Policies

Family First is a conservative party with policies in a growing number of areas. Many of the policies are important to the health and prosperity of our nation. Policies are continually reviewed and updated as more information and evidence becomes available. We try to ensure that all our policies are practical, sensible and balanced.

Generally, Family First’s approach is literally family first – that is, we believe the most important consideration for any proposed legislation is the potential impact on families. As the foundation of any society, healthy families must be our primary concern. We then consider other long term consequences of proposed action or inaction, and weigh the issue carefully, normally resulting in a balanced and sensible position.

The best way to contribute to our policies is to become a member and attend local meetings and state and national conventions. If you represent a specific lobby or interest group, your submissions are welcome for consideration. Please contact us to request more information regarding our position on anything not mentioned below and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as possible.

Strong Families

A job, a home, your finances under control, a safe neighbourhood to live in, a secure retirement and a few of life’s small pleasures (going on holiday, getting your hair done, going out to dinner). These all contribute to healthy families. Family First believes public finances should be diverted from expensive (high taxing) governments to families. When we say families, we include extended families – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, grandchildren.

Strong Values

Values are the foundation of a nation. Family First believes in the importance of values. Values like telling the truth, living within your means, hard work, respect, courtesy, compassion, courage, generosity. But when we see cronyism, wastefulness, backstabbing, price gouging by government agencies (water prices, power prices, land prices) and politicians spending millions of dollars on themselves while pensioners can’t afford to heat or cool their homes, we know there is a lack of values and a failure of leadership.

Strong Australia

Anything not based on economic reality is doomed to failure. Whether it’s farming, mining, tourism or small business, it is a truism that capital goes where it is made welcome and stays where it gets looked after. And whilst Australia is indeed blessed with abundant natural resources, Australia’s real wealth is not beneath the ground, it is between the ears! Family First believes property rights, free markets, voluntary arrangements and effective safety nets provide the best opportunity for Australia and Australians to prosper. A strong and prosperous nation builds up its infrastructure – roads, ports, power stations, airports and telecommunications. It also has strong defence capabilities and is able to afford the latest and best equipment for its defence forces. Australia needs a political party which understands business and how markets work; how and why investment decisions are made; how real jobs are created; and that ‘barriers to entry’ to getting a job causes unemployment.

There is no doubt politics in Australia is going through a very bad patch at the moment. Families are under pressure, values are deteriorating, Australia is getting weaker not stronger.

Australian families deserve better. Australia deserves better.

Strong families, strong values, a strong Australia.

Vote 1, Family First.

Click on the policies below for more information:

Small Business

Small business is the lifeblood of the Australian economy, harnessing as it does, the energy, creativity and resourcefulness of many millions of people. Whereas big business is actively investing in technology to reduce its workforce, small business has enormous potential for employment growth.

Over 90% of all businesses in Australia are small businesses with a vast number being sole traders and about one-third employing staff. Small business employs about a third of the entire Australian workforce and provides a vast range of goods and services on which we rely.

Family First believes that:

  1. Reducing red tape for businesses. This is essential in enabling them to put their best efforts into producing the goods and services we need for both domestic and overseas markets.
  2. Taxation arrangements for small business should reward effort and encourage both the growth of small businesses and the opportunity to employ others.
  3. State payroll tax is an inefficient tax on job creation.
  4. Responsible Governments must maintain a AAA credit rating, keep public spending low and take whatever steps they can to constrain rises in interest rates; only then can small business can compete effectively in a global economy. .
  5. Wherever possible, there must be opportunities for small businesses to enter markets. Legislative structures that effectively protect certain businesses in an industry from competition must be dismantled.
  6. We support alternatives to small business and entrepreneurs securing labour and capital, including employee share schemes, crowd sourced equity funding and capital gains tax breaks that support new enterprises. It is acknowledged that these are short-term solutions to longer-term workplace regulation and tax reforms.
Climate

Family First’s position is that climate change has been occurring since time immemorial Many hundreds of eminent scientists have strongly criticised both the ‘climate change doctrine’ and the predictions made by the International Panel on Climate Change. Claims that ‘there is a scientific consensus’ and ‘the science is settled’ are not true.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is plant food. The more crops can get of it the better they grow. Despite 10 years of static agricultural land supply, 2014 yielded the greatest grain crop on record.

Carbon dioxide has had no discernible influence on the world’s climate in the past and there is no reason to believe it should in the future. The use of the phrase ‘putting a price on carbon’ is misleading and inane, and highlights either the ignorance or deception of those who use it.

Australia contributes only 1% of total global CO2 emissions, a drop in the ocean considering the massive rates of China and India. As the UK experience has shown, the economic impact following the introduction of the European Emissions Trading Scheme cannot be accurately predicted by so-called ‘economic modelling’ (e.g. the Stern Report did not predict the doubling of electricity prices or the abandonment of investment in new power stations).

The impact of such a scheme in Australia will be felt most by Australia’s families and pensioners, as electricity prices could rise by up to 20% as a consequence.

Where someone wishes to ‘do something’ about climate change, they must do so at their own cost. Low income people could not afford the capital cost of participating in photovoltaic (PV) solar panels or similar schemes, so ended up subsidizing the middle and upper classes with the capital cost of acquiring them. This is unconscionable, and can not be resolved through a tax and compensation scheme. This only churns money and continues to pick winners.

The only way that people should address their own concerns on such matters is to spend their own money, or form private companies to invest in that area without government subsidies.

In summary, Family First opposes the introduction of any emissions trading scheme or so-called ‘carbon tax’ and believes it would be grossly irresponsible to proceed with such a policy that will involve major changes to the Australian economy without first having a proper, independent inquiry e.g. a Royal Commission, which was prepared to listen to the many distinguished scientists who disagree with the current ‘climate change doctrine’.

Country

Family First has been a strong advocate for country Australians. The country lifestyle is an ideal way to raise a family, and regional cities have the lifestyle and housing affordability that should see significant population growth in country areas.

Democracy demands that the greatest population attracts more seats in Parliament. The unfortunate consequence is that the country economic engine room is often neglected due to short-term metropolitan vote-buying policies.

Family First supports the Western Australian Royalties for Regions program, and seeks that all States and Territories have the same regime in place. Under Family First’s Royalties for Regions program, 15% of all mining royalties must be spent in the regional areas that contribute 100% of the mineral resources. This money is set aside in a fund to be spent on infrastructure needs in regional areas.

Family First supports free trade. We campaigned at the 2013 Federal Election that the next Government must sign Free Trade deals with South Korea, Japan and China – and the Abbott Government delivered. These deals represent 50% of our overseas trade, dropping prohibitive tariffs against Australian farm and other exports.

Family First supports food security and transparency on foreign acquisitions of Australian farming land. We have for a long time campaigned for state-based and Federal registers of foreign ownership, and a requirement that the Foreign Investment Review Board review significant foreign purchases of farm land, and any purchase of farm land by a state-owned foreign entity.

Family First supports State and Federal laws that protect farmers’ property rights – to ensure that when native vegetation, natural resources management, mining, water restriction or other legislation diminish a farmer’s economic land value, that the farmer is given just compensation for that loss in value. Family First has campaigned for the reinstatement of police stock squads and a stronger focus on rural theft.

Country roads require equal funding compared to city roads, having regard to road fatality and injury statistics. Road safety improvement funding should reflect evenly on the per capita, per fatality, per kilometre of road to maintain ratios of every State, Territory and local government area. Reducing speed limits is a lazy policy approach to road safety, and only serves to exacerbate the tyranny of distance felt by people living in the country.

Family First opposes radical animal activists, and trusts and supports farmers in exercising their right to manage their animals in a humane and responsible way. Animal activists who trespass or engage in other acts harmful to persons, property or a farmer’s business should be prosecuted.

Family First supports country hospitals being run by their own local health boards, not centralised bureaucracies in major cities.

Disability

“Placing one foot in front of the other, I’ve climbed to higher lengths. Reaching beyond my own limitations, to show my inner strength. No obstacle too hard, for this warrior to overcome. I’m just a man on a mission, to prove my disability hasn’t won.” – Robert M. Hensel

For many who live with a disability there is a daily struggle to be fought and won. This struggle comes in many forms – the struggle to move, to see, to hear, to express our wishes or endure debilitating pain – these are just a few of the limitations some citizens face on a daily basis. At Family First we are committed to policies that provide opportunities for all citizens, including those with a disability, to live with dignity and achieve their potential.

Our policies include:

  1. A policy of inclusion which establishes a fundamental right to supported access to education, employment, medical care and housing for those who are unable to live independently as a consequence of their disability.
  2. A commitment to the expansion of medical and therapeutic early identification and intervention services focused on disability in unborn children, infants and young children in order to provide disabled children with the very best opportunity to lead full lives.
  3. A commitment to the development of new information and communications technologies that can improve quality of life for people with disabilities.
  4. Introducing legislation to ensure tax deductibility for the cost of medical aids and equipment necessary to enable those with an assessed disability to fully participate in securing or undertaking work or further education related to employment.
  5. Providing appropriate levels of financial and respite support to carers who provide significant care and assistance to family members and others with a disability to enable them to live within their own home environment.
  6. To provide education, development and workplace incentives that will attract increased numbers of well qualified staff to care for people with profound disability thereby providing improved levels of care and alleviating current shortages.
  7. Allowing people with a disability to seek employment on terms and conditions that suit them, allowing them to opt out of 2,000+ pages of workplace regulation to secure employment.
  8. Supporting the wheelchair-accessibility modification of 100% of public transport.
Education

Family First is committed to choice in education and to supporting legislation that provides an equitable distribution of funding to both public and private schools.

We recognise, respect and affirm the right of parents to choose a school for their children in which values that align with their own are affirmed and promoted.

We recognize, respect and affirm that some families may wish to home-school their children, and should be able to do so without Government criticism or intervention.

Wherever possible, Family First supports the creation of community-based schools or transfer of public schools into community ownership, so as to minimize state interference in the operation of schools.

It is harmful for the government to demand that every child remain in school until they finish year 12. It is pointless to keep some children at school when they clearly are not benefiting it. Young people should have the option to enter the workforce and pursue their dreams. The world rewards skills, not education. Young people should be allowed to develop the skills they want for their career.

We support local school autonomy: giving school principals and school councils freedom to appoint staff and make decisions around school development projects. The 2011 “Building the Education Revolution” is a case in point where centralised bureaucracies delivered appalling value for money, whereas projects managed locally delivered good outcomes.

Family First supports education that encourage innovation, technology adoption, entrepreneurship and exploring the sciences and productive arts. Australia’s future depends on continuing innovation and growth of the knowledge economy.

Employment

People of all ages and abilities should have the opportunity to earn an income. We are committed to removing the barriers to entry to getting a job or working more hours.

The tragedy of workplace regulation is that while it seeks to protect the interests of those in work it effectively holds many others out. The low skilled and least able are the most likely victims. Tearing down unjust regulation is about a stronger, more inclusive Australia.

Pricing people out of the job market – young people in particular – denies them the opportunity to buy a house and lead a happy and prosperous life. This is not just bad for the economy – it is morally wrong.

Family

Family First is committed to strengthening the capacity of families to care for their children and contribute to their communities, rather than promoting a reliance on government services.

Families are the building blocks of society and the nurturers and developers of the next generation. Family First is committed to promoting policies that support marriage and hold families together.

Housing

Family First is committed to keeping the Great Australian Dream of home ownership alive for all Australians.

Home ownership is both a symbol of the equality we share as Australians and a means through which average Australians provide security and stability for themselves and their families while building wealth and claiming a tangible stake in the nation.

For the vast majority of Australians, owner-occupation of the home in which they live remains a great ambition.

Immigration

Family First supports strong border protection. The 21st century global migration challenge is a significant one, and treaties fail to address the modern challenges. The events of the migration crisis of the 2010’s demonstrate the consequences of weak border protection policy, including social disintegration and cultural upheaval

Family First supported an end to exploitation by people smugglers, an enterprise that condemned 1,200 people to death by drowning, due to the policies of the former Labor Government.

Family First successfully negotiated a gradual increase in Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake, as a condition of voting for the Coalition Government’s migration legislation:

  • 13,750 places in 2016/17
  • 16,250 places in 2017/18
  • 18,750 places in 2018/19

This is in addition to a one-off intake of 12,000 refugees from the Syrian conflict in 2015, as well as $44 million in humanitarian aid funding.

Australia must support and invest in a safer migration system that ensures, in particular, that two types of migrants are accepted into Australia in increasing number:

  • Economic migrants who can provide the skills Australia needs to meet its future challenges
  • Persecuted people who, beyond reasonable doubt, face death or serious harm if they return to their home countries, but who are also people who will integrate into Australian society and respect and support Australia’s Christian heritage and values.

Family First has supported and will continue to show support for calls to reasonably increase the annual refugee intake, subject to the two types above.

Indigenous Australians

It is a tragic reality that Aboriginal Australians do not share equally in the benefits of Australian life. Be it health, housing, employment, education, wealth, mortality rate or life expectancy, Aboriginal Australians falling behind the national average.

Many Aboriginal people live in regional and remote areas where economic opportunities are few and high unemployment and poor housing are common. Family First believes this inequality between living standards and life opportunities of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians can be equalized.

Family First believes there are five key areas of focus to ensure that Aboriginal people have the economic and social opportunities they deserve as Australian citizens. In responding to these focus areas it is important that initiatives be developed in partnership with local Indigenous communities and be responsive to need.

1. Community Safety

While many Aboriginal communities are safe and harmonious some communities need better support to tackle causes of disorder and dysfunction, particularly endemic drug and alcohol abuse. Family First believes community safety programs are essential and effective policing ensures that all Australians, whether they be in cities or remote communities, receive the full protection the law affords.

In South Australia, Family First has campaigned for years for adequate resources to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse in remote Aboriginal communities.

Family First supports the Intervention in the Northern Territory, South Australian and other Aboriginal communities. Once child sexual abuse and neglect had reached epidemic proportions, the Howard Government in 2007 launched the National Emergency Response to address high incidences in the Northern Territory. This initiative was later extended to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands in north-eastern South Australia. Through comprehensive welfare reform and the strict enforcement of alcohol and pornography bans, the programme has appropriately expanded the law to protect those most at risk.

Despite criticism from various commentators, most prominent indigenous elders and spokespeople declared their support.

One of Australia’s leading Aboriginal scholars Marcia Langton wrote in 2008[i]:

“There is a cynical view afoot that the intervention was a political ploy – to grab land, support mining companies and kick black heads, dressed up as concern for children. Conspiracy theories abounded; most were ridiculous … those who did not see the intervention coming were deluding themselves.”

Indigenous leader and politician Bess Price praised the programme three years after it had begun[ii]:

” I am for the intervention because I’ve seen progress. I’ve seen women who now have voices. They can speak for themselves and they are standing up for their rights. Children are being fed and young people more or less know how to manage their lives. That’s what’s happened since the intervention.”

2. Workforce Participation

Breaking reliance on welfare and boosting workforce participation is considered by Family First to be essential in creating economic independence for Aboriginal children. Family First is committed to supporting initiatives which expand the range of employment opportunities available to Aboriginal people.

3. Education

Family First believes that a strong foundational education is essential in preparing children for adult life. Family First supports rural learning centers and schools that are providing education adapted to their community and focused on encouraging lifelong learning at an early age.

In communities where it is not possible for children to receive such an education we believe that it is important to explore other alternatives. Alternatives may include distance education; online learning or boarding options where these are considered appropriate to the circumstances and in the best interests of the child. Pathways that allow for online learning and distance education continued through to higher education will enable rural students to stay in their communities, further enriching the economy and community.

4. Home Ownership

Land ownership arrangements in many Aboriginal communities make individual homeownership a difficult proposition. However, Family First believes that the stability and security that homeownership offers holds. Home ownership brings benefits for all people regardless of race.

It is important to find ways to assist Aboriginal people into home-ownership as this develops wealth and strengthens family life and cohesion. Native title laws need to be reviewed to ensure there are pathways for families to have freehold title in their own homes.

Family First supports the repeal of the Wild Rivers legislation in the far north of Queensland and opposes any similar legislation, as it unreasonably impedes the economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities and corporations.

5. Connecting with the modern world

The appalling state of affairs in Aboriginal Australia has so often prompted the refrain “the government should do something.” In 2012/13 Federal and State governments spent $30.3bn on Aboriginal programs accounting for 6.1 per cent of total direct general government expenditure while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made up 3.0 per cent of the population in 2013. Clearly more funding isn’t the answer.

The only long term solution is for Aboriginal Australians to come into the modern world and connect with the modern economy. Family First believes that this transition can be done respectfully and with sensitivity to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition and heritage and in cooperation with the Aboriginal communities. Such a transition cannot take place while our statute books contain any law which distinguishes between any Australian on the basis of race or colour. There is no place in Australia for laws such as these.

All over the world urbanisation is on the march. Fuelled by the prospect of a better standard of living people are moving to where economies are at their strongest and home ownership and employment are accessible. We cannot expect that an economically richer life and greater opportunity is to be found in a remote community or small rural centre.

Without Aboriginal communities moving toward modernisation, the isolation, addiction, violence, and passivity that infects life in many remote areas will remain. Despite the unpopularity and difficulty of a more interventionist approach, in the interests of a generation of Aboriginal children we can no longer look the other way.

Family First does not support compensation for the ‘Stolen Generation’. The complexity of the matter requires a good deal of sensitivity and Family First respects that people’s experiences in this area are different. Indeed, the accounts from Aboriginal families vary greatly and allegations by some advocates that children were ‘stolen’ do not represent the entirety of Aboriginal experience. In many cases, children were voluntarily given an opportunity for a better life elsewhere, whilst in other cases the government and non-government agencies were acting in the best interests of the children at that time.

Constitutional Recognition

Family First does not support the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Australian Constitution. Recognition of race, language or heritage will not automatically improve race relations. Symbolic gestures do little to improve the living standards and increase opportunities afforded to Aboriginals, particularly in the five key areas above.

Although symbolic and practical outcomes are not mutually exclusive, more practical approaches could achieve greater improvement in Aboriginal economic and social opportunities. Inserting a specific reference to Aboriginal Australians would introduce a divisive and racist theme into our Constitution.

Further, recognising a particular race, language or heritage in the Constitution raises issues of legal interpretation and other constitutional difficulties. Recommendations from previous government consultations have gone beyond constitutional recognition and have proposed changes to the scope of legislative power; potentially impacting upon the validity of state and federal laws.

Family First believes that this change is unnecessary, and resources and efforts would be better spent on ensuring Aboriginal Australians have access to the same opportunities as non-Aboriginal Australians. Considering the unique nature of Australia’s diverse heritage and migration history, it is untenable for any Australian law to distinguish people on the basis of race, language or heritage.

Life

Family First believes life is precious and is committed to the preservation and protection of human life, believing it to be sacred, precious and of inestimable value.

We uphold the value and dignity of those within society who are unable to adequately advocate for themselves including unborn children, and some people who are elderly or have a disability. Without upholding their dignity, the scope for them to be manipulated, abused or harmed increases.

Abortion

  • We believe in the right to life and are distressed at the abortion of 100,000 unborn babies in Australia each year.
  • Legislative changes during the 2010s, like those in Tasmania and Victoria, lead to an increase in late term abortion.
  • Family First opposes Medicare funding for gender-selected abortion. We also support families having the opportunity to review information on coping with, support groups and other helpful material about alleged disabilities, genetic or life-threatening conditions diagnosed in an unborn child, before proceeding with abortion. Gender-selection and disability-based abortion do not respect:
    • the inherent value in a life
    • the maternal and paternal bond
    • respect or dignity for the disabled
    • gender cases, sets back the cause of gender equality. We have major reservations about genetic testing that might purport to identify non-life-threatening traits in children that might be used as a basis for abortion.

In Victoria there is almost one late-term abortion each day in the State many of these for “psycho-social” reasons. Figures from the 2014 annual report of the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity show that 378 late-term abortions were carried out in Victoria in 2011 – and 64 babies survived the procedure and were then left to die.

Family First believes the lives of unborn children are precious and must be fought for. The unborn should be afforded all the rights of human beings, protected from terminations justified on economic, personal or psychological grounds.

Family First supports fetal homicide legislation to criminalise acts that endanger or take the life of an unborn child.

Family First supports legislative protection of the long-standing ethical guarantee to medical professionals that they have a right to conscientiously object to participating in, or referring patients to, abortion services without fear of losing their jobs in exerting that right.

Child Rights

Family First opposes surrogacy in both private and commercial cases, given its legal and emotional complexity for children and birth mothers. Family First supports the children being born into the family of their birth Mother and Father, raised and cherished accordingly.

Similarly, Family First believes in adoption exclusively offered to married couples consisting of a man and a woman. Properly vetted and counselled, these couples should be offered the opportunity to provide a child with the love, support and security that they deserve.

Euthanasia

Family First rejects euthanasia. Euthanasia does not provide the dignity that its advocates claim. Human beings are built to live and survive, and ending a life prematurely removes value and worth. Euthanasia is the wrong way to treat those who are old and sick. We are committed to the support of palliative care programs which enable people to live with dignity for the whole of their lives. Vulnerable patients dependent on medical professionals for their health should not be subject to proposals of premature death.

Supposed ‘safeguards’ for euthanasia legislation don’t work. In Holland where euthanasia has been practiced since the 1990s, 1000 people per year are killed without their consent. The Dutch experience shows that so-called voluntary euthanasia quickly becomes non-voluntary euthanasia.

Other Ethical Matters

Family First laments the loss of life to suicide. Whilst accepting suicide is a modern global phenomenon, Family First upholds policies that promote helpful discussions with people with suicidal thoughts – discussions about the value of their own life, and the value that their own family holds their life to have.

Family First opposes human cloning and the use of embryonic stem cells for medical research. Far more viable treatments and cures have been developed from stem cells ethically derived from live patients, rather than human embryos.

The life of women is too precious to allow prostitution to flourish in Australia. Prostitution is harmful to women. Family First opposes legalised prostitution, and supports efforts to prevent sex trafficking. Legalising prostitution only promotes Australia as a sex trafficking destination. Family First supports the Nordic model of criminalizing the buying of sex, not the selling of sex, which has significantly reduced prostitution in the Nordic countries and affirmed women’s equality.

Marriage

Family First believes that marriage is an important social good, associated with a wide range of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.

Marriage is also an important public good, associated with a range of economic, health, educational, and safety benefits that help local, state, and federal governments serve the common good.

Family First promotes and supports marriage over de facto cohabitation.

Family First places a high value on marriage as the commitment which forms a foundation for the development of stable and nurturing families.

We believe that marriage at its essence and by definition is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of others for life.

Family First will oppose any legislation it considers will harm or diminish the institution of marriage and will support programs, activities and initiatives that seek to strengthen and promote the benefits to society and individuals of strong healthy marriages.

Research indicates a wide range of benefits for individuals and society that flow from strong, healthy marriage. The following are some drawn from “Why Marriage Matters, Second Edition: 30 Conclusions from the Social Sciences”.

Family First supports marriage remaining with its present Marriage Act definition “the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life” Marriage always has been, is and always will be between a man and a woman.

The issue was debated extensively in the last Federal Parliament, and traditional marriage was overwhelmingly endorsed by the elected members. It may well be that other members of parliament will vote for some form of recognition of unions between “two people” irrespective of their gender or sexuality.

In our view such a fundamental redefinition of marriage can not occur until laws protecting freedom of conscience, freedom of religious belief, freedom of expression and freedom of speech are reformed to allow people in good conscience and belief to continue to adhere to their values, in other words, to conscientiously object.

To have a state-sanctioned ‘right’ way of thinking is dangerous and has resulted in prosecution of law-abiding people overseas. We have already seen very concerning demonstrations of intolerant behaviour in the Australian media towards those who support traditional marriage. This illustrates why redefining marriage is not a simple question, but has significant ramifications for our freedoms and democracy.

About Children

Parental divorce reduces the likelihood that children will graduate from college, and achieve high-status jobs.

Children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than children in other family forms. The health advantages of married homes remain even after taking into account socioeconomic status.

Parental divorce approximately doubles the odds that adult children will end up divorced.

About Men

Married men earn between 10 and 40 percent more than single men with similar education and job histories.

Married people, especially married men, have longer life expectancies than otherwise similar singles.

Marriage increases the likelihood fathers will have good relationships with children. Sixty-five percent of young adults whose parents divorced had poor relationships with their fathers (compared to 29% from non-divorced families).

About Women

In comparison with those who remain married, women who separate see their household income fall by $21,400 p/a (men by contrast see only $4,100 p/a) Married mothers have lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers.

Married women appear to have a lower risk of domestic violence than cohabiting or dating women. Even after controlling for race, age, and education, people who live together are still three times more likely to report violent arguments than married people.

About Society

Adults who live together but do not marry—cohabitors—are more similar to singles than to married couples in terms of physical health and disability, emotional wellbeing and mental health, as well as assets and earnings. Their children more closely resemble the children of single people than the children of married people.

Marriage appears to reduce the risk that children and adults will be either perpetrators or victims of crime. Single and divorced women are four to five times more likely to be victims of violent crime in any given year than married women. Boys raised in single-parent homes are about twice as likely (and boys raised in stepfamilies three times as likely) to have committed a crime that leads to incarceration by the time they reach their early thirties, even after controlling for factors such as race, mother’s education, neighbourhood quality and cognitive ability.

Poverty

It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said: “The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much, but whether we provide enough for those who have little”.

Family First is committed to policies that alleviate poverty and provide people with opportunities to develop skills that will enable them to provide for themselves on a sustainable basis

Our policies include:

Domestic Aid

Recognising that access to education is fundamental to breaking the cycle of poverty. We support and promote initiatives that make education available to those who are poor and marginalised, whether they be in Australia or overseas.

Promoting policies and programs that develop the capacity of people to gain employment so that they can provide for themselves and their families. These include vocational training, apprenticeship, employment placement and literacy programs.

Supporting initiatives and programs that provide income security and social supports for those who, due to age, disability or illness, are unable to work.

Recognising that in Australia the biggest determinant of whether or not a person lives in poverty is housing cost. In many Australian cities and regions those on low incomes and on Centrelink benefits pay up to 60% of their income on housing in the private rental market.
Family First is committed to supporting initiatives that will increase housing supply – both rental and purchase, and to working to eradicate those policies of State governments which drive up housing costs to the detriment of first home buyers and low income renters alike.

Overseas Aid

Tens of thousands of people die each day from poverty related illnesses and malnourishment. Family First is committed to sustainable, targeted and innovative methods to alleviate this suffering, as an obligation to our global neighbours.

It is important to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of the international community thus far, as decades of myriad efforts have considerably reduced the global percentage of people living in poverty. These efforts include foreign aid, trade, pro-democracy reforms and increased participation in the global economy and culture.

Although this trend is encouraging, suffering remains in our region and around the world due to poverty and limited economic development. Australian aid will have a life-giving purpose for a very long time.

Family first believes:

  1. Foreign Aid should not be as regularly targeted for budget cuts as it has been. Australia must set a target of committing 0.7% of its Gross National Income (GNI) to foreign aid. This is more than double the 2015 spending level.
  2. Family First Senator Bob Day articulated how you budget for a small percentage first when advocating his ‘campaign for 1%’ (based on a former, that is, non-GNI metric of foreign aid)
  3. Natural disaster relief should be generous for Australia’s Indo-Pacific neighbours such as Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.
  4. Economic growth and trade are the most effective means of alleviating poverty in the long-term. Central to prosperity in the developing world are.
    – Emerging financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
    – ChAFTA (China-Australia Free Trade agreement).
    – TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership).
    – The “Aid-for-Trade” programme.
    – The ACFID (the Australian Council of International Development) Code of Conduct. This helps to ensure greater industry trust, and transparency and stakeholder fund accountability.
    – Support for NGOs who are signatories to ACFID.
  5. Australian aid will help strengthen relationships with our Indo-Pacific neighbours, fostering safety and stability in the region.
  6. Australia should continue to provide finance for infrastructure, empower the private sector, open up trade export markets to developing nations and help them to realise gains from that trade
Property

The fundamental underpinnings of any stable, secure and democratic society is the right to own property. Property rights provide the foundation on which many other rights and privileges are exercised. The right to own property affords citizens a means whereby they can secure a permanent stake in their nation.

Where strong protections are afforded in law for the right of citizens to own property there is a value that transcends the natural value of the property alone.

Acquisition of Property

Property acquisitions by governments have widened substantially in recent years with the impact of planning regulation, heritage listing, significant tree legislation, native vegetation protection, rising sea levels due to ‘climate change’ and numerous other encumbrances leading to increasingly restricted use of private property.

Family First believes that if Federal, State or Local governments wish to either acquire a person’s property or limit a person’s right to develop or enjoy a property, then the property owner should be fully compensated for his or her loss.

For example, government decisions to impose wind turbines – causing devaluation of property – should result in either the government, wind turbine proponent – or both – being liable to compensate landholders for their losses

It is a fundamental principle of farm land ownership that the property is acquired with the water rights attached to the property, including the amount of rainfall that falls on the property. Farmers should not have to pay more, or again, for the water rights that attach to the property. The Government does not own rainfall.

Native Title

As it now stands, the Native Title Act recognises native title rights and sets down basic principles in relation to native title in Australia including that native title cannot be extinguished (other than through the Native Title Act). While recognition of the existence of native title has provided for Aboriginal people new rights in connection with their traditional lands, these new rights have become very much a two-edged sword.

For example, Native Title rights do not confer the right to sell, lease, develop or offer the land as security for economic development. The fragile nature of such a right therefore has no capacity to assist in securing a future for Aboriginal people.

Family First believes the future of property regimes such as Native Title is too insecure and should be replaced by a freehold system empowering Aboriginal people, families and communities.

We also believe Australia’s Torrens Title system is the best property regime in the world and should be the sole means of managing property ownership.

Security

For all the hardships of our early years and the conflicts that marked our early history, Australians rose to the occasion and formed a nation. We established an open, democratic and inclusive society in which all people are equal before the law.

Australia did not become this way by accident. We owe much of the stability and security we experience today to the systems of governance and law we inherited from the British, and the Christian heritage that was our moral compass.

Strong public institutions, a free press and the absence of corruption have provided Australians with a much greater sense of confidence and security in their lives than most others in the world experience.

Defence

Long term planning and sustainability

Procurements by the ADF are to comply with a long-term view to value adding and encouraging strategic partnerships. The structure of the ADF should reflect this goal; existing structures and capabilities should be considered when negotiating new procurements.

Family First supports the procurement of nuclear powered (not armed) submarines with allowances for long term sustainability and maintenance of the technology. Family First supports a continuous build of submarines with a view to introducing, at the earliest opportunity, the potential for nuclear powered submarines.

Aim towards greater self-reliance

Family First supports a move towards increasing the ADF’s ability to protect Australian interests without a majority reliance on the United States. The United States is moving away from a traditional ‘provider’ of security to the ‘enhancer’ of security and the Australian defence policy should evolve also.

A completely self-reliant Australian Defence Force is unattainable and not desired, but an improvement on our US-centric policy would open up other partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region

Full spectrum defence force capabilities

Australia’s position in the Asia-Pacific region is no longer as ‘cutting-edge’ as in previous decades. Other nations like China, Japan, and India are viable defence partners and can complement Australia’s role in the region as a liberal democratic force.

Family First supports developing a ‘full spectrum’ approach to defence in Australia. The established Navy, Army and Air Force units should be complemented by improvements in Australia’s cyber and space warfare defence capabilities. Family First also supports continuing maritime focus to prioritise the security of trade routes and protection from naval incursions.

Efficiency and waste reduction

The ADF is currently undergoing a restructure to maximise efficiency and clarity in command. Family First supports reductions in waste and duplication in administrative offices, and increased accountability for quality of work and outcomes.

Like any organisation – government or private – middle management becomes bloated and needs to be reassessed on a regular basis. If middle management ranks within defence are not the very best and brightest we have, then they need to be managed out of the defence force

Veteran’s Affairs

Family First supports fair indexation of veteran pensions and adequate funding for assistance programs to ease veterans back into society after they return home.

Family First upholds the integrity of the family unit and the important role the family has in relation to rehabilitation and care for veterans; in all possible areas assisting family and community care for veterans instead of government-led care

Family First supports mandatory counselling for those that have been in an environment where the risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is significantly enhanced.

Culture and Leadership

Family First understands that due to the ADF’s unique and important role the ADF needs the toughest, smartest, nation loving men and women it can find in the appropriate roles. The ADF doesn’t need to be (nor should it be) representative of the broader community.

Teamwork is at the very core of our Defence Forces, without which the ADF is greatly weakened. The social engineering agendas of politicians should have no place in our Defence Force. The political push to have a greater percentage of women in all defence domains, including combat roles undermines cohesion and effectiveness within the ADF.

The primary role of the ADF is to defend our nation, and it does so with limited resources. There are many roles in which women can positively contribute to the ADF, but there is no social or organisational good achieved by government intervening to drive women into combat roles. The purpose and mission of the ADF should drive the recruiting profile, not gender goal directives from government.

Risk and competition also plays an important role in the ADF. Fierce competition between troops and departments sharpens their skills and commitment to the task. Likewise, risk and danger are part of appropriate training in the defence force and there needs to be greater scope for defence force leaders to push the boundaries that would not be acceptable outside the defence environment. We need highly trained soldiers that have proven they can operate in high risk environments.

Family First believes the priority should be “what works best for the organisation that is given the responsibility to protect our nation”.

Security

Terrorism

Terrorism is a direct threat to free society and must be resisted. While the relative size of the Australian Defence Force limits our capacity to make deployments on the scale our major allies have made in the Middle East, it is important that Australia makes commitments in these areas to the extent that our capacity allows.

  • Family First supports the deployment of Australian defence forces in the Middle East.”
  • Family First supports counter-terrorism measures within Australia designed to protect the Australian public against acts of terror at home or abroad.”
  • Family First supports the right of the executive to determine whether or not Australia will go to war. We do not support requiring Parliament to approve whether Australia goes to war or not. The confidentiality of matters relating to such decisions cannot be entrusted to a modern Parliament where partisan politics and self-promotion are too prevalent.”
  • Family First supports world-best support for returned service veterans. It is unconscionable not to provide for the future income and health support needs of those who Australia has asked to fight on behalf of the nation, and they have returned with physical or mental injuries – or both – that impair their ability to provide for their families.”
  • Family First believes that the foundation of any nation rests on its capacity to effectively self-govern. If civil order cannot be guaranteed there can be no progress in commerce, infrastructure, health or education. If corruption flourishes, there is no hope of significant economic development and citizens will continue to live in poverty.”
Tax & Spending

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, ‘In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.’ Will Rogers responded: ‘Yes, and the only difference between death and taxes is that death does not get any worse every time parliament sits.

Income tax, company tax, payroll tax, petrol tax, GST, the Medicare levy, the emergency services levy, natural resources management levy, the so-called “Save the River Murray levy” … on it goes. Governments, State and Federal, hit us at every turn. The capacity of politicians and public servants to spend our taxes knows no bounds.

We wouldn’t mind if our taxes went on improving roads, hospitals, schools, Aboriginal communities, disability services, homelessness and law and order, but it doesn’t. Give another billion dollars to any of these departments and it is immediately gobbled up by building the bureaucracy – new offices, more staff, higher pay, and more cars. But not better services on the wards, in the classrooms or on remote communities.

Family First believes in small government with minimal interference in family and community life. As a general rule, we oppose new tax measures and new spending measures. We aim to reduce the size of government so that money is in the pockets of families, communities and business to spend their own money – not Governments spending it on their pet projects.

If the Australian tax system is to offer incentives to be productive, to expand activities, to shift from welfare to work, to pay tax and invest in the future then it must be simple, flat and, in the eyes of tax payers, a fair system.

Family First supports a flat tax system applying the same rate of taxation across the community and without discrimination between businesses, individuals or differing income levels. The more variations in tax policy that apply, the more practices and mechanisms are designed to avoid tax – working for cash to ‘escape the tax man’ through convoluted trust arrangements to multinational corporations resorting to tax havens to minimize local tax liability.

We need clear Federal tax and legal responsibilities. Those who spend the money, should raise the money. Far too often, Federal, State and Local Governments interfere in each other’s cash-flows and jurisdictions for short-term political gain. Federal rebates designed to offset the punitive impact of State or Local Government taxation should cease. The same level of Government that imposes a tax, levy or charge ought also to fund the exemptions to the same.

To that end, a review of the taxation powers of the Commonwealth, States, Territories and local government is welcome. Responsibility for spending must be allocated and kept at one level of government, without duplication. Health and education, for instance, should only be State and Territory responsibilities, and no Federal or local government spending should occur in that era. Accordingly, the States’ power to raise taxes to pay for those costs must be adjusted accordingly, and proportionately reduced or raised at the other levels of Government.

Family First supports the Federation, and having strong States and Territories. The Commonwealth has expanded by too much – both in the taxation revenue it demands, and the amount that it spends. Family First rejects centralised power and supports decentralised power and decision making. The Federation of States and Territories provides the competitive and innovative forces necessary for a healthy democracy and economy.

All levels of government should carry adequate insurance to meet the cost of natural disasters or unforeseen events. It is unacceptable for one State, Territory or other level of government to seek aid from the Commonwealth or taxpayers due to its failure to adequately insure against risk. Governments also have a duty of care in the discharge of their public duties, and should carry adequate insurance against the risk of civil litigation or class actions.

Family First supports the existence of autonomous small, local Councils, particularly in regional areas. We do not support Commonwealth interference in local government via direct funding, bypassing states. For that reason Family First does not support constitutional recognition of local government, as these are or should be recognised at State level, the proper pathway for funding support to local councils. Ideally, Councils should not interfere in areas of state or federal legislative responsibility, such as health and education, and should have responsibility of raising the revenue they need to meet their legislative responsibilities without state or federal support.

Youth

Family First is committed to providing a solid foundation for young Australians.

Relationships, independence, a rewarding career. Family First believes the opportunity to travel, buy a house, a reliable car and other important communication tools are important. A job and a house are the key enablers for the other priorities, and according to Mission Australia are young people’s top priorities.

Family First is a Party of values. It treats issues like poverty, corruption and injustice with great importance.

Family First is the Party that ‘loves life’ and helps those in need and those who are suffering.

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A House of Review

"Tasmania needs Senators who aren't obliged to vote with either the Government or the Opposition, but will vote sensibly based on what's genuinely best for families and Tasmania. Family First senators support and improve good laws, and will block bad laws. There's no checks and balances if the government is reviewing itself."
- Peter Madden

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