Integrity in politics – are you serious!
Hard not to be cynical, but without aiming for integrity and long term vision in politics we are only re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic. The issues facing Australia are too important not to aim for a better political process.
How are you different?
Party politics is we-know-best, one-size-fits-all politics. ‘We’ is usually an elite group. The internal party process itself is mostly not democratic, corrupted further by lobby group donations.
We do not pretend to have all the answers, and aim to network with those already making a difference on the ground. Local solutions to national issues are already out there if we only looked. We see the real power in politics is the power of one – ‘democracy starts with me’. AIM for political integrity encourages people to move beyond blame, to get involved, to make a difference where they are. Also our candidates will work within a clear framework of accountability.
What is your goal?
Our goal is ultimately to help generate a new political culture. The web opens up the possibility of more direct grassroots democracy in a way just not possible before.
Who do you represent?
Anyone who feels us-and-them party politics with its focus on staying in power cannot meet the long term challenges facing Australia. People who are tired of being lied to, of not being told the whole truth. People who expect, when mistakes are made, a fronting up instead of more justifying. People who want to make a more direct input. People who want to create hope for future generations.
How are you financed?
Out of our own pockets. We do not accept corporate donations. We rely on the internet to spread our message, not advertising.
Is AIM for political integrity seeking to replace traditional political parties?
No. Our main focus is the Upper Houses of Parliament, that they operate as they are meant to, as genuine houses of review. However some candidates will run in lower house seats.
As Independents are you against the major parties?
Both Liberal and Labor have fine founding visions. The Liberal Party traditionally has stood for taking individual responsibility and initiative free from big brother government. Labor has stood up for those who have had no voice, for the disenfranchised. At their best both parties have encompassed something of both visions. However in the pursuit of power and pushing a particular ideology, these founding visions have been compromised, even going against their own founding beliefs.
So are you on the right or left?
Neither. All legislation will be reviewed according to the five tests of sustainability, fairness, does the process have integrity, have historical injustices been addressed, and does it build community. This transcends traditional political categories. Depending on the issue some may see it as right or left, but the five tests remain the basis for making decisions, not left or right ideology.
A movement of Independents – how does that work?
Our candidates will vote on all issues according to their own informed conscience. They are not bound by party censure or expulsion, as in the major parties, to all vote the same. However all candidates need to justify their decision on the basis of the core values of the Australian Independents Movement. All issues have an ethical component. If legislation is unfair to some, not sustainable, if the process is corrupt, if historical injustices have been ignored, if community has been diminished – then to that degree the legislation is unethical.
The real value of a network of independents is the framework of core values and accountability set out in the constitution, and the ability to pool resources and perspectives.
What are your specific policies?
Our focus as Upper House independents is process, not a pre-determined and pre-judged set of policies. AIM for political integrity recognizes on any issue as independents we may reach different positions. Good process however keeps the focus on finding workable solutions, even on areas of difference, not on personalities or scoring political points.
AIM for political integrity also believes watershed legislation is best resolved not by those elected on a wide ranging party platform, but by all Australians in a referendum, easily done at each election. Information is power. Our conviction is that given all the facts, the people as a whole make better decisions every time over some elite group.
How long have you been around?
Since 1993. Our original name was Australian Independents Coalition for political integrity. We ran with this name in the 1995 and 1999 NSW State elections for the Upper House, the Legislative Council. In 1995, it came down to preferences. The name changed from Coalition to Movement as we felt Coalition did not capture the sense of grassroots change. Also the acronym AIM for political integrity, portrays accurately that we do not make any claims to have the last word on integrity. Rather it is our aim in all we do, and to highlight those in all walks of life who have shown integrity.