You can view our question list for all candidates here.
Democrats Candidate for Hindmarsh, Greg Croke, responded :
What are your thoughts on asylum seekers?
Some people are under the impression that the influx of asylum seekers in recent times amounts to an invasion. The reality however, is that this is a myth – we are not being invaded. There are considerably more people who fly in and then seek asylum than people who come by boat, and more still who are here illegally, having overstayed (possibly deliberately) their visas. Perhaps we are simply afraid of people who come here in boats because, in effect, we (i.e. our forebears) came here in boats, and that reminder troubles something deep in the Australian psyche!
Nobody likes people smugglers (who simultaneously fleece desperate people and put those people’s lives at risk), but surely the solution to them isn’t to make life hell for their customers. Surely the answer is to make available a way for asylum seekers to make their claims before the smugglers get to them. Maybe Australian embassies in places like Jakarta could play a role. If asylum seekers in Indonesia are desperate to get to Australia, then they’re not going to abscond if they know their claims are being processed by the Australian embassy.
What are your thoughts on public transport?
Sometimes I think governments only pay lip-service to public transport – providing what are arguably only token gestures. Public transport should be provided in such a way that no one living in a major Australian city, or its suburbs, would need to feel that car ownership is a necessity. It can be a necessity for some people, because of their individual circumstances (such as their occupation), but for everyone else it should only be an option. No one in our cities should feel that without a car they can’t get around, as some currently do.
What are your thoughts on renewable energy?
We in Australia should be leading the world in the use of, and research into, solar energy. Arguably the same goes for wave energy. Perhaps wind-turbines could be located away from populated areas, but they would still have their place in energy provision. We should begin phasing out non-renewable energy and debunk the myth that renewable energy can’t provide base-load power – that problem is solvable if we get to work on it.
What are your thoughts on stem cell research?
Arguably this issue is tied to that of abortion. My only problem with embryonic stem cell use is also my problem with abortion – I believe life starts at conception. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, I have no problem with whatsoever, and I would strongly argue that we should head in that direction.
What are your thoughts on education?
The purpose of education is two-fold. To produce people who have one or more employable skills is one plank, but to produce people who have both a well-developed faculty of critical analysis (and thus can reason) and an adequate understanding of our, and other, cultures and their bases (involving an adequate understanding of history, literature, the arts and the sciences) is likewise essential. An education system that doesn’t adequately address BOTH of these needs is a system that simply isn’t good enough.
What are your thoughts on campaign finance disclosure?
All for it.
What are your thoughts on climate change?
There is more than enough evidence that climate change is real and that human activity contributes to it. That contribution is almost entirely due to industrialisation, given that the amount of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere was basically static, and at a level well within a safe range prior to the Industrial Revolution, since when it has grown to well beyond what is safe.
We need to seriously begin reducing our carbon footprint, and I would rather see that begin gradually than not at all. A system where we set a cap on the acceptable level of emissions, trade permits within that cap, and only tax emissions above it, as well as gradually lower the cap until we have reduced our emissions to at least where they need to be reduced to is what is required – and no exemptions to big polluters on economic or other grounds. My comments about renewable energy are also salient here.
What are your thoughts on water?
We need thousands of gigalitres of water poured into the Murray-Darling system (and not used by irrigators) NOW. Buy it if we have to. Refill the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. Rainwater tanks should be mandatory, and their purchase tax-deductable. No desalination plants until either they don’t produce saline waste water or that waste is not dumped into the sea or any of our gulfs or harbours.
Do you support or oppose standing order 50?
I have just two problems with the prayer. Firstly, as a Christian, I wonder whether there is any point in non-Christians pretending to pray – I believe the only prayer God would receive from a non-Christian would be the prayer to become a Christian (what we in evangelical circles call “the sinner’s prayer”). Secondly, if it were me, I’d pray the prayer without the King James English – I’d be saying “you” instead of “thou”, your instead of “thy”, and “would” instead of “wouldst”.
What do you think about the media’s coverage of the election so far?
Not nearly adequate coverage of policies or of minor parties.