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Policies & Commentary
It’s difficult to know quite what to make of Neal Smith. On the one hand, his campaign presence is so low as to be virtually nonexistent. There’s no website, and no social media accounts except for Twitter – and even that contains little more than Smith’s manifesto. Given such a low profile, we could be forgiven for thinking that Smith’s candidacy is not much more than a symbolic protest against business-as-usual politics. On the other, what we do have indicates that Smith has real, well-articulated concerns.
So what do we know about him?
Smith describes himself as a “country kid” and a maths nerd. A student in Public Health, he is currently researching infectious disease modelling for his Ph.D. Sadly, he’s a Saints supporter, but I can’t really hold that against him. At least he doesn’t barrack for Collingwood.
Smith’s motivation for running in this election is simple: Australian politics (he calls it #auspol, using the popular hashtag) is broken. Major parties don’t represent people properly, and the political landscape as a whole is “shallow” and “toxic.” And he wants to do something about it. In his own words,
“To create a safe space for others to discover their true worth, so that everyone has the opportunity to be their best self.”
We don’t have any detailed policies, unfortunately, largely due to the limitations of Smith’s chosen medium. A 280-character limit makes it hard to deliver anything in detail. What we do have is a list of areas that Smith would focus on, should he be elected.
- Equity of opportunity
- Long-term thinking
- Providing a higher baseline of security for all
- Using our collective skills to benefit everyone
All of these are exceptionally worthy goals, but the lack of detail is deeply frustrating.
I’d dearly love to review Smith’s policies more comprehensively, because what little information is there reads as sincere and committed. Using Twitter as a campaign platform is clever, reaching an audience already engaged in politics – but the lack of a website where he can tell us at length about his vision for the role he intends to play should he be elected to the Senate really hurts him.
Mr Smith, I’d like to invite you to talk with Cate Speaks about your policies.
EDIT: Neal took us up on this offer – you can read his responses to our questions here.
Just a reminder that Loki and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂