The National Executive
Dr Katharine Kline
They say a country should be judged by the way it treats its least fortunate. If that is so, our report card is going to contain a lot of failures. I grew up in Campbelltown and went to an underprivileged and underfunded high school. Then I became a teacher and worked in another underfunded and underprivileged high school. I saw first hand what inequities are to be found in a system not based on need.
Then in mid life I became a doctor and worked in underfunded or wrongly funded hospitals in the city and in the bush. I saw how many people are denied proper health care, in fact how many have next to no health care at all.
Under The New Liberals this will cease. When we recover the hundreds of billions of dollars gouged from the tax system by multinationals, not only not paying their share, but in some cases paying no share at all. So the money will be there to build the sort of strong healthy community Australia should be.
The well being of our nation is dependent on a just and fair government willing to make the tough decisions that achieve a balance between the rights of individuals and the ‘national interest’. We will make those tough decisions, and we will strike the right balance.
We will pursue economic growth yet protect our fragile and unique environment, and our water supply. We will ensure food supply sustainability. We will protect the rights of individuals by entrenching a Bill of Rights into our Constitution. We will protect our sovereignty by becoming a republic. We will protect our security by intelligent defence policies. And we will protect our future by encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of our citizens.
The General Secretary
I put myself in other people’s shoes for a living. As a writer, actor and theatre maker, holding the mirror up to nature, I’m constantly drawing stories from truth and current affairs, from the people around me, and looking back on the lessons of history. Consequently, I cannot help but believe in reason, education and good government, and be passionate about equal rights, civil rights and human rights. As liberty requires eternal vigilance, so do I believe that democracy is not static but requires constant care and attention to provide society with the best possible outcomes and conditions under which to thrive. An unrepentant Whitlamite, I believe that the building blocks of government require continuous revision and reform, and that good government evolves with the times, rather than allowing itself to be dragged along behind them. I believe that culture defines us, and to that end, have spent a great deal of my working life in arts advocacy, working with various levels of government and arts organizations to increase awareness and participation in the arts. I grew up on the NSW Central Coast, which gives me a unique perspective on the issues facing regional areas: the importance of arts and culture is key, but so too is the protection of our environment, and a sense of local community is essential to our individual and collective well-being. I want to help people – and I believe that, in the end, politics is all about people.
The Treasurer and Party Agent
I am a retired public servant with service of over thirty years.
My mother was a single parent, but I was fortunate to grow up in a multigenerational household, with a great grandfather, grandparents, mother, siblings, aunt, uncle and cousins. Anyone who arrived at the house was always welcome, and could expect a meal and a place to sleep, even though there were only three bedrooms, occupied by 10 people.
I am particularly concerned about gender equality, including pay and career opportunities, better mental health care and services and excellent educational outcomes regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.
The Party Leader
Remember Peter Finch in Network, when he leaned out the window and shouted: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” I think there is a time in everyone’s life when they feel that way. Mine came when, as a barrister, I couldn’t watch the appalling treatment of refugees and asylum seekers anymore. In particular I couldn’t bear to watch around 1000 asylum seekers each year shunted through the courts without any legal representation at all (more like 2000 post Peter Dutton). So I formed the Refugee Law Project with just 10 law students and myself. Our aim was to try to give pro bono help to those 2000 people. A seemingly impossible task. But just 18 months on we have 35 volunteer barristers and 25 of the best final year students from Sydney’s law schools and another dozen or so graduate Volunteer Litigation Assistants, and we are close to achieving our goal of being able to offer everyone help. We lose a lot of the time because we are up against the power of a Government determined to spend as many billions of dollars as is needed, to keep us down. But at least we are in there fighting and it feels good.
My second “mad as hell moment” was when I realised that I couldn’t have a coffee with any of my friends, whatever their political persuasion, without us bitching about how frustrating, self-serving, and just plain ignorant all our politicians were, and how impotent we felt at having nowhere to go. My Liberal voting friends still voted Liberal but with no enthusiasm because Labor looked even worse. And my Labor voting friends, searched desperately for a reason to vote Labor, and in the end only did so because they looked the lesser of two evils.
So I drafted a Charter of Core Values for a new political party and showed it to everyone I knew. They all loved it, whatever their bent, Labor, Liberal or Green. Because it was not a politician’s document. It was a document of everyone’s key concerns, that looked at the needs of Australia and Australians, all of them, not just the politicians. And so The New Liberals was born. Politics without politicians. A grass roots team aiming to get us back to a place of justice all our citizens could be proud of, and all our visitors and neighbours would approve.
But if you want to know more about me, check out: The House at Anzac Parade.