Upper House | Victorian State Election 2022
Vern Hughes, was pipped at the post in 2018 by the Shooters Party’s Jeff Bourman for a seat in the Victorian Legislative Council for Eastern Victoria.
This time, Vern is determined to win the seat in the state’s upper house.
Vern Hughes will be an Independent Candidate for a seat in the upper house for Eastern Victoria.
We have not had a strong voice in Parliament for this region in the last four years. Labor and Liberal serve their parties not the people, and the Shooters are a one-issue fringe party.
We’ve had incompetent government by out-of-touch career politicians. They’ve made a mess of everything they’ve touched. Small businesses have been to hell and back. Parents have watched the quality of schools deteriorate. Roads and infrastructure across the region have fallen away. Mental health services are ineffectual.
Meanwhile, the cost of living for ordinary families is sky-rocketing. The state’s debt is over $167bn. Council rates in regional Victoria now average $2535 on a $700K home, while those in Melbourne pay $1099.
Vern aims to represent the sensible centre in politics – families, communities, small businesses and voluntary associations. He is a community worker who has worked in NGOs, church agencies, co-ops and social enterprises.
He founded the Social Entrepreneurs Network in 2000, and led the development of social enterprises in Victoria. He developed Australia’s only consumer-run primary health care centre in the 1990s. He was Director of the Uniting Church’s Hotham Mission. He was Director of the Co-operative Federation of Victoria, a peak body of co-ops and mutuals.
He has a 14-point policy platform which outlines a people-centre approach to fixing the problems in the state’s governance. www.sensiblecentre.org.au/ev/
His Five Key Messages are:
1. Gippsland and Eastern Victoria deserve our fair share of services and infrastructure.
2. We need Independent reps in Parliament, not parties.
3. Our households need help with cost of living pressures.
4. Our kids and families need support.
5. We need corruption and career politicians out of politics.
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14 Point Platform
2. Appoint Ministers from outside Parliament (permitted under the Victorian Constitution for up to 90 days) to clean up and restructure the public service, de-politicise departments and cut waste; after 90 days a permanent Minister may be appointed.
3. Reduce the number of lower house politicians from 88 to 48; remove public funding for political parties; ban corporate and union donations to parties; remove public funding from industry and provider peak bodies and their advocacy and lobbying arms.
4. Establish a standing Citizens Jury in the Victorian Electoral Commission, selected by sortition (random selection), to adjudicate on:
Matters may be referred to the Citizens Jury by either of two methods: referral by either House of the Victorian Parliament, or by petition of a certain number of citizens. Jury decisions are binding on the government of the day.
5. Freeze all state government fees and charges for households and small businesses for 4 years (the life of the next parliament), including motor registration fees, business fees, and fines and penalties.
6. Cap local government rates at $500 pa and require local governments to downsize to operate within this cap; re-orient local government towards a primarily non-service delivery role as an instrument of local voice and community representation.
7. Re-orient public transport to favour outer suburbs by making train and bus travel free for Zone 2 and Zones 3-13, abolish free tram travel in the CBD and retain fares for Zone 1.
8. Establish a state-wide bushfire prevention plan which reduces fire risk, revives volunteer community fire-fighting, limits residential development in high-risk areas, and finances emergency response and recovery on contributory insurance principles.
10. Allocate funding for schools and child care to parents (not providers) to increase the leverage of parents in driving more options that fit our needs and more accountability from providers.
11. Transfer 30% of hospital and health funding to NDIS-style care packages for consumers with chronic illnesses to prevent hospitalisation.
12. Turn the tide on the drugs epidemic in Victoria by introducing mandatory rehabilitation for illicit drug users with the aim of leading the user to a drug-free life; scrap the addiction-perpetuating ‘injecting rooms’ strategy.
13. Ban consulting firms from state contracts for 4 years; ban corporatised NGOs from service delivery contracts; in-source family and community services to families and communities.
14. Establish 31 December 2025 as an end-date for indigenous reconciliation, truth-telling and treaty initiatives in Victoria, followed by a settlement date and public holiday for an inaugural Reconciliation Day in 2026; Reconciliation Day would mark the end of changes to place names in Victoria, an end to race-based government programs and entitlements, and an end to the institutional practice of Welcome to Country.
We invite Expressions of Interest in participating in this process, as either a Volunteer, an Electorate Support Team member, or a State Campaign Committee member.
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