Posts Tagged ‘Independent candidate’

FORMAL COMPLAINT TO THE ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER “Demanding a new election”

July 11, 2016

FORMAL COMPLAINT TO THE AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER

 

Regarding the conduct and counting of the 2016 Federal election.

 

10th of July 2016

By email; Trudi.Fenton@aec.gov.au

Copy sent; Paul.Langtree@aec.gov.au

Dear Electoral Commissioners

Re; Formal Complaint

 

Formal petition link; https://www.change.org/p/australian-electoral-commission-australians-demanding-a-new-election-2016?recruiter=11899917&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-share_petition-custom_msg&recuruit_context=fb_share_mention_control&fb_ref=Default

 

I am writing in response to numerous complaints regarding the conduct of the 2016 Federal election, complaints I have received from people across Australia which raise concerns in relation to the conduct the counting and the advice given to voters from electoral commission staff and the advice given by Centrelink on behalf of the AEC.

I would like to remind the commission of the legal precedent “Woodward V Sarsons” which enables a common-law argument to invalidate a general election if the conduct of the election strays too far from the legislative provisions, to enable it to be considered an election at law.

To date the many complaints I have received, concur with the many media reports that also expose a variety of conduct issues including but not restricted to;

  • People being turned away from polling booths without being allowed to vote due to a deficiency in ballot papers. (231. Right of elector to receive ballot paper)
  • People being asked to tick of their names, even though they were unable to cast a vote due to again an absence of ballot papers in numerous polling booth locations.
  • People in a variety of location being unable to vote due to a lack of access to polling booths and or mobile polling services.
  • People missing out on their vote due to irregularities in the maintenance of the electoral roll.
  • People being given unauthorised ballot papers. (missing the official marks required for formal acceptance) therefore deeming making valid votes informal under electoral law.
  • The opening of ballot boxes before the end of the voting period, causing all said ballot papers to be informal.
  • People being asked to hand ballot papers to polling workers because the ballot boxes were full, unacceptable under the electoral act.
  • People in remote communities missing out on voting because of polling booth closures and a lack or transport services.
  • ADF (Australian defence employees) missing out on their votes due to restrictions in mobile polling services
  • Complaints from enrolled voters undergoing hospitalisation missing out again due to mobile polling cutbacks and a lack of credible mobile polling services.
  • Postal ballot applications being delayed due to political interference with the application process.
  • People being provided with the wrong ballot papers for electorates outside of their areas and in some cases outside their state.
  • Ballot boxes not being correctly sealed as per the electoral act laws.
  • Ballot boxes unattended which had been ripped open to allow easy access.
  • Absentee voters missing out on their votes, due to a shortage of absentee ballot papers.
  • Counting and scrutiny issues being reported by polling booth staff and scrutineers.
  • Incorrect voting information being provided by polling booth staff and centre link workers to voters across the nation.
  • Voters being told they could not vote with a pen.
  • Voters arriving to find their names missing from the electoral rolls, then denied their right to vote.
  • Reports of missing ballot papers in the final count averaging 25% of the total vote cast.
  • Reports of counting irregularities in both houses.
  • Voter intention on all senate ballot papers being unable to be ascertained as a result of being provided wrong information about formal voting procedures.
  • Many candidates being nominated and contesting the election, that were allowed by the AEC to be nominated and contest the election even though at law they should have been declined by the AEC due to holding offices of the crown or having an allegiance to a foreign power.
  • Polling booth workers not asking the required questions before providing a ballot paper.
  • Media blackout laws were being ignored by several political parties
  • Postal workers exposing issues processing postal ballot papers due to the interception of applications by the Liberal party.
  • The issue of pre-poll and postal ballot papers to voters that did not meet the legislative criteria to be issued these services.
  • Issues exposed relating to security at polling booths.
  • The Major parties handling postal ballot applications, which were intercepted by their offices rather than the reply paid envelopes being addressed to the commission.

 

I therefore lodge a formal complaint and call for a full investigation into these issues, irregularities and the general handling of the election conduct.

(Questions as to why electoral laws were changed the day before the election are also being raised?)

 

  1. How many ballot papers were printed and how many have been accounted for?

 

1a; How many ballot papers were printed and have they all been accounted for?

 

  1. Why did the commission close hundreds of polling booths?

 

2a; how many polling booths were removed from service in comparison to the 2013 and 2010 elections?

 

  1. Why was the commission forced to utilise centre link voters to answer AEC enquiries and what training were they provided to those workers.

 

  1. What advice was recommended to polling workers in relation to the new senate voting laws?

 

  1. Is the AEC going to make a formal complaint to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, regarding the thousands of breaches of the media blackout laws?

 

7a; Does the commission believe that the breaches of these rules has affected the election outcome?

 

  1. How many postal ballot applications were handled by the major parties?

 

  1. Was it lawful for the Liberal party to intercept and open postal ballot applications before on sending them to the Electoral Commission?

 

  1. Why did polling booths run out of ballot papers, when voter attendance was down some 20 to 30%?

 

  1. Why some voters were not asked the required questions before receiving their ballot papers (229. Questions to be put to voter)

 

  1. How many voters were denied a ballot paper or their right to vote? (Section 231.  Ensures the right of elector to receive ballot paper)

 

  1. Why were how to vote papers being left in polling booth voting areas?

 

  1. Will the commission allow their employees to come forward with their complaints without taking legal action against them under their present employment contracts?

 

  1. How many voters were allowed to mark their names of as having voted, that were denied ballot papers?

 

  1. How many polling booths reported running out of senate ballot papers?

 

  1. How many polling booths reported running out of absentee ballot papers?

 

  1. How many polling booths closed early due to running out of ballot papers?

 

  1. How many hospitals were denied mobile polling services in 2016 compared to the 2013 and 2010 federal elections?

 

  1. How many nursing homes were removed from the usual mobile polling services?

 

  1. How many polling booths were closed down in comparison to 2013 and 2010?

 

  1. Did all the absentee and postal ballot applications in line with the legislative requirements?

 

  1. What is the commission position in the massive increase in informal votes?

 

  1. What is the Electoral position relating to the massive sudden increase in none attendance?

 

  1. Why were voters, in particular absentee voters given conflicting advice on voting formally?

 

  1. Do you personally believe the election conduct was in line with your personal expectations?

 

  1. How many voters deliberately missed out on their vote as a direct result of reduced voting/polling services?

 

  1. How much funding was cut to the AEC during this election process compared to 2013 and 2010.

 

  1. How many permanent positions were axed between 2013 and 2016.

 

  1. How many pre-poll/postal applicants applied for AEC services?

 

  1. What we’re polling booth staffs expectations when and if a voter spoiled a ballot paper?

 

  1. What as the extent of training provided to Centre link workers and casual polling staff?

 

  1. How many voters received incorrect ballot papers?

 

  1. How many ballot papers under scrutiny did not have the official mark?

 

  1. How many ballot boxes sustained damage?

 

  1. Will the commission be ignoring electoral law and counting senate and other ballots that do not have the required mark? (209A.   Official mark)

 

  1. How many ballot boxes were not correctly sealed and how many were opened and tampered with prior to the closing of the polls.

 

  1. Why did the commission excuse electoral advertising laws and black out times?

 

  1. What reason does the electoral commissioner give for the sudden rise in informal ballot papers?

 

  1. What reasons does the electoral commissioner give for the huge lack of attendance of around 3 million voters?

 

  1. Will those candidates whose names appeared on ballot papers, but were ineligible to run as a candidate still receive electoral funding?

 

38a will those same candidates preferences be passed on to other candidates where a how to vote was distributed?

 

  1. How many people registered for postal voting?

 

38a; how many of the applicants had a legal right to apply for a postal ballot under schedule          2 of the Electoral Act 1918

 

  1. How many applications or postal ballots were delivered too late to be counted?

 

  1. How many official and unofficial complaints were received by the AEC?

 

  1. Does the commission support a re-election process?

 

  1. What steps can the commissioner take to ensure the voters are aware of who is running in each seat, media reporting in my state only covered 3 parties, and even the how to vote lift outs in local papers excluded all others?

 

  1. Is the move to a position of electronic voting by the major parties a direct result of the

multitude of errors evident during the conduct of the 2016 process?

 

  1. With winning margins in some seats being below 100, are the tens of thousands of missing votes in each of those seats, enough to consider supporting a rerun of the election?

 

  1. Will there be a Petition by Electoral Commission to dispute the outcome of the election under section 357 of the electoral ACT 1918, as a result of the multitude of concerns raised and the deviation away from the legislative requirements of a general election process.

 

On behalf of Australian voters, I would hope the commission can see fit to answer these questions, and offer a full overview of the final conduct and voting facts.

As a federal candidate for the 2016 election I request answers to the questions asked where it is within my rights to ask as a candidate and enrolled voter.

*COMMONWEALTH ELECTORAL ACT 1918 – SECT 364 Real justice to be observed

I believe as an informed voter and experienced political candidate that the election process has deviated to far from the legislative provisions of a proper election process to be considered an election at law.

I therefore demand the commissioner issues a petition to dispute the election outcome, and formally requests that a new election be held, in which the process is restored to be in line with the correct procedures required of a general election process.

Mark Aldridge

P O Box 1073 Virginia SA 5120

Date of Birth 02/08/65

201 Taylors road Penfield Gardens

08 82847482 / 0403379500

aldridgemark@bigpond.com.

Advertisements

Makin candidate, Mark Aldridge, most in touch with his electorate.

June 30, 2016

Mark Aldridge Independent for Makin, is winning the grass roots support in his electorate, based on his representation on Social Media, and grass roots work in his electorate.

Mark 3

Marks recent media releases which paint a clear picture of where he stands on a variety of political topics, the very same topics. recent polls say are supported by the voters in his electorate.

“Protecting our Farmers and producers is one thing, but my position is the farms themselves are strategic assets, and ought not to be for sale to foreign interests” says Mark

Mr. Aldridge runs several farmers markets which service his electorate “Farm Direct” community markets, in Salisbury heights and Lights view, also spending years setting up and supporting other markets in the north, including his first major market in Parafield.

The markets are simply my attempt to bring change at a grass roots level, they were never set us as a political ploy, they are there to simply support my community and the local producers themselves.

“I grew up in the North, in Parafield Gardens, and now live in Penfield amongst the farmers, so uniting them both has been a tremendous success” says Mark

One of the great things about my advocacy work in the north is that I spend much of my time in the electorate chatting with the community, so I feel very connected to them. I believe this is why I have such great support and such a detailed understanding of their needs at a grass roots level.

When asked about recent media articles, Mark said “I have never been very popular with the media to be honest” they at times seem as out of touch with the people as the major party candidates. The election debate coverage so far between the supposed leaders, clearly shows they have no idea what change the public care even calling for.

Real jobs, securing our primary production sector, improved support for our pensioners and veterans are not on the agenda, in fact my opponents in Makin, are still calling for increased immigration and foreign aid, obviously little do they realise, the public do not agree.

The only issue my support is facing is a hostile media, who as usual, feel they have a right to dictate both the policy’s to be debated and restrict coverage to their favoured candidates.

“Makin voters should know me well enough by now to know what I stand for, sadly those that don’t will probably be swayed by media propaganda, rather than any open debate on the topics of concern. Even the Messenger press have refrained from letting their readers know who is running, which is very sad for local democracy”. Mark said.

Once the election is over, regardless of the outcome, I will still be here for the community and continue to work in their best interests, so losing an election only affects the resources I have to do my job. I will still be looking for ways to improve services and opportunities for the voters of Makin, long after the other candidates disappear for another few years.

 

Written by Mark Aldridge in the absence of any journos that are allowed to write about me J

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENTS DAY JULY 2 2016

June 28, 2016

AUSTRALIA’S INDEPENDENTS DAY JULY 2 2016

vGFKeK1467085104

This week you have a chance to change politics, you can address political mediocrity, not necessarily based on a massive choice of inspirational candidates, but by sending a strong message that we the people demand our voices are heard.

Taking away the power of the two party systems, is the only way we can bring about political and social change.

Before globalization, Australia was leading the world, we had the best health care, topping the list with 17 beds per thousand in our hospitals, we led the world in innovation, research, small business flourished so did manufacturing, we made everything, exported it, and when you brought Aussie made, you know it would last.

We were a proud nation leading on the world stage; we were the envy of the world.

We exported more than we purchased, which created jobs, security, and our nation prospered, we were in deed the lucky country.

We now we have around 2 beds per thousand in our hospitals, we sold of our medical patents, we undermine innovation, Industry has been pushed of shore taking our job security with it, all in the name of globalisation and free trade.

Since we opened up our nation to globalization we have lost more than our rights, our self-determination, our sovereignty, we have lost our way and our way of life and our place as one of the best nations on earth.

Out of touch politicians with no idea how to recover are now selling the farm so to speak, selling our primary industries, farms and water to countries that would never let us buy theirs, they are now told what to do by people we never elected, again under this new global agenda.

Our supposed representatives lost sight of our long term future, coming up with short term answers to long term problems, increase our population by immigration, borrowing money to send of shore to help others. When that money ran out, they sold of our infrastructure, ports, and power production not to find money for us, to appease agreements made with others, again people we do not meet or get to elect.

This election, most of the candidates not only back this agenda, they want to increase immigration, increase foreign aid, borrow more money, make selling the farms even easier, and do that by further reducing our services, our health care, our education and undermining our sovereignty.

England voted to restore its democracy, just as we should, but as you will see those who wish to dictate our way of life, those that want to engineer our society will really step up, and I would say in doing so they will expose themselves and their agenda.

We do not need free trade, trade deals what allow others to buy our farms yet won’t sell us theirs, and we don’t need to compete with those on $10 a week, because we never had to, we don’t need to buy our vehicles from overseas, we used to build and export ours to them, and we can build them again.

Don’t fall for the bullshit that globalization is good, or the only way forward.

We have to demand change now, we still have the know-how, the factories and the infrastructure to rebuild, we still own some farms and infrastructure, we can pay of our debt and buy back the farm, but it will take hard work and sacrifice, the same hard work and sacrifice that built this country in the first place.

We can ensure that sacrifice is shared with the corporate sector, by demanding they pay their fair share of the tax burden, by the re-introduction of tariff protections, and by abolishing any trade deals that disadvantage us as a nation.

We need to limit immigration, fix our trade deficit, restore protectionism, cut back foreign aid and get our back yard in order, and the last thing we need is foreign body’s, and dodgy trade deals telling us how to run our nation, because it is what has destroyed all the hard work of our forefathers in the first place.

The government and their Media mates have you believing all of this rubbish is good for you, and that people like me, that speak the truth are nutbags, but in your heart you know the truth.

Like the English BREXIT vote, we can take back that which is rightfully ours, our rights, our liberties and our freedoms, and regain the label of the lucky country, and then we can use that position to help those in need.

Not by sending them money, but providing the services they need.

The two party political systems have been written by the two parties’ to empower the two parties, they are nothing to do with democracy, in fact they work against democracy, the concept of a free and informed choice, against our sovereignty and our ability to determine our nation’s future and protect its peoples best interests.

Every term in government we give these people, in every country, is leading us further away from recovery; their election means less social services, less real jobs, increased selling of our strategic assets, farms and water. The further these parties lead us in a downward spiral, the harder it will become to rebuild.

All we have to do is deny them our vote, deny imported produce our money, and deny the media the power to educate us.

Be the change you want to see in this world, not just how you vote, but how you spend, and what you share on social media, and more than anything else, how you treat your fellow people.

Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for Makin……. A difference!

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 

INDEPENDENT takes to the courts to protect local community events and Markets

June 20, 2016

Do you oppose the closure of local Markets, Fetes, fundraisers and Community events!

market and some cars, x trail 050

 

 

“A recent legal attack on local markets, fetes and community events by self interest in the grocery industry has left doubt regarding the future of community events” says Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for Makin and founder of Farm Direct community markets.

The initial opposition was about Markets effects on businesses in the vicinity, but turned sour when our Markets relocation was approved and the approval was appealed in the ERD court (Environment and Development Court), says Mark

The legal team fighting our approval used an argument that has created a legal precedent that now has the ability to affect community events all over Australia.

I joined the action and studied hard to be a voice for the community in the courts, working with the council’s lawyers, but sadly we were out gunned on the day.

The finding has determined that a trestle table is now a shop, and a group of them is a shopping centre, putting community events like markets at conflict with local development law.

Where once they were considered merit applications (supported by the community) they are now considered non complying developments. The immediate effect of this change/precedent is that all regular community events must endure massive red tape and approvals at many levels, including the development assessment panel and with the state government.

“The costs alone could see the end of many present and future events and markets” says Mark.

It has become clear the community are opposed to this new precedent and are supporting of local and community events, so it is time for the state and commonwealth governments to step in and protect the community my amending the definition of a stall in the local legislation.

The community at large would indeed consider local events and markets as a merit form of development, so that should be reflected in the legislation.

Until then I have personally appealed the decision by the ERD court which will be heard before the full bench of the Supreme Court at, which will be heard in early August 2016.

The appeal is being sponsored by my markets and by the community itself though a successful online fundraising program, says Mark.

I have managed to get pro-bono legal support from a local law firm who also care about the local community and one of South Australia’s leading QC’s.

We hope to overturn the decision of the ERD court and put pressure on state and local governments to re-define the legislation to thwart any future attacks on local community events all over Australia.

The sad part of this story is the fact Parliament can sort all this by simple changes to the definitions in development law, but calls for their support have been met with silence. I tried contacting most existing members, even Nick, and no one has stood behind me other than State MP Mark Parnell.

Farmers markets, produce markets and local events are a not only great avenues to get the public out and about, they have become a god sent to our smaller farmers and producers, in fact a variety of small businesses in recent times, so the implications of this fight are wide spread.

There has even been court actions lodged to silence me speaking on these matters which I am vigorously defending in the District court, which clearly shows how powerful our opposition has become, says Mark

My markets not only protect the smaller operators, help create real local jobs, they also promote healthy eating, restore access to affordable fresh produce and help show case the best produce Australia has to offer.

I will not back down from this fight, as it has taken us many years working with the local community to build our markets, and since this Market was erupted we have seen way to many markets close down in the local area, in a time I believe we need even more.

Mark Aldridge Independent candidate for Makin………….a difference.

aldridgemark@bigpond.com   08 82847482 / 0403379500

Independent candidate wants direct democracy phone app

June 6, 2016

“Handing Democracy back to the People”

Let every elector in Makin decide issues of importance, by utilising latest technology.

Let all the federal candidates consider change

Independent candidate Mark Aldridge running for the seat of Makin is determined to hand democracy back to the people.

Mark has fought for over a decade to help restore the rights and freedoms of voters, and working with other informed Independents has come up with a bold plan to give constituents their own voice in the parliamentary decisions.

Mr Aldridge said our elected representatives should represent we the people, not dictate to us.

If elected, he will work with experts to develop a mobile phone app that will let residents have their say directly on important issues and legislative reform.

“The little people need to take the power back,” Mr Aldridge said.

“Through this use of technology, I hope to engage the public and help make the residents of Makin the most politically involved electorate in Australia, and set an example for every other elected Member of Parliament to follow, if they dare to actually support real democracy.”

The idea would be to study any reform I am asked to vote on, send out an overview, and let the people decide what their will is, and I will present that to parliament.

For too long now, parliament has taken the position that we don’t understand, and in some cases we need not know, and that is not what democracy is meant to be about.

I will do my best to present both sides of any debate, offer my opinion and let the electorate decide, said Mark.

Obviously being elected by my electorate to represent them provides me with a mandate to do so, but given the fact only a percentage will have elected me, I see good reason to include them all when it comes to being their voice.

Most people these days are savvy when it comes to computer and mobile phone technology, so I believe the idea will be well received.

Mark Aldridge

 

Mark 3

Labor party in SA take an Axe to Democracy

December 1, 2013

The day the government destroyed democracy

By the Australian Alliance

 The south Australian government take to democracy with an axe, having only scraped in to government over the past few terms; the Labor party in SA push though laws to ensure they face less opposition.

New laws passed last night will limit the number of candidates on the ballot. The changes will mean only registered parties or groups with 500 nominees can lodge a preference ticket. Independent candidates will now need 250 nominees, instead of just two.

 

This is a massive change when you add in the fact that our electoral rolls are a mess and electors are reluctant to endure the scrutiny of the electoral commission if they dare endorse a candidate, would mean minor players would need double this amount of nominations, the major parties would need NONE.

The cost to nominate has also increased from $450 to $3,000. And the existing parties that passed these laws will be given preferential placement on of the left of the ballot paper, over independents, undermining any resemblance of fair play or democratic practice.

This massive increase in costs on top of the huge costs of trying to compete with the 2 major parties makes ones candidacy basically out of reach, more so when we add in time of work, petrol and the many other costs associated with running as a candidate.

The massive issue here that goes beyond this attack on our democratic process and the virtue of our constitution is that these very changes were sought by the very party that dared use dodgy tactics to gain power in the first place.

With the major parties also using their political connections with in local councils, to even attack vote one poster placements of minor players, it is all but game set match in their favour.

The upper house is indeed the house of review, the very place that independent voices are needed, and these recent changes replace the fact the government have wanted to abolish it for year, now they just want to make it their own rubberstamp.

 It also takes time to get the true results of an election, well for the people, and even then it is never made public, seems it is best we don’t know what happens in our Democracy.

The last SA state election was in March 2010, some of the true facts were uncovered in the court of disputed returns a few months later, but there remains little to no reporting of the facts. 

Only a year later, facts on the huge multiple voting that occurred were published in a back room article, but the tens of thousands of missing ballot papers and the fact over 77,000 missed out on their vote, because their names went missing of the electoral roll, uncovered within a couple of months of the election is seemingly not newsworthy.

The electoral commission would have been well aware of such a huge mistake, but chose not it appears to make this fact public.

It is also not worthy of exposure that the court confirmed “regardless of the conduct or count of a general election, the results cannot be invalidated, something I find atrocious, let alone the many other hidden facts, like the governments own crown solicitors arguing that our common law rights of elections no longer apply to have my case struck out, even though they bloody well do and parliament had confirmed that! 

So let’s get down to the facts and figures; 

1,093,316 people were enrolled to vote in South Australia by the latest reports, yet during the election the figure was 1,015,386. The AEC confirming that over 77,000 names went missing of the rolls, and many who did vote received fines for not voting, in fact had voted? Was this the result of the introduction of the new I-rolls or simply total mismanagement? 

“I believe the new I rolls being used for the first time, resulted in these 77,000 long term voters missing out on their vote, either way, the amount of people who missed out is unacceptable, and the results of the election should therefore be invalid”.

Multiple voting ran rife, but the figures have not been published, just as the many dead people who voted, or the many registered at addresses that no longer exist. 

For me it was the lack of information on how to vote and who was running, my how to vote website went from 50 hits a month to over 30,000 in a couple of days, the Electoral commissions web services went from 70,000 at the 2006 election to near 250,000 in 2010, coincidently the same year the how to vote booklet was no longer sent out, even though the Act itself demands the electoral commissioner ensures you are well informed.   

“No Person, government department or the media are expected in any way to inform people of their choices, not even the electoral act ensures that” 

Declared institutions were reduced, resulting in many of our most vulnerable missing out on their vote, let alone the many reports of undue influence. Some voters in Hospitals and nursing homes, reported they were asked the question “Labor or Liberal” from their room door, and the ballot filled in for them? 

Postal voting had a major increase due to the major parties sending out hundreds of thousands of postal vote applications, up near 40,000, of which over 6,500 applications were dismissed as dodgy, and over 16,500 ballot papers that were sent out simply went missing, a number far in excess of the winning margins. (25,000 applications failed or ballots went missing, enough to change the results of many seats) 

I note here the state Labor party had registered the name of the opposition leader “Isobel Redman” as a reply paid address, so as to intercept voter information, prior to the election, this it seems is acceptable practice to the Labor party officials, in the same way as dressing up as another party and deceiving voters at the polling booths.

The 2 party preferred counting, a system resulting from the structural biases of letting the 2 major parties control electoral law, resulted in 48% to Labor and 51% to Liberal, despite that fact Labor were elected, against the preference of the South Australian people. (1250 votes the winning margin)

44,100 people failed to vote, 22,807 were excused and 21,293 were fined, add these figures to the missing ballot papers, the invalid votes, the 77,000 missing names and the any other abnormalities, then consider the result votes wise now matches the electors, and something sinister has occurred. (Over 10,000 people were send enforcement orders)

“Consider these figures when we take in the fact, many attended to vote and found their names missing of the rolls, the new I-rolls, and the many reports of those who did vote, receiving letters from the electoral commission saying they did not”?

“Just a note here, the recent bi-election for Ramsay was decided on 70% of the vote, because around 30% of people entitled to vote, either did not show up, their vote was informal or more likely conduct issues arose, the media in this case again ignored the outcome and indeed any other candidates besides the Labor candidate” google and see for yourself, articles in the Ramsay election only covered the Labor candidate!

The political parties themselves handled over 58,632 postal vote applications, remembering the Labor party had the name Isobel Redmond registered as a reply paid address, so information sent to Isobel, actually ended up with in the Labor party offices, so they knew the preference of tens of thousands of voters. 

There was also a 71% increase in complaints received by the commission, plus a vast amount of complaints of an ethical nature, a clear indication, and the election strayed from what we believe to be a democratic process. 

In the legislative council ballot, near 6% of votes were informal, a massive figure even though the Electoral commission made it clear many of these people had tried to cast a valid vote, again in excess of winning margins, and many voters simply didn’t even try to cast a vote. 

Over 20.5 % of informal votes, would have been formal under optional preferential voting, consider; our chief justice Murray Gleeson, confirmed our entitlement “if change be necessary, must be made by the Freewill of an Informed electorate” interesting enough, the Act actually says such votes should be counted, but that would offend the 2 party systems? (38% in the Adelaide district alone) 

The Electoral Act clearly states “if a ballot paper is not filled in a manner required by this act, but the voters intention is clear, then the vote will count” yet the voters intention is able to be guessed by the commissioner, who the hell can guess a person’s intent beyond what they have marked?

“And yes this guess favours the 2 party system”

58,714 upper house ballot papers were informal; with get this a 2.2% Administration error?  34.6% informal votes again were confirmed as attempts to vote formally, enough votes in doubt to change the government is SA in many ways on its own. 

Total costs to us of this debacle 8.9 Million   Labor dressed up as another party, and gave out dodgy information on the day of the election to dupe voters, and this is the party leading our state, deplorable.

I took all this to court self represented to try and restore democracy, not only was my hard work ignored by our media, after I lost on a technical issue, which was later found wanting, some of the media labelled me a nut job.

This raises and question of ethics, if a journo lives in SA, one would think that such abhorrent practices would affect themselves and their family?

 For the next 2 years, I received letters from the court offering me money, even though I supposedly lost, raising another question also ignored by the media.

During the trial I was shown video that would have resulted in jail terms for many members of a particular party, but this was only offered as evidence if I could secure a trial, because the person that had it, feared reprisals.

The Outcome is simple the Labor Party won by a hand full of votes, yet informal votes massively exceeded their winning totals, dodgy postal ballot applications also far exceeded their win, missing ballot papers could have well changed the outcome, let alone a host of other major issues, even the multiple voting standing alone could have changed the result.

I was contacted by Electoral staff on a variety of issues, yet they are signed to confidential clauses, so could not come forward in public, one of those was the checking of the rolls where they found massive issues during spot checks, again this was silenced.

The Labor party were caught red handed impersonating another party to dupe voters, and their registering of the opposition leaders name as a reply paid, also allowed them to intercept voters information, statutory decelerations in the hundreds described a mired of other dodgy practices, which never made court scrutiny, therefore remaining un proven, including undue influence, misleading advertising and many other issues. 

The Electoral Commission is well aware of all these issues, and I can only assume dozens more, the list of departures from ideal and legislated conduct are huge including;

  • People being turned away from the polling booths based on the dress standards.
  • Polling booths running out of ballot papers.
  • People being denied their right to both replacement ballot papers and absentee ballots.
  • Dodgy practices outside the polling booths.
  • How to vote information and preferencing information absent from the booths.
  • The How to vote guide which used to be posted to every home was dropped.
  • Candidate access to other candidates information for Preferencing unavailable in time.
  • Previously declared institutions missed out on mobile polling.
  • People were asked to vote under others names.
  • The list is endless and I mean it

Under Common law the people have certain voting rights, yet this election was not one that was comfortable at law, it strayed so far from the legislated requirements it was not in fact a legal election, so the results should have been invalidated and a new and honest election ought to have been held, while we are at it, let’s debate reforms, so future elections are democratic.

1.   77,000 long term voters missed out on their vote (ask your friends)

2.   16,500 postal ballot papers went missing

3.   6,500 postal ballot applications were invalidated

4.   An unknown quantity of people were turned away for various reasons and many did not receive a ballot paper

5.   Many made mistakes and were refused replacement ballot papers

6.   People who did vote were fined for not voting (what happened to their votes?)

7.   58,714 upper house voters ballot papers were deemed invalid and not counted, even though most tried to cast a vote (if the information was available to assist them what would have happened to their votes and the outcome in general?)

8.   Nearly 200,000 extra on line hits seeking how to vote information, proves the electoral commissions lack of information expected under the Act, had an influence on the outcome.

  “So much for our entitlement to a free and informed vote”  

Compare the results of the election with the above figures:

1.   In the upper house count candidates were excluded by votes as low as 17 in total

2.   In the lower house seats were won by votes of around 2000 in most cases, from 167, many under 1000 votes, so the swing created by a legal and fair election, could change the whole political landscape

3.   There are well over 120,000 votes in doubt.

The state election was not a valid election by way of either the dodgy legislation or our common law right to a vote, even our constitutional entitlement was ignored well in excess of the winning margins, the State Labor party have NO right to lead this state, and the tens of thousands of voters who missed out or had their ballot papers go missing, deserve their right to a free vote!

We now see issues with missing ballot papers finally in the news, albeit minor cases, the 2013 federal election appears to have endured similar diversions from democratic practice, but I note facts and figures for most seats are now NOT BEING RELEASED to the public or the candidates!

All preference flows and final results for the federal election from south Australians federal electoral commission are not to be released, even upon request from the candidates themselves.

So our constitution is now so down trodden, that its values are extinct, to run as an independent or minor party is now out of reach, which results in the genuine voice of the people all but banned from parliament.

This ensures applications to the court of disputed returns cannot be lodged in event of irregularities.

The sad fact is this; if this conduct explained here is to remain covered up, what conduct will we expect to see during the South Australian 2014 state election?

Mark M Aldridge

Independent candidate and spokesperson for the Australian Alliance (electoral reform division)

82847482 / 0403379500

Who to vote for in Wakefield electorate “Federal election 2013” by Mark Aldridge

August 17, 2013
To the people of Wakefield, I entered the political arena over 10 years ago to fight to keep Australia on track, to maintain the ideal that we were the lucky country and ensure my children enjoy the very same freedoms and opportunity’s I had as a child.
Since then taxation continues to be applied without respect to equity, we now have more taxes, levies, fines, rules, and laws. We pay higher rates, fee’s, and utilities than nearly every nation and we mow face more red tape than ever.
Our human and civil rights are eroded every time new legislation is written, our education and health care receives lest funding every year and our education system fails more than acceptable levels of our children.
Over recent years we have spiralled down from 17 hospital beds per thousand Australians to under 3, and there is no end in sight.
The basic cost of living and our nation’s debt are rising out of control, while our services and basic infrastructure falls behind, an issue our children will pay heavily for if we don’t reverse the trend.
I also learnt very quickly that our system of democracy is undermined by the very fact those that write the laws, have the most to gain from the inclusion of structural biases.
So I decided many years ago to try and lead by example, I took action in the courts to empower our voting rights, uncovering tens of thousands of missing votes and ballot papers, along with many dodgy practices, yet the courts told me “the results of a general election stand, regardless of the conduct or the count”.
I held rallies on many topics including support for children with disabilities, carers, law and order, environmental and carbon trading, democracy, animal welfare, water resources, farming and a variety of rights based issues.
I then stepped heavily info the farming and primary production industries, firstly taking on the might of Woolworths and Cole’s, and opposing their excessive slice or the retail trade and unethical their treatment of our farmers and producers.
My work grew from rallies and on line protests, and attempts to secure honest product labelling to both supporting and opening my own markets to unite the community direct with the farmers and growers themselves “Farm Direct” community markets.
The outcome has been a great success, new farms are being planted, producers are getting a fair price for their produce and the community reap the rewards of more affordable and fresh produce all heaped together with in a safe family atmosphere.
I speak on behalf of many groups and alongside many compassionate and caring people, and have spoken all over the country for over 14 years self funded, I do not back down from a fight or overzealous red-tape, and I always honour my promises without consideration to personal costs.
Nothing will stop me from fighting for what I believe or helping those in the community in need, the only benefit of being elected will be the extra resources and a stronger voice to ensure our voices are heard.
Here is a list of a few of my ideals in brief;
  • Electoral reforms, to empower free and informed voting, abolishment of full preferential voting, improved services, increased security and complete up to date electoral rolls.
  • Stop the sale of our land, farms, water and vital infrastructure to foreign investment.
  • The regulation of our grocery industry, to ensure genuine competition and protect the best interests of our farmers and consumers.
  • Increase financial assistance to rebuild the farming industry to make Australia’s food bowl one of the world’s major food exporters.
  • Improved product labelling and shelving allocation including place of origin.
  • An overhaul of the animal welfare laws, and support services for private rescue groups and shelter operators.
  • Equity in taxation between local and offshore based industry.
  • Protection of our aquifers and the increased adoption of storm water harvesting as a national recharge system.
  • The relief of cost of living pressures through lowering staple food costs, cheaper access to potable water and energy regulation and innovation.
  • The introduction of a national buy back scheme with government guaranteed low interest rates to restore Aussie farms and infrastructure, back into Australian ownership.
  • Fight to reduce local red-tape by the abolishment of payroll and land tax, to stimulate the economy, as well as reigning in council bi-laws.
  • Lobby for a “Bill of rights” which would be debated in public hearings then be attached by referendum to our constitution. The bill of rights must override all government legislation and must become a part of the national curriculum.
  • Increased investment in the disability and mental health sector, in education, carer services and support, the abolition of all critical waiting lists. The introduction of NIDS and further investment in social inclusion programs are essential.
  • To demand reform to our court system to bring back affordability and equity, with a strong public consultation process in regards to the family courts.
  • Work-Cover reforms with in management, board positions and contracts to improve services and the cost affects on small business.
  • A more compassionate and equitable approach to border security and immigration, which takes in the best interests of the applicants and that of the Australian people and their way of life.
  • Tackle the increased lack of internet security including on line gambling and social networking accountability.
  • The restoration of registration labels.
  • Address the shortfalls in funding to our pensioners and veterans to bring them back into line with the cost of living and ensure future increases keep up with CPI.
Like most small business owners, paying the bills has become hard enough on its own, and the fact my wife and I also fund our native wildlife sanctuary, simply means I will not be able to keep up this pace forever without your support.
I won’t ask for your money, what I do need is your help, your time and your precious vote as a reward for my actions, and if you entrust me with it, I will do my very best to make you proud you did.
Mark Aldridge
Independent federal Candidate for Wakefield.

COLES & WOOLWORTHS The Boycott 20th July 2012

July 10, 2012

Australian Boycott of Coles & Woolworths 20th July 2012

Standing up for hard working farmers and producers by the Aussie public is a worthy cause on many fronts, weather it is to ensure hard working Australians get a fair go, demand clean fresh and healthy produce, or to simply ensure we maintain a fair and competitive market, the price of inaction is indeed a price to high to pay, says Mark Aldridge, local community advocate & Independent candidate.

Australia has one of the most concentrated grocery markets in the world. Woolworths and Wesfarmers (owner of Coles) account for almost 80% of supermarket sales, 60% of alcohol retail, 50% of petrol retail and 40% of all retail in Australia. The more market share they gain, the more influence they have over suppliers, and the easier it is to stamp out our smaller independent retailers.

Ironically West farmers originated in the early 1900’s as a coop to support farmers and producers, yet in recent times, have been accused more than once of using their new found power to rape farmers of their hard earned rewards.

*Supermarket giant Woolworths has been accused of using “brutal negotiations” to squeeze price cuts from suppliers to help fund a price war with rival Coles.*

Just recently many producers and growers have come forward with reports of unfair market manipulation, where Woolworths themselves have demanded a lowering of the wholesale price so they can enter a price war with Coles, those that refuse have been told they will be taken off the shelves, and we all know the risk of replacements coming from some foreign growers and producers.

“My investigations go much further showing all sorts of deceitful practices” says Mark

Recent legislation proposed by independent Senator Nick Xenophon would give power to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to apply to the courts to have the chains’ duopoly broken up. Says Mark “I sincerely hope such a move is in line with my original calls last year to limit the big 2 to a 30% to 40% share in line with most OCD countries”

“We the people must back such a move to ensure the future of our farmers and growers, that they are given not only a fair go, but a long term future with the added growth we so desperately need in Australia” said Mark, and Nick being a lone elected voice for common-sense needs the backing of the whole community, I certainly back him 100%.

Having met with many local producers and spoken to the experts in the agricultural industry, what I am hearing is simply un-Australian, from undue influence, market manipulation to our right deceitful and misleading conduct.

Most countries offer their primary producers government subsidies to help them compete on the world stage, our farmers and growers are by far the most productive, yet the governments only input is excessive red tape to achieve “Fresh food accreditation”, which most overseas governments ignore, begging the question “If imported foods take over where local fresh production once supplied all our needs, what exactly will we be eating?”

Hearing personal stories from so many growers brings a tear to my eye, months tending to their crops, careful picking and packing, shipping it off to one of the big 2, only to be told their produce is rejected, but wait we can take it of your hands for half price or less, yet the same produce hits the shelves at full price, wiping out producers on a weekly basis, this type of conduct is nothing more than criminal.

Woolworths “The fresh food people” have their hands in many pies, they are also Australia’s largest owner of poker machines (13,480 machines) and the largest seller of tobacco and alcohol, so their huge advertising budget selling them as supporters of local families appears to be more about their wallets, rather than what is best for the Australians themselves.

Wesfarmers operates in the areas of retail, coal mining, energy, insurance, chemicals and fertilisers, and industrial and safety products, buying up Coles Group in 2007 for $22 billion.

These supermarket giants have been blamed for Australians paying the fastest growing prices for groceries in the developed world, so it is as usual all about the money, it is not about the quality of the produce or the protection of hard working farmers and producers, and it is definitely not about our countries best interests.

“Woolworths and Coles are a $100 Billion a year duopoly with a retail market share unmatched in the developed world, and our politicians are doing nothing to stem their growth or market dominance” Says Mark Aldridge, so it is time we the people did!

With a reported 80% of the market in groceries, they have a massive impact in Australia, England’s largest 2 enjoy 48% and the US a mere 20%, so it is fair to consider our government should have put the brakes on long ago, and more than enough reason for we the people to do it for them in the circumstances.

Make no mistake their market share continues to grow, at the expense of smaller operators, hard working family farms and local producers, and most importantly the quality and availability of our fresh produce.

We have lost a huge slab of farming land to international interests, most of our larger manufactures and mass food packaging companies have also found their way of shore, so it has become imperative that those that remain are not only protected but we build an accountable system, which will reward increased investment in the vital production of our food stocks, not just for us, but also for future generations.

Have many noticed that most big shopping centres only have one or maybe both of these grocery stores, yet none of their competitors, well that is not a coincidence, their huge money ensures they can now control competition.

The impending price war may seen a godsend to those suffering on a tight budget, but as the saying goes “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”, what do you want your children and future generations eating in the future, let alone what they may be forced to pay?

It is not only about how our producers are treated and even paid, it is also about the rights of consumers, my wife and I prefer local products and Australian made items, yet it is far from easy to tell the difference, labelling is less than satisfactory, and some home brand products are deliberately misleading, shelf placement also makes a huge difference.

So many issues arise when we simply wish to make an informed choice, Australian made, GMO, even Halal certification, as if we need not know, yet it is our money, our bodies and our long term future, so it should be our choice, China is known to treat its cabbages with formaldehyde and some foreign apple growers used the antibiotic streptomycin on their apples to control fire blight, do any of us want our children exposed to this?

“23 cents in every dollar Australians spend ends up in this duopolys pockets” begging the question “Where the hell is our government and their ACCC.

Dare we allow this to continue, our farmers, growers and producers are being forced to live on as low as 5% of what you are paying at the counter, so the supposed huge discounts on offer are smoke and mirrors, and it becomes unbelievable the big 2 want to reduce their meagre 5%, do the sums, only then will you get a true picture facing those on the land.

“The story I heard today of an area with 27 growers being reduced to 2, due to dirty practices, in less than a year is simply unacceptable”

On the 20th of July I call on every Australian to stand behind our farmers and producers, by boycotting both Coles and Woolworths, until this issue is resolved, or they at least come to the party with a fair system and treatment of their Aussie suppliers.

We must also demand easy to read labelling to allow us to support local produce and priority shelve locations, if they are all about serving the Australian public, then these demands should be perfectly acceptable.

Protests will be held all over Australia on Saturday the 21st of July to ensure all Australians are well informed about this very important event.

For more information please contact the writer.

Mark M Aldridge

Community advocate and Independent candidate

aldridgemark@bigpond.com

www.markmaldridge.com

08 82847482 / 0403379500

Why Vote for Mark Aldridge Independent for the Ramsay By Election 2012

January 15, 2012

Why should you vote for me?

 

It would appear you have two choices, more of the same or a change in direction, and just maybe increased support for the local community, with a tried and trusted name

I have stood up and put my money where my mouth is for over 12 years, as a local, not as a representative for a political party, and I could do so much more with the resources available as an elected member.

I studied the disability and mental health sector, I stood up for change; I met with the right people, lobbied government and held one of the largest rallies with the support of many good people including late Dr. Paul Collier.

When I heard government endorsed contractors were stealing water and damaging our northern plains aquifers, I exposed the issue with the help of Today tonight.

When the very same contractors were exposed for not adequately paying employees, I personally ensured their wages were paid.

I heard a local native wild life sanctuary owner needed help, and that her hand reared animals would be put down, I was there with my wife, we set up and moved the sanctuary to our own premises and run and self fund it. (Willow wood sanctuary)

Qld was devastated by floods, so I raised money and feed for the RSPCA and other carers in QLD, when the trucks let us down and those who had collected goods for the people of Gatton, I took time off work and drove my hotrod over with funds and near 5 tonnes of goods, raising money along the way.

The South Australian State election was exposed as dodgy, I investigated and found tens of thousands of names missing of the rolls, and near 20,000 missing ballot papers, enough to change the outcome, so I took the conduct to court, risking my home and everything I own, the results were a bloody disgrace, “regardless of the outcome the results of a general election stand”, and I am still angry at the outcome, and fighting for reform.

When local people are in need, I back them up including attending court to assist in the defence of their innocence, including many self represented court cases in the fight for a fair go.

I have met with and supported most sections of the community, our farmers and producers, housing trust tenants, victims of Family’s SA & the family court,  our water resources,  small business operators and the self employed,  our un and under employed and pensioners, veteran groups, Novita and other under-resourced groups helping our most vulnerable, to name only a few.

I have written on and studied all aspects of our supposed rights and liberty’s, and fought to not only protect them but to bring into law those most basic rights we have come to believe we have in Australia, through the adoption of our own bill of rights.

The other choice is the Labor candidate Zoe Bettison, whom I do not know personally, she has worked for several Labor organisations, both here and in the Northern Territory, her experience with the unions and Hawker Britton Labor’s spin machine, makes her an ideal candidate for what Labor calls a safe seat, she knows what to say and when, has the state’s biggest Unions backing, and has been endorsed because the Labor party know she will tow the party line.

If you want a representative that will fight with everything they have to protect your best interests and those of your children I am the ideal choice, and the proof is only Google away, as everything I say can be confirmed both on line and on my website http://www.markmaldridge.com

My Grandparents were great role models, helping those in need, my Father Robyn Aldridge worked for the SA Gas Company, and still runs Parafield Gas services in Parafield Gardens at the same address I grew up, he also is the number one member of the Parafield Gardens Community club as one who helped establish the club for the local community, my Mother Gillian Aldridge has been a long term advocate for the local Community and now holds the position as our Mayor of Salisbury.

In the absence of the mighty resources of the state Labor party, I will do my best to ensure the people of Ramsay know I am running and what I stand for, and regardless of the outcome, I will continue to do my best for my local community and to hold our elected members to account.

Mark Marshall Aldridge

Independent for Ramsay