CENTRE-LEFT political group The Lamington Party has said that it will be a “close shave” in their goal to register with the Australian Electoral Commission before September’s federal election, with the organisation’s leadership hopeful that they will obtain the 500 members necessary to qualify as a registered political party.
Lamington Party founder Jason McKenzie told Australian Times that there had been a lot of interest in his fledgling organisation, with a number of people from across Australian enquiring about running as the Lamington Party candidate in their local district. He said that, despite focusing the party’s campaign on Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, the Lamington Party had received new membership applications from every state in the country.
Mr McKenzie said: “We’re getting lots of eye-balls and some registrations but we’re not there yet. We’re also going back to some of the registered members to double check details as we’re finding that some haven’t updated their address with the AEC which I guess isn’t surprising given how much people move about these days. It is going to be a close shave but we’re hoping to get across the line. My message to people would be that if they agree with the message they should make their voice heard and sign-up.”
For a political party to be officially registered with the Australian Electoral Commission it must present an application with over 500 active members in order to prove its viability. This is designed to prevent fringe groups and special interest organisations registering as political parties without having adequate public support.
Mr McKenzie runs a business advising corporate partners on adapting their business model for the digital world and utilising the internet to support and enhance a company’s performance. Mr McKenzie said that if the Lamington Party achieves projected membership and volunteer numbers he would run for elected office in Queensland.
The Lamington Party released the next wave of their policy platform last week, with a focus on health care and tackling the issue of problem gambling. The party called for a federal response towards supporting the terminally ill, with Mr McKenzie noting that the majority of Australians were in favour of legalising some form of euthanasia.
Mr McKenzie said: “At least 80% of Australians believe that others should have the right to choose their time when the suffering is unstoppable or if the disease is terminal. While legislating this issue at a State level is a step forward, we propose that this should be addressed at a Federal level to uniformly provide these rights to the terminally ill and equally as importantly, allowing them to be close to home, family and friends at that time.”
The Lamington Party also proposed an ‘opt-out’ system for organ donation, pointing out that there are only 237 registered donors in Australia while there are over 1000 people currently on the donor waiting list for kidneys alone. Mr McKenzie pointed out that, apart from the social benefits, an opt-out system would take significant burden off the health care system with a standard treatment for kidney disease costing the government over $50 000 per person each year.
Mr McKenzie highlighted the issue of problem gambling as a key concern of the Lamington Party, suggesting a pokie licence buy-back scheme and the restriction of gambling advertisements to programs with an ‘M’ rating or higher. He said that the pervasive nature of internet gambling has put up to 500 000 Australians at risk of developing a gambling issue.
Mr McKenzie said: “According to the AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, ‘Young people, in particular, were at heightened risk of developing problems with gambling, and there needed to be a comprehensive and coordinated response from all levels of government to tackle the problem’. The AMA also noted there is been a rapid increase in problem gambling in young men. Given that for every problem gambler there are up to 10 people — family, friends, workmates and employers — who feel the effects, urgent attention must be given to this issue.”