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From The Sydney Papers, Friday June 24, 2016

24 June 2016 No Comment

The 2016 Federal Election , The Australian Sex Party
by Ross Fitzgerald

Professor Ross Fitzgerald AM is the Australian Sex Party’s lead Senate candidate in NSW. He is the author of 39 books, most recently of ‘Going Out Backwards’ , a sexual/political satire in which his alter ego Senator Professor Dr Grafton Everest holds the balance of power in the Upper House! On Tuesday 7 June 2016, Ross Fitzgerald joined Rev Hon Fred Nile, leader of the Christian Democratic Party in New South Wales, at The Sydney Institute, to discuss their respective parties’ differing election policies.

THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION , THE AUSTRALIAN SEX PARTY

ROSS FITZGERALD

As my old teacher at Melbourne High School, Norton Hobson, used to say: “If you’re going to say something controversial boys, always wear a suit! So here I am standing before you this evening, suited and booted, with my Member of the Order of Australia pin on one lapel, and my Australian Sex Party badge on the other. A fine symmetry, don’t you think?

There are two main reasons why I joined the Sex Party and why I accepted pole position as the Party’s lead Senate candidate in New South Wales.

First is the impressive example set by the classy, media-savvy, founder of the Sex Party, Fiona Patten, both as a long-term lobbyist with her co-founder, the inimitable Robbie Swan, and more recently as an extremely effective Upper House Sex Party MP in Victoria.

Second is the fact that the Sex Party’s key policies resonate and deeply connect with my own. Indeed, as a private citizen and as a public intellectual, I have been campaigning for many of these policies for decades.

I strongly support the Australian Sex Party for its principled stand on taxing all religious institutions, supporting same-sex marriage and dying with dignity, as well as its advocacy of evidence-based public policy, including prison reform, immigration reform and drug reform.

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 ourselves what we choose to read and watch.

While I don’t have a simplistic, three-word catchphrase for the election campaign, I strongly agree with the Sex Party’s slogan , “Your life, Your Choice , and with the subsidiary slogan my daughter Emerald wrote for me from New York , i.e. “We Stand for Much Much More than Sex!

In the Senate campaign for NSW my six main policies are:
Taxing all religious institutions
Drug reform, including legalising and taxing marijuana
Support for dying with dignity
Support for same sex marriage
Immigration reform, including the closure of Manus Island and also of Nauru
Prison reform, including dealing with alcoholism, addiction & illiteracy among inmates and parolees

Having been a member of the Queensland Parole Board and the NSW State Parole Authority for over 20 years, prison reform is one of my main political and policy priorities. The sad, disgraceful reality is that up to a third of our inmates and parolees are functionally illiterate and that up to 80 per cent of prisoners are addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Unless these key problems are addressed, a great many prisoners and parolees are destined to be recidivists and hence represent a huge imposition on the public purse.

As the Australian Sex Party’s lead Senate candidate in New South Wales I will therefore be stressing the need for drastically increased funding for programs that on one hand tackle literacy and numeracy and on the other target the great many prisoners and parolees who desperately need to undergo intensive and effective drug and alcohol programs, in prison and without.

In my Senate campaign I will also be emphasizing how important it is not to let the big parties , the Old Parties , run roughshod over ordinary citizens and also how antidemocratic are the recent so-called “Senate reforms whose primary purpose was to try and wipe out minor parties, including the Australian Sex Party.

In my opinion, the Greens have become a blight that negates their pretence to be progressive. It was utterly hypocritical for the Greens to join forces with the Coalition and Nick Xenophon in order to make life so difficult for minor parties, forgetting that, not so long ago, they were a minor party themselves! The Greens major positive is that, as with the Australian Sex Party, they support voluntary assisted dying.

The reality is that if we are to be able to die with dignity we need to actively lobby for the right to make end-of-life choices for ourselves. In particular, we need to demand that the Christian lobby in Australia and their politician fellow-travellers explain who gives them the right to demand that palliative care staff must keep people alive against their wishes rather than assisting their end of life choices.

As with same sex marriage and other key choices, when it comes to voluntary assisted dying, the personal is political. Indeed since Alan Jones interviewed me on 2GB about my standing as the Australian Sex Party’s lead Senate candidate in NSW, I have received a shoal of letters, text, and email from people sharing with me their personal stories. The clear reality is that almost all want the laws changed so that in future they and their loved ones can die with dignity.

The Sex Party boasts a catchy, well-recognized name, and it also has a policy agenda that is deeply rooted in the most important social issues of our time.

A large percentage of people in jail are there for drug offences. Yet who in this room has not used any drug since the double dissolution? No tea or coffee, no wine or beer, not even an out of sight puff on the occasional cigar or cigarette? I’m surely right in saying that nobody here has served time for using these addictive and health challenging drugs!

As with same sex marriage (which is a key Sex Party policy) there is strong majority public support for voluntary euthanasia , even among those who identify themselves as believing Christians.

Yet, not only do we forego the huge amounts of money which could be gained from taxing religious institutions , money that could be used to help eradicate homelessness and indigenous disadvantage , but our elected politicians feel free to enshrine church law into secular law. And this without even a whiff of any large donation to party funds!

The politician’s so-called “war on drugs is a costly failure and an utterly unnecessary waste of police time and resources. Decriminalising some drugs and legalising other drugs, especially marijuana, is long overdue. As with tobacco and alcohol, marijuana should be legalised, and taxed , which would also be a source of considerable revue.

Over a decade and a half into the twenty-first century, Australia urgently needs a new outlook on a number of hitherto sacred cows. This especially includes taxing all religious institutions (which these days seems to me a no-brainer) plus evidence-based drug and prison policy, immigration reform, and the legalisation of same sex marriage and voluntary assisted dying.

This crucial, indeed critical, inquiry into dying with dignity received a record number of submissions and I am quietly confident that the report will clearly reflect the lived truths about important end-of-life issues.
Speaking of voluntary assisted dying, may I inform you that the Victorian Parliamentary Committee that has been enquiring into Dying with Dignity and Voluntary Euthanasia has just released its report.

The Sex Party’s founder Fiona Patten, who initiated this committee in the Victorian Legislative Council, is one of its key members. This crucial, indeed critical, inquiry into dying with dignity received a record number of submissions and I am quietly confident that the report will clearly reflect the lived truths about important end-of-life issues.

My fervent hope is that this timely parliamentary report will lead to some early reform of our archaic laws surrounding voluntary euthanasia and medically assisted dying.I commend it strongly to all of those present here at The Sydney Institute and far beyond.

In closing, I particularly want to acknowledge the presence of Sue Raye, the number two Senate candidate in NSW for the Australian Sex Party, and all of our supporters.

Thank you for having us.

A short postscript , With regard to taxing all religious institutions, I am tempted to quote the opinion attributed to Jesus: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.

I advocate that all religious institutions , Christian and non-Christian , should be taxed -…not just churches. This includes taxing all Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious institutions that run profit-making businesses.

I’m interested to know Rev Nile, whether the Christian Democrats support church institutions paying local, state and federal taxes , or do you believe they should be tax exempt?

To clarify my position, as the Sex Party’s lead Senate candidate for NSW, I advocate that all religious institutions , Christian and non-Christian , should be taxed…not just churches. This includes taxing all Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious institutions that run profit-making businesses.

And if my memory of the Bible serves me right, after the words spoken by Jesus, the gospel says of the listeners , “And they were amazed.

How about that!

Professor Ross Fitzgerald AM
The Australian Sex Party’s lead Senate candidate for NSW
The Sydney Papers online, 24 June 2016

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