Tuesday, August 20, 2013

reason for voting green #7: liberal party policies are unconscionable and labor aren't much better

To be honest, I've pretty well zoned out of the 24/7 political news cycle.  My facebook feed keeps me up to date with policy announcements via a range of groups, and when I feel like it, I check in with twitter.  The daily policy announcements of the various political parties is little more than a dull hum in the background.

That being said, I am aware of the policies Labor and the LNP have been announcing lately.  One that stands out in my mind is LNP's policy on asylum seekers.  Here is their policy (as taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Establish a military-led response to border protection called Operation Sovereign Borders
  • Direct Navy to turn boats back when safe to do so
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island
  • Reintroduce temporary protection visas
  • Boost capacity on Nauru to house 2,000 people, eventually up to 5,000
  • Impose behaviour protocols on asylum seekers on bridging visas
  • Prioritise claims of asylum seekers in refugee camps over claims of boat arrivals
  • Maintain refugee intake at 13,750 per year
The temporary protection visas the Coalition intends to issue would last for three years, after which a refugee would have to have their situation reassessed (so much for cutting red tape).  If the security situation in their home country is assessed as having improved - back they go.  Family reunions will not be allowed, and refugees will not be allowed to work - except they may work for the dole.

Labor policy isn't much better.  They will do this (again taken from the ABC asylum seeker policy webpage):
  • Mandatory detention for all boat arrivals
  • All asylum seekers arriving by boat will be sent to PNG for processing and settlement
  • No asylum seekers arriving by boat will ever be settled in Australia
  • Offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island and possibly other sites within PNG
  • Expand Manus Island detention centre to accommodate up to 3000 people
  • Increase refugee intake to 20,000 per year
  • Excise the mainland from Australia's migration zone
These policies make me unspeakably mad.  Both claim to be based on 'compassion' - they want to stop the asylum seekers coming to Australia in dangerous boats.  Well that must be the first time anyone in the western world takes responsibility for someone else's actions. Usually we try and worm our way out of taking responsibility for anything... but here, suddenly we feel so responsible for these people's lives we try and stop them taking a risky journey to our fair shores.  I smell a rat.  Both parties are telling big, stinking lies.  Their main motivation is not stopping people dying at sea - they just want to appeal to the red neck voter who is scared of asylum seekers.  The whole 'ethical' argument is ridiculous.  "Oh, we're so worried about them we're going to treat them like second class citizens, keeping their lives in never ending limbo, settling them in third world countries.  We can treat them badly, because what we really want is their safety."  What a load of codswallup!  The end does not justify the means, maleficence is maleficence whether the goal is beneficence or not.  (And I'm sorry - I've never walked in these people's shoes.  What gives me the right to tell them they are better off staying where they are, rather than jumping on a leaky boat and risking a perilous journey to safe shores?  We really have no idea what their every day life must be like!)

Here's some bible verses about the topic:

Exodus 22:21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner...

Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 24:17 Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice...

Deuteronomy 27:19 “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

I've scratched the surface of verses relating to the way a foreigner should be treated.  The whole bible is a story of sharing goodness with the many. Way back when, God spoke to Abraham and said all nations would be blessed through him (Genesis 18:18).  We are not meant to hold our blessings close to our chest just for ourselves.  They are to be shared with those who are in need, including foreigners who come to us.  And it isn't just an Old Testament deal... Jesus made it pretty clear he wasn't just interested in serving his own people.  He healed a Canaanite woman's daughter (Matthew 15:21-28), threw demons out of a Gerasene (Mark 5), and healed a Roman soldier's servant (Luke 7:1-9).  Jesus was into sharing blessings.

LNP policies on asylum seekers make me want to weep.  They are cruel and heartless.  They appeal to all that is wrong in our society.  They go against biblical values.  Labor policies are little better. I absolutely cannot vote for a political party that takes the stance of these two parties.

So, another reason I'll be voting Green is because Labor and LNP policies on asylum seekers are unconscionable.  

(And I haven't even touched on the whole issue of push factors, international people movement, our contribution to war in the countries asylum seekers are coming from... the Greens policy on asylum seekers sees the bigger picture and seeks to address many of these issues.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

reasons for voting green #6: proactive action on poverty

Following on from yesterday, the Greens' policies aimed at addressing poverty and inequality in the world extend well beyond foreign aid.  They have a whole raft of policies to address poverty, and they can all be found categorised here

I like the sound of their policies a lot.  Here are a few of them:

 - Ban gambling on kid's TV
 - Cut housing waiting lists
 - Dollar bet limits
 - Homelessness
 - Housing
 - Social services
 - Getting smart on crime

I've read a couple of their information pages and I like their whole new approach.  'Getting smart on crime' is a play on 'Getting tough on crime' and it focuses on proactive prevention rather than dealing with crime after the fact.  I've always been keen on the idea of prevention, whether it relates to health or risk management... or crime.  Their policy for dollar bet limits is another example of the Greens' intention to be proactive rather than reactive.

After (briefly) outlining the biblical emphasis on addressing poverty yesterday, I won't add more to it today.  (Rest assured though, that I could.  Poverty and compassion are key biblical themes)  Suffice to say that I like the Greens' approach to dealing with poverty.  They have thought about many aspects of poverty in Australia (and the world) and developed a broad suite of policies to address them.  Once again their policies line up with biblical principles.

I'm voting Green because they have a proactive plan for reducing poverty.

Monday, August 12, 2013

reasons for voting green #5: foreign aid

It's been a busy few days around here, but now it's time to get back into analysing why I'm comfortable voting green this election.

As I mentioned last post, last Thursday night Frank and I went to a 'Make Poverty History' forum and heard from each of our local candidates about their party's policy on foreign aid.  To quickly review: The Hon Geoff Lyons (Labor member for Bass) outlined the work of Australia's foreign aid around the world and reiterated Labor's policy of meeting the Australian commitment to give 0.7% GDP by 2016/17 to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.  Mr Andrew Nikolic (Liberal candidate for Bass) outlined how important a role the military play in the provision of foreign aid, and stated the Liberal policy of focusing foreign aid on our local Asia-Pacific region because this will have the greatest benefit for us in terms of peace and stability.  Ms Lucy Landon-Lane (Australian Greens candidate for Bass) pointed to the Greens' ongoing commitment to increase Australia's foreign aid to 0.7% GDP by introducing levies on mining companies and the big banks.

I was pleased to hear what Australia's foreign aid is achieving (here's a postcard from Micah Challenge with a very brief summary of achievements - click through to the second page for the figures), but it is disappointing that Labor thinks our promise to give 0.7% GDP can be continually pushed back to suit our own economic needs. I was pretty appalled by Andrew Nikolic's constant reference to the military and by the way he linked foreign aid with national benefit for Australia.  I wonder if it can even be considered aid if our national interests are the main motivation for our giving, rather than a compassionate response to extreme poverty in any part of the world.  I find the Greens' policy most aligned with what the bible has to say on helping the poor.

Here's a very brief overview of a few of the things the bible has to say about the poor.

In Leviticus 19 and 23, Israel is given instructions to leave some fruit in their vineyards and grain in their fields for the poor and foreigners to gather after the harvest.  Deuteronomy 15 has quite a lot to say about helping the poor - debts are to be cancelled at the end of the seventh year (v1), help those you come across who are in need, open your purse to them (v7,8), give freely and spontaneously (v10), and always be generous to those who are poor and hurting (v11).  Psalm 140:12 says God is on the side of victims and cares for the rights of the poor.  Proverbs 14:31 says God is insulted when the poor are insulted, but God is honoured when people are kind to the poor. Proverbs 28:27 exhorts the reader to be generous to the poor.  In Luke 4 Jesus proclaimed that he had come to bring good news to the poor, and (in a widely sweeping, unreferenced, broad brush stroke) the ultimate biblical vision for the transformation of all things is a world in which there is no sadness, pain, hunger, thirst, exploitation or poverty.

The biblical ideal is for the poor to be treated with respect, and compassion, and ultimately that poverty will be overcome.  The Greens' foreign aid policy dovetails beautifully with this biblical ideal.

I'll be voting Green because the Greens have a policy of giving to the poor in other countries because it is the right thing to do.

(I realise this is a very, very, very brief overview... with more minutes in a day I would expand further.  If it interests you - go dig into the Greens Overseas Aid policy and the bible.  It's all very interesting.)

Thursday, August 08, 2013

reasons for this christian voting green: i have a super local candidate! (#4)

Tonight I went to a 'Make Poverty History' forum of local candidates for the Bass electorate.  I'll be really honest with you... it wasn't a game changer for me.  My primary vote and preferences remain as they were prior to the forum.  That's OK.  It was well worth going in order to see and hear each of the candidates live and in person.

Here's my run down of the evening.

The forum was chaired by the Hon Don Wing AM.

Kathryn Martin (Make Poverty History) spoke on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the need for Australia to increase foreign aid from the current 0.35% GDP to its promised 0.7% GDP if the MDGs are to be met.

The Hon Geoff Lyons MP (Labor) presented an overview of the projects Australia's foreign aid budget has been directed towards.  Our aid is doing great things - I really appreciated hearing about them.  Mr Lyons also reaffirmed Labors commitment to increasing the foreign aid budget to 0.5% GDP by 2016/2017.

Mr Andrew Nikolic (Liberal candidate) began by detailing how personally knowledgeable he is on the topic of foreign aid, having distributed aid in multiple locations around the world while a member of the military.  He went so far as to suggest military spending was akin to foreign aid in many situations.  Mr Nikolic presented the idea that any Australian foreign aid should be spent in our own Asia-Pacific region, where it will have the most benefit for us in terms of increasing our security and border control.  He argued that foreign aid cannot and should not be increased until the Australian economy is strong - we must be in a strong financial position before we can be generous to others.  We may also need to increase our military budget and intervention in nearby countries for our own peace of mind, for while there is poverty in these countries they are unstable and present a threat to us.  On numerous occasions Mr Nikolic emphasised the importance of evidence based policy, citing statistics and what he perceived as Labor government failings in their management of the economy.  (Got to love a bit of political point scoring whenever one has a platform to do so.  To be fair, Mr Lyons pointed out some perceived Liberal failings on one occasion I can recall, but he mostly managed to stick to presenting either a Labor policy or his personal perspective on world poverty and foreign aid.)

Ms Lucy Landon-Lane (Greens candidate) reiterated the importance of meeting the MDGs by increasing Australian foreign aid to 0.7% GDP, both because it will improve the lives of billions of people and because we said we would.  She pointed out that well directed foreign aid might be a way to help people live happily in their own country rather than needing to risk a dangerous journey here as asylum seekers.  Ms Landon-Lane pointed out that some of what the government claimed was foreign aid was instead wrongly classified military spending in Afghanistan.  She spoke of the need to move beyond narrow, short term high economic growth strategies and instead reinforce the balance between economic, social and environmental dimensions.

Both Ms Landon-Lane and Mr Lyons talked about the importance of climate change mitigation in the fight against poverty, since it is the poorest countries in the world who will be most effected by climate change.

Lucy Landon-Lane was the stand out speaker in my opinion.  She came across as relaxed, well informed and caring.  Geoff Lyons isn't the world's best public speaker, but he was sincere and I really appreciated hearing of some of the specific differences Australian foreign aid has made.  Andrew Nikolic was relaxed to the point of slick, overly concerned with the role of the military and defence in foreign aid (and every area of government policy by the sound of it), and more concerned about the plight of poor struggling Australia than the poor struggling to survive on $1.25 a day.  He certainly ticked all the Liberal boxes, decrying regulation on multi-national countries (although this was probably realistic in the context of the question he was answering), and placing the comfort of Australians before the needs of those in other parts of the world who live in poverty.  Based on their speeches and responses tonight, I'm comfortable with the election choices I have made.

On a more personal note, Frank and I have known Lucy Landon-Lane for a few years now, through our involvement with 'Pulp the Mill' peaceful protests.  She is someone I admire - a warm, calm, spiritual, intelligent person who is self-aware and lives in a very thoughtful, deliberate way.  Perhaps it is impossible to maintain that kind of character in politics, but I would love to have a person like Lucy representing me.  Realistically, Lucy is unlikely to be elected to parliament, which is a shame.

Yes, I know... you have a different candidate from me so perhaps you don't think this one reason for voting Green applies to you.  But let me encourage you to get out there and meet your candidates or listen to them in person at political events in your electorate.   The media doesn't always present them fairly or accurately and seeing them live, unedited and in the flesh may help you decide who to vote for.

Anyway, I'm voting Green because I have a fantastic local candidate who would carry herself well in the maelstrom of federal politics.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

on being christian and voting green (#3)

Do you have a philosophical, moral, religious or ethical yard stick against which you measure a political party?  Is there one issue you consider a deal breaker when choosing who to vote for?  Is there a line which, upon being crossed by a political party, prevents you from voting for them?  My answers would be: yes, yes and yes.  With caveats.  

I grew up in a house of black and white.  There were rules and lines and we all knew where we stood - basically do everything Dad said, or else.  However, the older I get, the less I see the world as black and white.  I don't think I've succumbed to sepia or murky grey, more that my world has filled with fabulous colour, variety, contrast and nuance.  I still have a few non-negotiables, but it takes a lot of pushing before I'll resort to them... although thinking about it, I probably pull them out more often than I think.  Maybe I just don't bang on about them so loudly as I once did.  (Is this the point to apologise to my fellow high school students for my many painful attempts to convert you?)

I suspect this is one of the reasons I am comfortable with voting Green. They aren't Christian, and don't claim to be.  My understanding of their history is that they have been actively anti-Christian, though this understanding comes from hearsay rather than personal research or experience.  Looking at this through the good old black and white glasses - they cross the line and shouldn't be voted for.  But swap the glasses for the nuanced outlook, and the line moves.  Actually, more than the line moving, it splinters into multiple lines.  Last night I wrote about one of my lines (justice).  Others include environmental sustainability, foreign aid, renewable energy, asylum seeker policy... I have a lot of lines and I hope to write about more of them over the next few weeks.

Would I like it if the Greens embraced people of faith?  Absolutely.  I've always found it strange that 'progressive' groups who claim to be about justice and openness, freedom and choice on the one hand, are anti-religion and discriminatory in their rhetoric towards those of faith on the other hand.  I'm not thinking so much of the Greens here as New Internationalist.  They write country profiles, judging them on indicators of freedom around homosexuality and political persuasion.  They almost never comment on religious freedom - or, as more often the case may be, the lack of religious freedom.  This strikes me as rather hypocritical, but I guess Christianity has done itself no favours through history.  When it was the dominant religion in the West it did a pretty good job of restricting the freedom of anyone who disagreed.  Perhaps the progressive groups consider it time for some payback.

So, I would value a greater openness towards, and respect for people of faith on the part of the Greens.  However, this is just one of my political party yard sticks, and it isn't the biggest one.  Sure, I'm a school chaplain and a vote for the Greens is effectively a vote against my job, which is a bit of a shame.  (If I thought they were going to get into power I would be lobbying them hard on the school chaplaincy issue.  I might do that anyway.)  But to me, they embody enough of what God is about (see yesterday's post) for me to vote for them.  They tick the boxes in many areas that matter to me more than that they be pro-Christian.

That reminds me of another issue I have with much of today's Christianity.  We have this overweening sense of entitlement, because we are right.  On everything.  Full stop.  Because the Bible is the Word of God and it tells us everything that is right and wrong.  And if we are right, then everything and everyone else is wrong.  We can also dictate how everyone else should live and demand the law ensures everyone lives the right way. Because we are right. Back to that black and white thing.

I just don't see it that way.  I choose to try and live my life in light of the lines I believe can be drawn from the bible.  I don't see why someone who doesn't believe the bible should be brow beaten into my way of living.  Of course there are universal morals and ethics that help keep order in society, and the bible may well have been a major influence in the values we hold as a society, but I don't expect others to live by the standards I hold for myself.  (Heck, I can't even live by them myself sometimes!)  So if the Greens aren't Christian, that's OK.

Here's another thought.  Even though the Greens aren't Christian and don't make any claim on being at all influenced by Christianity, there is still goodness to be found in their beliefs and policies.  I know I've said this before, but there is still a Christian ethic in what they stand for.  This flies in the face of much of the dogma I grew up with.  Christianity seemed to think that because it was right and good, it was the only place where goodness could be found.  I remember my Dad saying in all seriousness that certain people were Catholic, 'but I think they are really Christian.'  He seemed surprised that goodness could be found outside of protestant evangelicalism.  When I talk to some people, they seem to not want to vote Greens because they aren't Christian - and they can't be good if they aren't Christian.  They trip over their lines in the sand.

If you are a black-and-white, line in the sand, yard stick kind of a person, you may think this post is one big exercise in justification by an obviously back slidden Christian.  I can live with that.  One of my favourite bible passages is Romans 8:1, 'There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus'.  My faith journey has caught me by surprise in many ways, and sometimes it scares me (what if I really am back slidden?!).  Mostly though, I love my faith walk and I love God.  I trust God helps me to stay true.

In the meantime, I'm voting Green because I think their positives outweigh their lack of religious beliefs.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

how a christian can vote green #2

What do you think of when you think of the Greens? One of the first things that comes to mind for me is their commitment to social justice. It is possible I think of their commitment to justice before an image of trees or wilderness pops into my mind. Head over to the Greens website and social justice is listed as one of their core beliefs.

Well, what do you know... justice seems to be one of the things God is pretty passionate about too.  In fact, justice is frequently used of God and the work God does in the world.  Check out Bible Gateway for a whole raft of verses about justice.  Here are a few:

For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice. (Psalm 11:7 NIV)
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. (Psalm 103:6 NIV)
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. (Psalm 140:12 NIV)

Like I said yesterday, I'm not presenting exegesis here and I don't have time to explore the theme of justice as it is presented in the whole bible.  Suffice to say, it is super important.  So important that someone who cut all the verses about justice out of their bible wasn't left with very much.  Others have done the reverse, highlighting every passage that relates to justice and printing a special Poverty and Justice edition of the bible.

Looking at Jesus' work in the Gospels is enlightening.  He constantly defended and healed the outcasts on the fringe of society - 'unclean' women, lepers, children, prostitutes.  He made it clear what he thought of riches (they'll stop you getting in to heaven).  Jesus lived and breathed justice in all he did.  Isaiah said of him:
He’ll set everything right among the nations.
He won’t call attention to what he does
with loud speeches or gaudy parades.
He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt
and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,
but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right. (Isaiah 42:3-4 MSG)
Yesterday I mentioned my love of the biblical vision for a transformed world.  That vision is wholly tied up with justice. The Old Testament prophets called for it (Amos 5:24 "...let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream!"), Jesus said he was the one who would bring it (Luke 4:16-21), and in the end there won't be people with nasty power running around hurting others (A very loose paraphrase of Isaiah 11:6).

God's love of justice goes beyond God's personal characteristics, Jesus' activities, and the future transformation of the world.  It extends to everyone.  We are all instructed to act with justice.  The bible makes it pretty clear that people who are righteous promote justice, live justice, love justice.  Proverbs 29:7 is a quick example: The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.  A more well known passage is Micah 6:8,
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
The bible is left, right and centre filled with justice.  If I want to say I'm following God, living God's way, and working for God in the world... I better be acting justly.  I'd better have a heart for the poor and powerless.  I'd better not be too greedy.  I'd better be doing everything I can to see that justice is done.

It doesn't take much of a critical eye to see that our national conversation is not much coloured by justice.  Kick out the boat people, give employers extra power over their employees so they can make more money, reduce the financial support for single mothers, keep pensioners and the unemployed living at the poverty line etc, etc... I'd say both major parties are pretty much tarnished with the same light-on-justice brush.  Meanwhile the Greens consider justice one of their four core beliefs.  (Wikileaks are also running with a 'justice' platform)

"But they support abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage," I hear you splutter again, and while I hope to write more on those topics later, that argument just doesn't wash with me.  If I think of the Greens' policies on these matters, I think even they are motivated by justice.  They reach a different place from me, but at the core of the Greens is a desire for people to have freedom and rights, rather than being dictated to by those who have power and status and money.  My conclusions on social and moral issues may not fully align with the Greens, however I respect the approach they have taken in making their decisions.  Their motive and heart is good.  In the grand scheme of things, justice matters to God.  It matters so much that it is a major theme of the whole bible, it is the end game we are aiming for at the end of time.  Justice should matter to people who follow God. For me, it trumps issues of personal morality.  

That's my second reason for voting Green.  I'm voting for justice.

Monday, August 05, 2013

why i'm a christian and voting green. #1

Yesterday Kevin Rudd named the election date and called Australians to the polls on Saturday 7 September 2013.  Since I have pretty well already decided who I will be voting for, I immediately began to unhappily resign myself to five weeks of media predictions and hoopla.  And then I had an idea...

I plan to vote Green.  Barring a cracking independent putting their hand up in my electorate, I can see no other choice.  This doesn't sit well with some people.  They consider the Greens anathema.  "One cannot be a Christian and vote Green," they say, since the Greens support abortion, euthanasia and gay marriage.

I count myself in the Christian camp, although I tend to lurk on the fringe of it because I struggle with the baggage that comes with that tag, but for now it will do.  I attempt to follow Jesus well, I love the biblical vision of a transformed world, and I live for seeing that vision come to fruition.

So here I am, a Christian who votes Green.  How can this be?

Let me tell you how.  Every day until the election I am going to give a reason for voting Green.  I may even quote a Bible verse or two.  They may be out of context.  I make no apologies for this - I do not claim to be an exegetical queen and I have absolutely zero aspirations to be one.  Verses I quote will be an attempt on my part to capture the essence of an aspect of my faith.  They will not be used in the tradition of evangelical apologetics.

So, the ground rules have been laid.  Let's go.

The Greens are a principled party.  They state where they stand and stick by it.  They cannot be bought by corporations or businesses and they are not swayed by public opinion and polling results.  If they believe in something, they believe in it, and that's that.

This reminds me of Jesus.  In Matthew 22:16 he was described as a man of integrity who wasn't swayed by others.

Another time, Jesus himself said: "Let your 'yes' be 'yes'."  I quite like how The Message paraphrases this. (Remember, I am not making any exegetical claims here, so I can quote from The Message.  Besides, my understanding is Eugene Peterson translated The Message directly from the Greek anyway, and that's good enough for me)
And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions... Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. (Matthew 5:33-37 MSG)
Jesus makes it pretty clear that you should say what you mean and not engage in trickery or manipulation.

The book of James says something similar:
Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you. (James 5:12 MSG)
The principled manner in which the Greens conduct themselves demonstrates a steadiness the biblical writers consider desirable.  When the Greens stand for something, state what they believe and why, and refuse to give in to those who would try and drag them away from their belief, they reflect the character of God.  (Big claim I know, but I think there is a case for arguing this)

I was musing on the principled nature of the Greens, asking if this is a trait peculiar to them or whether it might be shared by other parties?  Labor have been a bit all over the place of late, switching policies and principles to boost their chances of winning this election.  The LNP did come to mind briefly, however, I can't shake the impression they also will say whatever is necessary to win votes.  For example, they know there is an element of our society who are afraid of asylum seekers and in response they loudly proclaim they will 'Stop the Boats'.  There isn't much truth in this as far as I can tell - it has more to do with scaremongering and playing to the lowest common denominator in society. By running with this policy, the LNP are ignoring international factors beyond Australia's border and pandering to what (some) people want to hear. Their willingness to value votes over principle has been further demonstrated this week by their backflip on the Gonski reforms. The LNP have a semblance of principled behaviour, but if you scratch beneath the surface you will find these principles are based on what they believe people want to hear. Both Labor and the LNP are writing policies that are politically expedient.  This is not principled, instead it is a cynical attempt to capture votes at the cost of standing for truth and sticking with it.

For me, the Greens* stand head and shoulders above the two major parties when it comes to having principles and holding to them.  This helps me settle my vote on them.

* I know there are a several other parties in the 2013 electoral mix.  Wikileaks seem to be in a similar vein to the Greens, but at this stage they don't have any candidates in Tasmania, so I don't feel the need to address them and their policy platform.