Christian Democratic Party Candidate for Newcastle
I believe any government decision should be examined in the light of certain questions. These questions are:
- Is it in agreement with God?
- Is it good for the family?
- Is it good for the community?
- Who is disadvantaged by this situation?
- Is it good for the environment?
- Is it good for the planet?
Only one political party has this concept as its standard and that is the Christian Democratic Party.
ADDICTION & DRUGS
All forms of addiction are dangerous not only to the addict himself, but to society as well.
Whether the addiction relates to gambling, sex, pornography or drugs, not only does the addict suffer greatly but the economic and social costs flowing out of addiction are very significant to society as a whole.
CDP supports a policy of “zero tolerance” of illicit drugs and endorses the goal of a drug-free society. This approach has proven to be successful in Sweden.
CDP supports legislation that will:
- reduce demand through prevention, education and demonstration that lives are better lived without drugs;
- reduce supply;
- focus on early intervention: empowering parents to act quickly with the benefit of accurate and comprehensive information;
- emphasise prohibition and heavier penalties not only for large scale professional traffickers but also for ordinary users and “pushers”;
- provide easily accessible treatment, aimed at abstinence.
CDP also supports:
- Compulsory school programs that give honest and accurate information on the dangers of drug use with a focus on how to say “no” to drugs;
- Educating parents and teachers about the dangers of addiction and how to recognise the signs of abuse to facilitate early intervention;
- Increased and improved border controls and the confiscation of assets of convicted traffickers;
- Anti-drug advertisements in all forms of media;
- The abandonment of decriminalisation measures (such as the cannabis infringement scheme in Western Australia.)
- Strict control preventing the use and distribution of drugs through the prison system;
- The closure of the Sydney-based medically supervised injection centre;
- The abandonment of all needle exchange programs since these have contributed to an increase in the number of addicts, facilitated the spread of Hepatitis C, led to a rise in drug overdose deaths and adversely affected local businesses.
Consequently, civil libertarians who only recognise the right of the individual to do as he pleases make claims that are ill-founded and detrimental to the interests of our communities.
CDP disagrees with the concept of “harm minimisation”. Harm minimisation is a defeatist concept which assumes that addictive behaviour cannot be overcome and that consequently the best policy is to maintain the addict in the addicted state whilst taking precautions against some of the harms of addiction.
CDP supports the concept of drug courts operating on the following basis:
- The party appearing before the court pleads guilty to a felony, possession of a controlled substance, or a forged prescription or possession with intent to distribute.
- The plea is held in abeyance until the person completes an approved rehabilitation course. On graduation, the plea is withdrawn and criminal charges are dismissed.
- Course participants are checked during the course through urine tests. If participants relapse, they need to start the course again or face criminal charges.
CDP recognises the misuse of alcohol to be a wide ranging social problem supports a restrictive business hour policy for hotels.
CDP does not support the provision of alcohol through supermarket chains.
CDP supports increasing the use of licensing police to prevent the supply to under-age, intoxicated and drugs in licenced premises
CDP supports instigating government research into the benefits of increasing the drinking age to 21.
CDP supports a review of the liquor advertising laws
CDP supports the close connection between sport and alcohol
CDP supports the continuation of all forms of advertisement warning of the harmful health effects of tobacco.
CDP supports continuing the restrictions on the display of tobacco products offered for sale
CDP supports continuing the restrictions of smoking in all public buildings and around the entry to those buildings
CDP recognizes that child abuse can take a number of forms: children can be abused sexually but also physically and psychologically.
CDP encourages reporting of child abusers by anyone who has reasonable grounds for doing so, especially by people engaged in children services such as healthcare, education, carers, refuge workers and police.
CDP believes that an effective child protection policy requires coordination at the national level.
CDP supports the concept of a national register of convicted offenders to facilitate monitoring by law enforcement authorities.
More training should be given to people involved in children’s services to facilitate the early detection of abuse. Training about the consequences of long term child abuse should also be available to teachers and court officials to make them more aware of the high priority that should be accorded to prevention, prohibition rehabilitation and victim compensation.
The root causes of child abuse need to be acknowledged and homelessness, mental health, alcohol and drugs are contributing factors that require urgent attention. Coordination between health, welfare and related community services is essential.
CDP acknowledges that much child abuse occurs in family types not structured on traditional marriage. CDP therefore supports programs that highlight the social utility of marriage between a man and a woman, for life, and to the exclusion of all others.
Child offenders are overrepresented in Aboriginal communities and it is essential that policies recognizing the cultural sensitivities of these communities be implemented.
Recommendations made by the Gordon Inquiry that have not yet been implemented should be acted upon.
Sentences should reflect the severity and frequency of the perpetrated abuse.
Parole should not be available to repeat offenders. Parole should only be granted if the perpetrator has successfully completed a rehabilitation course, has not broken previous parole conditions and he is no longer considered at risk of reoffending.
Child abusers who are not Australian citizens should be deported to serve their sentence in their country of origin where bilateral agreements allow for it.
More research should be carried out into the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs; government grants should also be available to organizations that provide services to child offenders’ victims.
CDP supports effective retraining of dysfunctional families where children are at risk of child abuse live , as we recognise that some parents from dysfunctional families will need training on how best to establish their new families free of abuse.
CDP does not accept that the use of reasonable physical discipline by parents or others acting on behalf of parents (e.g. school teachers) is a form of child abuse.
CDP opposes any legislative proposal to criminalise reasonable use of discipline
CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
Australia has been enriched and strengthened by our cultural diversity and unified by an Australian identity that has been formed by our history and Christian heritage.
CDP believes that priority for settlement should be given to the many ethnic groups who are able to readily integrate into the Australian community and who accept Australia’s heritage and the values that have made Australia safe and prosperous.
CDP considers that greater efforts should be made to avoid the development of ethnic and religious ghettos in the light of present day experience in Europe.
Because of the high uptake rates of Australian citizenship and the strong identification of first generation Australians with mainstream Australian culture, CDP supports a Commonwealth Government review of multicultural policies that are divisive. CDP advocates instead a greater focus upon strengthening Australian citizenship and Australia’s heritage, and the values that underpin our heritage.
CDP supports as citizenship test that requires would-be citizens to demonstrate competency in English, knowledge of our Australian heritage and support for traditional Australian values.
CDP also supports measures to ensure that all immigrants demonstrate a desire to learn English
CDP supports a longer process to citizenship to give time for prospective citizens to become a part of Australian society
CDP affirms that it is the sovereign right of any nation to determine who may enter its borders for temporary or permanent stay and that the operations of people smugglers should continue to be disrupted and frustrated.
CDP considers that Australia should continue to meet its international obligations to treat unauthorised arrivals humanely and expediently consider any claims they make for refugee status. Persons who arrive illegally and make claims for protection that are proven false should be removed from Australia as soon as practicable. Mandatory detention should continue for all persons without authority to be in Australia, although provisions for supervised release into the community for families with children should be considered.
Australia should continue to be a world leader in being a generous haven for genuine refugees through internationally supervised and orderly refugee resettlement programs. Priority should be given to refugee applicants who are most likely to readily integrate into the Australian way of life, including those who are being persecuted for their Christian faith.
CDP supports extending the time of the refugee status so that the character and suitablity of an applicant to become an Australian citizen can be fully tested.
Whilst conflict should be resolved peaceably wherever possible, and where not, the conditions for a just war must be met before war is declared, the provision of an adequate defence force is of prime importance to any nation’s government
Since ancient times it has been considered that one of the best justifications for the very existence of the nation state and its government is the physical protection of that nation’s citizens and assets from foreign attack.
Similarly Australia’s Founding Fathers saw the defence of the continent as one of the prime motivations for the separate colonies to unite to form the Commonwealth of Australia.
Nowadays, Australia’s defence requirements are as varied as they are unique.
Australia is located at the southern edge of the Asian hemisphere; it has a relatively small population mostly located in the southern half of the continent, an enormous sea border and no land borders.
Much of its natural resources and their associated infrastructures are located in the northern part of the continent and the surrounding oceans and seas.
Australia’s immediate neighbours include several small, developing island nations and the world’s most populous Islamic nation.
Beyond this immediate region recent times have seen the emergence of China as a serious military and industrial challenge to both Australia’s most important military ally, the United States, and Australia’s important trading partner, Japan, and an ongoing threat from the nuclear weapons development program in North Korea.
Globally, recent years have seen the emergence of challenges from failed states, Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism and the movement of displaced and threatened people.
Therefore we support:
- Supports the current level of ADF deployment in Iraq with the objective of training Iraqi security forces under the command of a democratically elected Iraqi Government with a view to stabilizing the country and then the eventual withdrawal of the ADF in consultation with our allies and the Iraqi Government.
- Supports improved remuneration and conditions for ADF full time and reserve personnel for the purpose of improving retention of existing service personnel and encouraging new recruits.
- Seeks to build upon the revival of interest in ANZAC traditions to revamp the school cadet program and promote military recruitment programs on school and university campuses so that a military career continues to be seen as a worthwhile career choice among school and university leavers.
- Recognizes that, although alliances are important, history teaches us that in a time of security crisis the only country that one may be able to call upon is itself. Therefore, the Australian government needs to develop a defence policy that would enable the nation to defend itself if it could not rely on any allies.
- Encourages our traditional close defence links with the United States, Britain and New Zealand but also wishes to see more Australian based production and manufacture of the military equipment associated with these alliances.
Encourages closer defence links with all regional democracies as a counter to the influence of nations in the region hostile to democracy and democratic principles
CDP affirms that the objective of a good economic policy is to produce an environment of stability and economic growth for the welfare of the Australian people.
Good economic policy should reward entrepreneurs and businesses for the financial risks and the initiative they take. At the same time, governments should use economic policy to protect the vulnerable and disadvantaged without creating a people’s welfare mentality.
CDP supports a broader definition of the Gross National Product to include the value-added contribution of volunteerism and corporate philanthropy as well as unpaid household work
CDP supports work-for-the-dole programs.
CDP believes that the two arms of economic policy, monetary intervention (interest rates) and fiscal management (taxes) should be used in a coordinated way to achieve stability and economic growth.
CDP believes that in general, governments should try to produce balanced budgets but it acknowledges that at times, for a short period, it may be necessary to increase economic activity through deficit budgeting. However, wherever possible, preference should be given to taxation and regulation reform (minimizing red tape) if government intervention is required to boost up economic activity
CDP is opposed to governments producing surpluses budgets for the sake of building up an election “war chest”.
CDP supports the concept of a “Future Fund” to finance superannuation payouts for the public sector.
CDP also supports the concept of an “Endowment Fund” to finance the research and infrastructure requirements of our Australian Universities.
CDP does not support active government involvement in the provision of commercial goods and services but affirms that where private enterprise cannot adequately perform certain services, the government has a duty to intervene. In particular, the government may need to intervene in the provision of hospitals, prisons, and essential communication services, and in country areas and remote regions. Special taxation incentives and low interest rate borrowing schemes for these communities are options that could be considered to encourage private enterprise involvement
CDP believes that where the government engages private enterprises or where public funds are used to assist the private sector, community groups or associations, the recipients must be made to comply with a public code of corporate governance which clearly specifies social obligations for employment practices, executive salary restraint and rights of shareholders in corporate decision making. Corporate governance must be brought into line with public expectations and interests.
Although no country can afford to isolate itself in the matters of international trade, CDP believes that economic globalisation presents a number of challenges to Australia which must be addressed by the Federal Government and that a degree of protectionism is often warranted
CDP believes that where these industries employ a significant workforce, the government has a duty to ensure that they are not decimated through cheap imports of similar goods or services, dumping or other unfair trade practices.
CDP supports free trade agreements (FTAs) with countries of similar economic status to Australia. CDP does not support FTAs between Australia and developing nations with a much cheaper labor force as this invariably creates unemployment in some sectors of the Australian workforce.
CDP supports government procurement policies that reasonably favor
Australian products and services.
CDP supports the continuation of EFIC as a government agency to financially assist Australian exporters.
CDP opposes the full deregulation of retail trading hours and believes there should be no trading on Sundays, to allow time for worship and recreation
Affirming and supporting the primary role of parents in education.
Parents are the primary educators of their children.
The early years can be challenging to new parents but these pre-school years are universally recognized as vital years in the optimal development of the child. Government should assist these parents by giving them choices and opportunities:
● giving real choice to parents who want to stay home and look after their children by providing a homemaker allowance
● the provision of welcoming ‘parenting centres’ in main shopping centres (and virtual parenting centres via the Internet), with appropriate information available to parents and the opportunity for parents to meet with one another and discuss good parenting techniques, healthy lifestyles, early literacy and numeracy.
● The provision of free parenting classes for new parents. The subsidy of community parenting courses and services, run by community volunteers , churches or other organisations (eg: MOPS- Mothers of preschoolers)
● a national phone help-line for parents in distress
The school years:
Choice and fairness:
All parents must have the right to choose the school for their children that supports the beliefs, traditions and values of their home life. The feasibility of an education voucher system should be investigated.
The CDP will strongly resist any attempt to prevent religious schools from discriminating in the selection of staff or students according to their school ethos.
Governments need to maintain a fair and equitable funding system between private and public schools. An independent evaluation review of the current funding system is needed to answer current criticisms on the allocation of funding to schools.
Education is a life-long, community enterprise. Most learning happens outside of the classroom and is influenced by outside factors. Research has shown that effective partnerships between home-school- and community improve the educational and social outcomes of all students, irrespective of socio-economic background or ethnicity. Moreover, these partnerships contribute to the optimal use of social capital and the development of collaborative effort and creative solutions to local challenges.
We are committed to the improvement of indigenous educational outcomes and will press for substantial improvement in the educational achievement of indigenous Australians including the need for academic scholarships for Aboriginal and low socio-economic families. Governments should invest in the research and development of effective educational partnerships between home, school and community as one of the national priorities in education.
Curriculum development and Educational standards.
The selection, implementation and evaluation of a national curriculum selected by an independent panel of judges representing the main stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, universities & TAFE, employers, and government. Curriculum development must be accountable to the main stakeholders in education. It should not be led predominantly by academics, politicians and bureaucrats.
The curriculum should reflect a holistic view of education which includes the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of development. It should be flexible enough to accommodate the special needs of local schools and communities.
A curriculum should value every child and encourage all children to do their very best and develop their particular talents and gifts. This can be done without sacrificing the need to raise standards in literacy or numeracy. Monitoring and evaluating the education outcomes for boys and girls should be on going in order to avoid disadvantaging one group at the expense of the other.
Literacy and numeracy support throughout primary school is essential so that no child misses out on these foundational steps in learning. Governments should fund mentoring programs in every school, using the services of trained volunteers from the community.
The funding of chaplains in all schools is required to help schools in their pastoral roles towards students and families, to serve as liaison between home, school and community and to help in the application of Australian core values in schools.
The development of social responsibility, caring for our environment and our neighbours, protecting and caring for all human life, are important values to uphold in our schools. Developing educational links with the local community gives opportunities to students to value the people in their communities. Community service programs should be integrated in the curriculum.
Schools, families and the community have a role to play in the fostering of healthy lifestyles. This is an area where cooperation between home-school- and community is important. The teaching of skills in developing healthy and respectful relationships with others is an important life skill.
Schools should not be used for social engineering experiments such as the promotion of alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality.
Expanding the number of training opportunities for young people and the provision of additional funding for new apprenticeships and work programs are important objectives for CDP.
The recognition of the professionalism and dedication of classroom teachers and administrators has suffered in recent years through unreasonable demands being placed by a top-heavy bureaucratic system. Demands of accountability need to be reasonable but should also fall upon the leaders of educational reforms who are responsible for major shifts in education which at times prove to be unworkable.
Extra support and remuneration should be given to teachers and administrators in rural areas and in districts where teaching conditions are more challenging.
Teachers should be encouraged and rewarded for extra curricular educational activities outside normal school hours for the benefit of students. Similarly, the undertaking of collegial staff development in addressing particular issues of concern in a school should be encouraged and rewarded.
More male teachers should be encouraged to teach in primary schools.
Every student should have the opportunity to pursue tertiary level education at colleges of TAFE or universities. The HECS system should continue and be evaluated regularly to improve its fairness and effectiveness.
CDP supports government funding of university independent academic research
Islam is a religion that has a particular view of how society should be organised, including a unified system of religious and civil law – sharia law.
- Some elements of Islam, both internationally and domestically, support the use of terror and violence to impose Islam and sharia law on non-Islamic societies like Australia.
- Other elements, while not advocating the use of violence, nonetheless are intent on transforming Australia into an Islamic country by gradualist processes, such as mass immigration, demands for (initially) limited introduction of sharia law and support for religious vilification legislation to prevent free speech critical of Islam.
- Others seek to establish and maintain Islamic communities within Australia that do not integrate into the mainstream.
As the current and recent experience is that many within the Islamic communities choose not to become a part of Australian society but rather have created a sub society within many of our cities we oppose the fast tracking of citizenship to refugees and believe time to examine both character and suitability of granting Australian to each applicant need to be extended to at least 10 years.
In view of the above, CDP believes that Islam then poses a considerable challenge to the maintenance of Australia as a free society with a Christian heritage.
CDP considers it is appropriate to meet this challenge by calling for a moratorium on Islamic immigration into Australia while monitoring the willingness of the existing Islamic community to abandon support for terrorism, sharia law and separate communities.
CDP proposes a 10 year moratorium on Islamic immigration as starting point for a serious national discussion on this issue.
ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY
The CDP believes that environmental issues are important because the environment is God-given and sustains life.
Humans have an obligation to responsibly manage the environment and to mitigate, where feasible, environmental change and pollution.
It needs to be remembered that the earth was made for humankind. The environment needs to be kept in perspective as the servant to humankind and not elevated to the point where human lives are sacrificed in favour of preserving the life of some plants or animals. Tragically, this was seen late last century in Africa and Asia with the abrupt cessation in the use of the mosquito control pesticide DDT before adequate alternative controls were in place. As a consequence thousands of human lives were lost to mosquito borne diseases in favour of an attempt to protect some plants and animals from some of the perceived effects of DDT.
In the current debate, some scientists say that the earth is undergoing a phase of climate change that is dangerously outside its normal warming and cooling cycles.
This climate change, they argue, is both highly undesirable now for its attributed catastrophes today like droughts and, relying on computer model forecasts, they point to future ongoing catastrophes for humankind if it continues.
They see this recent climate change as almost entirely due to humans’ production of green house gases, most notably increased atmospheric CO2 levels caused principally by both the combustion of fossil fuels and the planet’s reduced ability to absorb CO2 as the result of clearing of forests.
However, they also argue these changes may possibly be reversed by humans undertaking dramatic steps immediately to reduce atmospheric levels of green house gases.
On the other hand, other equally reputable scientists argue that the current phase of climate change is nothing new and is not outside the normal range of climate change cycles that have been happening for many years.
The earth has been in the past much warmer and much colder than it is today. These periods of warming and cooling are natural cycles for the earth and not man-made.
For example, as recently as the 14th century the River Thames regularly froze during winter. Paintings and drawings made at that time show Londoners crossing the Thames by walking on the ice sheet. This period is referred by climatologists to as ‘the little ice age’.
Prior to this there was a period of balmy warming in Europe that contributed to medieval prosperity. Crop yields in Germany and France were above average. Even grapes grew in northern parts of England.
Additionally, climate change, they say, is not and never was driven by CO2 levels. The present theory of CO2 causing global warming does not match the observed facts associated with current global warming.
Even if CO2 is accepted as a driver of climate humans only produce a small digit percentage of the total CO2 in the atmosphere which is an insignificant contribution to overall atmospheric CO2. Therefore, there is little or nothing that can be done by humans that would be reliably predictable and of certain benefit to affect the current phase of climate change.
Moreover, it should not be automatically assumed that any and all climate change is undesirable. Many changes in the past have been desirable. There is no such thing as an unchanging ideal global climate.
Finally, they argue that our ability to accurately forecast future weather conditions is very unreliable. Current forecast tools are simply not reliable enough. To attribute catastrophic present day and future weather events to climate change is scaremongering.
Media’s reporting of Climate Change
Unfortunately much of the media’s reporting of climate change has focused unduly on apocalyptic and alarmist predictions.
Young children have been worried and frightened by media predictions of their futures filled with absolutely certain catastrophic weather events caused by mankind.
Sceptical scientists who do challenge some of the climate change assumptions are much less frequently reported by the media than the supporters of climate change assumptions and dire forecasts.
The climate change debate itself is often characterised as ‘being over’ and ‘virtually all scientists now agree that mankind is entirely to blame as the cause of the recently observed global warming’. Meanwhile many, both inside and outside the scientific community, ask ‘when was there ever any debate in the popular media?’
- Accepts that the scientific debate around climate change is unresolved and in that sense the CDP remains agnostic in respect to scientific elements of the climate change debate.
- Is not indifferent to the economic welfare of Australian families, farmers and businesses. CDP will not commit itself to any course of action that is certain to damage economic prosperity if the hoped-for benefits to the environment are uncertain or disproportionately costly.
- Does not support carbon trading schemes as they are considered futile and create an unnecessary burden on our economy.
- Does not support Australia being a signatory to the Kyoto protocol.
- Encourages the development of economic alternatives to fossil fuels and cleaner coal mining and its use technologies.
- Wants to see a more balanced media treatment of the debate and issues surrounding climate change in school curriculum and the media.
- Supports a forestry policy that balances sustainable environmental practices with the interests and long term viability of rural and regional forestry communities.
- Supports the implementation of viable programs to deal with salt damage to agricultural land.
- Supports the re-introduction of Arbour Day within both the school and community at large and encourages all Australians to plant trees (if we all planted one tree each there would be over 22 million trees planted each year
Christianity holds that Humans, above every other creature, enjoy God-given rights that no other authority can legitimately remove. Hence the care for the sick, infirm and weak and the respect for all Humans from conception to natural death is one of the central attributes of Christianity.
Christian tradition also holds those who practice medicine with special regard and responsibility because of their close relationship with human life and death.
CDP affirms that all Australians, irrespective of their income or location, should have access to essential health services. However the ever increasing cost of health services to the public purse requires that individuals do what they reasonably can to care for and maintain their own health. The CDP supports the introduction of government /industry education campaigns to promote healthy diets and lifestyles.
CDP believes that the current illicit drug epidemic contributes significantly to increased health outlays and that until a zero tolerance approach is adopted with regard to drug abuse, no major improvement in our health budgets can be expected.
CDP does not support treatment of drug addiction using drug transference programmes or any form of injecting rooms.
CDP supports mandatory illicit drug testing of professional sportspeople because these men and women are role models to our Australian youth. Similarly, CDP supports random drug illicit drug testing of all Federal and State parliamentarians.
The CDP applauds sports associations and sportsmen who have assumed a leadership role in promoting zero tolerance of illicit drugs.
CDP supports initiatives between government and industry that incorporate socially responsible messages and the application of a nation-wide Alcohol Advertising Code.
CDP supports tough enforcement of responsible service of alcohol and treatment for repeated episodes of drunken behaviour
CDP supports a full smoking ban in hotels, clubs, restaurants and bars and vehicles to protect patrons, employees and children.
CDP supports government assistance to community organizations who promote chaste lifestyles before marriage and fidelity in marriage as the best preventative for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In Australia almost all new diagnoses of HIV infection are largely attributable to homosexual intercourse. Other evidence shows that even after disregarding deaths from HIV/AIDS, men who engage in homosexual behaviour have a significantly reduced life expectancy. Consequently, all school programs that present homosexual behaviour as a valid lifestyle choice should be changed to reflect the dangers of this behaviour.
No Medicare rebate should be available for abortion. Medical staff, students and institutions that have a religious or conscientious objection to abortion must never be forced to participate in them or penalized for refusing to participate in abortion or training to perform abortions.
The abortion inducing drug RU 486 should not be imported or manufactured in Australia
Palliative care services should be more adequately resourced and euthanasia should continue to be illegal.
Disabled citizens should be encouraged and supported to participate and contribute to society at their level of capacity.
Special recognition should be given to mental health services which have been under-resourced in all States for many years. In particular, drug abuse, as major cause of mental illness, should be denounced with greater emphasis placed on prevention, prohibition and rehabilitation.
Poor mental health and substance abuse can result in dysfunctional families and so we will support programs that will produce good health in families
CDP supports government assistance to cover essential dental expenses for means tested patients and a large scale public campaign to promote oral hygiene.
CDP believes that the under-resourcing of our hospitals must be urgently addressed through the following measures:-
- provision for additional student places at medical and nursing schools including full fee paying student places;
- attractive scholarships available to medical and nursing students;
- immigration policies that favour well qualified medical practitioners and nurses from other English-speaking countries;
- the construction of new government metropolitan and regional hospitals
- incentives and support to Christian denominations with a demonstrated capacity in the provision of health services to renovate and build new not-for-profit metropolitan and regional hospitals.
Importance of Housing:
Adequate housing is one of the necessities of life. For the Christian Democratic Party a family home is more than a mere asset. It is central to the life of the family and the raising of children. For most people the acquisition of their own home remains ‘the great Australian dream’.
Taxes on Housing:
The Christian Democratic Party believes that, in the first instance, the best government housing policy is one which encourages and does not obstruct people providing for their own basic housing needs.
Therefore, as with the provision of basic food, all levels of government are obliged not to burden basic housing with unjust taxes and regulations.
Federal, state and local governments have seen ordinary people trying to purchase their family home as a taxation opportunity and loaded them with onerous taxes and regulations. Hidden and obvious government taxes and charges account for between 11 – 17% of the purchase price of the average house.
Consequently, CDP asserts that the most efficient way to assist home ownership would be through the abolition of stamp duty and all other taxes on housing.
Regulations limiting Land Supply:
In the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s the median house price was around three times the median household income. Today in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, the median house price is more than six times the median income and in Sydney and Perth more than eight times.
The traditional link between house prices and incomes has been broken because of an astronomical rise in the price of the land component of the median house price while the building component of housing costs have tended to follow inflation.
Where land once represented 25% of the cost of a new house and land package, it is now 60%.
The so-called ‘land shortage ‘ that has caused this astronomical rise in the cost of land is entirely the product of government planning regulation and zoning restrictions. There is abundant land suitable for housing on the edge of all Australian cities.
In short, homebuyers have been squeezed by an ‘urban planning plague’ designed by governments to return windfall profits to government land development corporations in preference to maintaining a supply of affordable land for home buyers.
The CDP supports:-
- making home interest payments tax deductible up to a determined level of interest payment for means tested threshold household income levels.
- changing the focus of government agencies involved with the release of residential land from profit making to creating affordable land.
- a review and, where necessary, an amendment or repeal of all unnecessary government regulations which contribute to both the shortage of supply of land, reduce competition in the market and add to the cost of housing land when it is finally released onto the market.
- reducing the demand for residential land in capital cities by encouraging decentralization of populations to regional centres through taxation and other government incentives to industry, small business and home buyers.
- direct taxpayer funded housing for people who are genuinely unable, not merely reluctant, to provide for their own housing needs
- stronger land tenure rights for the owners and tenants of land to prevent arbitrary damage being done to their rights by any level of government and a just compensation scheme for government caused damage.
- Restricts loan exposure to 80% of realisable value of the family home
- Requires greater responsibilities for all lending agents by a licensing scheme for all loan brokers and that responsibility will be shared by the broker for defaulting loans
We affirm that human life begins at fertilisation, and therefore should be given legal protection throughout all stages of pregnancy. Abortion should be banned by any society that aspires to justice and compassion.
We oppose abortion, therefore at the Federal level we will seek to have Medicare funding of abortion withdrawn. At the State level, we will seek to amend/overturn the WA Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998 that granted state sanction to abortion on demand. We oppose abortion in all circumstances.
We are opposed to “safe sex” education programs such as those run by FPA WA. Instead, we will support programs in schools that teach abstinence prior to marriage, and fidelity within marriage. We will support an advertising campaign to promote adoption as a positive alternative to abortion. We will support pregnancy crisis counselling services that offer practical help and positive pro-life alternatives to pregnant women. We will encourage temporary foster care or adoption for babies born to parents that are unable to keep the baby within their home.
In the face of proposals that children with severe disabilities be either directly killed or denied life saving medical treatment, CDP observes that it should always be unlawful to kill any child by an act of commission or omission.
Euthanasia (regardless of method) is a deliberate act to end a patient’s life. We oppose euthanasia, whether active (such as with an injection) or passive (such as by withdrawing food and water), whether voluntary (with the consent of the victim) or involuntary (without the consent of the victim).
Euthanasia should not be confused with refusing futile or burdensome medical treatment when death is inevitable. Neither should euthanasia be confused with the provision of good palliative care. In some instances, medications that manage pain may hasten death, but this is not euthanasia for the aim is not to kill but to alleviate suffering.
Rather than eliminating the frail, sick and elderly, we support quality palliative care.
It will be an offence to promote euthanasia or information that will promote euthanasia or the supply or make available the items that would be used for euthanasia.
In Vitro Fertilisation
CDP has reservations about IVF programs even for infertile married couples. Even with multiple cycles, the success rate is low and frequently results in acute disappointment. A human embryo stands less than a 5 per cent chance of being born through IVF, meaning 95 per cent perish.
In addition, a higher percentage of IVF children suffer disabilities such as rare urological defects, heart or central nervous system abnormalities, and dangerously lows birth weights.
Consequently, CDP opposes any Medicare rebate for IVF
We are opposed to IVF programs that deliberately create spare embryos or that screen embryos for genetic diseases, sex selection, tissue matching, or designer characteristics. We are opposed to IVF procedures that require “foetal reduction” of unwanted but successfully implanted embryos.
CDP is opposed to any use of reproductive technology by persons other than married couples because every child is entitled to have a father and mother who are publicly committed to each other for life.
CDP is sympathetic to the plight of infertile married couples, and urges them to seek help from organizations such as Fertility Care that offer treatment for infertility that is consistent with a pro-life ethic.
Human embryo research and cloning
CDP opposes any type of research on human embryos that results in their harm or destruction. Therefore, we support the rescinding of State and Federal legislation permitting such research
We oppose all human cloning and the creation of chimeras (human/animal hybrids). Rather, we support and encourage research using adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells, as this does not involve the destruction of human life. Most research and all successful therapies to date have been done using adult stem cells.
MEDIA, INTERNET AND CENSORSHIP
Media, including television, films and the internet, play an increasingly influential role in the formation of public opinion and taste. Children, including teenagers, are especially vulnerable to media influence. Aggressive and pornographic media is now making inroads into mainstream advertising and merchandising.
Society has a moral duty to limit what can be conveyed by the media in order to protect children and the whole community from what is harmful, especially violent and pornographic content.
Pornography demeans women and corrupts men. It contributes to the dissolution of families and devastates the lives of children who are exposed to it. There is no place for pornography in any medium. This is especially the case with hardcore pornography CDP believes that the X-rated classification for films should be abolished and Commonwealth legislation introduced to prohibit the production and sale of these films in the ACT and the Northern Territory.
CDP affirms that mandatory filtering at Internet service provider level should be introduced to exclude all material which would be classified X or refused classification. The scheme should also provide a family friendly internet service with no material that would be rated MA15+ or higher. CDP supports increased police resources to Internet monitoring in order to detect child sex offenders.
CDP considers that the classification scheme for films and computer games should be revised to ensure that there is a G classification which parents can completely rely on as indicating that the material is suitable for children of all ages
CDP believes that the R18+ classification should exclude any depiction of actual sex or any implied depictions of sex with children. The highest classification for computer games should remain as MA15+.
CDP affirms that public broadcasters have an obligation to ensure balanced reporting on all issues and steps to enforce this requirement should be taken.
All holders of television and radio licenses enjoy a privilege which carries responsibilities.
As industry self-regulation is not working, CDP supports the introduction of a new scheme with greater enforcement powers.
Reality television is just one genre where there has been flagrant abuse.
CDP believes that the standards for television and radio content should be rigorously enforced with significant penalties for breaches, including loss of license, imposed by the appropriate authority.
CDP affirms also that standards for television and radio should take account of the potential that exists to influence children, and therefore reflect and support the values of Australian families.
CDP considers that the banning of tobacco advertising is an illustration of the recognized impact of TV and radio content on children’s values, beliefs and behaviour.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM & CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
CDP recognises that the early settlers who came to Australia were Christian men and women and that the Commonwealth of Australia was established on Christian principles, as evidenced by the preamble of our Australian Constitution (“humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”) and the symbolism of the four crosses on our Australian flag.
CDP believes that successive Federal, State and Local governments across Australia have a responsibility to uphold the Christian principles at the root of our national heritage.
CDP supports the retention of Christian prayers at the outset of each daily parliamentary session.
CDP believes that governments have a duty to allow the Church to continue to preach the Gospel unhindered.
Although religion is sometimes misused to channel violence or hatred in our communities, CDP is opposed to laws that prevent or hinder anyone from living peaceably in accordance with his religious beliefs (for instance, anti-discrimination laws should not be used to force a Christian into renting accommodation to a homosexual couple).
CDP supports the right of Christian schools to continue to teach Christian doctrine in their curriculum (for example Creation) and to freely choose the staff they wish to employ. CDP believes these important privileges are critical to retaining and protecting the Christian ethos upon which these schools were founded.
CDP supports Christian religious education in State schools whilst acknowledging the right of parents to opt out.
CDP supports that no alternative subject will be offered in the school at the time when Christian education is on offer as per the contractual arrangements and the traditional practice
CDP believes that the adherents of other religions are entitled to freedom of worship and expression provided that they also accept that Christian beliefs and practices can continue to be upheld freely. Adherents of non Christian religions should recognise that in case of conflict between their tradition and Christian traditions, the Christian practice prevails out of respect for Australia’s well established Christian heritage. For example, CDP supports the observance of Christmas and Easter by State schools and local governments.
CDP opposes any formal legal recognition of sharia law or aboriginal tribal law and supports one single body of laws for all Australians, irrespective of religion or ethnicity.
CDP believes that Australia must continue to have a competitive, sustainable and profitable rural sector since independent family farms are a vital part of the social and economic fabric of Australian society.
However, the primary emphasis should be placed on the actual well being of rural people and communities rather than on the “paper performance” of a few rural industries.
Rural people and communities should reap an equitable share of the rewards of their production. Programs must be developed to help farmers and their families to stay on the land and earn sufficient income.
State and Federal governments have a responsibility to ensure that rural people have access to government offices, banks, hospital, medical and other vital services. Where such services are not economically viable to private enterprise, the State and Federal governments have a duty to intervene in some fashion.
The Government has a responsibility to provide taxation and regulatory incentives for decentralisation, creation of new enterprises and expansion of existing enterprises and businesses in rural areas.
CDP supports and will lobby for the retention or adoption of the following policies :-
- A good drought policy should have a long term strategy encouraging farmers to prepare better for future droughts. In this regard, CDP supports a) the introduction of 100% tax deductibility in the year of expenditure for primary producers investing in assets and infrastructure to enhance drought preparedness and b) the availability of other means-tested incentives (such as low interest loans, investment rebates grants) to encourage farmers to implement drought preparedness strategies.
- Currently, producers in a given area subject to a severe and rare event (drought, devastation) may apply for Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payments. However, an Exceptional Circumstances (EC) application takes far too long to be processed. Presently, regions seeking EC relief must first approach the State Government who, once convinced of the merits of the application, will refer the matter to the Australian Government Minister for Agriculture who then forwards the application to the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC). If the NRAC supports the application, the Minister for Agriculture must then seek approval from Cabinet before declaring that an area is experiencing EC. Furthermore, under the present guidelines, very few farmers can be eligible for EC relief as the individual eligibility criteria is very restrictive.
CDP supports a simplification of this highly bureaucratic and subjective assessment system and replace it with a more science-based, objective approach that automatically triggers EC relief within a region affected by drought.
For protection from catastrophic fires we will encourage good effective fire breaks and hazard reduction in all farming, state forest and reserves.
The separation of water entitlements from land titles may deprive some rural landholders from access to water resulting in a loss of land value and an inability to carry out an agricultural or horticultural enterprise.
Consequently, CDP supports permanent security of tenure over water entitlements and the adoption of a Torrens-based system in relation to water rights.
Climate variability research.
CDP supports a refocusing on valid scientific drought prediction models by Federal and State Governments research centers.
CDP supports environment management policies that will secure the retention of ongoing productive agricultural land and the implementation of viable programs to deal with salt damage to agricultural land.
CDP supports a forestry policy that protects the interests and long term viability of rural and regional forestry communities.
CDP is concerned by the significant amount of government subsidies offered to US and European farmers. These subsidies distort the market and encourage inefficiency and uncompetitive practices.
In response to these global realities, CDP supports the introduction of a realistic trade barrier policy which will effectively protect our Australian domestic market from these uncompetitive policies
Single trading desk.
CDP supports a “single desk” arrangement for the export of Australian wheat as long as farmers remain protected from unscrupulous corporations. The “single desk” should be a cooperative style entity owned by farmers. The “single desk” needs to work for the benefit of the farmers only. The “single desk” policy should allow farmers to share the benefits of a bargaining power they might not otherwise have.
CDP supports a review of Australia’s quarantine policies. CDP supports a policy where the imported product is required to meet the same high quality production standards as those imposed on our local producers.
The live animal export is a significant industry as it employs a large number of workers.
Consequently, CDP supports the continuation of the live animal export trade subject to improved humane treatment of animals during transport and pain minimization during slaughter.
For those animals that are not going to be exported alive, CDP supports the development of abattoirs that implement pain minimization techniques during the slaughtering process
CDP supports government regulations requiring country of origin labelling.
CDP supports strict penalties to protect the Australian wool and sheep industry from false labelling and inferior products.
CDP supports a lower taxation regime on all fuels and the establishment
CDP supports a taxation system which would satisfy the following objectives:-
- fund the necessary work and responsibilities of government;
- create an adequate tax base to ensure that the burden of taxation does not fall disproportionately on lower and middle income earners;
- remove the current disincentives for harder work, risk taking and wealth creation;
- remove the current incentives for tax evasion, property speculation, the black economy and the ‘overseas brain drain’.
Personal and Family Taxes
CDP supports a cut in the top tax rate to in order to restore work incentives. As a starting point for determining the top tax rate the CDP believes that the long term aim should be a tax and benefits system where no one faces effective tax rates higher than about 30%.
CDP supports a return to the indexation of tax brackets to stop governments’ profiting from ‘bracket creep’.
CDP supports income splitting for household members related by blood or marriage.
CDP supports deductibility on interest accrued on owner occupied housing. CDP believes that this tax deduction for owner occupied housing should be capped to ensure that the benefit remains with the low or medium income earner.
CDP continues to support retention of capital gain tax exemption on all owner occupied housing.
CDP supports the payment of a home maker allowance for families with young children to prevent both parents having to join the workforce and leaving the care of children to third party carers in their absence.
CDP supports government consideration of saving-exempt income tax schemes in order to encourage savings.
CDP supports a zero taxation policy on contributions to superannuation and payouts at retirement.
CDP acknowledges that GST is a regressive tax in the sense that the rate of GST is the same for all taxpayers irrespective of their capacity to pay. The CDP does not support increasing it beyond the current level of 10%.
CDP supports the continued exemption of GST on a basket of essential expenditure items (e.g. basic foodstuffs, housing rent) as these items take up much of the income of a low income earner.
CDP supports the removal of GST on the Federal Fuel Excise component of the cost of fuel.
CDP supports the absence of GST on any compulsory state and federal levies
Abolition of Taxes
To the extent that GST revenue is distributed to the States, CDP affirms that all State taxes should be abolished.
CDP supports the abolition of taxes that discourage positive economic contribution (for instance, payroll tax should be abolished as it penalizes employment initiatives).
CDP affirms that taxation incentives should reward productive forms of economic activity but opposes the availability of tax deductions to speculative scheme with little or no prospect of economic success.
Simplification of the Tax System
Taxation legislation has become so complex and lengthy that it is unintelligible to many people including tax experts. This complexity also means that over 70% of Australians now must use a tax accountant to prepare their annual tax return. Similarly the compliance costs to businesses of both state and federal taxation legislation is an enormous burden to them and a distorter of the economy. The CDP supports simplification of the taxation system and the adoption of systems seen overseas so that most people never have to fill in a tax return and the compliance burden on businesses is reduced.
The CDP believes that God created and requires mankind to use natural resources for mankind’s benefit. Water is such a resource. Therefore the CDP’s National Water Policy :-
- Does not support the Commonwealth taking control of water policy from the States. The Constitution of Australia does not allocate the control of dams and waterways to the Commonwealth. Whilst it is clearly sensible for NSW, Vic and SA to coordinate the use of the water they share, WA, Queensland and Tasmania should be left to manage their own water systems without interference from Canberra because their river systems are largely contained within their own state boundaries.
- Supports tax deductibility for water saving devices used by households and businesses.
- Supports harvesting of rain and storm water and encourages greater recovery in these areas.
- Supports of river dams so as the prevent the rivers from ‘dying’ or increasing the distance that salt water will travels upstream.
- Believes that water is a public good which should be provided at the cost of delivery. The CDP acknowledges that there may be situations when the only feasible supplier of an essential service is a monopoly public enterprise. In such circumstances the CDP believes that these enterprises should deliver their services or goods to families and businesses at cost and not with a profit focus.
Regrettably, recent years have seen large profits returned to state governments by their monopoly water trading corporations at the expense of the families and businesses who must buy their water from the public supplier. Additionally, the replacement, repair and maintenance of the public supply water system for all communities, including remote and isolated ones, has been neglected in favour of a focus on profit by government water supply corporations.
This is far from the original purpose these enterprises to provide water to households and businesses at a cost price which includes a provision for replacement, repair and maintenance of the network. Furthermore this focus on profit undermines the justification for allowing these corporations to remain as the monopoly supplier of water to most households and businesses.
- Recognizes that different irrigation solutions will apply to different agricultural products and consequently farmers should be free to purchase the irrigation delivery system best suited to their particular enterprise.
However, it is accepted that if some farmers are allowed to freely trade their secure water entitlements this may adversely impact other farming enterprises as certain irrigation areas becomes uneconomic. CDP believes that a just system of compensation needs to be devised to adjust for any collateral damage done in these circumstances.
- Is concerned about the distorting impact of some of the Managed Investment Schemes on agricultural production and water allocation. The taxation advantages enjoyed by Managed Investment Schemes can mean that they fail to respond to market pressures and oversupply a particular commodity using an over allocation of water.
WORK & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
CDP believes that work should be seen as an expression of one’s gifts and talents to the service of God and society. Work should not be seen primarily as hardship or exclusively as a means of accumulating wealth. Work should be seen as a response to a particular vocation in the service of others.
The dignity or value of the individual is not dependent on the work performed and consequently people carrying out simple, menial tasks are not to be treated as if they were inferior to others who have more complex tasks to achieve.
CDP believes that different individual gifts should result into different outcomes in the workplace among different people. These different outcomes require different levels of remuneration.
A one day period of business closure should apply to all non-essential services and businesses across Australia each week. As Australia is predominantly a Christian country, it follows that this day of rest should be Sunday.
Government, in cooperation with business, should offer retraining facilities to workers whose jobs have become redundant due to technological change, including Hex type loans on job ready training.
Work contracts should be freely negotiated without interference by third parties, however any party to a contract should be entitled to use outside assistance in negotiating a contract.
Workers should have the right to form unions provided they respect the freedom of the individual not to join, or having joined, the freedom to subsequently resign. CDP believes that unions must act in accordance with the democratic wishes of their members and that no coercion or undue influence should be exercised by union leaders or officials upon individual members.
Pay should reflect the quality and the quantity of the work produced. Conditions under which the work is performed should also affect the level of pay. Minimum pay levels should be applied in all occupations but these would vary from occupation to occupation reflecting the complexity of the task and the ability of the worker to perform it.
CDP supports the 5 minimum conditions of employment underpinning the WorkChoice legislation and efforts to keep contracted hours reasonable. Should be removed as Work choices has been repealed
CDP supports the concept of an Australian Fair Pay Commission performing a wage-setting function and providing a safety net for the low paid.
CDP supports a review of the unfair dismissal laws in order to achieve the following outcomes:-
- the exemption threshold for unfair dismissals should be reviewed to ensure that only genuinely small businesses may benefit from the protection of these laws;
- the legislation should set out criteria to assist with the interpretation of what is a fair dismissal. Such criteria could require consideration to be given to the employee’s effort to date, the resources deployed by the employer to support the employee and the representations made by the employee as to his capacity to work at a set standard;
- more objective guidelines should be made to apply to dismissals by larger businesses on the grounds of “operational reasons, economic, technological and structural matters.
CDP supports an amendment to Unlawful Termination Laws making it unlawful to terminate an employee for refusing to perform an unsafe or unlawful instruction and penalties should be applied to businesses that permit or require unsafe or unlawful instructions or practices.