As elaborated in previous blogs I am not a party political person. However I have joined or tried to form single issue parties on several occasions. But my loyalty has always been to the issue rather than the party. When the Nuclear Disarmament Party split in 1985 I departed to spend a long time in the ‘political wilderness’. After the 2007 election and the ‘Ruddslide’ I tried to join the Climate Change Coalition (CCC) – then a registered political party. Wikipedia notes “the Climate Change Coalition (CCC), was an Australian Political Party, which was formed in 2007 with a view to accelerate action by politicians from all parties on global warming and climate change” and that the CCC was originally “a grouping of 21 Independents in NSW.”
In the election aftermath the CCC was already disintegrating as all their candidates (mainly Senate) had lost their deposits. Even though they had excellent candidates, including Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Patrice Newell in NSW, their expectations at the polls were far too high, and they managed to arrange some politically disastrous preference flows. It remains a shame the party could not have held out a few more years.
Currently there are two organisations I am aware of that qualify as single issue climate change parties – Save the Planet (STP) and the Renewable Energy Party (REP). I have been a member of the former for about 18 months but dislike the name which posits it as a ‘left green’ environmental party. Because of this its ability to appeal across the political spectrum – which is what real single issue parties must do – is severely limited. Links to both these single issue parties can be found on the side bar. The REP is based in northern NSW and the STP in Melbourne.
Reading between the lines the membership numbers of both parties are not great and I assume neither has the numbers required for registration. This assumption may be wrong and it would be nice for it to be so. But if correct the approaching Federal Election – probably not until August 2016 at the earliest – presents the organisers of these parties with a conundrum. Should they join together to get registered? Both organisations have already invested heavily in websites, logos, slogans, pamphlets and a plethora of advertising material and naturally enough seem unwilling to forsake this effort.
Perhaps the solution is a revival of a ‘Climate Coalition’ of some sort with the individual organisations retaining most of their independence and becoming the NSW and Victorian branches. Should such an organisation be formed or, miraculously, either the STP or the REP somehow manage to get registered, I offer myself as a possible candidate in the seat of Gippsland in 2016. One lesson the CCC demise emphasizes is that the main aim of a single issue party should be to set the agenda rather than to win seats. Isn’t it time that the organisers of both these parties started talking?