THE INFLUX of recently established political parties in the 2013 Australian election season has continued with the formation of the Lamington Party, a fledgling group dedicated to promoting equality, sustainability and innovation.
The centre-left party, founded by Queenslander Jason McKenzie, claim that their political philosophy is focused on utilising Australia’s problem-solving skills, ingenuity and generosity in order to foster sustainable development that would connect regional communities with the country’s urban centres through technological innovation.
McKenzie said: “To reverse the trend of thousands of manufacturing and office jobs leaving our shores, we believe that fast-tracking investments in new enterprises, particularly in supporting farmers and enhancing university level education will deliver results. Fast-tracking investments in fast rail and public transport will improve productivity and help to grow regional hubs.”
One of the cornerstones of the Lamington Party’s policy platform is the establishment of a ‘Silicon beach’ investment fund designed to provide government support to Australian companies working on alternative energy and innovative agriculture projects. The proposed $1 billion fund would be created within the federal government’s Future Fund, and would contribute to improving efficiency in a range of Australian industries.
McKenzie believes that greater engagement with technology should be a priority of the Australian government in order to ensure that the country’s economy is well-positioned within the global marketplace. He acknowledges the critical role played by the internet, which has increased connectivity and allowed individuals to conduct business in a more efficient and streamlined manner.
McKenzie said: “The internet is a leveller; we need to take advantage of this by using creativity and technology to become more productive, to keep costs down and to create new export opportunities. Technology, when well-applied, can also provide incredible advantages and remove the tyranny of distance.
“It could allow for the back-office of a UK firm to be based in Newcastle; for a farmer to manage water and stock levels from a mobile app and for education to be delivered in new ways to help professionals stay ahead. The opportunities are endless, but the government, industry and Australians must move quickly to seize the advantages.”
The Lamington Party have released a variety of policies directed at increasing opportunity for innovative projects, including the imposition of a 49% tax rate for individuals earning over $500 000 and redirecting school bonus funding to universities in order to develop online education programmes. The party also supports the fast-tracking of a high speed rail network to connect major cities with regional areas, alongside a commitment to underground transport projects.
As a left-wing organisation, the Lamington Party has a clear focus on addressing social issues, including gay rights and resolving the status of asylum seekers. The party has developed a platform that it claims “reflects the views of many Australians… indigenous people must be recognised in the constitution; mandatory detention, created by Keating and perpetuated by subsequent Liberal and Labor governments should be dismantled; and equal marriage must be recognised.”
The Lamington Party, which is currently 100 members under the threshold required to register with the AEC, aims to field several candidates in September’s federal election. It has already secured members to represent the party in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.