Australian politics is broken, torn between left and right, progressives and conservatives, career politicians and single-issue activists. Nothing is being fixed. We have reform-free governments, distrust of our institutions, paralysis in public debate, and widespread frustration amongst ordinary people.
The credibility of all our political parties – major and minor – has collapsed.
The 80% of us in the sensible centre of Australian life can no longer sit by and watch the mess. We have to find a way to reclaim our democracy and take charge of our country’s affairs.
We are calling for nominations for candidates for the House of Representative and the Senate for the federal election scheduled for May 2022. It is vital that the career politicians who fill our parliaments be removed and replaced by people with track records in bringing people together to solve problems and fix things. Submit an Expression of Interest.
We need to bring Australians together across the traditional political spectrum. We think both right and left have failed to empower ordinary citizens and instead created a political and managerial class that puts its own interests before the community and the national interest.
Everywhere we look – in corporations, government departments, the media, NGOs and charities, universities, trade unions, schools and hospitals, consulting firms – we see a small section of society running the country into the ground. Ordinary people have been disregarded and disempowered, and made second-class citizens in our own country.
This is just as true for small business people as it is for low and middle-income workers, for suburban families and country folk, for people with traditionally ‘conservative’ views as well as people who’ve traditionally thought of themselves as ‘radicals’. All of us have watched a growing concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer people, in Big Government and Big Business. This is wrong. We think political and economic power should be dispersed as widely as possible and not concentrated in the hands of a few.
How will we do this?
1. We will break-up the concentration of political power by conducting Community Preselections in every electorate to enable voters to select their own representative to send to Parliament, removing the gate-keeping role played by political parties and their networks of patronage.
2. We will break-up the concentration of economic and social power by winding back both states and markets (Big Government and Big Business) and dispersing power to civil society (families, communities, associations, small businesses, clubs and mutuals).
This is our timeline:
1. Participants from July 2021 will vote in their federal electorate in a Community Preselection of a federal candidate for the 2022 federal election.
This will follow a trial in June 2021 of our preselection process in the federal electorates of Robertson and Dobell on the NSW Central Coast.
2. Participants from August 2021 will vote in their state or territory in a Community Preselection of a lead Senate candidate for the 2022 federal election.
3. Members of Participating Political Parties may also participate in the preselection ballots (a participating political party is a registered federal or state party that participates in the community preselection process, and agrees to support the preselected candidates in the federal election).
To participate in these ballots, a small membership fee is payable. There are two categories:
Full Members – $25 fee, full voting rights, eligible to be candidates, Electorate Convenors, and Directors of Divisions
Community Preselectors – $10 fee, eligible to vote in Community Preselections
All membership fees paid in this two-year period are valid until December 2021.
Members of The Sensible Centre may be people who have never been involved in politics before, as well as seasoned campaigners. We don’t mind if you are a member of another political party, so long as you tell us about it when you join up.
Members come together in each federal electorate (there are 150 across Australia) to:
- connect online;
- organise initiatives as they see fit (discussions, policy forums, self-education);
- support a candidate in their federal, state or local electorate.
The main features of our approach are:
1. We welcome diversity of opinion as a normal and natural feature of political life. We do not expect everyone to think the same.
2. We welcome people from across the traditional ‘left-right’, ‘progressive-conservative’ spectrum by emphasising:
a. empowerment of citizens and strengthening of civil society,
b. collaboration across social divisions and political backgrounds,
c. local initiatives and practical solutions to economic, social and environmental challenges, and
d. stronger personal and community relationships and responsibilities.
3. Candidates for office and elected representatives of our movement have an obligation to work collaboratively with colleagues, but retain a right to hold and exercise a conscience vote on any matter, and/or a right to vote in accordance with majority opinion in their constituency.
4. Candidates and elected representatives of our movement are not career politicians and therefore may serve for a maximum of three terms only in a lower house of parliament, and two terms only in an upper house.
5. We will issue either open tickets or split tickets with Coalition and Labor parties in matters of preferences as befits a centrist party that is not-aligned with either.
The Sensible Centre is an initiative of Civil Society Australia, a peak body of community groups and social initiatives independent of government and the commercial world.
There is no time to waste. Join up today – this is urgent!
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