Dipping a toe in federal politics/It’s never too late to go into politics
Up till now, the only political party I ever considered joining was the Communist Party of Australia.
When I was a 15-year-old student at Melbourne High School, along with fellow student and future millionaire, Alan Piper, with whom I played for the Victorian schoolboys cricket team, I met a Communist Party of Australia organiser outside the Bryant and May match factory in Richmond. The organiser paid no attention to Alan but after listening to me for less than a minute he put up his hands and said “I think you can do better elsewhere, son!”
Thinking about it now I realise that I wasn’t turned down for ideological reasons, but that, however desperate the CPA might have been for members in those days, they didn’t want a fledgling alcoholic joining their ranks and gumming up the works.
As I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol for over 46 years now, the booze problem no longer applies!
So why, after 71 years, have I joined a political party? In particular, why have I joined the Australian Sex Party?
The primary reason is that most of the Sex Party’s policies resonate with my own beliefs and underlying values.
These core policies include making all religions subject to taxation; promoting drug law reform , including legalising and taxing marijuana; and the advocacy of other sensible harm-reduction policies instead of the senseless so-called “war on drugs”.
I also strongly support the Australian Sex Party for its stand on legalising voluntary euthanasia and same-sex marriage, as well as its advocacy of evidence-based public policy, including prison reform and possibly the liberalisation of our draconian libel laws.
More generally, I strongly support the Sex Party’s advocacy of easily accessible and wide-ranging freedom of information; the promotion of education and the arts; and especially the freedom for adults to decide for themselves what they choose to read and watch. These are policies I have been advocating for decades.
A further reason for my joining the Australian Sex Party is my admiration for Fiona Patten , its leader since the party’s foundation in 2009.
The charismatic and media-savvy Ms Patten has represented the Sex Party in the Northern Metropolitan region of the Victorian Legislative Council since the state election of 2014. Before this, she was chief executive of the Eros Association , a national lobby group for the Australian sex industry.
Since she was elected as an MP in November 2014, not only the Melbourne media, but also some other members of the Victorian parliament have praised her performance in the Upper House as hardworking, thoughtful and inclusive.
For all of the reasons above, my opinion is that the time has well and truly come for the small but vibrant Australian Sex Party to stand in the forthcoming federal elections , not just for the House of Representatives, but especially to contest as many states and territories in the Senate as possible.
Admittedly, there are one or two Liberal and Labor federal MPs who I admire. These include Liberal ministers Josh Frydenberg and Julie Bishop, as well as Labor’s shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, and militant Senator Doug Cameron. I also admire some candidates in this year’s federal election , namely NSW Aboriginal Labor politician Linda Burney who is contesting the seat of Barton and Evan Hughes who is standing as a Labor candidate for Wentworth against Malcolm Turnbull.
But while this is the case, I don’t have any time at all for Prime Minister Turnbull , who I have previously described as being a “marshmallow mouth” who will say virtually anything and give it a saccharine touch , or for Bill Shorten, whose performance as Opposition leader has been lacklustre to say the least.
So now is the time, especially in the contests for Senate seats, for the Australian Sex Party to take on not just the major political parties, but also Nick Xenophon and the Greens who recently joined forces with the federal coalition to ram through self-serving and anti-democratic changes to the voting system.
So now, after all these years I’ve joined a political party.
It strikes me that this year’s federal election could see some surprise results, especially if a number of citizens also decide to back a political party, the support of which might raise a few eyebrows among their friends.
Emeritus professor of History and Politics at Griffith University, Ross Fitzgerald is the author of 39 books, including the co-authored political/sexual satire ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure’ (Hybrid Publishing) and ‘Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football’ (Connor Court).
‘Dipping a toe in federal politics’
The Canberra Times, April 11, 2016.
‘It’s never too late to go into politics’
The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald online.