Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

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)

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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

MARK ALDRIDGE “INDEPENDENT” FOR RAMSAY

February 15, 2018

MARK ALDRIDGE “INDEPENDENT” FOR RAMSAY

 

My name is Mark Aldridge and I believe I am SA’s best independent candidate for Ramsay. I am passionate about making a difference and with your support I will bring a voice back to the people of Ramsay who have been ignored for too long.

I want to help make SA a better place to live for our children and for future generations – this includes increasing job opportunities, making where we live safer, reducing the cost of living and reducing the impact we’re having on the environment.

I have been a community advocate and Independent candidate for over 20 years, I grew up in Parafield Gardens, I run your local markets to give back to my community, and my family and I have been active in the local area since I can remember.

Since the electorate of Ramsay was created in 1985 it has been considered a ‘safe’ Labor seat, and because of this, the government has stopped listening to people in the Northern suburbs and the Liberals have been missing in action.

I will not be representing Nick, Jay or Steven, I will not be taking orders from big business or political donors, I will be listening to you, and I will be representing you.

I want to bring the Government’s focus back to the people in Ramsay whose lives are affected by the decisions made in State Parliament. I am best suited to achieve this, as I am well known for never backing down, and my resourcefulness at bringing change.

I have worked in a variety of fields, from local jobs as a child, to running small business, disaster response, animal welfare & rescue, and my time protecting those in primary production.

I have always been available day and night for those in need, during disasters I am on the ground and taking action before our government even debate what to do. I back our farmers on a daily basis, and if called upon to sort a local issue, I act immediately.

I have studied a variety of topics over the years, from our constitution, our legal system and the application of legislative reform.

I have worked in the retail, manufacturing and automotive industries, and over the past 20 years, I have taken a deep interest in political & electoral reform. This experience has given me a valuable insight into how politics works, what needs to change and how I can best help people.

I will work tirelessly to fix the problems of job losses and underemployment, the rising costs of utilities, the rise in social regulation and the sale of our nation’s strategic assets. This will reduce inequality, improve opportunities and bring back hope for our young people.

Unlike the local Political party representatives, I do not fear open debate, unvetted questions and answering to you. I also am proud of what I have achieved as a community advocate and would enjoy your scrutiny of my achievements.

Will I be controversial, you bet, I will not bow to political manipulation, corruption or threats of any kind, I will be your representative, and I will represent you with compassion and honour.

I am asking you for the privilege of representing you in the seat of Ramsay to put the North back on the map, by resorting it to its former glory.

I would like to meet as many of you as possible over the next few weeks, and I look forward to hearing your concerns and suggestions for our community.

If you have a topic of interest, give me a call, or google that topic and my name 🙂

 

Mark Aldridge “True Independent Candidate for Ramsay”

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.

Australia day 26/1, what are we celebrating?

August 28, 2017

Australia day, what does it celebrate.

Before 1770 – Aboriginal peoples had been living for more than 40 000 years on the continent we now know as Australia. At least 1600 generations of these peoples had lived and died here.

Europeans from the thirteenth century became interested in details from Asia about this land to the south. From the sixteenth century, European cartographers and navigators gave the continent various names, including Terra Australis (Southern Land) and New Holland.

1770 – Captain James Cook raised the Union Jack on what is now called Possession Island on 22 August to claim the eastern half of the continent as New South Wales for Great Britain.

1788 – Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain, and the first Governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove on 26 January and raised the Union Jack to signal the beginning of the colony.

Captain Arthur Phillip, was instructed to “live in amity and kindness” with Indigenous Australians

Note; Phillip went on to ignore the Kings mandate that he negotiate for use of the Land, as did Cook under the letters patient., and so the slaughter began.

1788 – The Australian frontier wars began, they were a series of conflicts that were fought between Indigenous Australians and British settlers, with an estimated 30 to 30,000 aboriginal people being killed, these battles continued until around 1934.

1804 – Early almanacs and calendars and the Sydney Gazette began referring to 26 January as First Landing Day or Foundation Day. In Sydney, celebratory drinking, and later anniversary dinners became customary, especially among emancipists.

1818 – Governor Macquarie acknowledged the day officially as a public holiday in NSW on the thirtieth anniversary. The previous year he accepted the recommendation of Captain Matthew Flinders, circumnavigator of the continent, that it be called Australia.

*1837;  Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales, planned something for everyone, or almost everyone. When questioned about what was being planned for the Aborigines, Parkes retorted, ‘And remind them that we have robbed them?

1838 – Proclamation of an annual public holiday for 26 January marked the Jubilee of the British occupation in New South Wales. This was the second year of the anniversary’s celebratory Sydney Regatta.

By now, the other state had their own day for their foundation.

1838 – Aboriginal people started to morn the 26th of January

1871 – The Australian Natives’ Association, formed as a friendly society to provide medical, sickness and funeral benefits to the native-born of European descent, became a keen advocate from the 1880s of federation of the Australian colonies within the British Empire, and of a national holiday on 26 January.

1888 – Representatives from Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and New Zealand joined NSW leaders in Sydney to celebrate the Centenary. What had begun as a NSW anniversary was becoming an Australian one. The day was known as Anniversary or Foundation Day.

1901 – The Australian colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia. The Union Jack continued as the national flag, taking precedence over the Australian red and blue shipping ensigns gazetted in 1903.

Federation became entrenched on the 9th of May 1901 was the first day Parliament of the commonwealth sat. Schools were still celebrated federation day under the British flag.

Melbourne was the interim federal capital. The Australian Capital Territory was created out of New South Wales in 1908, the federal capital named Canberra in 1913, and the Parliament House opened there in 1927.

1911 – Empire day was earmarked as the first “Australia day”, May 24 was the date.

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

1930 – The Australian Natives’ Association in Victoria began a campaign to have 26 January celebrated throughout Australia as Australia Day on a Monday, making a long weekend. The Victorian government agreed with the proposal in 1931, the other states and territories following by 1935.

So the first national day was a public holiday Monday, not a set date!

1936 – Aboriginal people labelled 26th of January “Day of mourning”

1938 – While state premiers celebrated the Sesquicentenary together in Sydney, Aboriginal leaders met there for a Day of Mourning to protest at their mistreatment by white Australians and to seek full citizen rights.

1946 – The Australian Natives’ Association prompted the formation in Melbourne of an Australia Day Celebrations Committee (later known as the Australia Day Council) to educate the public about the significance of Australia Day. Similar bodies emerged in the other states, which in rotation, acted as the Federal Australia Day Council.

1948 – The Nationality and Citizenship Act created a symbolic Australian citizenship. Australians remained British subjects.

1954 – The Australian blue ensign was designated the Australian national flag and given precedence over the Union Jack. The Australian red ensign was retained as the commercial shipping ensign.

1960 – The first Australian of the Year was appointed: Sir Macfarlane Burnet, a medical scientist. Other annual awards followed: Young Australian of the Year, 1979; Senior Australian of the Year, 1999, and Australia’s Local Hero, 2003.

1972 – Tent embassy was established by Aborigine elders, opposing the date chosen for Australia day.

1979 – The Commonwealth government established a National Australia Day Committee in Canberra to make future celebrations ‘truly national and Australia-wide’. It took over the coordinating role of the Federal Australia Day Council. In 1984 it became the National Australia Day Council, based in Sydney, with a stronger emphasis on sponsorship. Incorporation as a public company followed in 1990.

1984 – Australians ceased to be British subjects. Advance Australia Fair replaced God Save the Queen as the national anthem, we were now all Australians.

*1988 – Sydney continued to be the centre of Australia Day spectacle and ceremony. The states and territories agreed to celebrate Australia Day in 1988 on 26 January, rather than with a long weekend.

Australia day was therefor created in 1988.

Aborigines renamed Australia Day, ‘Invasion Day’. The Bondi Pavilion protest concert foreshadowed the Survival Day Concerts from 1992.

1994 – Celebrating Australia Day on 26 January became established. The Australian of the Year Award presentations began alternating between Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

2001 – Centenary of federation. The National Australia Day Council’s national office had returned to Canberra the previous year. In 2001 the Council transferred from the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts to that of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Australians’ growing familiarity with the Australia Day holiday led the Council to focus on shaping their awareness of its significance and meaning.

2004 – The presentation of Australia Day awards — the focus of Australia Day — became fixed in Canberra.

The Australian frontier wars were a series of conflicts that were fought between Indigenous Australians and mainly British settlers that spanned a total of 146 years. The first fighting took place several months after the landing of the First Fleet in January 1788 and the last clashes occurred as late as 1934

To summarise, New South Wales — Sydney especially — has long celebrated 26 January to mark the beginning of British occupation of Australia. Victoria and the other Australian states and territories, persuaded by the Australian Natives’ Association, came to accept Australia Day by 1935, celebrating it together with a long weekend. Since 1979, federal government promotion of an Australia Day that was less British and more Australian gave the day a higher profile in the hope of unifying Australia’s increasingly diverse population. The long weekend gave way to the day itself in 1994, and ten years later Canberra displaced Sydney as the day’s focal point.

Dates for Australia day have been numerous, 9th of May is the day we became federated, NSW had 26th of January as their special day, other states celebrated their dates coinciding with settlement as British colonies.

The Australian name and flag were created long after Phillip landed in NSW and proclaimed it as a British colony.

May 24th, May 9th, July 30th have all been called Australia day at different times in Australia’s history.

 

However, Aboriginal Australians have continued to feel excluded from what has long been a British pioneering settler celebration, symbolised by the raising of the Union Jack and later, on another date, the Australian flag which bears the British flag. Debate over the date and nature of Australia Day continues as the National Australia Day Council seeks to meet the challenge of making 26 January a day all Australians can accept and enjoy.

I am uncertain Phillips landing and proclamation as a British colony is the right date, considering it is such a sad one for the Aboriginal people.

You can add to this brief overview of history if you like or use it to research an ideal day to celebrate, but for me, it best be a date that genuinely celebrates Australia as a nation, so I would say May 9th, but each to their own.

The date should be able to be celebrated by all Australians, including the original people of this land.

Mark Aldridge

The Theft of Democracy by the honorable

August 24, 2017

Nominating to be a member of Parliament is an important issue, every important.

Most members are either lawyers, or have a legal team, and each wish to be called honourable.

So, when they fill in their nomination forms, to lie is unacceptable, illegal and immoral.

If elected on an invalid nomination, their election is invalid, that is the law, the highest law in this country.

Everything they have done from that moment on is invalid, unlawful and illegal.

Every vote, every preference, and ever act, including receiving income they are not entitled to, is invalid, there for illegal.

Now each of us as citizens get held to account for the lightest breach of the law, Parliament are meant to lead by example, considering they write laws.

How many ex MP are now enjoying life time pensions, that were never validly elected?

How many have introduced or voted on legislation, that ought not have been elected?

How many MP’s helped form a government, that had no right to be elected?

Why were these same laws applied to minor party or Independent candidates, to invalidate their election to parliament, yet now they are being applied to major players, the importance of adhering the law does not matter?

Politicians know what they are doing, they side step the laws on a regular basis, they play games with democracy, help rig elections, undermine our freedoms, with the sole intention of winning at any cost, I for one am sick of such actions.

There needs to be an independent investigation into every present and past member, and the law used to hold each one to account.

For god’s sake, if any one of us broke our highest laws, we would be.

 

Mark Aldridge

Section 44 & the can of worms

August 19, 2017

The section 44 issue for our elected members……interesting facts.

1. I pointed this out to the electoral commission on many occasions, a formal complaint can be found on line, what was done “Nothing”
2. I made sure the political parties new, and the media, what was done “Nothing”.
3. So far they are targeting Federal politics, but the same law applies to state pollies, so when are they opening that can of worms.
4. You will notice all those being caught out now, are not stepping down, even though when they signed up as candidates, their nominations were invalid, they all lied on their applications, so have offended the Constitution and federal and state electoral law.
5. If they had no right to run, then they cannot have been duly elected.
6. If that be the case, what about all the decision they have made, all the money we the people have paid them, and all the perks they have used? WHAT ABOUT ALL THE HUGE LIFE TIME PENSIONS……

7. So they will argue I assume something based on Sykes V Cleary, or similar cases, and hope the high court will allow them to remain, ie “I didnt know” or I did not use the benefit.
8. So can we the people now argue the same, sorry officer I did not know my car was unregistered, sorry officer I thought it was an 80 zone, sorry officer I did not know it was his money, its OK I haven’t spent it, etc etc, not a chance.
9. In each case the election is invalid, and with so many elections in valid, we must conclude the general election was also invalid, but how many.
10. Have there been other dodgy practices, yes indeed, so too many to list here.
11. Are the AEC, SEC and the MP’s aware of the other dodgy issues and abuse of law, yes they are.
12. Are the media aware of all these issues, yes they are.

So why have they all tried to cover up?

Open all the cans and let the worms out, expose the broken system, sure it up, and start again, by restoring democracy and our right to a genuine free and informed vote, a secure one.

Same Sex Marriage, who decides?

August 13, 2017

IF YOU’RE over the idea of reading yet another blog on marriage equality, I can emphasize with you.

 

 

Let’s be honest, debates like this make me want to turn of the news, and retreat into my sanctuary where the cynicism of modern-day politics does not exist.

If it was a brief informed discussion, or a simple democratic process, I would be more than happy, as always to consider what my 2 cents would be worth.

Marriage is a simple word, for so long it described the union of a man and a woman, parliament defined it, as is their power under the constitution, and they defined it in line with the Dictionary definition.

I have yet to have any of my gay friend’s demand marriage, I do remember the fight for social inclusion, and to have the same equity at law as those who held a government certificate (Marriage).

When this debate started, when was that now, a decade ago now? I always wondered if another word could be chosen, rather than marriage, something to adorn the top of their government certificate, that shows their commitment to each other.

Seems my idea was less than favorable, but it was simply my mind trying to find a way to end this debate and move on to the more important social issues we all face, regardless of our choice of partner.

Before you accuse me of a lack of compassion, may I argue my case?

I love my partner, she loves me, well I am pretty sure she still does, a government endorsed certificate does not define our love what so ever, are we married, yes we are. Why did we get married, hmmm that would be an interesting debate, was it to prove a commitment, a legal contract, I might get back to you on that 😊

I see posters that say “love is love” or I want my right! They are both right, Love is Love, even with out a government endorsement, and rights, well we all are suffering a lack of defined protections, regardless of our choice of partner.

Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones tweeted: “Re Gay Marriage. Love is a very elusive thing. If 2 people find love we shouldn’t be making judgments about it or getting in the way.”

Who is getting in the way of love, who is judging others, are those opposed homophobic?

Let’s get this debate back on track; “The only ones to blame are our elected representatives”, they represent electorates, if they don’t know what their electorate wants, they are in the wrong job. Parliament is empowered by the Constitution to define Marriage.

Fact is parliament have been doing as they please for years, so our will means little to them, and an expansive poll will do little to push them either way.

It is not as if they are not aware of the topic, it is not as if they cant simply draw up the changes and vote on them, like any other legislative redefining, they do it every day.

The fact is the very people you chose to represent you, are not, they are representing political parties, vested interests, so this debate simply exposes the flaws in our democratic process, flaws you already knew existed.

There is no need to waste 120 to 150 million asking the people, when the outcome will be wishy washy, dodgy and non-binding.

If any representative is unsure, let them poll their electorates, and if their parties won’t let them vote on legislative change, let them declare to their electorate where they stand, we can all do the maths can’t we.

There are those in the LGBTI community that are already far more vulnerable to anxiety and depression (they’re also up to 14 times more likely to attempt suicide) as a direct result of the past decades they have fought for acceptance alone.

The last thing they need is a huge national debate that will achieve nothing, what we all need is educated discussion with our representatives, and to empower their ability to achieve our will, everything else is divisional and a detraction.

Within hours of the government’s commitment to a plebiscite, former prime minister Tony Abbott was telling the nation: “If you’re worried about religious freedom and freedom of speech, vote ‘no’, and if you don’t like political correctness, vote ‘no’ because voting ‘no’ will help to stop political correctness in its tracks.”

Imagine lobbying for the ability to marry, and hearing one of the nation’s most prominent citizens dismissing the fight to end your sense of injustice and frustration as “political correctness”.

The government’s position is demeaning and disrespectful to all of us, the decision to conduct a plebiscite is a knee jerk reaction to cover up for the real inadequacies of our democratic process.

Yes, there are many other critical issues demanding the nation’s attention, and if we polled the people, SSM would not make the top of the list, but if a section of Australian society demand equity on their terms, like all social issues, they deserve to get a fair hearing and a timely decision.

For me personally, my love does not need government endorsement, my rights do, so lets all unite and fight for defined civil and human rights through a “Bill of Rights”, and let the Gay community be included in its definition.

Mark Aldridge.

HOW TO RE RUN THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION, TO ENSURE DEMOCRACY IS SERVED

July 15, 2016

HOW TO RE RUN THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION.

voting

Mark Aldridge for “Electoral Commissioner” 🙂

 

  1. ENSURE ELECTORAL ROLLS ARE ACCURATE (SPOT CHECKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY)
  2. MAKE THE ROLLS ELECTRONIC, (TO OVERCOME MULTIPLE VOTERS)
  3. ENSURE VOTERS HAVE A BOOKLET DELIVERED, WHICH INCLUDES HOW TO VOTE, INCLUDES SAMPLE BALLOT PAPERS AND A LIST OF CANDIDATES WITH BRIEF DETAILS AND CONTACT INFORMATION. (TO ENSURE VOTERS CAN CAST AN INFORMED VOTE) (Booklets like this were on offer up until a few years ago, and are used in council elections)
  4. MAKE ALL VOTES OPTIONAL PREFERENTIAL.
  5. VOTERS TO PRESENT ID BEFORE THEY CAN VOTE.
  6. SUPPLY PAPER BALLOTS WITH PERMANENT MARKERS, ALL MISTAKES TO BE ISSUED A REPLACEMENT BALLOT PAPER, WITH ALL SPOILED BALLOTS TO BE ACCOUNTED FOR.
  7. DENY ACCESS TO THE ELECTION PROCESS TO ALL CANDIDATES AND THEIR PARTIES, INCLUDING POSTAL APPLICATIONS & MAIL INTERCEPTION.
  8. ALLOW ALL AEC WORKERS TO COME FORWARD, SHOULD THEY SEE ANYTHING UNTOWARD.
  9. HAVE LIVE STREAM CAMERA IN EVERY POLLING BOOTH AND DURING SCRUTINEERING.
  10. MAKE IT LAW, THAT IF THE MEDIA ARE TO PUBLISH AN OVERVIEW OF ANY ELECTORATE, THEY “MUST” INCLUDE EVERY CANDIDATES NAME AS A MINIMUM REQUIREMENT.
  11. CHANGE THE COUNTING OF VOTES TO ENSURE THOSE ELECTED HAVE THE MOST SUPPORT, BY ABOLISHING THE TWO PARTY COUNTING SYSTEM.
  12. RE-OPEN ALL THE POLLING BOOTHS AND RESTORE ALL MOBILE SERVICES, WITH STREAMED VIDEO COVERAGE.
  13. EMPLOY PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES TO SECURE EVERY POLLING BOOTH FROM THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ELECTION UNTIL THE FINALISATION OF THE COUNT.
  14. ENSURE EVERY CANDIDATE IS CAPABLE AT LAW OF BEING ELECTED.
  15. ENSURE ALL BALLOT PAPERS HAVE THE NAME OF THE CANDIDATE NEXT TO THEIR VOTING SQUARE, AND IF LOGOS ARE TO BE USED, ALL CANDIDATES CAN UTILIZE THEM.
  16. MAKE IT LAW THAT ALL FUTURE ELECTORAL LAW AMENDMENTS ARE MADE BY AN INDEPENDENT AUTHORITY, THROUGH A TRANSPARENT COMMUNITY BASED PROCESS.
  17. MAKE IT LAW THAT ANY MISSING BALLOT PAPERS THAT EXCEED ANY WINNING MARGIN, RESULTS IN A RE-ELECTION PROCESS FOR THAT ELECTORATE OR HOUSE.
  18. ANY CANDIDATE OR PARTY THAT MAKES AN ELECTORAL PROMISE MUST FOLLOW THROUGH TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY OR IS REMOVED FROM OFFICE, AND THE CANDIDATE THAT CAME SECOND IN THAT ELECTORATE TAKES THEIR PLACE.
  19. IF ANY VOTER ARRIVES TO VOTE AND CANNOT THROUGH ANY ISSUE RESULTING FROM A DEFICIENCY OF ANY KIND, THEY ARE PROVIDED WITH A CARD TO ALLOW THEM TO VOTE ON A FOLLOWING DATE.
  20. MINIMUM JAIL SENTANCES FOR ANY ELECTORAL CORRUPTION OR VOTE MANIPULATION.

Mark Aldridge

PUPPY FARM & ANIMAL WELFARE REFORMS, Mark Aldridge Independent

June 21, 2016
PUPPY FARM & ANIMAL WELFARE REFORMS

My views thus far;                                                anim

It is important to note that while we debate the way forward, specifically with measures to address the breeding of dogs, the legislative framework proposed should also apply equally to the breeding of cats and any future companion animals.

I would recommend that state and territory governments include the breeding of cats in any legislative reforms.

I would recommend that responsibility for the administration and enforcement of these initiatives be shared between state and territory departments of local councils, and state and Territory divisions of the RSPCA, in the case of the RSPCA powers of litigation must include debate in relation to set prosecution, enforcement and procedural guidelines.

I note that a number of states are already engaging in legislative reforms that will give effect to many of the strategies proposed. It is important that such amendments are nationally consistent) to prevent regulatory “black holes” which may undermine efforts to address these concerns.

Traceability

The ability to trace the origin of puppies to their mothers and breeders is crucial for facilitating appropriate regulation and transparency in dog breeding activities.

It will provide local government with a cost-effective mechanism for auditing and monitoring breeders to ensure they are complying with their statutory obligations.

It will also give prospective dog owners the reassurance they are seeking to ensure they do not contribute to the perpetuation of unscrupulous puppy farming/breeding operations.

Registration of breeders

All people who wish to engage in breeding companion animals should be required to register as a dog breeder with their local council. The application of this requirement should be broad and apply to any person who wishes to keep more than one entire female regardless of whether that person has a stated intention to engage in breeding.

Different registration requirements can of course apply to individuals seeking to register two breeding dogs, as opposed to those seeking registration for the operation of a larger scale commercial breeding establishment, which may consist of 4 or more breeding dogs.

All registration details should be collated in a state-based breeder register maintained by the administering authority, in this case it may be best to have the data base managed by local councils.

Members of the public should be able to search the register to ensure the accuracy of the breeder registration number provided by a breeder.

State and territory animal management legislation should be amended to provide for these requirements and the associated registration procedure.

The legislation should make compliance with a prescribed breeding standard a condition of registration, with an accompanying regular inspections regime to verify compliance.
 
Microchipping

State and territory animal management legislation should provide for a requirement to microchip puppies before they reach say “12 weeks of age” and prior to their sale or transfer.

The legislation should also require the information recorded on the microchip database to include the microchip ID number for the animal’s mother, and the breeder’s registration number and details.

The process of recording such information should be prescribed in legislation and include requirements for the owner to provide evidence of the accuracy of the details to be recorded.

Such evidence may include the provision of a driver’s licence or other personal identification, and registration certificate for the breeder bitch for instance. The microchip database should be licensed and regulated by the responsible authority.

To enable effective monitoring and enforcement, microchip databases should have a mechanism for recognizing maximum numbers of puppies that can be recorded to any one breeding bitch or breeder registration number, to again ensure accountability.

For instance, if a breeder is registered as having two entire females, the maximum number of pups that can be linked to that breeder’s registration number within one year may be set at an educated quantity.

If the maximum number is exceeded this should be flagged in the microchip database and an automated notification sent to the relevant local government authority. A local government officer could then contact the breeder to establish the reason for exceeding the prescribed limit and conduct further investigation if necessary.
 
Disclosure of breeder registration number
 
The animal management legislation should also impose a requirement for the breeder registration number to be displayed at the point of sale and in all advertisements for a companion animal. This would enable a prospective buyer to search the relevant breeder register to ensure the breeder number is legitimate.
 
Breeder Standards

Each state and territory should adopt mandatory standards for the breeding of dogs under their animal welfare legislation. Compliance with the standards should also be made a condition of registration as a breeder. Breaching the standards could therefore attract punitive penalties under animal welfare legislation, and revocation of the breeder’s registration at law.

To ensure the welfare of breeding animals, the breeder standards should include the following key welfare standards. Breeder standards should be informed by the five freedoms and ensure the animals’ physiological, behavioral and social needs are met.

Exercise and socialization

Daily opportunities to exercise, play, explore and socialize are necessary to maintain the mental and physical health of animals. Exercise and socialization must be sufficient to meet the animals’ behavioral, physiological and social needs.

These same standards should also be applied to shelters and organisations like the RSPCA and AWL.

Animals must be provided with opportunities to socialize not only with their peers, but also humans in a secure environment on a daily basis. The exercise area must be an additional and separate area to the area where the animal is normally housed.

In addition, opportunities to exercise in a secure outdoor area with natural lighting must be provided daily.

Staff / animal ratios for breeders

The ratio of staff to animals must be sufficient to ensure that each individual animal’s physiological, behavioral and social needs are met and that a high standard of care is provided.

Animal shelters and pounds should offer similar practice models.

Housing

Housing must meet the physiological, behavioral and social needs of the breeding animals and their offspring. Housing facilities must be designed and maintained to provide a clean, comfortable and safe environment.

The housing space should be as large as possible. At a minimum, the housing area must provide sufficient space to allow animals to walk around freely without obstruction, and to sleep and eat away from areas where they defecate.

In addition, housing should be designed to make use of natural lighting and to provide animals with access to outdoor enclosures. Animals should be housed as appropriate for the individual animal, individually or in compatible groups.

Housing standards must cover aspects including temperature, ventilation, clean air, noise, light, spaces, drainage and security etc.

Animals in non-kill shelters MUST be allowed to be housed in larger enclosures that offer greater room to move, and ought to allow areas that are not concreted.
 
Breeding Management

Breeding animals must be physically healthy, free of disease and inherited disorders. Prior to using an animal for breeding, the breeder must consult with a registered veterinarian to determine whether the animal is suitable for breeding.

If deemed suitable, the breeder must develop an appropriate breeding management program for each individual breeding animal based on veterinary advice.

Breeding animals must have reached full physical development (maturity) prior to breeding based on veterinary advice.

Breeders must screen potential breeding animals under veterinary advice for health problems (inherited disorders, genetic defects and exaggerated physical features) and behavioural problems. If such problems are detected the animal should be excluded from breeding.

Breeding mates must not be closely related to each other.

Where an animal exhibits or produces offspring with an inherited disorder or characteristic that has been identified as compromising the animal’s quality of life, health or welfare, that animal should be excluded from breeding and should be de-sexed.

Any animal that does not meet with the requirements to breed, must be either provided with a high standard of housing and care at the breeder facility or re-homed to a suitable carer. These animals should not be euthanized unless it is deemed necessary and in the best interests of the animal by a veterinarian.

The breeder must not euthanasia/cull healthy offspring simply because they do not conform to a ‘breed standard’, to ensure compliance all births and deaths should be covered in a yearly report.
 
Veterinary and General Care

Veterinary care and general care (e.g. grooming, parasite control etc) must be provided as required to ensure the health and welfare of the animal, as found in present animal welfare legislation

All animals in shelters or breeding facilities must be checked every day and receive appropriate and sufficient food and water.

If an animal displays signs of illness or injury, veterinary care must be provided immediately. Euthanasia of all companion animals, must only be performed by a veterinarian.

Retirement and re-homing policy

Retired breeding animals, animals that are unable to breed or animals that are unsuitable for breeding, should be de-sexed and either provided with a high standard of housing and care at the breeder facility or re-homed to a suitable carer or re-homing facility.

Any unsold or returned animals must be provided with a high standard of housing and care at the breeder facility either permanently or until they can be re-homed to a suitable carer or re-homing facility.

Transfer/transport of animals

Animals must be transported safely, securely and comfortably. Transportation must be appropriate for the animals’ biological needs and must not compromise animal health or welfare.

Animals must be in good health and fit for the intended journey. The only exception to this requirement is when the animal is being transported to a veterinarian for treatment.

Transport containers should enable the animal to lie down flat, turn around, stand erect and stretch with clearance. They should be robust and escape-proof, sufficiently enclosed to provide a sense of security whilst allowing adequate ventilation, appropriate temperature and the ability to inspect the animal during the journey.

Transfer/transporting guidelines must be researched and apply to all carriage of animals.

Animals must be provided with sufficient food, water and rest before, during and after the journey, according to their biological needs.

The transporters/handlers must be trained and competent in the transport of companion animals to ensure the health and welfare of the animal. The transporter is responsible for the care of the animal

Interim Orders

It is not uncommon for defendants in animal management and welfare prosecutions to challenge enforcement action, and to appeal court decisions resulting in long and drawn-out legal proceedings.

I have also seen the court process dragged out by prosecution authorities (abuse of process) where there is financial gain in doing so, all prosecutions must meet a national set of procedural guidelines to ensure just and equitable use of the courts time.

When this occurs it is important that the welfare of any seized animals can be appropriately provided for while the matter is before the courts. Often in cases involving puppy farms the number of animals seized and the ongoing veterinary treatment and care required can result in the incursion of significant costs.

State and territory animal management and welfare legislation must provide mechanisms for the relevant prosecuting agency to apply for orders with respect to the ongoing ownership of the animals, the costs associated with the ongoing care of the animals, and prohibiting the defendant(s) from continuing to engage in the business of puppy farming while the matter is before the courts.

Any party that is found to abuse the court system as either a defendant or prosecutor ought to be responsible for all costs orders.

No animals seized should be killed or adopted out until ownership has been fully debated, the original owner should be able chose where they are housed and cover the costs until an outcome has been concluded.
 
Interim Ownership Orders

Most state animal welfare Acts already have provisions which allow inspectors to apply to a magistrate for an order that any seized animal(s) be forfeited (transfer of legal ownership) to the State while legal proceedings relating to those animals are still before the courts.

Presently these orders of forfeiture award the power to deal with the animal in any way fit, including destruction, changes need to me made to ensure the best services for the animals, until any legal proceedings are concluded.

In most cases, such an application will be decided “in the interests of the animal(s)” concerned. Equivalent provisions should also be inserted into animal management Acts to allow for such applications to be made following enforcement action taken by government departments for breaches of breeder licencing obligations, for instance “non-compliance with mandatory breeder standards”.

Orders against an animal’s owners ought to allow freedom of choice as to which authority looks after the animals during the court process, to ensure transparent cost and support factors.

Interim Prohibition Orders
 
It is not uncommon for unscrupulous breeders to continue engaging in the business of puppy farming while legal proceedings are still before the courts. This puts further animals at risk and places additional strain on the resources of enforcement agencies.

Should further enforcement action be required, Animal welfare and management legislation should provide for an application to be made to a magistrate for such defendants to be prohibited from engaging in puppy farming activities while legal proceedings against them are before the courts.

If the prosecuting agents case is found wanting, under current animal welfare legislation it is the minister who is responsible, in such cases the minister ought to find remedy in the courts against said authority.

Contracts between the minister, appointed inspectors or their employing agency’s must be available for public scrutiny.

Monitoring and Enforcement
 
In recent times there have been many issues with the RSPCA’s awarded powers of prosecution, which appear to have no procedural checks and balances, the RSPCA indeed have the Experience to police animal welfare legislation, but prosecution practices may be best left to Police services.
 
Monitoring and enforcement operations for any new legislative agenda, best be shared between local government animal management officers and state and territory RSPCA inspectors.

A targeted inspections regime that consists of both proactive routine (yet unannounced) inspections, and a reactive inspections strategy that responds to identified data discrepancies and complaints from the general public, should be developed between the relevant government authorities who are empowered to do so by animal welfare legislation reforms.

Prosecutions must be kept in line with community expectations and best practice; this would be best achieved by the development of a nationwide set of Compliance Prosecution and Enforcement Policies.

Said guidelines could be in line with the present Department of Agriculture policy in WA, to ensure openness and transparency, consistency and public interest criteria, and any contractual agreements between government and corporate entity’s empowered by animal welfare legislation, Must be made public as should any  Compliance, Enforcement and Prosecution policy.

Intent;
 
In recent years while doing an over view of current animal welfare legislation in most states, it has become relevant to debate animal abuse cases in relation to intention, presently animal welfare legislation in terms of recent litigation, uses wording that is open to misrepresentation and misunderstanding..

Failure to mitigate harm, has been a charge laid on carers, where the animal in question came into their care with existing medical or behavioral conditions, the lack of the inclusion of the intention has seen many carers face unwarranted charges, creating even more reason for improved prosecution guidelines.

Support services, improved education and animal welfare orders are a much more pro-active approach to ensure the best interests of the animals and their carers is paramount.

Overview;
 
Support for those who care for or rescue companion animals or in fact native animals is very limited, as are their protections.

Improved and understandable regulatory reforms are long overdue, to ensure animal welfare standards are kept up with community expectations across the board.

QUESTIONS ALSO RAISED; 
 
The ability of people to purchase entire animals, I suggest an application for a permit through the regulatory authority.
 
Working dogs and animals used in rural locations.
 
Kill rates in shelters and the use of Behavioral issues to excuse kill rates.
 
Genuine financial reporting of government funded charity’s and rescue groups.
 
The need for an ombudsman to address complaints against entities and inspectors empowered under animal welfare legislation

We have a long way to come to bring animal welfare protections up to meet the expectations of the community at large. Educated debate is the only way forward, which is best served by community forums with a view to legislative reform.

I am only an amateur, but every little step in the right direction is a good step.

Mark Aldridge  Independent Candidate for Makin
 
Community advocate & animal and civil rights lobbyist