What is a bastard?

Apologies for the coarse language in this one – we know not everyone is a fan. But ever since our founder Don Chipp used the phrase, we have been known as the Party that ‘keeps the bastards honest’; so we’d better define our terms. 

Elisa Resce, Democrats campaigner

I say a bastard is anyone in a position of political power, who puts their own selfish goals, vested interests or personal ideologies above the needs of the Australian people.

How do you spot a bastard? Check this list of behaviours. Do they:

  •  Use taxpayer funds to attend lavish dinners, personal holidays, or political fundraisers for their party, and pretend these are legitimate travel expenses?
  • Manipulate the grants process, so that money is given to organisations in marginal seats as a way to win votes?
  • Call Royal Commissions or Senate Inquiries when the public is concerned about an issue, only to ignore the recommendations once the media spotlight has moved on?
  • Deliberately misrepresent the platforms of a political opposition, with over-simplified and misleading slogans such as “the death tax” and “Mediscare”?
  • Put their own personal beliefs above scientific facts, and encourage voters to do the same?
  • Award high-paying jobs and positions to mates, who are unqualified for the role?
  • Make policies that will favour groups who have donated millions to their party?
  • Accuse the ABC of bias when they are challenged during interviews, and cut their funding?
  • Deliberately fear monger and misrepresent community groups e.g. ‘dole bludgers’, ‘gender whisperers’, ‘elites’, ‘illegals’, as a way to get votes?
  • Use their numbers to silence a crossbencher or Opposition member from speaking in Parliament?
  • Make huge (and vague) ‘cash splashing’ announcements right before an election, using funds that should have been given to public services during the previous political term?
  • Change the electoral laws to give themselves more advantages, and make it harder for minor parties and independents to run? 

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of the above points, then you are probably dealing with a bastard.

Where are the bastards? Bastards can exist anywhere, in any political party. But they become more concentrated when political groups put winning elections as a higher priority than governing honestly.

How can we stop the bastards? Legislation that could curb bastard-like behaviour might include:

  • a Federal Integrity Commission with full powers to investigate political corruption
  • caps on political donations and election spending (as per NSW)
  • a fair and transparent process for determining who receives grants

But getting any of these passed in Parliament, needs a majority vote; and are bastards likely to vote for legislation that would stop them? No! So the bastards need to be voted out.

But bastard behaviour gains media attention and votes!

That’s why we need your help. Have conversations and use social media to remind voters to look beyond the political advertising (and remember, the majors have millions to spend on advertising), and look at actual behaviours.

It doesn’t matter which political party they belong to – if someone is behaving like a bastard, or if a party has lost its way because those driving the ship have ‘winning’ and ‘vested interests’ as their main destination, then preference them last (or not at all!)

Look for political parties / individuals with a track record of honesty and accountability, and preference them ahead of the majors. 

We hope we will earn your vote with that criteria, and we encourage you to look for other minor parties / independents to preference, who would work with us to pass the legislation needed to keep the bastards honest (and preferably, keep them out of Parliament).

See here for the ABC podcast interview with Dr Anika Gauja, University of Sydney on the subject of the slogan.

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