open topic, for anything cycling related.
Well I need assurance that this party is not a front for the removal of mandatory helmet rules. If it is that then the party will simply fail.
Policies need to be those that don't divide the cycling community.
The party will need policies written in such a way that the vast majority of cyclists approve of them and the general public don't object.
Stay away from domains where we are divided.
Fixie riders never freewheel
Policies that divide cycling, hmm, let me see:
1. Mandatory helmet laws (will be debated to the end of time)
2. Building cycling infrastructure off-road or not building it (half the community worries that off-road infrastructure will mean they are banned from the road)
3. 1 metre passing laws (advocacy groups and their supporters -v- other advocacy groups and their supporters)
4. 1.5 metre passing laws (advocacy groups and their supporters -v- other advocacy groups and their supporters)
5. vulnerable road-user laws
I think that covers just about all the policies that a cycling party would run on.
So it is settled then, no need for the Australian Cyclists Party - because they won't have any policies to run on that won't divide the community in some form or another.
Omar, you're trying to start a party on behalf of an interest group that has some fundamental divisions. If you look at some threads in this forum, they're deep enough that your platform may well be unappealing to many cyclists and non-cyclists alike ... have fun with that!
Yep. I personally would be disappointed like Mikebytes if it was essentially a single issue party, but these things need to be addressed early for the group to be credible. The Amy Gillett Foundation was started on a 1 metre matters platform after the rider was killed. This grew and grew and it has become obvious that this group doesn't serve the public interest. Why? Because policy doesn't exist in isolation. The Shooters and Fishers Party has to vote on gay marriage, euthanasia, indigenous rights. Economic matters. If they are a party motivated by a central principle like the fair use of land and resources, that can inform the rest of their decision making because many issues can be split two ways and they are often left or right, progressive or conservative, libertarian or oppressive(can't think of a no offensive word for reduced social freedom).
It could be argued that cycling is fundamentally libertarian, conservative and right leaning, the opposite to the Greens. Policy could be focused on freedom for the individual, protection for basic rights like using the road, and harsh conditions for car users. Acknowledgement that speed of travel has failed with the car. Or not.
But division must be made. You can cater to all interests but as a small issue party you've got to establish a clear direction which will alienate voters. The number of people that have never voted Liberal until the last election was amazing. Same thing in reverse in 2007. You cannot make all people happy even though you seek to lead them for their benefit.
If there is one thing that will benefit all cyclists, whether they are commuters, racers or mountain bikers, and even non cyclists, it's treating dangerous driving with the seriousness it deserves. To me, while separated/off road paths have their place, in many cases they are treating the symptom, not the cause. It's like having a kindergarten full of pit bulls, and then making the children wear chain mail. Get rid of the danger!
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
Does ACP intend to be an actual political party or merely a marketing exercise?
A political party of integrity contests ideas and advocates their values and principles. While some leeway should be given to this fledgling party, I'd have thought basic policies would have already been formulated and that advocating those policies was the very reason for the establishment of ACP.
Usually you stand for something and form a political party based on that platform. The ACP is doing it backwards -- first forming the party and then deciding what it stands for -- not terribly virtuous. Again, they should be afforded some leeway as they're so new, but I can't accept that running a membership drive without policy -- the most crucial and fundamental component of any political party -- is a credible exercise. ATM it feels like I'm being asked to vote for a contestant in a talent contest before they've performed.
As for MHL, it will surely be the most quarrelsome issue for the party and its members, but shying away from contentious issues is pathetic. The MHL issue should be front and centre for an Australian cycling political party. If ACP sweeps the issue under the carpet to get themselves elected, they're not worth voting for. In lieu of actual policies they could've at least issued a "statement of principle" indicating which way they're leaning on a whole raft of issues, but no, just these cheesy motherhood statements and a push for members.
Micro-parties only ever get elected as a result of preference deals with others who might even be your ideological opponent and the only times these parties have an impact when they're elected is if they trade votes with the sitting govt -- eg; in NSW the Shooters party got to hunt in National Parks in return for supporting the privatisation of power stations (since overturned). So you need to know precisely what a potential leader's views are, not only on your special interest issues, but also in general ethical and moral terms. What would Omar do if MHL would be repealed if he supported the reintroduction of capital punishment? Just now, we don't even know his position on MHL, let alone how far he'd be prepared to compromise to push his/our agenda.
I'm certainly not opposed to ACP or the principle of a cyclist's political party, but they won't get my support until they prove themselves worthy and can proclaim their actual policies. For the moment, I'm being encouraged to join a political party to argue with other members what the party's policy should be. That's more than a little insulting.
Meantime, following an earlier poster's example and becoming a non-financial member and then resigning or continuing depending on whether or not you find the party's policies agreeable might be the best way of "giving them a chance", but quite frankly, nothing I've seen so far is terribly encouraging.
This +1,000,000! And maybe a network of roads marked with 20km/h speed limits and cars are guests warnings where bicycles have right of way. That might be an alternative to building "fietspad" on mass.
Timing is an issue and while the party would need to formalise its policies - it is my understanding that they are concentrating on getting membership in order to take part in the NSW and Vic elections. It is my guess that if they were to focus energy away from members and instead define their policies and policy views now, they would miss the deadlines so that they can take part in the 2015 state elections.
So the answer is simple.
If you don't agree with the party views, if you don't feel you have received the information you need... don't join.
If you feel that this particular party should focus on certain issue then party members will be able to form the party policy.
If you feel you can do it differently - then do it.
Do what you want - but remember, it is early days. As I have alsready mentioned, I have fielded a number of questions to Omar about the party - including some of the tough questions and considering the level of disagreement with the party am surprised that there wasn't more involvement as I will be able to get answers...
There is a discussion/interview with Omar Khalifa at SBS Cycling Central which was posted today, October 22, 2013.
Might be worth a read.
I don't know if this post was in response to my earlier post, but I'm vain enough to assume it was so allow me to reply.
Firstly, if everyone were to follow the advice of not joining if they don't have enough info, the party membership would be roughly zero. Normally recruitment drives involve informing potential recruits of the benefits on offer, promoting the aims and basic parameters before inviting your input. Here we're told we should join to make up the numbers before deadline and then participate in forming policy with no indication of how the process will be conducted and not even a vague hint of what policies may eventuate. That's asking an awfully large emotional and time investment to help create a political party you may end up disagreeing with. At least ACP should have the courage to publish their core principles and those who agree with those can nut out the finer details and not waste the time of those who disagree. I wouldn't even *Like* a facebook page based on so little info.
Secondly, I'm sure I could do it "differently", but the question should be could I do it better. Even if I thought I could do it better I have neither the desire, aptitude nor resources to do it. ACP does and is doing it. They will be "the" cycling party. As a cyclist, whether I like it or not, they will be my representatives. Media will not come to me for a quote, they'll go to ACP. They will emerge as the preeminent mouthpiece on cycling issues. There's quite a lot at stake here. They'll be no room for a second and third cyclist's party, ACP will be it.
Given all that, vague pronouncements and vaguer policies are simply not good enough, even at this early stage.
I wish ACP well, but they'll have to become a little more professional before expecting anything more from me than my best wishes.
For clarification - there is no advice to join or not to join, likewise I am not saying you should join and would recommend that you decide for yourself.
If you have a genuine interest and are seeking specific answers - contact the party. You will notice that the party has progressively updated their information in the little over 1.5 weeks time that they exisited and in the website communication I understand that they are seeking members to help form and define what the party is.. even the candidates.
My main point is that it is very early days but some people have big expectations already.
Some people have commented that they need clarity before they are prepared to make a decision and thats fine.
Likewise there was one person who commented that they would join but if they recognised that they party policies are not being created to their liking, they will leave.
The SBS link cuts through most of this. If Omars rhetoric is similar to the way the party runs, then I would comfortable with that. My impression was
1. Infrastructure investment has been sidelined despite the value it brings.
2. Disrespect for the mode must be addressed in a strong manner.
3. Cycling is not normalised despite the laws so political pressure in the House can address it.
4. We can't let the status quo continue.
I sort of agree with what you are saying but the thing here is you aren't being asked to vote for anything yet.
Another way of looking at it could be that the founders of ACP are a small group of people who perhaps have their views but realise they will be representing a large and broad section of society who may not align with their personal views on a range of things.
As a result do the membership drive and get the members THEN formulate policy based on the members you have and their beliefs and views ie involve the members and try and represent them.
I don't know HOW the ACP will develop policy yet but if I am NOT a member then I certainly will have no say in it. So at this stage I am happy to be a member and see how it develops. If I don't like the way they are going then I can always resign and there is no requirement to vote for them come election day, if I approve of their policies then I certainly will be promoting them and voting for them.
+lots TTar at this stage. In addition it does seem that there will be a struggle in order for the party to get up in NSW at this stage so close to their deadline. A knee jerk reaction to what exactly has seen the party's 8nception at the 11th hour? Maybe - if they do actually have anything worthwhile to contribute - they should be looking at the other states and getting their act together well ahead of their state elections.
Plenty of new political parties have come and gone over recent years and and I'd say just about all of them were alot more professionally structured /organised from the outset.
The only good Cyclist is a Bicyclist
Huge fan of booted RGers who just can't help themselves
Too old to live, too slow to die.
The thing is that number 1 helps to improve number 3, which in turn sorts out number 4, which in turn takes care of number 2.
I don't expect to see this party go anywhere in NSW - we are the state that tends to be most backward in respect to cycling and attitudes towards bicycle riders. I'm quite easy with Omar's views and I'll probably vote for them if it becomes possible.
I'm not a member and cannot be one (without a conflict of interest), so I've got no right to say anything about their policies - but I'll follow them with interest and hope something positive can come from this. The most difficult thing for them is to capture the minds of the public. But, in order to do that, you have to capture positive media attention. Otherwise you won't go far at all.
Robert Merkel is a keen cyclist and a politically engaged Australian but he holds reservations over the advent of an Australian Cyclists Party. He writes about his concerns in a guest post at SBS Central.
Great to have a debate about this. And also to read what would have to be one of the best examples of comments adding to the debate. Robert Merkel and Omar Khalifa exchange views in a very civilised and constructive debate in the comments under the opinion piece.
Hi everyone, and great to read your comments though there are a few "ouch" moments in them...
Yes, we are new and yes we don't have all of the answers to all of your questions. Yes, we are looking to add a new voice to promote cycling in perhaps the most important place we have available to us and where we are poorly represented. Yes, we will have to face all kinds of divisive issues that not everyone can agree upon, but to make them a pre-condition is just to ensure the status quot will continue.
In about 2-weeks, over 1,000 Australians including over 600 from NSW and 340 from Victoria think this is an approach worth supporting. We have been told that our membership effort in two weeks is more than some fledging parties will get to in three years!
Our Members are people from all walks - business leaders, TV personalities, mums and dads, first time voters, ex-city councillors, long-time advocates, you name it! We have BUGs and clubs joining in, and volunteers ready to help even in states not currently being focussed on. By just asking the question, we certainly seem to have struck a chord! Will it be enough to carry us through? It is still a very long shot but perhaps we will at least raise the visibility of cycling issues to those who currently think there are no votes in it.
By the way, from those that I have spoken to and the emails we receive, I can't discern any "Right" or "Left" bias, we appear to represent a broad cross-section of Australians fed up that things aren't improving enough for the millions of us who ride!
We happen to think the MHL issue is one issue among many others (and perhaps at least indirectly linked to others) that are troubling cyclists but it is clear that not everyone shares the same view on it nor its relative priority. Many campaigners including Chris Rissel understand that this is a time to unite and have indicated that they support ACP and have said so on our Facebook Page. If you don't agree with this view or approach, we respect that this party may not be for you.
Those who have expressed that we are not yet a fully polished are right! We are a grass-roots organisation trying to spend very limited budgets wisely. Many of us are doing this in our spare time and we are not being paid for it. We are passionate and do bring experience to this effort but we are not a bunch of talking heads, policy-wonks, spinmeisters - or roo-poo throwers. We all want to do what we can to make conditions better for those who choose to cycle or wish they could.
We may screw up occasionally but not for a lack of trying. While many appear to wish us well, some will hope we fail for one reason or another. However, we are exercising our right to give it a go.
The SBS article probably says the most about us and my own views best to date. I look forward to a piece here at some point too.
Thanks for being interested and I'll try to check back as time permits. if you haven't check us out icycleivote.com and stay in touch through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cyclistsparty or Twitter @icycleivote
Thanks for weighing in, Omar. I think some people are mindful that becoming a member of a political party can have ramifications, even if it doesn't seem that way now. Some motorcycle riders in Queensland have found out that resigning membership might not be enough to prevent persecution. This is a "long shot", in the extreme, since I'm not aware of any suspected organised crime gangs related to cycling, just to say that political party membership can be a bigger deal than simply hitting Like on the Facebook page.
I think i've been swayed by the roo-poo comment. I laughed
I can see it now, a new "Kelly Gang" making off on their utility bikes... however, for perspective, let's also look at the huge criminal corruption being uncovered in the major parties and I don't think Labor and Liberal party members are about to be thrown in jail? Yes, this is more than just a petition but clearly no evil intent specified or implied and our members look to be a pretty civil lot.
And hitting the "Like" button is not enough to sign up (though some may think so!)... the form is on the site and checks your understanding of joining and each gets verified by the electoral commissions separately.
Stand and deliver! Your carbon or your life!
Civility isn't the issue amongst the ACP, it's more those around them that might be the cause for concern. Either way, if you can maintain ongoing personal dialogue like this you'll be doing better than the current main parties on their best day. Have you met your targets for the membership drive?
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