Posts Tagged ‘Independent candidates’

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

July 16, 2018

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Mark Aldridge, “work in progress”

Much of the wording has been stolen from high court judgements

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COME ON RAMSAY, LETS LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

March 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mark Aldridge Independent “Representing You”

INDEPENDENT CALLS FOR A MASSIVE CUT TO FOREIGN AID $$$.

June 21, 2016

MAKIN CANDIDATE CALLS FOR FOREIGN AID REFORM

aid

 

Australia is already one of the largest donors to foreign aid, yet I wonder how much of that money ever makes it to the people most in need.

I am well-travelled and use my time to help those most in need in Asia, yet I never see Aussie aid, making it to where it was originally destined.

In Australia we have a massive jobs shortage, so why can’t we kill two birds with one stone, by immediately cutting cash aid programs, and invest the savings employing our people to head to those countries in need and offer grass roots support on the ground where it is genuinely needed.

We have great minds and experienced workers, civil construction experts, primary production workers, so on and so on, that can’t find work, so let our nation pay them to educate and support those in need in countries that are lacking in said expertise.

Corruption swallows up most of the cash and grants we send overseas, I know I have seen it first hand, in Indonesia alone, the locals have no access to free health care or even doctors, so where are the billions we donate there actually ending up?

I see the other candidates in Makin calling for increase foreign aid, and suggest they head over seas and look for results; I bet they won’t find any. Most of the great work being performed in the countries that are recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars borrowed and sent there by Australia, are funded directly by compassionate Australian donors.

Aus-Aid itself admits a percentage of all foreign aid goes missing, where is a pertinent question we should all ask.

Most of the poorer nations have little access to fresh potable water, healthy food and very few of them can afford health care and access to free education, so if the tax payers are going to fund these nations, best it be the people in need, not more money for their sometimes corrupt officials.

While we consider all this, lest we forget our own, while we are sending billions of borrowed dollars overseas, one might consider our homeless, our veterans, our vulnerable children on critical waiting lists, but I suspect that is called protectionism, something our politicians now days frown upon, I wonder why.

Never fear change.

 

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

08 82847482 / 0403379500

Independent candidate wants to end “Discount Democracy”

June 7, 2016

Independent candidate wants to end “Discount Democracy”

democracy 1

 

The Australian electoral commission for the past 2 decades has endured funding cuts, where one would hope we would expect increased funding in relation to secure democracy in this country.

Where once every Australian home received a now to vote guide in the mail, to ensure they knew how to vote, what their voting rights were, where the polling booths were, and how to make applications, all we receive now is propaganda.

Even worse, political parties are writing electoral law, even though they have the most to gain from structural biases, they are now even handling electoral applications, like postal ballot applications and the like.

Return addresses for postal ballot applications are now the head offices of political parties, in fact the political parties are now even printing electoral material, something most voters would never support and undermines the security of the ballot.

For those voters confused by new laws, or those who are either first time voters or new to this country, a call to the AEC to have questions answered are now being answered by Centrelink workers whose recent crash course in electoral law is resulting in misinformation.

Australia still embraces pencils and cardboard boxes, yet continue to claim to be one of the best democracy’s on the planet, and maybe we once were.

It is interesting to note here, that council elections are now afforded more robust electoral practices, the electorate receive a how to vote guide, a list of the candidates and in some areas, a basic overview of what the candidates stand for, so why are state and federal elections not considered worthy of these reforms?

Voting in a democracy is meant to be all about the Free will of an informed electorate, and the return of an election guide could ensure that happens.

Voters need to know how to vote, where to vote and know who the candidates are, I personally would toss in the freedom to only preference those they prefer, and only having to vote if they are inspired to, but I doubt parliament will support too much freedom.

In recent years election facts are clear that the system is failing, with missing ballot papers on the rise as are invalid votes, and one would hope that every vote was more important than that.

When winning margins can be a handful of votes, one would expect we ought to ensure every vote is treasured and protected.

I have been in and out of the court of disputed returns for 20 years fighting for electoral reform that empowers this nation’s voters. Simply because I truly believe we can repair the divide between the people and their representatives, by simply ensuring a fair and transparent system of democratic practice.

Bring back the how to vote guide, because democracy is the corner stone of society, and deserves more than the current discount system we are forced to endure.

 

Mark Aldridge

Independent candidate for Makin & community advocate.

08 82847482 / 0403379500

NICK XENOPHON, WHY DID THE MINOR PARTIES ABANDON HIM?

March 1, 2014

NICK XENOPHON & WHY THE MINOR PARTIES HAVE ABANDONED HIM.

Since Nick’s first election success, I have been a great supporter, Nick was first elected with a small primary vote, and it was the minor players, the minor parties and Independents preferences that got Nick across the line.

Nick quickly became a shining light with plenty of help from the mediocrity of his opposition in government. The people of South Australia finally had a voice in parliament, where once laid a barren, self-serving two and a half party system.

Nick knew how to play the media, and the people needed an alternate choice, so his success was guaranteed. I had so much in common with Nick, where he was criticizing the big duopoly, Woolies and Coles, I was taking the grass roots approach, holding rallies, protests and eventually setting up Farm Direct markets to offer our most affected farmers and growers an alternate place to sell their produce.

Nick had the voice and the media, I had to work with what I had, ideas and social media, and over the past 7 or 8 years, we regularly spoke at the same rallies and forums, on a variety of topics from farmers and water to investment and services.

I had hoped Nick’s success would open the door for more alternate voices, people who could back him up, heading to a time when mediocrity was wiped out and common-sense could again govern.

This is where the penny dropped, Nick then started preferencing the major parties, and he turned his back on the minor parties and the Independents that had helped him to success.

Was it because he had become a part of the system, or was it the self interest in ensuring he had no competition as an Independent, that I will leave to the reader to decide, in any case, no doors were opened, and he now stands alone.

Having a good voice and knowing what is wrong in this nation is one thing, but the power to bring change is reliant on a united approach, because it was self-interest that drove us to where we are now in the first place.

Nick would know all too well, that most if not all of the minor players and Independents are campaigning for change, like Nick we all want to restore common-sense and to ensure our nations self-reliance.  That is why we invest our time and hard earned money, and if Nick sincerely wants to see change, he needs to work with us, not against us.

When the minor players got together to see how much we could work together, to ensure the upper house had some independent checks and balances, to ensure it did not become a rubber stamp for the chosen government, Nick was nowhere to be seen.

When he finally sent in his campaign manager the arrogance shown to us all was astounding, this broke the Camel’s back from my point of view, and after they left, the consensus was that none of us wanted to prefer him, if this was his attitude.

During the federal election he had preferenced the major parties, and his brief representation at the meeting, all but confirmed he was going to do that again, begging the question; did he not want support in the upper house for the change he keeps telling us he wants to see?

Back during his first run for the senate, when he was already a sitting member in our states upper house, I was alerted to the fact that Labor had paid for his posters, when questioned on this matter, he became very angry, but it was never confirmed.

Just a couple of weeks ago, our Riverland grape growers were in desperate need of support, after all their calls going unanswered, they contacted me to see if I could help them at a grass roots level, and of course I agreed, and headed up to the Riverland to see how I could help.

I listened to their concerns, offered my advice, and when they wanted to hold a rally, I helped them set it up, driving in from the Riverland for the protest with them; it was here that Nick phoned and wanted to work with me, offering a variety of excuses why he could not get up there.

I spoke to the growers to see what they wanted to do, they wanted to back me for all my help over the years, but in their best interests, I thought it best to work with Nick, because he had the federal experience.

To keep the story short, Nick grabbed all the media, as he had in the past and several other protests I had been involved in, never mentioned me once, told the growers to try and arrange emergency one of funding, and then disappeared.

I had already told Nick they did not just want handouts, they need to see change, because next year do they tend to their vines, will they have a buyer, and how much will they be paid for their produce? Many are selling assets to survive, and need more than handouts, working together entail’s more than a media voice, it requires powerful change that only unity will bring.

In short, Nick Xenophon has a powerful voice in the media, and he knows what is wrong and understands what we the people want, but he can’t bring the change we all want on his own, he needs support, and that will not bear fruit, without a united approach.

I am sure he may fear backing others in case they make mistakes, but I for one would love to work with the man and learn how to best approach the varied problems we face as a nation, and so would many other patriotic Australians, but to shut us out of the political system, is self-serving and a very expensive decision to make for our nation.

Mark Aldridge

Independent MLC candidate

Independent calls for Family Court reforms

July 22, 2013
Independent calls for an overhaul of the family courts
Having spent several months investigating family’s SA and children’s protection issues, and having spent several years in the Family courts self represented, one issue that stands out is the horrific fact that “The Biggest or best liar wins”.
Articles on this topic are rarely debated in the public arena, and the any I have written over the years have gained very little attention.
Our family court system and recent parliamentary reports of its performance clearly indicate the need to address this issue as a primary goal, accusations of child abuse are used by many as a tool to secure primary parenting rights rather then to paint an honest picture of the family dynamics.
Making matters worse is the lack of accountability in general, with orders of the court ignored seemingly with out consequence.
Having personally witnessed genuine complaints of abuse fall on death ears, and in many cases tied up for years in the family court labyrinth, compounded by many recent media articles exposing stories of children being ordered into unsafe situations, our priorities must be to see some bloody accountability.
Lie detectors, which are widely used overseas, should become part of the debate, timely action on accusations of child abuse should be paramount, and false testimony met with harsh penalties.
I have always felt that the only early intervention is by that of our lawyers, rather than any attempt for all the parties involved to seek the most equitable and honest out come, for the sake of their children’s best interests and that of any chance of maintaining their sanity.
Early intervention by way of professional guidance, and attempts to ascertain the perspective of the children before all the emotions of separation and the distress caused by the whole family court process drag parents away from the truth, would go a long way in favour of an honest and equitable outcome for all the parties involved.   Lawyers should be kept out of the picture for as long as possible, to ensure the “The Best Lawyer” does not override the best outcome for the families involved.
Its best I not touch on the Families SA report in any further detail than to say the whole process is a bloody mess, and action should be the number one priority for whichever government is elected to power.
So many reports are produced but action is rarely seen, enquiries lack any back bone, with even the Mulligan report swept under the carpet. When a report that exposes the suspicious deaths of over 100 children in state care is never even investigated, is becomes a clear indication of parliaments position, which can only be described as abhorrent.
If we as a society cannot protect our children, and the sanctity of the family unit, it reflects very poorly on us as a community, and on our future in general.
Mark Aldridge
Independent federal candidate for Wakefield

The Alliance Australia pledge

May 21, 2011

The ALLIANCE AUSTRALIA

“In the pursuit of Unity”

 

The Alliance Australia is a unique idea to pursue unity with in the fight for our countries future!

 

PLEDGE OF ALL MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS

  • Protect and uphold all constitutional and common law rights of all Australian people.
  • Only ever swear allegiance to the people of Australia (excluding those elected in regards to constitutional commandments)
  • Acknowledge that Justice, Democracy and Equality before the law are not negotiable
  • Regardless of political affiliation, every member must promise to stand accountable for his or her actions.
  • Demand electoral reform to abolish statutes, regulations, structures and activities that give benefit or advantages to major parties above other parties and individuals and unlawfully prevent elected representatives voting by conscience or on behalf of their electorate
  • All members must be a sovereign, free man or woman holding allegiance to Australia, the Commonwealth Constitution and the rule of law.
  • Must defend and fight to retain ownership of all land and community assets and infrastructure to Australian people only.
  • Fight for fair and equitable taxation, to be shared amongst all people and businesses that operate in Australia, regardless of country of origin.

To pursue justice for all, with equity & transparency as a primary goal