Continuing in the spirit of Cate Speaks

Fusion: Science, Pirate, Secular, Climate Emergency

Summary

Website: www.fusionparty.org.au
Social Media: FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagramTikTok
Previous Names: Well, they used to be the Climate Change Justice Party, Pirate Party, Science Party, Secular Party of Australia, and Vote Planet before they, ahem, Fused, so technically, all of those.
Slogans: Fighting dystopia.
Fusing for a brighter future.
Fusion will create a bright future for all Australians.
Themes:
Electorates: Upper House: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and West Australia
Lower House: Adelaide, Bennelong, Berowra, Cooper, Dobell, Grayndler, Leichardt, Nicholls & Reid
Preferences: Not yet provided, but their website does give this statement of intention regarding them:
Fusion will recommend preferences based on other candidates’ alignment with our vision and principles. Fusion aligns with other parties that value action on the climate emergency, integrity in politics, pragmatic solutions to a stronger economy, justice, equity, and social responsibility.
It’s fair to say that we do not regard the current government as good or effective, and have created the party to provide voters with an alternative that reflects their views.
Previous Reviews: None as Fusion, however, some of their constituent parts have been reviewed by Cate in the past:

Policies & Commentary

At first glance, one would expect Fusion to be, well, a bit of a mess. How can one party unify the competing imperatives of five separate groups? Indeed, the history of Australian politics is far more one of parties schisming than of unifying. But looking at their website, Fusion appear to have done an admirable job of squaring that difficult circle. They have an overall party platform, and each individual candidate’s page on the site details their areas of primary focus, the idea being that they all support the whole platform while having particular passions within it. Also, in all fairness, these parties were never that far apart on most of these issues. The site lists ten such policy areas. (It does occur to me that you could make a decent drinking game out of guessing which of the five constituent parties was behind which bit, but I leave that to others to compile.)

Under Climate Emergency, they’re calling for Australia to Declare and mobilise against climate emergency, and implement a 10 year transition to negative emissions, a Price on carbon, aim for 800% renewables (yes, you read that right. Eight Hundred Percent.) and to Lead internationally to restore a safe climate. Recognising that 800% may be somewhat surplus to our own nation’s requirements, they also plan to export energy, presumably to Indonesia and New Guinea. (Unless they’re suggesting something involving a lot of batteries and some container ships.) They also add that they are absolutely opposed to nuclear power, which is a nice to read – not that I thought they wouldn’t be, it’s just that I’ve seen a lot of pro-nuclear power parties this election.

Their Future Focused section is more diverse. It includes Industries for space and jobs of the future, plus Research fusion and clean energy and (mark your bingo cards!) Connect Australia with high-speed rail (connecting all of Australia’s most important east coast cities. And Canberra.). They also want to Classify aging as a disease and extend research to prevent aging, which is some Tim Leary shit right there, and to Protect the planet for future generations, which seems uncontroversial enough.

They also believe in Education for Life, which means Teaching for modern life (although what that is exactly they do not explain), Needs based funding + Gonski reforms and Universities for education, not profit. They also want to give a lot more money to universities for basic research, and to make the results of that research available to all. They also intend to Continue the HECS/HELP scheme to allow access to all, regardless of economic circumstances which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but that scheme is badly in need of reform.

Ethical Governance contains the unsurprising call for an ICAC, along with stronger whistleblower protections, a loosening of Freedom of Information to make it easier to actually get, you know, information, and Real-time disclosure of political donations above $1000 to show flows of influence over politicians. They also have some ideas about the economy that fall under this section, although they’re not always well-explored – what exactly does Remove taxation loopholes and poverty traps to allow the young and lower income to access the same tax system as the most wealthy in society actually mean? On the other hand, they Oppose rent-seeking and parasitic monopolism, and I can’t argue with that. But the most interesting part of this section is that they wish to Recognise alternative ‘budgets and balances’ that must be maintained and expended effectively, for a diversified metric of people’s quality of life.

  • Monetary: GDP, Budget, Unemployment
  • Environmental: Carbon Concentrations, Biodiversity
  • Personal: Opportunity, Education, Health and Wellbeing

It’s an interesting approach, leaving the traditional economics alone and adding new measures alongside it, and it’s clearly intended to paint a broader picture of Australia than just its economy, which is refreshingly humane.

Fair + Inclusive Society has a raft of different stuff covered, fitting its broad mandate. For housing, Fusion would like to see more investment in social housing and improved environmental standards for construction. They want to replace stamp tax with a land tax, to ensure housing is not left vacant solely as an asset. They’d also like to undo negative gearing, capital gains tax and similar tax concessions, and to Allow increased zoning densities to enhance supply and limit urban-sprawl into surrounding bushland. All of which sounds pretty good to me, but then, I’m a Gen-X’er who’ll probably never afford to buy. Their Healthcare policies want dental and mental added to Medicare, increased funding for telehealth and bulk billing, and the treatment of addiction as a medical rather than criminal matter.

On LGBTIQA+ Rights, they want to bring back the Safe Schools program and end the school chaplaincy program (right on), and to add age appropriate sex, gender and healthy relationship education into the national curriculum (which has some overlap with Safe Schools in any case). They want to see a First Nations Voice in Parliament, a Treaty with First Nations and to change the date of Australia Day (although they are open to what other date it should be). They want to see our criminal justice system move towards restorative justice and rehabilitation of prisoners. Finally, they have a UBI proposal – $500 a week for all Australian over the age of 18 and Additional top-up payments for aged, disabled, carers, etc, to match existing rates, and they want to move to a flat tax system (presumably one with a high enough threshold that anyone getting the UBI wouldn’t be affected, although that isn’t stated).

Individual Freedoms covers their support for euthanasia, and a constitutional bill of rights, which would definitely include freedom of speech. In fact, they want to Remove censorship, blasphemy, and other laws against speech, which is broad enough phrasing that it sounds like they want to get rid of anti-hate speech laws as well. I wouldn’t at all object to some clarity on how absolute they want free speech to be.

Ecological Restoration contains no surprises: Fusion wants to see the government (whoever it might be) End native logging, Incentivise regenerative agriculture and biodiversity, Manage watersheds and rehydrate Australia and Cease fossil fuel extraction. Fossil fuel extraction is to be phased out over 2 years, and also includes rehabilitation bonds on all existing extraction projects appropriate to sufficiently repair mines and surroundings, while biodiversity and regenerative agriculture are to include a strong component of Indigenous knowledge, on the not unreasonable basis that people who lived here for tens of thousands of years without causing an ecological crisis might have some useful ideas.

The Civil + Digital Liberties section is primarily concerned with copyright and intellectual property law, which they wish to see drastically reformed to a more equitable (and less long-termed) model, or as they put it, to Oppose monopolistic corporate behaviour. Fusion also wishes to Enshrine network neutrality and freedom of expression in law, which dovetails nicely with their bill of rights, above.

Secular Humanism calls for the replacement of the National School Chaplaincy Program with a National School Counselling Program, using trained counsellors suited to the role, an end to laws against blasphemy, an end to religious prayers, rituals, and bias from government and public institutions and their documentation and the teaching of ethics in school to expose children to questions of morality and truth, as an alternative to religious education. One assumes that Fusion’s Bill of Rights would include Freedom From Religion.

Finally, there’s Fair Foreign Policy, which calls for Responsible global citizenship, Sovereign rights over trade agreements, Defence focused armament and Focused immigration + asylum – all fairly self-explanatory. For some reason, they also list Renew faith in democracy, institutions, and the media in this section – a laudable goal, certainly, but that seems more a domestic issue. It’s also not at all developed, so there’s no information on how they plan to do this.

So, all in all, I like most of their policy positions, but there’s still a strain of technocratic thought and faith in the free market that I find a little hard to square with some of their other policies. It’s hard to really describe Fusion as either Left or Right leaning (which is a flaw of that system, not of this party). Perhaps “politically non-Euclidean” is the most accurate way to describe them. I won’t be putting them at the top of my ballot, but they will be getting a reasonably high position.


Just a reminder that Maz 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 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Benjamin Cronshaw

    FUSION definitely is an interesting one, with a rather word salad of a name. I gather this was for membership purposes (so people from the disparate groups would recognise that they were a member of the new party), though could flow on to an electoral benefit for the same reason (e.g. if someone formerly voted Pirate).

    The way they proposed the “alternative” budgets seems quite novel, I like they way they conceptualise that. I always resonate with anyone trying to find ways beyond simple GDP.

    I quite like how each candidate’s profile has their three focus areas or so on, it gives me a good sense of what they are really passionate about. Helpful given they come from a merger of different parties (could also make a game out of guessing where each candidate comes from too). As a young voter, Thalia Farrant (2nd for Victoria) seems to be the youngest candidate I have seen so far, so good on her.

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