in their best candidates.

Marginal seats get the most electoral promises from both sides of the debate, because it is those marginal seats that can help the major parties form government.

Ramsay has been one of the safest Labor seats since it was created.

So much so, that when I ran in the 2012 Bi-election, the Liberals did not even run a candidate, because they did not think they could win, a minor party called the “Liberal Democrats” ran instead, using a how to vote card that looked similar to the Liberals usual one. The Liberal democrats gave their preferences to Labor, so I came in second.

A lot of people voted for me, based on being Independent, in other words I had not signed contracts to represent a party, or to adhere to set policy. Others backed me based on my extensive experience.

This election there will be a few choices, Mark Aldridge Independent, Labor’s candidate, Liberals candidate, Nick Xenophon’s candidate and a couple more minor party candidates.

So, for the purpose of this post, lets imagine there are going to be 6 candidates in total.

How to vote cards;

How to vote cards are put out by registered political parties and reflect the deals they do behind closed doors, they are handed out to you, asking you to do the will of that political party, by marking your preferences in the same way as they would prefer you do, but you do not have to.

In my opinion, “throw them in the bin”, to cast an informed vote, I am sure you can handle marking 1 to 6 in an order that suits you, based on who you think will best represent the Ramsay area.

You have the power to decide, that is called “Democracy”

There are so many ways to use that power, you can reward good performance, punish false promise, vote for change, or send a message.

For instance, lets say you have always voted Labor in the area, you don’t mind them, but you want to remind them the area needs increased investment and services.

You could put me Number 1, and then Labor second, then number all the boxes through to 6

The two-party count, will most probably see your vote go past me to Labor, but they would see a swing away their usual primary vote, so you may then find they start to listen.

You can vote in reverse, for instance, you can’t stand Labor, so you put them last, you like a minor party, so you put them first, then you work out in what order to put the rest from 1 to 6.

Once your vote hits one of the major parties, it will rarely go beyond them in the count, so keep that in mind, they write electoral law, so tend to create a bias in their favour.

This means putting smaller parties or Independents ahead of the majors, can be a great protest vote, but still ensure your votes goes to the major you prefer most.

So, what happens if an Independent like me is elected?

Well that would mean most of you preferred me, which would be a strong sign you want change. I would then have to work with which ever party forms government, and lobby them for those things we need, while demanding they keep their election promises.

Electorates represented by Independents all over the country tend to receive the best investment and services (shameful but factual plug)

The most important thing you can do, is take your vote seriously, its only once every 3 years and you only have to decide, between a hand full of candidates.

Research the parties, because party candidates represent them, with independents, research the candidate themselves, as they will be “Representing You”.

Best of luck my friends.

Since 2012, I decided to bring change, even though I was not elected, as a person who grew up in and loves the area. As many may know, I have set up markets, backed up producers, lobbied for improved services, and tried to create jobs.

I will remind you all thought, none of the major issues I wanted fixed by state government back then, or the promises they made, have been achieved.

 

Mark Aldridge “Independent” for a Better Salisbury

Written and Authorized by Mark Aldridge of 201 Taylors rd Penfield Gardens SA 5121

CELEBRATING AUSTRALIA

January 23, 2018

Celebrating Australia

We all as a nation enjoy celebrating our existence, I have always loved being a part of that day we all embrace our nation, our culture and future, patriotically flying the flag.

The issue for me is the chosen date, very few seem to care, and with current debate on the use of January the 26th which appears to conflict with so many of our people, should we all revisit our short history to ensure any debate is equitable and educated?

It is a known fact that the 26th of January back when the first fleet arrived, was the beginning of a long conflict, between the British settlers and the indigenous of this nation, which went on to become a date for mourning for the Aboriginals.

The same day is also known to our indigenous as the start of the “Frontier wars” a part of history all but hidden from view.

As early as 1838 it was documented that the Aboriginal people used the date (26/1) as a day of mourning, also so around that same time, back in 1837, Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales, while planning something for everyone, or almost everyone, foundation day in NSW, when questioned about what was being planned for the Aborigines, Parkes replied; “And remind them that we have robbed them”.

At this early stage of our history, both the first settlers and the indigenous population were all aware that the date (26/1) had not been a great day for our nations original inhabitants, long before it was designated as “Australia Day”.

The issue for me however, is not just about the treatment of the Aboriginal people, it is all about what defines us as a nation, so reflection on what happened back on the 26th of January 1788, is worthy of debate.

The British arrival in or around January 1788 to the land they had called “New Holland” was not their first visit, Captain Cook had already proclaimed NSW for Great Britain back on the 22nd of August 1770.

The first fleet were issued orders by the Queen under the letters patient, a document basing its mandate on the Pacific Islanders Act, legislation written to protect the native inhabitants of all lands in the area, in which the commanders were to “live in amity and kindness” with Indigenous people of this “New Holland”.

What this means to we the Australian people, is that the first fleet broke the law. If we go back to that same time in January 1778, we also find disturbing information relating to the treatment of the convicts. Where early records speak of deplorable acts inflicted on the woman convicts that arrived on the first fleet.

The more one studies January 1788, the more we find reasons not to celebrate that time in British history as an Australian nation.

The fact remains, Australia was not founded in 1788, New Holland was, for Great Britton, and the day the first fleet arrived offers us very little to celebrate.

There are moments in this nations history that may be worth celebrating, and that is what we should be debating, do we stick to a certain date just because it has been the case since 1988, such a short time ago, or do we consider a new date that is worthy of celebrating for all Australians including our indigenous?

Here are a few examples to consider;

1984 – Australians ceased to be British subjects. Advance Australia Fair replaced God Save the Queen as the national anthem, 22 November

1901 – The Australian colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. 1st of January.

1901 – Federation became entrenched on the 9th of May.

1911 – Empire Day was announced as the first “Australia day”, May 24

1915 – July 30th was called “Australia Day” to help raise money for Aussie troops.

1953 – The Australian blue ensign was designated the Australian national flag and given precedence over the Union Jack, 15 April

1901 – Australian flag became, 3 September. 20 February 1903 it was gazetted by the British parliament.

1854 – December 3, Eureka Stockade, considered the birth place of Australian democracy.

To celebrate a date in history that defines Australia as a nation, is where any debate ought to start, if we are to change our national day of celebration.

Back in the late 1800’s through to the early 1900’s the concept of us even being Australia, let alone citizens called Australian’s, were considered novel ideas, even by the courts.

The concept we were no longer a convict settlement of Great Brittan, and were becoming our own nation, started in late 1890’s and to be honest completed at the time of the writing of our Constitution, back in 1901, January 1. The trouble with that date is it lines up with New year’s celebrations.

Many believe May 9th is a better choice, or maybe go down a more bogan path and call it May 8, as it rhymes with Mate 😊

For me personally, I celebrate each day in this nation as a great one, and I am more appalled at our lack of interest in the future, than any mistakes made in the past.

Let’s hope if the date is going to change, that it is chosen as a date that both defines our great nation and unites all its inhabitants, both past indigenous peoples and we as current ones in this great Southern Land.

Respect.

Mark Aldridge

CITIZENSHIP SAGA, what is the truth?

November 6, 2017

This story dates back some 40 years, in my case a simple 2 decades of study.

The Constitution (1901) was written with so many safe guards, mostly it was all about democracy, this is where I came in, when I was privy to various methods being used to rig election outcomes.

Section 44 was a safe guard to ensure those elected had this nation had its peoples best interests at heart.

No allegiance to any foreign nation, no interests that could affect decision making, no criminal history, it was a basic safe guard.

Now this section in respect to foreign allegiance is well out of date, because at the time of the constitutions writing, there was no such thing as an Australian citizen, we were all considered British.

The idea that there was such a thing as an Australian nationality as distinct from a British one was considered by the High Court of Australia in 1906 to be a “novel idea”.

The Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 began the changes needed to create Australian citizens.  But at the time, British was not considered a foreign power, a very confusing period when we consider applying section 44.

My interest in the Constitution and democracy were the result of putting up my candidacy for office for the senate many many years ago, only to find the system used to elect members was dodgy and corrupted.

This lead to my ongoing study of the issue and how the constitution was being undermined. As many will know, I have taken election outcomes and processes to the courts, and worked for years to restore true democracy and find ways to hold the cheats to account.

I found over the years, not only were minor players and Independents undermined during elections and through changes to electoral law, but that the laws in place were twisted and used to get rid of any elected member who was not willing to play “The Game”.

Section 44 was a favourite, and was used to get rid of independent voices by the major parties, One Nations, Heather Hill was a clear example, after her election, just like Paulines, every loop hole they could find was used to rid parliament of them. Hill was ousted by section 44.

Section 46 was there to deter cheats, it allowed anyone to sue any elected member for every day they sat in parliament illegally for $100 pounds a day, a huge some when the constitution was written.

In the early 70’s, the senate had an issue, one of their own, was caught out by section 44, while the high court decided, they sat late one night to back up their mate, watering down the penalty to a measly $200, and to ensure even that did not happen, they made any litigant file in the high court, where the filing costs would deter any demands.

This left the cheats in the clear, you might ask why they would bother to cheat, which is another story in itself, but if you could easily leave this country and live elsewhere with a massive tax free income/pension, you might start to see a picture.

(National informers act 1974 from memory)

Before I continue, I will note here, so far section 44 is being applied to the federal government, but I can assure you the same law applies in the states, not only because of the power of the constitution, but the state constitution acts and the various electoral acts, also include similar safe guards.

Maybe if you get time, have a look at where past premiers/members now live 😉

The citizen ship sage we are now seeing, was started by me two elections back, but as usual, just like rigged elections, most media sources and the self interest in our parliaments ensured it was kept quiet.

Where it came to ahead, was during the 2016 federal election, where I decided to pull up the Greens who had many candidates nominated, that were all in conflict with section 44, I asked many questions officially as a candidate.

I sent an official complaint to the AEC, with a list of that elections transgressions, and also created an online petition, it listed various faults as usual, including section 44 abuses.

The electoral commissioner replied that they had so many complaints, it would take time to get back to me, an unacceptable answer, when those invalid candidates were looking to help preference certain parties into power.

The pressure these questions had on the greens, eventually took their toll, with two resigning as a result, but still the AEC refused to act before and after the 2016 election, as did the media……..silence is golden to those who cheat.

The resignation of the Greens members, started somewhat of a war, where I was attacked by certain political leaders, my position was to bring a few to account, so if all I had was section 44, I would use it how they had.

The Greens did the right thing, but when Barnaby arked up, I thought he should be exposed, all up, it is my belief there are around 24 members in federal parliament whose elections were invalid, past members is a much greater number and the states are not much better.

The law will have its toll, but not so much on the major party players as you have seen, simply because they have the resources and connections to cover up so much better, they are the ones who appoint the judges 😉

Sadly, all of this has not exposed the more important issues facing our democratic process.

Our electoral laws are changed each year, and those changes are not by way of the demands of we the people, they are changes to empower the major parties.

Missing ballot papers are never investigated, even when in the tens of thousands, missing names of the roll, also is excused, even when in one election in SA, it numbered near on 80,000.

In State elections, missing votes are at times in the tens of thousands, where winning margins are at times just over 1000, give that some thought.

One of the other issues is that to lie on a nomination form is a criminal offence, now give that some thought, when you consider, the liars wasted millions in “Tax payer” dollars to defend themselves, and those that lost, do not pay that back.

In fact they pay nothing back, and even if sued, they will pay what a few hundred dollars?

So why have the DPP not pressed charges, ohhh that’s right, if a person is under charges or found guilty of charges, they cannot run for a seat.

So in Barnaby’s case, he has lied on nomination forms since 2005, taken income, and made decisions, which ought to all be invalid and criminal.  He spends a few hundred grand or our money and loses, then immediately nominates to run again, and no charges are laid.

Now go read what happened to Heather Hill, same abuse of section 44.

The trouble for parliament is they had a right to deal with and undermine section 46 due that sections wording, but they can’t do anything about section 44 without a referendum of we the people.

So I will wager they will spend millions during the next election to get rid of section 44, because it has benefits to those retiring.

The real issue for us all, is the Constitution was written at a time, the writers never expected it to be undermined by those we elected to protect and enforce it.

Democracy is a forgotten term, it is meant to be about the free will of an informed electorate, a safe and corruption free method of electing political representatives to do our will and protect our best interests.

The reason it fails, is we allow those with the most to gain from structural biases to write the laws and run the elections, let’s hope one day we the people use our power to change that.

Mark Aldridge

PS; When good people, and I will include myself in that term, try to enforce changes, expose the truth and fight corruption, we are intimidated, arrested, and threatened.