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Dipping a toe in federal politics/It’s never too late to go into politics

11 April 2016 368 views 12 Comments

Up till now, the only political party I ever considered joining was the Communist Party of Australia.

When I was a 15-year-old student at Melbourne High School, along with fellow student and future millionaire, Alan Piper, with whom I played for the Victorian schoolboys cricket team, I met a Communist Party of Australia organiser outside the Bryant and May match factory in Richmond. The organiser paid no attention to Alan but after listening to me for less than a minute he put up his hands and said “I think you can do better elsewhere, son!”

Thinking about it now I realise that I wasn’t turned down for ideological reasons, but that, however desperate the CPA might have been for members in those days, they didn’t want a fledgling alcoholic joining their ranks and gumming up the works.

As I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol for over 46 years now, the booze problem no longer applies!

So why, after 71 years, have I joined a political party? In particular, why have I joined the Australian Sex Party?

The primary reason is that most of the Sex Party’s policies resonate with my own beliefs and underlying values.

These core policies include making all religions subject to taxation; promoting drug law reform , including legalising and taxing marijuana; and the advocacy of other sensible harm-reduction policies instead of the senseless so-called “war on drugs”.

I also strongly support the Australian Sex Party for its stand on legalising voluntary euthanasia and same-sex marriage, as well as its advocacy of evidence-based public policy, including prison reform and possibly the liberalisation of our draconian libel laws.

More generally, I strongly support the Sex Party’s advocacy of easily accessible and wide-ranging freedom of information; the promotion of education and the arts; and especially the freedom for adults to decide for themselves what they choose to read and watch. These are policies I have been advocating for decades.

A further reason for my joining the Australian Sex Party is my admiration for Fiona Patten , its leader since the party’s foundation in 2009.

The charismatic and media-savvy Ms Patten has represented the Sex Party in the Northern Metropolitan region of the Victorian Legislative Council since the state election of 2014. Before this, she was chief executive of the Eros Association , a national lobby group for the Australian sex industry.

Since she was elected as an MP in November 2014, not only the Melbourne media, but also some other members of the Victorian parliament have praised her performance in the Upper House as hardworking, thoughtful and inclusive.

For all of the reasons above, my opinion is that the time has well and truly come for the small but vibrant Australian Sex Party to stand in the forthcoming federal elections , not just for the House of Representatives, but especially to contest as many states and territories in the Senate as possible.

Admittedly, there are one or two Liberal and Labor federal MPs who I admire. These include Liberal ministers Josh Frydenberg and Julie Bishop, as well as Labor’s shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen, and militant Senator Doug Cameron. I also admire some candidates in this year’s federal election , namely NSW Aboriginal Labor politician Linda Burney who is contesting the seat of Barton and Evan Hughes who is standing as a Labor candidate for Wentworth against Malcolm Turnbull.

But while this is the case, I don’t have any time at all for Prime Minister Turnbull , who I have previously described as being a “marshmallow mouth” who will say virtually anything and give it a saccharine touch , or for Bill Shorten, whose performance as Opposition leader has been lacklustre to say the least.

So now is the time, especially in the contests for Senate seats, for the Australian Sex Party to take on not just the major political parties, but also Nick Xenophon and the Greens who recently joined forces with the federal coalition to ram through self-serving and anti-democratic changes to the voting system.

So now, after all these years I’ve joined a political party.

It strikes me that this year’s federal election could see some surprise results, especially if a number of citizens also decide to back a political party, the support of which might raise a few eyebrows among their friends.

Emeritus professor of History and Politics at Griffith University, Ross Fitzgerald is the author of 39 books, including the co-authored political/sexual satire ‘Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure’ (Hybrid Publishing) and ‘Heartfelt Moments in Australian Rules Football’ (Connor Court).

‘Dipping a toe in federal politics’
The Canberra Times, April 11, 2016.
‘It’s never too late to go into politics’
The Age & The Sydney Morning Herald online.

12 Comments »

  • Noel Beddoe said:

    A man of stamina

    I see Ross Fitzgerald has joined The Sex Party (“It’s never too late to go into politics”, April 11). I’m impressed that he’s passed the physical.

    Noel Beddoe, Kiama

    The Sydney Morning Herald
    ,
    April 12, 2016

  • Fred Pilcher said:

    Sex Party ticks boxes

    Congratulations, Ross Fitzgerald (“It’s never too late to make a foray into politics”, Times2, April 11, p5).

    Like you, I found it a revelation to discover a party based on fundamental human rights and, for the same reason as you, I joined the Australian Sex Party.

    In the face of so much racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and prejudice, it’s heartening to see the support from people who get past the name and take the trouble to read the party’s policies.

    Fred Pilcher, Kaleen

    The Canberra Times, April 13, 2016

  • Alan Robertson said:

    Sexy it up

    It is only a week or so ago that Professor Ross Fitzgerald advised us that he admired the policies of the Australian Sex Party so much that he had decided to become a member. (“Sex Party looks to Labor as door closes on Greens, May 12.)

    Much to my surprise he has now become the party’s NSW Senate candidate in the forthcoming elections. Is this a case of premature escalation?

    Alan Robertson, Canberra
    The Sydney Morning Herald, May 13, 2016, p 16.

  • Stephen Driscoll said:

    Sex in the Senate

    Alan Robertson (Letters, May 13), Professor Ross Fitzgerald’s rapid rise may indeed be a case of premature escalation.

    However, should the good people of NSW back him in sufficient numbers for him to win a NSW Senate seat, it will be a classic case of electile dysfunction.

    Stephen Driscoll, Castle Hill

    Sydney Morning Herald, May 14-15, 2016 News Review, p 37

  • Ross Fitzgerald said:

    Rising to the occasion

    Stephen Driscoll (Letters, May 14-15) alleges a “classic case of electile dysfunction” if I am elected to the Senate.
    Au contraire my friend. It would be a popular uprising.

    Ross Fitzgerald, Australian Sex Party Senate candidate for NSW, Redfern

    The Age & Sydney Morning Herald, Letters to the editor, May 16, 2016, p14

  • Peter Bower said:

    A perfect fit

    Ross Fitzgerald (Letters, May 16), I am almost prostate in admiration for your obvious enthusiasm for Parliament and it seems to me you would ultimately make a very worthwhile and conspicuous member.

    Peter Bower, Naremburn, NSW

    Sydney Morning Herald, May 17, 2016, p 16.

  • Peter Smith said:

    Looking at the upside/Bored soft
    The Herald is right (Letters, May 17) . Australia’s longest ever election campaign needs a regular dose of political viagra courtesy of Ross Fitzgerald’s Sex Party if we are to stay erect until polling day.

    Peter Smith, Lake Illawarra

    Sydney Morning Herald, May 18 2016, p 16.

  • John Bailey & Glen Coulton said:

    Hung up on puns

    In the event of no political party having a clear majority following the election will the Sex Party members be part of a very well hung Parliament (Letters, May 18)?

    John Bailey Canterbury

    Enough! Ross Fitzgerald’s Sex Party endorsement might have supported one limp pun but it’s time to end this sagging exchange.
    Glen Coulton Marmong Point

    Sydney Morning Herald, May 19, 2016, p 16

  • Alan Jones said:

    Professor Ross Fitzgerald on The Alan Jones Show Thursday May 19, 2016

    Alan talks to the academic and author about standing for the Sex Party at the federal election

    Listen to Alan Jones – Ross Fitzgerald Radio 2GB

  • Meredith Williams & Peter Skrzynecki said:

    Lasting the distance

    Those who’ve been keeping a-breast of the Sex Party puns will have noticed that they have all referred to male apparatus (Letters, May 13-19). Is this discrimination just cheeky, or a big booby?

    Meredith Williams Dee Why

    To all you blokes making jokes about Ross Fitzgerald and the Sex Party, bet you can’t keep it up for the next 44 days.

    Peter Skrzynecki Eastwood

    Sydney Morning Herald, Letters to the editor, May 20 2016, p 16.

  • John Byrne & Joe Payne said:

    Naked ambition

    Oh, really Nan Howard? (Letters May 21). The last time I looked, the Sex Party was more concerned with the empowering of women rather than encouraging their abuse. Entrenched misogyny has been more the style of the extreme elements in the LNP or can’t your rose-coloured glasses see that far?

    John Byrne, Randwick

    Stop the Gropes!…too much naked ambition in the Sex Party.

    Joe Payne, Coogee

    The Sydney Morning Herald, May 23, 2016, Letters to the editor, p 16.

  • Richard Laidlaw said:

    Twelfth Man

    We’re looking forward to our annual Ubud meeting with old friend Ross Fitzgerald, which this year will be on June 13, the Queen’s Birthday holiday in much of Australia. It’s also the official opening of the skiing season in the Australian Alps, but we won’t go there. We’ll be chatting with Fitzgerald, a Sydneysider these days but a Melbourne boy at heart, over coffee at an establishment that is screening the AFL match in which Collingwood, his team, is playing Melbourne at the MCG.

    But that’s not the extra frisson. What will give the conversation a buzz is that Fitzgerald is lead candidate on the Senate ticket for NSW in the July 2 national elections for the Australian Sex Party. This a political party, not one of those indecorous affrays that take place regularly in the Glitter and Gutter Strip favoured by Aussie tourists out for a good time, yair.

    Fitzgerald is a professor of history, a four-decade-plus veteran of Alcoholics Anonymous about which he wrote a book, and latterly the author of fictional tales featuring erotic material.

    The Australian Sex Party is not a single-issue outfit. It promotes a more liberal view of sexual policy than mainstream political parties do, and no doubt gives the rabid right a nasty turn now and then (good), but it also espouses sensible reforms in euthanasia, recreational drug use, refugee policy, and other things.

    It’s a double dissolution election on July 2 so all 12 Senate seats in each state are up for grabs. We’ve suggested to Fitzgerald that he could end up being Twelfth Man. They play cricket at the MCG too.

    Hector’s Diary by Richard Laidlaw

    The Bali Advertiser, May 25, 2016