Reason Party (Australia)

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Reason Party
LeaderFiona Patten
Founded2009 (as Australian Sex Party)
Headquarters10 Ipswich St
Fyshwick ACT 2609
IdeologyCivil libertarianism
Progressivism
Secular liberalism
Drug liberalisation
Political positionCentre to centre-left[1]
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.

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.[8][9] Reason is registered at 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.[10] The party then voluntarily relinquished its registration for federal elections in August 2017,[11] ahead of re-registering as Reason Australia in early 2018.[12] On 14 August 2018 the name of the state party in Victoria 'Reason Victoria' was officially changed to 'Fiona Patten’s Reason Party'

History[edit]

The Sex Party grew out of the Eros foundation, and initially contested the Bradfield and Higgins by-elections in 2009.

They then contested the Federal election the following year, and while not winning any seats polled very well for a new party. After that election, Patten claimed that the Sex Party was "now the major minor party in Australian politics":

We’ve polled better than the Greens did in their first federal election and believe that our vision of Australia as the most socially progressive country in the world is equal to the Greens environmental messages of 20 years ago.[13]

In the Victorian election in 2014, the party succeeded in electing its first parliamentarian when Fiona Patten was successful in her bid for election in the Northern Metropolitan region for the Legislative Council.[14]

In August 2017, the Australian Sex Party announced it would be deregistering and become the Reason Party.[10][15]

In January 2018, the Victorian Electoral Commission officially changed the party's name from "Australian Sex Party – Victoria" to "Reason Victoria".[16] In May 2018, the party application to register for federal elections as "Reason Australia" was announced on the Electoral Commission website.[12] Registration was approved on 30 August 2018.[17]

While the party has focused primarily on federal and Victorian elections, they have contest one election each in the Northern Territory in 2012 and in the Australian Capital Territory in 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.[18]

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.[19][20]

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.[21] The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zone) Bill 2015 formally passed the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment.[22]

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.[23][24]

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.[25][26] 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.[27] 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.[28][29]

Policies[edit]

Party leader Fiona Patten

Reason's policy platform has been described as libertarian.[7] Party leader, Fiona Patten, has described Reason's policy objectives as "socially progressive but economically prudent".[30] It is opposed to internet censorship, and supports the introduction of a national media classification scheme, including a rating for non-violent sexual content. The Australian Sex Party was one of the earliest bodies to call for a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious institutions. In 2016, the party renewed its call for religious institutions to pay more state-based taxes, and to overturn long-standing exemptions.[31]

The policies have been laid out on the party's website.[32]

  • The party views drug use in the community as a health issue. As such they have called for full decriminalisation of all drugs, legalisation of cannabis. Drug addiction should be dealt with by referring one found with illicit drugs to a treatment centre
  • Taxing the non-charitable business arms of religious institutions. This includes the estimated $9 billion portfolio of the Catholic Church in the state.[33]
  • Reason supports vaccination to protect public health and reduce the spread of preventable diseases. In a 2016 response to the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network's Meryl Dorey, the Sex Party stated:[34] "Choosing not to vaccinate your children amounts to medical neglect; this is a serious ethical issue".[35]
  • Early intervention for mental health especially for young at risk people
  • 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
  • Create an ombudsman for aged care and retirement housing, and establish a state wide ageing strategy
  • Improving public transport especially for high growth outer suburban areas
  • Expand free wifi in public spaces including on all public transport
  • Increasing oversight around politicians and tighten the rules to prevent unethical behaviour by the state's politicians and public figures
  • Setting a maximum bet limit for poker machines and limiting the influence of the pokies industry
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
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]

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 Legislative Assembly seats, the party stood candidates in all regions of the state after their initial election in 2010. In 2014 the party succeeded in having its first candidate elected to office with the election of Fiona Patten in the Northern Metropolitan region

Eastern

Metropolitan

Eastern Victoria Northern Metropolitan Northern Victoria Southern Metropolitan South Eastern Metropolitan Western Metropolitan 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]

Candidate Vote share Year
Broadmeadows Merinda Davis 5.00% 2011
Niddrie Amy Myers 8.10% 2012
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

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]

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 2008-03-15.
  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 2010-10-08.
  8. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission: Australian Sex Party". AEC.gov.au. 10 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Sex Party Rises Again". Australian Sex Party. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "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
  12. ^ a b "Reason Australia" (PDF). Notice of Application for Registration as a Political Party. Australian Electoral Commission. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Sex Party Now The Major Minor Party in Australian Politics Archived 27 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.", Sex Party website, 23 August 2010.
  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. ^ "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.
  18. ^ "About Fiona Patten | Member of the Victorian Legislative Council". Fionapatten. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  19. ^ "Victoria set to make history as voluntary assisted dying bill passes Upper House". ABC News. 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  20. ^ "'They keep going over the same ground again and again'". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  21. ^ "Victoria looks certain to ban protesters from picketing abortion clinics". ABC News. 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  22. ^  This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 3.0 AU licence.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ Kalache, Gloria (22 June 2016). "Uber regulation: Victorian Government strikes deal with Sex Party over ride-sharing legislation". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  25. ^ Oaten, James (21 February 2017). "Heroin deaths prompt renewed calls for Victorian safe injecting rooms". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  26. ^ Preiss, Benjamin; Lucas, Clay (7 February 2017). "No government support for Richmond drug injection room despite community backing". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  27. ^ Fiona Patten, Member for Northern Metropolitan (7 February 2017). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). State of Victoria: Legislative Council. p. 37.
  28. ^ "140 lives 'saved' during first months of safe injecting room trial in Melbourne". ABC News. 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  29. ^ Booker, Chloe (2018-07-06). "'12 lives saved' in Richmond safe drug injecting room's first week". The Age. Retrieved 2018-11-06.
  30. ^ Butler, Josh (12 March 2016). "Inside The Australian Sex Party: Politics, Progressives And Porn". Huffington Post. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  31. ^ Preiss, Benjamin (13 March 2016). "Time to end tax exemptions for religious groups: Sex Party". The Age.
  32. ^ "Policies | Reason Victoria". Reason Victoria. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  33. ^ Vedelago, Royce Millar, Ben Schneiders and Chris. "Catholic Inc: What the Church is really worth". The Age. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ Austin, Darren (May 2016). "ASXP responds to vaccination skeptics". ASP (Press release). Archived from the original on 15 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  36. ^ Tyler, Meagan (31 July 2012). "Political party or lobby group? The dark side of the Australian Sex Party". The Conversation (website). 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.

External links[edit]