Fear is abroad in political camps in South Australia at the moment,
especially within the minor parties holding senate seats. City lawyer,
Richard Armour, running a campaign almost exclusively on the web, has
quietly been garnering support for his policies and position, one that
has ensconced politicians rabid…especially his call to abolish
parliamentary superannuation schemes, limit terms and move to voluntary
The potential for him to grab the protest vote in the Senate is high,
lacking the baggage of the Dems, Meg Lees, the Greens and any other
minor party you care to name.
But that’s the least of it. An independent, with apparently little by
way of campaign resources, it appears his approach devoid of party
affiliation and vested interest is winning converts in the Adelaide
environs and beyond – although the Democrats and Progressives are not
amongst his admirers.
His website – www.richardarmour.com
– is comprehensive, more so than most, with a strong advocacy for
smaller, less intrusive government and massive changes to the tax
system – including no tax on earnings under $15,000 and a flat 15% to
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It’s hard to pigeon-hole this candidate, which in part is perhaps why
the mainstream, even minor party, politico’s are worried. The potential
popular appeal for Armour is significant.
There is no allusion here, just outright statement from him, describing
the current state senators as “…”grey men”, …party hack[s]…willing to
change parties at the drop of a hat, or…self-promoter[s] eagerly
waiting out their current term to “retire” on a lifetime parliamentary
pension.” It’s not difficult to slot the relevant sitting senators into
their apt description. Natasha, Meg and Nick will all be miffed.
A snapshot of his various policy initiatives range from a comprehensive
energy program for the nation to specific law reform in the family
court. The rural voters in particular will love his call for a distance
determined pro-rata reducing tax rate and abolition of the Wine
Equalisation Tax, a big call for SA with national dominance in the wine
industry. Interestingly, whilst clearly supportive of the less well
off, parents with disabled children and carers, and with a strong,
practical environmental approach, he condemns Medicare and highlights
its position as a political funding pawn. That political sacred cow
comes in for a call to get rid of it – except as a social safety net
for anyone unable to afford private insurance. But he goes further,
calling for a move to a fully competitive medical and pharmacy
marketplace. That should annoy the pharmacy guilds (closed shop) and
the AMA (closed shop).
There is no dogma – “…none of these are writ in stone” – is one
comment on his site. But he is not backward in suggesting Liberal and
Labor are hopeless. Which is perhaps the biggest fear. Here is the
potential for SA to have a Brown or Harradine going for them. Its not
clear whether he approves of the policies of the current and former
Tasmanian senators but he clearly regards their vocal representation of
that state as something SA needs to emulate. He may be right.
His positions in a number of areas, whilst some may deem them radical,
are more thoughtful than most. Back of the envelope calculations
suggest his policies would see a drop of around $40 billion in the
national tax take but that is offset by savings in his suggestions on
Medicare and other flow-on effects – including smaller government.
This guy is no professional politician or self promoter – which must
make it hard for the usual suspects to get an angle on him. Another Ted
Mack? Not sure, but he could be worth a shot, just to see the faces on
his peers when he prods them with the various sticks.
Less by way of fear and more the loathing element your writer spoke
with the Deputy Prime Minister’s office last week, putting to them that
in announcing his willingness to step down if a seat was lost, the
erstwhile John Anderson has been offered a job on the Qantas board.
“Mischievous” was the description of that rumour and it was strongly
denied. Loathing, apparently, is well in vogue. He’s wasn’t known as
the Minister for Qantas for nothing. Wait and see.