Sunday, August 25, 2013

Party Games 5/54 Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Party

It's probably not going to be a big surprise if I tell you that the Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Party are fans of fishing, both commercial and amateur. They say that we should be able to do much more of both with much less government interference.

The general framework they set out for their policies have some hits and misses. Use of scientific data in the decision making process, respecting ethnic diversity, standardization of transport and communication services Australia wide, and recognizing the value of research and investment are all sensible starting points. I find it harder to get behind placing Australian sovereignty above international obligations because 1) it is an exercise of sovereignty to agree to a treaty in the first place, and 2) if we set a precedent of not complying with an obligation just because we don't like it anymore, it will be that much harder for us to convince other nations to comply later on.

The policies they have specifics on are encouraging greater commercial fishing where they believe we can significantly increase catches without impacting fish populations, making amateur fishing something promoted by all levels of government (provide infrastructure for, sure, I'm not sure if the government should be an advocate for a hobby though), the encouragement of the aquaculture industry, and greatly limiting the power of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

This last part is where I start to see some inconsistencies. Despite stating that use of scientific data in the decision making process is a part of their policy framework, in making the case that there is no threat to the reef from humans they say that the existing threats to the reef are weather events such as cyclones (no humans there), climate change (we've pretty much been caught red handed on that one), and sea level change (melting icecaps anyone?). To say climate change is not caused by human activity makes me doubt their commitment to the use of scientific data in making decisions, which then makes me wonder about their other policies such as where they say that catch levels can be set much higher without impacting biodiversity or population levels. They also say pollution and invasive species such as the Crown of Thorn are not significant threats to the reef (although given the size of the Great Barrier Reef, the word "significant" probably gives you a lot of wriggle room in these matters)

I have them pegged as a bit of a mixed bag. Some good ideas, some doubts, and ultimately their focus is on something I don't particularly care about (I've been fishing once in my life, and while it was a pleasant enough day it's not something I'm going to dedicate my life or my vote to.

The AFLP has two candidates running for the senate in Queensland. Preferences are to some small parties first (Australian Independents, Australian Christians, and the Australian Motor Enthusiasts Party are the first 3 preferenced). The LNP comes before Labor, and the Greens are placed last.
website: Australian Fishing & Lifestyle Party

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