Samuel Gordon-Stewart, Independent – Policies
Stored for archival purposes
This page is by no means a complete list of policies at this stage, but does outline a number of my key policies. I will be adding more policies and expanding on the existing ones in the very near future. If you have any questions or concerns about any policy, whether it’s listed here or not, please feel free to contact me. I will also make this page easier to navigate shortly.
If elected to the role of member for Fraser, I would, as an independent, be able to truly represent the views, needs and concerns of Fraser, and Canberra in general. I would aim to be a member of the joint committee on the National Capital and External Territories to maximise my influence on matters which affect the area. I would also, assuming the governing party has a parliamentary minority (a fairly likely outcome), hold a key position on the cross-bench, which would further maximise my ability to influence government decisions to the benefit of Fraser, and Canberra in general.
Drought is a fact of life in this nation, but left unchecked, droughts can easily lead to excessively dry areas, damaging our farming industry, and making life harder for our wildlife and the economy. The solution is fairly simple, but rather expensive. We need to pump water inland, and work on cloud seeding to encourage rainfall in inland areas. This can be (mostly) funded by putting a tax on imported matter that we produce in this country. At the present time we import an awful lot of products that our farmers produce, so the tax would not only make Australian products more attractive, but fund the recovery of our farming sector.
This would prompt the farming sector to recover and pump more money in to the economy. The cost of maintaining inland services would be much lower than the initial setup costs. The price of Australian products would drop due to the larger supply, causing more people (both locally and internationally) to buy Australian products, but the farmers, and therefore the country, would make more money. This policy would not only benefit the farming sector, but the rest of the nation as well due to the extra money being pumped in to the Australian economy, and could even benefit the tourism sector as the extra water and rainfall in inland areas would make inland Australian more marketable to tourists…and that would also benefit the economy.
For far too long, education has been an area of overlap between the state and federal governments, which has caused much confusion and disruptive competition between the states. I intend on making education the domain of the federal government. This will allow the federal government to oversee a national curriculum, ensuring that all children across the nation can receive the same high standard of education. I also intend on making the excellent ACT college and continual assessment system the basis for the national education system. The ACT system has an excellent track record of preparing students for future study and the workforce, and has a good balance between traditional academic subjects, and more focussed, specialised courses designed to prepare senior students for the field of their choice.
I also believe it is the government’s responsibility to fund public education. Far too much public money goes towards private schools, and I intend to have a phased reallocation of funds from the private to the public system, until almost 100% of funds go towards public schools. Certain private schools in remote areas will continue to receive public funds where there is no viable alternative, although these schools will, if possible, be converted to public schools.
I, to the best of my knowledge, am the only candidate in Fraser who is campaigning against the hype of climate change. I have no doubts that the climate is changing, but I firmly believe this is part of a natural cycle and human activity is not the primary reason for it. As such, the best thing we can do is learn to adapt to the changes.
That being said, I do support the reduction of pollution, as this will benefit all of us. Realistic economically sustainable targets for the reduction of pollution should be put in place, and alternative energy sources should be setup, as long as they won’t have an overly adverse affect on the price of energy.
Health is another area of excessive overlap between the state governments and the federal government. The buck-passing over the many faults with the health system is completely unacceptable, and I would make health an entirely federal responsibility. Also, much like education, I would have a phased reallocation of funds from the private health system to the public system until nearly 100% of funds go towards the public system. I would also setup health centres similar to those currently run by some states and territories. These centres would employ general practitioners, dentists, and in some areas, specialists. These medical professionals would not only bulk bill their patients, they would take the pressure off hospital emergency departments, and ensure that all areas of the nation have (at the very least) adequate health services.
I believe that with one central body in charge of health, and the funds being almost exclusively used on the public health system, Australia’s health system woes would come to an end.
- Industrial Relations
Work Choices, for the most part, is a good system allowing employers and employees to reach personal agreements that work for them. That being said, just like any other newish law, it has rough edges that need to be fixed. I believe that unions should be allowed to negotiate collective agreements if the majority of employees in a workplace agree to it in a secret ballot. Individual employees would still have the power of veto over their own contract if they want to negotiate a deal separate to the collective agreement. To the same extent, anyone, including unions, will be entitled to assist an employee with negotiations for an individual agreement if the employee wants them to.
- Internet Services
The implementation of a proper, scalable, high speed broadband network should be a high priority for the government. In as many places as possible this would be a fibre-to-the-home network, and this network should be majority-owned by the federal government, with the rest owned by private stakeholders. The mistake of selling off the majority of Telstra, and therefore the public telephone network, should never be repeated with any infrastructure. Private enterprise can form an important part of infrastructure, but should never be allowed to have a monopoly over the equipment.
Urgent priority should be given to ensuring that areas which currently have no broadband services are provided with broadband services.
The ongoing strength of the media is a vital part of the democratic process. The media not only keeps people informed and entertained, it provides everyone with an avenue to have their say on issues which matter to them. The biggest change to the media in the immediate future is the introduction of digital radio. Plans are already in place to oversee this, however I think it is important that the entire process is sped up to ensure radio isn’t adversely affected by the increase in interference from new buildings and electrical equipment. The change will not be easy for some broadcasters, and some smaller ones may even find it hard to fund the change. It is my policy that broadcasters will be provided with federal assistance to make this vital change, and that no broadcaster will be adversely affected by the change.
Telstra, as a private enterprise, have control of the public telephone network. It is quite clear that this monopoly of the network, along with strict government situation which Telstra seem to believe is hampering their business activities, is an unacceptable situation. The solution to this problem is a difficult juggling act of pros and cons, and as such I would setup a committee made up of key industry players (including Telstra), international communications experts, and others who may be of use in solving the problem. I do not believe in setting up masses of committees and reviews for the fun of it. The only reason I want to do this with Telstra is to ensure that the right outcome is reached for a problem which, if left alone, will only get worse.
- Tralee Development
I will oppose the proposed development under the flight paths of Canberra Airport at Tralee. This development, if it goes ahead, would result in excessive amounts of noise for Tralee residents, and therefore flight paths would need to be modified resulting in aircraft noise being shared around Canberra. An alternative, far more viable site is available at Googong, and I will support development at Googong.
Yet another area of excessive overlap, I firmly believe that roads and transport are a state responsibility, and I would work to hand full responsibility of these services to the states. The federal government would provide extra funds for special projects such as the duplication of roads to meet and exceed demand (for example in Canberra this could be the duplication of the Gungahlin Drive Extension so that it is more than one lane each way), and new public transport infrastructure projects (this could, for example, be a mass upgrade of buses or trains, or the building of new railway tracks or the installation of a monorail). These funds would be provided on a case-by-case basis, and where possible would involve a contract where the federal government receives a share of the funds generated by the project.
Projects which span multiple states could be moderated by the federal government is required.
Independent candidate for Fraser