Minor parties have again come under attack. Scare tactics and disingenuous criticisms have been used to frighten the public away from expressing their discontent at the ballot box. Rev The Hon. Fred Nile MLC delivered an Adjournment Speech to the Upper House on 11 October 2017 outlining the importance and role that minor parties play in the democratic process, and that it is the failure of the major parties in representing the interests of the community that has fed the growth of issue based political movements. Rev Nile makes the following additional comments:

·        “The larger parties attack us at their own expense and risk.”

·        “There is a reason why we are gaining in popularity: we listen when the Coalition and Labor appear to be deaf to public concerns.”

·        “Disparaging and defaming us and some of our colleagues like the Shooters Fishers and Farmers only proves how out of touch and increasingly irrelevant the major party blocs have become.”

·        “It never ceases to amaze me how committed our opponents are at repeating the mistakes of their counterparts overseas.”

·        “Anyone with a modicum of sense and who is politically aware can see the writing on the wall.”

·        “Ordinary people are getting tired of the same stale messages that are rehashed and then forgotten by the larger parties. Nobody likes being taken for granted.”

·        “The role we play is essential and fundamental to maintaining the democratic system of government and representation.”

Media inquiries:  Rev. Fred Nile MLC:               (02) 9230 2478

The Rev. The Hon. Fred Nile MLC                 Encl: Hansard Extract

Parliamentary Democracy

Adjournment Speech

Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE ( 23:30 :18 ):

I draw the attention of the House to the important role of minor political parties in this Parliament. Minor political parties have recently come under renewed scrutiny. Much of the criticism naturally comes from the major parties, which do not appreciate having their control of the political process challenged in any way. Some minor parties have been described derisively as being obsessed with single issues. Of course, that is grossly unfair and portrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the state of modern politics in Australia and throughout the Western world. Of course, Australia is no exception to this global trend; the popularity of minor parties is a democratic phenomenon. Parties such as the Christian Democratic Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the Animal Justice Party and The Greens provide a voice that would otherwise be silenced in the political process. Pressing concerns felt by the community are often not addressed by the Coalition or the Labor Party for a variety of reasons, and it is only fitting that minor parties are better represented in this House of review.

I note with interest that although the Christian Democratic Party is perceived as a conservative force in New South Wales, I managed to achieve more during the 16 years the Labor Party was in government than I have since the Liberal-Nationals Government was elected. I recall, for example, the tobacco legislation reform bill that would not have been possible if the Christian Democratic Party had not been involved in the legislative process. Likewise, important issues that touch upon ethics and civil rights have been spearheaded by my colleagues in the aforementioned parties. These issues may not have received the prominence they deserved if it had not been for the tireless work of members who represent non-mainstream views.

An issue on which a party is founded may also have substantial implications for the broader legislative process. This means that the minor parties provide a unique and valuable perspective on the great debates of the day. Today in this House we witnessed the passage of history-making legislation dealing with the promotion and protection of Aboriginal languages. I and other members are proud of our work in helping to alleviate the disenfranchisement felt by Aboriginals—our fellow Australians—with the passage of legislation such as the Aboriginal Land Rights Bill in 1983. Much of this work was achieved when it was not expedient for the major parties to address these issues. This is a legacy of which we as the oldest democracy in Australia and one of the oldest parliaments in the world can be proud. Our traditions have survived the test of time and we have a rich history that is testament to the success of responsible government in New South Wales.

Minor parties are inseparable from that legacy and enrich that tradition. Attacks on them simply because they are minor parties are an insult to the goodwill of the people of New South Wales. They do nothing but undermine and impoverish the vibrant and dynamic democracy that we all enjoy today. We look forward to further growth of and response to the minor parties. Perhaps we will see that in the three by-elections that will be held next weekend. The major and the minor parties can provide greater opportunities for people to express their will through the democratic process of voting at the ballot box.

Media inquiries:  Rev. Fred Nile MLC:               (02) 9230 2478

The Rev. The Hon. Fred Nile MLC

END

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