People Power is a new political party which aims to bring ethics and greater participation to elections right across the corporate, political and business spectrum in Australia. Today, Aston candidate Mark Ward explains his preference strategy in critiquing the record 15-horse field.

Mark Ward’s first take on the running of the 2001 Aston Cup

1. Mark Ward: People Power

Running hard on reform to Parliamentary super and a host of other ethical and accountability issues. Accountability for politicians and corporate leaders. Get rid of the useless and costly state governments (in stages, upper houses first). Lower taxes paid for by reductions in rorts like pollies super, lower cost of government. Need a well funded and independent ABC; get rid of weak links Kroger and Shier.

Mark has experience in a range of industries and management positions. He was briefly a member of the Democrats and more recently Labor but quickly became disillusioned with both.

Without the money for a mail-out will struggle to get a large slice of the independent and single issue party vote which will probably amount to about 10 per cent shared between all of them.

2. Gary Scates: Independent

The Mayor of Knox and small businessman who is the dark-horse candidate. He is best positioned of the candidates and a good chap to boot so we’ll be swapping second preferences with him.

3 Mik Kir: Greens

Mik wants everyone to sign the Kyoto protocol which we agree with. He’s opposed to the Scoresby freeway extension on environmental grounds and wants more funding for public transport and less high-voltage overhead power lines.

Mik was a member of the ALP in the 70s but has sprinted to the Left with the Greens since then. Being a long-time Aston resident he might do well and he’s also a veteran losing candidate having failed to get on the local council and also lost in running for a state seat in 1999.

Mik will be hoping he can beat the Dems and get more than 5 per cent which is a reasonable chance.

4. Luke James Chamberlain: Liberals for Forests

Despite no obvious connection to the Liberals and lots of obvious connections to the usual lefty Green groups, these guys used the name of WA fashion designer Liz Davenport to knock off dodgy Doug Shave and win a seat in the WA lower house.

Like most people in the community, they stand opposed to the destruction of our forests. Luke went to kinda at Brandon Park and “sold pies at the then VFL Park as a schoolboy” so he’s got lots of local connections.

By the way Luke, I’m still waiting for replies to my phone calls.

5. Pierre Harcourt: Democrats

Pierre is a duty solicitor for Victorian Legal Aid but the voters have not heard much about him because Natasha has been dominating the literature. Like the Greens, the Dems are running on economic sustainability and social justice. Given that the Dems are hoping to get Lynn Allison up in Victoria but were demolished in Queensland and WA, they will need to get more than 5 per cent and beat both Green candidates to be pleased. If they don’t get more than 4 per cent they’ll lose their $350 deposit and fail to qualify for the outrageous federal funding of $1.72 a vote.

6 Tim Petherbridge: Hope Party

Tim has gone up in my ranking, mainly due to his ideals of goodwill, equality and integrity.

7. Chris Pearce: Liberal

Running on a platform of transport, health and education, Chris Pearce looked good as a former chief executive and Knox councillor but has fallen away recently. Firstly, his attendance record at council was revealed to be very poor and then the Liberals have been deluging voters with far too many letter-drops.

Originally we made a difficult decision to put Mr Pearce near the top of our list. The amount of work in this community could not be ignored, however he is saddled with a tired old leader in an ageing and dysfunctional party.

Mr Pearce has come out with the safe answers: the issues are health, education, and transport. Considering his long-standing connections and service in the area should be telling us what his answer is to the drug problem here. I’m told the last public meeting on the subject packed the Knox Civic Centre’s meeting rooms to overflowing.

Can Mr Pearce cut it though? After citing transport as an issue, he didn’t turn up at a meeting about public transport! OK, he’s for the freeway and he might have got a bullocking. But what does he do? Send an assistant to the meeting! Assistant got a nice round of raspberries and jeering, considering he’d come from the same meeting Mr Pearce was at, just five minutes away.

Seems the Libs are protecting their man after a poor performance at an outside broadcast recently. You’ll have to stand up for yourself sometime Chris.

8 Kieran Boland: ALP

Kieran is running loudly on things which the puppeteers in Labor Party head office tell him to say. Things like simplifying the GST and keeping Telstra government-owned, rebuilding Medicare and our public hospital system, increased funding for cancer treatment and research, quality education for all, directing funds to schools that need them, building a knowledge nation blah blah blah.

Kieran grew up in Aston, went to school there and lives in Wantirna. But is he just a 20-something party hack. He has worked for MPs and has been secretary and president of the Bayswater Branch of the ALP. Does it count that Kieran’s father was general secretary of the Liquor Trades Union?

We reckon he’s far too young and inexperienced at 27 to be elected. Voters are sick of people who’ve done little except work in the electoral office of another politician. If Labor wins it won’t be because of their wide-eyed candidate but he’ll benefit from being last on the ticket and expect Bracks and Beazley to come over the top and overshadow someone who could end up on a generous taxpayer pension for life when in his 30s.

9 Peter O’Loughlin: Lower excise fuel and beer (unregistered party)

Pete wants a debits tax to replace all other taxes and is obviously wanting cheaper beer and petrol. He sounds pretty left in wanting to preserve Medicare, stop national asset sales, oppose imports that hurt farmers and save the ABC. He wants a higher basic wage and more access to the legal system along with equal pay.

At least Pete has lived in the Eastern suburbs for 30 years and at number one on the ballot paper will benefit from the donkey vote.

These guys were featured on The 7.30 Report whining about new regulations required in order to become a party (to wit, the 500 members thing), oh yes, and the small matter that someone is challenging the legislation, so no new party will be registered until this is sorted out.

Anyway, how’s this for some deep and meaningful symbolism: “Beer is a symbolism of the working man having an unfair share of the tax burden.”

Maybe I’ve missed something here, but we seem to have a grab-bag of ideas here, a popular wish-list without much substance. Might be good for 3 per cent thanks to donkeys, truckies and beer drinkers.

10 Graeme Dunstan: HEMP party

Never mind Aston, end Marijuana prohibition.

Not too many pot smokers in this electorate so go back to Byron son. He’s hoping to win 4 per cent of the vote, get $7000 in federal funding and buy a year’s supply of grass that he’ll smoke on top of the Dandenong Ranges.

Address is in Stawell – maybe he’ll practise for the next running of the Gift by running down to Aston to campaign?

At least he’ll return calls. There are some good ideas here, like allowing non-THC hemp for wood chips (stop destruction of forests), fibre manufacture (get rid of cotton manufacture and the evils of the pesticides required), it’s just a pity they don’t say it.

11 Steve Raskovy: Independent

Steve is a former Olympic wrestler and Maroondah identity. He is standing on a raft of great new ideas like, kicking out the asylum seekers and harsher penalties for convictions (join the Libs, Steve), save Waverley, aged care, education and health, jobs, environment, scrap the GST, and more. Claims to be the only true independent.

Even the local papers are asking why he bothers.

12 Mark Sloan: No GST

Yes, yes, the GST thing. Sorry, it’s too late. The upheaval caused by bringing it in cannot be reversed. Removing it would create more upheaval. If you want to make it work better or change it, that’s another matter.

Fourth on the paper – will be interesting to see the GST protest vote here.

13 Josephine Cox: Socialist Alliance

Running on a platform of Kick the Liberals out; A left alternative to Labor and someone who was a keen member Labor for many years. Against economic rationalism; shorter working week (without pay reduction); nationalisation of companies that abandon workers.

With headlines like “Axe GST, tax the rich”, giving unions full access to company books, and a long list of things that should be free. Some are good, like “Promote peace and international co-operation”, but some of this stuff is right on the edge of class warfare.

14 June Scott: One Nation

This former servicewoman and grandmother of 13 let the cat out of the bag in the ABC outside broadcast a week or two ago when she said we’ve got to keep the refugees out. Back to the boring old Hanson rhetoric.

Victoria was One Nation’s worst state apart from Tasmania at the last Federal election so they’ll struggle to crack the 4 per cent threshold for federal funding, which is what Pauline is really after.

15 Doug Mitchell: Citizens Electoral Council

These guys are real loonies. Doug is standing on a platform of finding a solution to the economic state of Australia.

This heads the rest of the list because finding a solution to the economic state of Australia is such a mind-blowingly great idea. I’m sure no-one else is working on this. I’d like to see some other topics from this group. How about “stopping people committing crime”?

Apparently his parents are not proud, as they have told national papers that their son has been taken away and brainwashed by a cult. Rumour is the cult is the CEC. These loons even reckon the British Royal family are murderers.

Doug would also like to fix the exchange rate. Wheel the time machine over here please.

If you have any issues with this, please email Mark Ward at: [email protected]

Also, he’d love to hear from you if you fancy a spot of leafletting or how to vote card distributing on February 14. And come along to our public meeting on Sunday July 8 from 4pm till 6pm at: Mountain View Bistro

Cnr Springvale Rd and High Street Rds

Glen Waverley

Opposite the Glen shopping centre

Speakers will include Mark Ward, Stephen Mayne and Vern Hughes.

Peter Fray

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