Address to the UNSW Politics Society (NSW Senate Candidates Forum)

Thank you for the invitation to participate in this forum tonight.

I’m sure I can speak for most people in the room when I say that there are moments in your life that come along when you are reminded of causes and principles which stretch far beyond your own self-interest.

It was a moment just like that that prompted me to join the WikiLeaks Party.

The energy and passion that you draw from like minded people working together to make a difference is an adventure well worth taking.

The WikiLeaks Party has exceptional candidates all worthy of election in their own right. We are not career politicians, and there are no pre-ordained political appointments – unlike the major political parties.  We bring life experience to the table.  Most of the people involved in the party provide their time and effort voluntarily because of their strong sense of civic duty.

We are there to impose accountability on government, whoever the government is. We’re not there to run government. Our focus is on the Senate. To make it a true House of Review. We deliberately refused to run candidates in the Lower House to avoid the horse trading and to enhance our independence.

We can and will take positions on issues but our aim is to be an accountability party. We are a true Senate party. We will be there to stop government arrogance and prevent the executive from riding roughshod over the Australian people.

We know that people want a culture shift in politics and we are determined to see that that occurs.

We know people recognise the ever increasing vacuum of accountability, that ethical standards and principles have been abandoned and that politicians are mesmerised by power.  In circumstances like that, information, and flushing it out by WikiLeaks Party Senators, is the only thing that can check the exercise of that power. Real information gives the ordinary person on the street – you and me – a chance to be their own watchdog and a justified sense of empowerment.

Information is essential for mutual understanding, to right wrongs and in fact to prevent them from occurring, and to improve the health of our political systems and corporate structures. But nowadays, somehow in the name of freedom and democracy, governments the world over would like to convince us otherwise.

Most people believe that a democratic society means that the public can and should participate in some meaningful way in the political decisions that affect them.  To do that, we need information to be open and free.

But when surveys reveal that Australians are disengaging from the political process and have lost confidence in federal government, that they’ll take little or no interest in politics in the lead up to the election, and at the same time they perceive corruption to be on the rise, then we are on very dangerous ground indeed.

Why?

Because people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership has been undermined.  Distrust and apathy among a disillusioned public results in a weak civil society.

What happens without proper scrutiny?

People take their eye off the ball and switch off and our Government is identified by the Open Society Justice as one foreign government that aided the United States in its “torture program”, for example. It’s also rather disturbing that former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser comes out to describe Australia as a strategic colony of the United States.

Apparently “trust” is a significant issue in this election, even more than policies.

We say trust is outside the political grab: it can’t be manufactured by spin doctors, it’s something a person feels as a result of their own experience. People just don’t trust most politicians, they’re sick of bullshit and they’re rightly sceptical about and distrustful of hidden agendas. The WikiLeaks Party doesn’t have any.

We don’t want power, we want to check power.  We don’t want to govern, but we want to make sure that whoever governs is governing in accordance with your wishes.  And the only way to do that is by making sure that we all know what’s on the table, what the options are, what decisions are being made and why.

Forget caucus decisions and party unity, forget backroom deals, forget vested interests:  if the information is out there for everyone to see it’s pretty hard for any government to justify a decision or policy that doesn’t stack up with logic and common sense.

Our platform is transparency, accountability and justice. I think it’s clear to most Australians that Julian Assange has put everything on the line to uphold those principles. Those principles – transparency, accountability and justice – are principles the WikiLeaks Party candidates all believe in.  I certainly do, and I think most Australians do too.

Conventional political parties have their own agendas.  We all know that.  Most of us don’t like it, but we know we’re stuck with the system.  But our political system wouldn’t be half so bad if we had transparency and honesty, which goes hand in hand with accountability.  We’d have politicians who truly are our servants instead of our masters.  That’s what the WikiLeaks Party want, and I’m sure most Australians do too.

By voting for the WikiLeaks Party in the Senate Australians have the chance to shine the light of scrutiny on government decisions that affect them so profoundly, and to make sure that proper decisions are made.  Decisions that truly are in your best interests and in mine.

Thank you

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