Reason Party (Australia)

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Reason Party
LeaderFiona Patten
Founded2009; 10 years ago (2009) (as Australian Sex Party)
Headquarters10 Ipswich St
Fyshwick ACT 2609
IdeologyCivil libertarianism
Progressivism
Secular liberalism
Drug liberalisation
Social liberalism
Political positionCentre[1] to centre-left
Colours     Teal
Victorian Legislative
Council
1 / 40
Website
reason.org.au

The Reason Party is an Australian political party founded in 2009 as the Australian Sex Party. It changed its name in 2017 to the Reason Party. The Australian Sex Party was initially founded in response to concerns over the increasing influence of religion in Australian politics, and the proposed introduction of an internet filter[2][3] and was born out of an adult-industry lobby group, the Eros Association. Its leader, Fiona Patten, was formerly the association's CEO.[4] Patten describes the party as a "civil libertarian alternative".[5] Patten is a veteran campaigner on issues such as censorship, equality, and discrimination.[6][7] Patten was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council at the 2014 state election in the Northern Metropolitan Region. She was re-elected for another four-year term at the 2018 state election.

Reason is registered at the state level in Victoria, where it has parliamentary representation, and in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory.

In late 2017, the party announced it would be changing its name to the Reason Party ahead of the 2018 Victorian state election.[8] The party then voluntarily relinquished its registration for federal elections in August 2017,[9] ahead of re-registering as Reason Australia in early 2018.[10] On 14 August 2018 the name of the party in Victoria was officially changed from Reason Victoria to Fiona Patten’s Reason Party.

History[edit]

The Australian Sex Party was formed in 2009 by the Eros Foundation, and initially contested the 2009 Bradfield and Higgins by-elections. The party contested the 2010, 2013 and 2016 federal elections, though not winning any seats in each case. The party was briefly federally deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 5 May 2015, after an audit found that it could not demonstrate that it met the statutory requirement of 500 members, but was re-registered in July the same year.[11][12] In May 2018, the party applied to the AEC for registration for federal elections as "Reason Australia",[10] which was approved on 30 August 2018.[13]

The party contested the 2010 Victorian election, though not winning any seats. At the 2014 Victorian election, the party was part of the Minor Party Alliance, resulting in Fiona Patten being elected in the Northern Metropolitan Region for the Victorian Legislative Council, the party’s first parliamentary success.[14] In August 2017, the party announced it would change its name to the Reason Party.[8][15] In January 2018, the Victorian Electoral Commission officially changed the party's name from "Australian Sex Party – Victoria" to "Reason Victoria".[16] On 14 August 2018, the name of the party in Victoria was officially changed to “Fiona Patten’s Reason Party”. At the 2018 Victorian election, Patten was re-elected, this time as a member of Reason Party. At this election the party did not take part in the Minor Party Alliance due to its concerns for Glenn Druery's conflict of interest as a staffer for Derryn Hinch, whose Derryn Hinch's Justice Party also had an interest in the arrangement.

While the party has focused primarily on federal and Victorian elections, it has also contested one election each in the Northern Territory (2012) and in the Australian Capital Territory (2016).

Parliamentary actions[edit]

As the party's sole representative in an Australian Parliament, Fiona Patten is considered to be pro-active in pursuing policy objectives. As the party leader and only parliamentarian, Patten has been called "Australia’s most effective legislator" by radio presenter Jon Faine.[17]

The party's main goal should they be elected was to establish voluntary assisted dying laws for Victoria. After a long process and a marathon legislative session, the bill became law on a conscience vote.[18][19]

In 2015, Patten put forth a Private Member's Bill calling for a 150-metre (490 ft) "Safe Access Zone" around hospitals, GP clinics and health services that perform abortions, where it will be an offence to engage in behaviour that harasses or intimidates women seeking to access an abortion.[20] The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zone) Bill 2015 formally passed the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment.[21]

Fiona Patten introduced another Private Member's Bill in 2016, calling for the regulation of ride-sharing apps such as Uber. The Ridesharing Bill 2016 gained support from both the Daniel Andrews Labor government and the opposition led by Matthew Guy.[22][23]

In 2017, Patten renewed calls for a pilot program of a safe injecting room in North Richmond, in response to a large increase of Victorian drug-related deaths in the last several years.[24][25] In the first session for the Legislative Council of the year, she introduced the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017.[26] At the time there were regular overdoses in the streets of Richmond, and that number has been reduced significantly since the centre was opened, with various estimates about the number of lives saved due to the opening of the centre.[27][28]

Policies[edit]

Party leader Fiona Patten

Reason's policy platform has been described as libertarian.[7]

Current policy positions[edit]

The party's policies include:[29]

Drug reform[edit]

  • Treating drug use as a health issue.
  • Decriminalisation of all drugs, legalisation of cannabis.
  • Pill testing at every music festival[30]

Gambling[edit]

  • Setting a maximum bet limit for poker machines and limiting the influence of the pokies industry.[31]

Health[edit]

  • Vaccination to protect public health and reduce the spread of preventable diseases.[32]
  • Early intervention for mental health especially for young at-risk people
  • Create an ombudsman for aged care and retirement housing, and establish a statewide ageing strategy

Internet and media[edit]

  • Expand free wifi in public spaces including on all public transport
  • Anti-ISP filtering.[33]
  • National media classification and introduction of non-violent sexual content label.

Other areas[edit]

  • Focusing on community housing and ensuring that at-risk people have a place to live
  • Decriminalise sex work and remove censorship so that people can make their own choices what they want to watch
  • Improving public transport especially for high growth outer suburban areas
  • Increasing oversight around politicians and tighten the rules to prevent unethical behaviour by the state's politicians and public figures
  • Taxing the non-charitable business arms of religious institutions. This includes the estimated $9 billion portfolio of the Catholic Church in the state.[34][35]
Reason Party (Australia) supporters with placards at Yes Marriage Equality rally Sydney Town Hall 10 Sept 2017
Fiona Patten Portrait 2013

Electoral history[edit]

Federal elections[edit]

In addition to running candidates in a number of House of Representatives seats the party regularly runs candidates in all states and territories in the senate.

Sex Party results in the Australian Senate
Election Federal NSW Victoria Queensland Western Australia South Australia Tasmania ACT Northern Territory
2010 2.04% 1.77% 2.26% 2.59% 2.25% 1.67% - - 5.1%
2013 1.37% 1.02% 1.89% 1.12% 1.49% 1.00% 1.45% 3.49% 2.13%
2016* 0.68% 0.67% 1.55% 1.11% 1.84% 1.14% 1.32% 3.96% 4.86%

*In 2016 the Sex Party ran in a number of states with the HEMP party

Federal by elections[edit]

By-election Candidate Vote share Year
Higgins Fiona Patten 3.21% 2009
Bradfield Marianne Leishman 3.16% 2009

Victorian state elections[edit]

In addition to fielding candidates in a number of Victorian Legislative Assembly seats, the party stood candidates in all regions of the Victorian Legislative Council after their initial election in 2010. In 2014 the party succeeded in having its first candidate elected to the Council with the election of Fiona Patten in the Northern Metropolitan Region. She was returned in 2018.

Election Eastern Metro Eastern Victoria Northern Metro Northern Victoria Southern Metro South Eastern Metro Western Metro Western Victoria Number of seats won
2010 - - 3.60% 3.80% 3.20% - 4.70% -
0 / 40
2014 2.05% 2.49% 2.87% 3.27% 2.43% 2.67% 2.70% 2.50%
1 / 40
2018 1.18% 0.81% 3.37% 0.70% 2.00% 0.85% 1.15% 0.92%
1 / 40

Victorian state by-elections[edit]

Election Candidate Vote share Year
Broadmeadows Merinda Davis 5.00% 2011
Niddrie Amy Myers 8.10% 2000
Melbourne Fiona Patten 6.56% 2012
Lyndhurst Martin Leahy 8.40% 2013
Polwarth Meredith Doig 6.00% 2015
Northcote* Laura Chipp 3.20% 2017

*Chipp was endorsed by the party, but the party was not registered with the VEC at the time, as they were in the process of changing their name.

Other state wide elections[edit]

Northern Territory[edit]

The party stood candidates in 5 electorates for the Northern Territory elections, 2012

Fong Lim Johnston Nightcliff Port Darwin Sanderson
3.00% 4.20% 1.90% 5.10% 4%

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

The party stood candidates in 3 regions at the ACT elections, 2016

Election Brindabella Murrumbidgee Yerrabi
2016 7.90% 3.50% 4.00%

Links[edit]

The Reason Party has close links with the adult industry lobby group, the Eros Association, and was seen by some as the party being its political wing.[36][37] However, since their rebrand, Patten has stated that the party has moved away from the association.[38]

The party has had some involvement in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[39][40] However, in the lead-up to the 2018 state election, Fiona Patten had a falling out with Glenn Druery due to his new conflict of interest as chief-of-staff to Federal Senator, Derryn Hinch, who was running candidates in the election and receiving favourable preferences due to Druery's private business dealings as the "preference whisperer". She claimed that he demanded that the Reason Party pay him money, or she would not be re-elected. Patten made an official complaint to the VEC, and Druery is now subject to an ongoing police investigation over this complaint.[41][42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/4871164/sex-party-transforms-into-new-reason-party/
  2. ^ Bennett, Lucy (17 November 2008). "Australian Sex Party launches on Thursday". The Australian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Sex flirts with politics", Herald Sun, 16 November 2008.
  4. ^ Eros Association - About Us
  5. ^ Gardiner, Ashley (15 November 2010). "Sex Party hopes to make history and win an Upper House seat in state election". Herald Sun.
  6. ^ "People Trafficking, Human Security and Development". Australian National University. 29 August 2004. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  7. ^ a b Syvret, Paul (8 December 2009). "Australian Sex Party a dark horse in federal politics". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 8 October 2010.
  8. ^ a b Willingham, Richard (22 August 2017). "Sex Party to change name to Reason Party, founder Fiona Patten announces". ABC News. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Australian Sex Party Voluntary Deregistration" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 1 September 2017. Notice under s 135(1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 Australian Sex Party was registered on 24 July 2015 and deregistered on 29 August 2017. Reason: s 135(1) – voluntary deregistration
  10. ^ a b "Reason Australia" (PDF). Notice of Application for Registration as a Political Party. Australian Electoral Commission. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission: Australian Sex Party". AEC.gov.au. 10 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Sex Party Rises Again". Australian Sex Party. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Registration of a political party: Reason Australia" (PDF). Notice under s 133(1A)(a) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. Australian Electoral Commission. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  14. ^ "Legislative Council - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News.
  15. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (22 August 2017). "Australian Sex Party to become the Reason Party". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  16. ^ Change of Australian Sex Party to Reason Victoria, Victorian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  17. ^ "About Fiona Patten | Member of the Victorian Legislative Council". Fionapatten. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Victoria set to make history as voluntary assisted dying bill passes Upper House". ABC News. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  19. ^ "'They keep going over the same ground again and again'". NewsComAu. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Victoria looks certain to ban protesters from picketing abortion clinics". ABC News. 1 September 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  21. ^  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 3.0 AU licence.
  22. ^ "Uber in Victoria: Sex Party MP holds 'productive talks' on deal to regulate ride-booking service". ABC News. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  23. ^ Kalache, Gloria (22 June 2016). "Uber regulation: Victorian Government strikes deal with Sex Party over ride-sharing legislation". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  24. ^ Oaten, James (21 February 2017). "Heroin deaths prompt renewed calls for Victorian safe injecting rooms". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  25. ^ Preiss, Benjamin; Lucas, Clay (7 February 2017). "No government support for Richmond drug injection room despite community backing". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  26. ^ Fiona Patten, Member for Northern Metropolitan (7 February 2017). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). State of Victoria: Legislative Council. p. 37.
  27. ^ "140 lives 'saved' during first months of safe injecting room trial in Melbourne". ABC News. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  28. ^ Booker, Chloe (6 July 2018). "'12 lives saved' in Richmond safe drug injecting room's first week". The Age. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Policies | Reason Victoria". Reason Victoria. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Fiona Patten: Continuing to refuse to allow pill testing at festivals is "immoral"". 3AW. 1546212752. Retrieved 2019-01-03. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  31. ^ "Pokies more damaging than cannabis: Patten calls for gambling limits". 3AW. 1511828397. Retrieved 2019-01-04. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  32. ^ Kimmorley, Sarah (16 May 2016). "The Australian Sex Party wrote this devastating response to an anti-vaccination campaigner looking for support". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  33. ^ "Professor Ross Fitzgerald » Blog Archive » Internet censorship remains part of Conroy's agenda". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  34. ^ Vedelago, Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders and Chris. "Catholic Inc: What the Church is really worth". The Age. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  35. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (13 March 2016). "Time to end tax exemptions for religious groups: Sex Party". The Age.
  36. ^ Tyler, Meagan (31 July 2012). "Political party or lobby group? The dark side of the Australian Sex Party". The Conversation. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  37. ^ Swan, Robbie (20 August 2009). "Industry association forms Sex Party". Third Sector (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  38. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (22 August 2017). "Australian Sex Party to become the Reason Party". The Age. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  39. ^ Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  40. ^ Wood, Alicia (5 September 2013). "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  41. ^ "Derryn Hinch's preference whisperer faces cash-for-votes complaint". News Line Australia. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  42. ^ Preiss, Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders, Benjamin (24 October 2018). "Derryn Hinch's preference whisperer faces cash-for-votes complaint". The Age. Retrieved 15 November 2018.

External links[edit]