Time To Talk Politics

Now that the Queensland state election is over, its time to talk politics. That means why we can talk about all things political without the distraction of an election. In the comments I have made on social media, the following questions were asked.

  • Why as a vegan, and someone who is interested in animal rights, don’t I support the Animal Justice Party?
  • And, why, as a vegan, would I want to support Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.

Both of these questions are able to be answered briefly. Yet to do so gives a potentially confusing or easily misinterpreted answer. So an explanation and more detail is required. Hence this blog post.

The Animal Justice Party

The answers and information given here relate to the AJP as a whole, and the AJP Qld. Where possible, it will be mentioned which AJP the comment it refers to.

AJP Qld: They weren’t registered as a political party.

Yes, I do understand that the timing of the election being called meant the offical registration had to be delayed. It is my understanding that this date would have been late November. With the election being called, it may not be registered until Jan 2018 due to writs not being returned. That being said, they still went into this giving people the impression that they were a registered political party. It was only when challenged that they said that they were AJP ‘supported’ independent candidates. Not AJP candidates as promoted.

AJP: Isn’t a totally democratic organisation.

Clause 12(e) of the constitution of the Animal Justice Party talks about the powers of the committee and states:

may determine which Members are to be designated as Voting Members, provided that the Committee must ensure that at all times there are at least five Members designated as Voting Members.

This means that unless the current committee members designate you to be a voting member, you cannot vote. Kinda flies in the face of their claim of “equality” now doesn’t it? 

And it gets worse.

Clause 14(1) Nominations of candidates for election as office-bearers of the Party or as ordinary members of the Committee, who must be Voting Members:

This means that you can’t get onto the committee unless you are a “voting member”. What this means is that you have no hope of changing the status quo. Or challenging the committee. Because the committee decides who can vote and who can’t. I guarantee they wouldn’t want someone who would upset their apple cart. Think that is the worst of it? Think again.

AJP Qld: The Qld committee is actually a sub-committee of the main one.

The Committee may, by instrument in writing, delegate to one or more subcommittees (consisting of such Voting Members as the Committee thinks fi t) the exercise of such of the functions of the Committee as are speci ed in the instrument, other than: (a) this power of delegation, and (b) a function which is a duty imposed on the Committee by the Act or by any other law.

Let that sink in for a minute. What this means is that the sub-committee that ‘looks after’ Queensland has been decided upon by the main committee. The only way to get on a committee is for the committee to designate you as a voting member.You then still need to be voted up by other voting members. So much for kindness, equality and rationality. Let me make that clear for you. The only way to be able to vote on things that have an impact on the party is to become a “voting member”. You can only become a “voting member” when the committee decides you can be. To be endorsed as a candidate for election, you need approval of the committee, and the voting members. Though only those “voting members” who have been one for more than 6 months.

AJP: They protect the wrong people and throw others under the bus.

Remember sushi-gate? That was when the Mark Pearson got busted eating fishes. This is despite his fans telling me for years he was vegan. Anyway, Mark Pearson justified things by saying it was temptation that got the better of him. He even wrote a “sorry not sorry” ‘media statement’. The original statement said he remains “commited to veganism”, though this was changed to read.

“I remain committed to moving swiftly towards an essentially plant based diet. I am now fully committed to not eating any animal product where sourcing could have involved harm.

These actions are in direct conflict of the “plant based food” policy of the AJP. Yet, during the previous election, how many people were thrown under the bus for simply thinking something. A something that the AJP had no policy on.

The finer points

There has been much discussion about whether the AJP is an animal rights party or not. The reality of things is that it isn’t. It is a party that wants to eventually reform animal agriculture. Their Animal Law policy reaffirms that by stating that they will seek a new status for other animals. A status that acknowledges “their right to live protected from human harm”. What will that actually mean for other animals is anybodies guess. Until society’s view on the use of other animals changes, any ‘rights’ that they are afforded will only come through common law, not statute. Why? Because statute laws are easily over turned, as we saw with the short lived greyhound racing ban in NSW.

Before you mention it

Every single time any critiquing or criticism is directed towards the AJP, it is met with the claim of “look at all the good they do”. I would like to ask you this. Do they ACTUALLY do any good? Sure, the AJP may have had a part in the short lived greyhound racing ban in NSW. Though that was overturned before it could even come into force, and had very little to do with the AJP. Mark Pearson has been part of a parliamentary inquiry into puppy mills. An inquiry that presented a watered down list of recommendations. Oh, and let’s not forget the parliamentary pat on the back he gave to sheep farmers who don’t use muelsing to control fly strike.

Why is lack of democracy a concern?

Tell me are you happy joining a group where your voice and suggestions are effectively ignored? Well that is until you become a chosen one that is? Let’s say for a minute that a majority of vegans who are members of the party wanted Mark Pearson ‘disciplined’ for his sushi-gate scandal. Unless they were voting members their concerns wouldn’t have meant anything. Or what if the members in Queensland decide that it would be better to wait until the party was officially registered before contesting an election? Well, as they acknowledged, the committee decided that was a “good idea” to run candidates as independents. I doubt members even got a say. The animal “movement” in general is extremely protective of the status quo. It is also quick to silence dissent through bullying, harassment, and intimidation. It is also not a movement that is overly friendly or welcoming to the vulnerable members of society.

About Politics

As is usually the case when challenging the status quo, all sorts of logical fallacies come out. The most favourite one to use is a strawman. And this one is…. You want to vote for One Nation! What I actually said was:

When it comes time to vote in the Qld election think about where you put the #1, then where your preferences go. If you can, ALWAYS put a 1 next to an independent (apart from AJP ‘supported candidates’). If there are no independents, put the 1 next to One Nation for the simple fact that this party will reduce the number of seats in the lower house, and reinstate the upper house. Thereby bringing something resembling democracy back to Qld. If there are no One Nation candidates, put the 1 next to Katter’s Australia Party. For the simple fact they aren’t ALP or LNP. If there are only two candidates, vote LNP putting the ALP last. Why? Because the ALP have shafted Qld by opening the doors to Adani, and closed the doors to F.A.R. (the $100K promise will still leave them $200K short and remain closed).

You will notice that I said vote #1 One Nations ONLY if there were no independents running. (AJP excepted). Here is my reasoning. It doesn’t matter which election it is, I have always said vote independent BEFORE any party.

Why Independent?

Because if an independent gets in, you are more likely to be able to influence how they vote in parliament than you are a party politician. It also sends a message that we the voter are sick of party politics and want genuine representation. Also, if the independent gets over 6% of the primary vote, they can claim public funding. (It is 4% for federal elections). To put it in dollar amounts, once a candidate reaches the 6% mark, they can claim $3.14 per vote. ($2.62 for federal elections). That is a lot of money to take out of the pockets of the major parties.

Why not Animal Justice Party?

As I mentioned above, the Animal Justice Party isn’t an “animal rights party”, nor are they a “vegan party”. This means that they are then viewed as any other political party. Knowing that politics is a long term game, and that IF the AJP were to have any influence in Qld parliament, they would need a few seats. Which they had little chance of getting. Then there is the question of the candidates posing a threat in the seats that the candidates were in. All bar one was a poor choice, and waste of resources. That is also without mentioning the lack of “branding” for the AJP on the ballot paper.

Why One Nation?

In the absence of independents I suggested voting for one nation. For the simple reason is that one of their policies was to reduce the number of politicians in the lower house. They also said they would reinstate the upper house in Qld. It was for this reason ALONE that a vote for One Nation was suggested. Having an upper house in Qld would lower the bar for a “micro party” to get a seat. It would provide the “checks and balances” in Qld that have been missing for decades. It also provides more opportunity for legislation to be blocked and pass meaningful legislation. And that is something that will benefit Queensland and “the animals”. Here are a few things to keep in mind about politics.

It isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes you have to do a deal with the devil to get what you want.

It is also a long term game where you need to be thinking three, four, or even five moves ahead.

We need to face up to the reality that “the system” is stacked against us. The only way we are going to make any change is to learn how to play the game. It’s time that “animal advocates” stopped doing what makes them “feel good” and started doing things that actually “do good”. Because that is the only way that we can can help those we are supposed to be advocating for. The animals.

References to sections within the Animal Justice Party constitution are based on the pdf version located here. Retrieved 01 Dec 2017
Information on the committee was retrieved from that section on the AJP website located here. Retrieved on 01 Dec 2017

What are your thoughts?