A new kid on the political block is the Together Party. Founded by Far North Coast lawyer Mark Swivel, its members believe the bush has changed and perceptions of regional Australia need to be updated. It hopes to achieve that change at this election by running three Senate candidates, Mark Swivel, Belinda Kincead and Kate McDowell.
So, the capacity for the Senate to influence government in Australia has never been greater.Mark Swivel
"The Nationals used to own country seats. They spoke for farming communities and backed protectionism to support them. But since we globalized and scrapped subsidies, the Nationals shifted from farmers to mining," he said.
"People have noticed. Farmers have migrated to the Shooters, independents and even the Greens. In the regions it feels like no-one is really listening, from hard core economic issues to cultural ones, no-one talks our language."
So, why the Senate? Mr Swivel said the Senate was more important these days because the government did not ordinarily control it.
"So, the capacity for the Senate to influence government in Australia has never been greater," he said
Mr Swivel thought the role of the Senate was no longer a House of legislative review to protect the interests of the States, but was where the national conversation took place and it was the reason the Together Party originally got off the ground; because the national conversation there looked slightly odd.
"It didn't look like the good people I knew, doing good things in our communities across the state and across the country," he said.
"When Fraser Anning, in particular, started standing up and talking about a return to the White Australia Policy and banning certain types of immigration altogether, I thought, 'Hang on, hang on. We've really drifted from where Australia should be and was proud to be.'
"The reality was that the voices countering that popularist voice weren't strong enough in my estimation. And the real reason they weren't strong enough was because they weren't really thinking about where all this hate, all this anger was coming from."
He said the Together Party had a "long-run" approach to politics, rather than the more "short-term" popularist view undertaken by the privatisation politics of the last decade.
"Government has given way to the market left, right and centre and the result is there to see. Privatisation is not the only way of the world and it's a question of balance. We're not arguing any outdated socialism or anything like that.
"We're talking about the type of capitalism that actually works. If you look at the Banking Royal Commission, the chaos in the energy market, if you look at what's happening with water, you have examples of clear market failure compounded by ineffective regulation."
Mr Swivel described the Together Party as a fresh and future focused Independent Party aiming for a NSW Seat in the Federal Senate.
If you would like to speak to Mr Swivel he is coming to the Wicklow Hotel at 6-7.30pm to hold an open discussion event on Wednesday, May 1.
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