Last Thursday 15 December I was officially declared to have won the fifth seat for Western Victoria. This has received considerable attention in the press as the first DLP win in the Victorian Parliament in more than fifty years .
I owe a great deal to all those people throughout Western Victoria who helped me and the DLP achieve this historic victory. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me of course. I would also like to thank everyone who thought about their vote, even if they voted for someone else.
Throughout the campaign, I was genuinely impressed by the people of Western Victoria. Strangers were noticeably friendly, warm and open. I recall teenagers on bikes calling out greetings as they rode by, drinkers at pubs putting their heads out to say hello. The people of Western Victoria really do seem to represent the best of the Australian tradition.
Throughout my campaign I argued that, as far as practicable, local people should decide local issues. I hope to get to know the ideas and views of Western Victorians better. I will visit many parts of the electorate in the new year to listen to the concerns of residents. I have also promised to pioneer new ways of consulting the people of Western Victoria. This promise will be fulfilled.
Thank you Western Victoria.
Wishing all Western Victorians the best for Christmas season and for 2007,
DLP MLC for Western Victoria
Parliament House, Melbourne
Friday, December 22, 2006
Last Thursday 15 December I was officially declared to have won the fifth seat for Western Victoria. This has received considerable attention in the press as the first DLP win in the Victorian Parliament in more than fifty years .
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Preferences for Upper House seats were announced by the Victorian Electoral Commission at 3.48 pm today, 12 November.
The preference arrangements for Western Victoria are extraordinarily favourable to the DLP. We have the highest possible preferences from the Country Alliance and Family First and effectively, People Power. We also have high preferences from the ALP. I have only ever previously described my chances of winning as a "reasonable possibility". Under the new system of proportional representation, the preferences announced today really boosts the chances for a DLP win in Western Victoria very considerably. Now, we really do have a very strong chance of winning the seat.
I would like to sincerely thank all the other parties who have preferenced so generously to the DLP. If elected I will make myself available to listen to their concerns.
The DLP is fielding a full team of five candidates for Western Victoria. I am supported on the ticket by Clare Power of Creswick, David Power of Belmont and Michael and Leanne Casanova of Ballarat.
The DLP is fielding candidates in every Upper House seat in Victoria, so every voter will vote for or against the DLP at this election.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Three DLP generations... From left, Peter Kavanagh, lead DLP candidate for Western Victoria, and William Barry, son of DLP founders Bill and Mary Barry. At right is Maria Robinson, daughter of Andrew Robinson, DLP candidate for Northern Victoria.
Yes, it was a bit cold and windy... but DLP candidates from around Victoria, supporters, and their children, gathered together in the Ballarat shopping mall today for the Ballarat launch of the DLP campaing in Western Victoria.
Paul Crea, candidate for Eastern Victoria
John Mulholland, DLP Secretary
Michael Casanova, candidate for the Upper House in Western Victoria
Friday, November 03, 2006
Victorian law should explicitly mandate medical assistance for babies born alive after "failed" abortions.
Two cases have been reported in Australia of babies being left to die following abortion procedures, including one in the Northern Territory which was the subject of a public inquest (see Aborted Girl Lived 80 Minutes, Sunday Telegraph, 14 November 1999 and The Death of Jessica Jane, Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, 27 August 2004).
There is evidence that this happens much more frequently than it is reported. This is not so surprising, since there is no advocate for the fetus/baby in abortion procedures.
Surely babies born alive after undergoing abortion procedures are as entitled to respect and medical attention as anybody else. Members of the medical profession have a responsibility to such babies. Victorian law should make it explicit that physicians and nurses are legally obliged to do all they can to help a baby who is born alive, even after an "unsuccessful" abortion.
If I am elected to represent Western Victoria in the Upper House, I will work for legislation to mandate medical assistance for all babies born alive after 'unsuccessful' abortions. I think that many Victorians would be pleased to see both the ALP and the Liberal Party supporting this initiative.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Education is indeed, as often claimed, essential to our future prosperity and quality of life. The DLP believes that a school voucher system should be introduced. This means giving funding for their children’s education to parents. These ‘vouchers’ could be used at any registered school. This would put education funding in the hands of parents to spend as they see fit. In this way, parents would be given real choice and schools encouraged to do better. Fairness in school funding would be achieved by funding all students equally (except for those with special learning needs, who need extra amounts). The evidence in those parts of the United States where this initiative has been put into effect is that the empowerment of parents that voucher systems bring also strongly builds engagement with their children’s education and encourages schools to raise standards. Vouchers have improved education in parts of the
The Victorian government should provide education that is appropriate to the interests and abilities of individual students. There is an assumption that maximising the number of students completing high school is equivalent to improving education. This thinking permeates government policy and public opinion but is misguided. The number of students completing Year Twelve has risen over recent decades. The requirements to pass have been progressively lowered to create extremely high “pass rates”. Adding large numbers of “disengaged” students to senior high classes (those who in the past would have been in technical schools or gone onto apprenticeships or other training) has not improved the academic standard of senior high school students in
Educational standards in
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The Victorian government now charges home buyers around $18,000 in stamp duty when purchasing an average house in
The Democratic Labor Party has always placed a high priority on helping families to buy a home. Indeed, today’s help from the Commonwealth for first home buyers has evolved from earlier schemes initiated by the DLP decades ago.
In assisting a family to buy a home, governments help not only an individual but all members of a family - for life. Home ownership makes families less dependent on governments in the long term. It eliminates the need for the provision of rent assistance for example. By ending the need to pay rent, home ownership also increases resilience to economic downturns. A high rate of home ownership goes some way towards equalising the distribution of wealth. It gives all family members a sense of security and a feeling of sharing in the ownership of the country. This can only be beneficial to the long term health of our society.
Our taxation system gives huge benefits to investors (negative gearing and depreciation) but not to those struggling to buy a family home. The result is that a minority of people now own lots of properties while many families can no longer afford to buy even one.
The state government now depends on collecting huge sums in the form of stamp duty on real estate. This burden is heavy but probably manageable for those who are upgrading accommodation and have very likely benefited from capital appreciation. It is a different matter for those who are struggling to acquire a first home to simply put a secure roof over their children’s heads.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Democratic Labor Party candidate, Peter Kavanagh, appears to be the first in
"The use of YouTube for the first time in a political campaign in
"There is an enormous amount of political video material on YouTube, mostly relating to American politics; however, it all appears to have originally been designed for broadcast on television. It's advertising, or just snippets of television programming. There are a couple of American politicians, already elected, who have used YouTube to publish video campaign material on their websites. I don't believe any other politicians or candidates have done this in
"I haven't made any attempt to show-off video-making expertise, because it will be plain to everyone that I don't have any. But I should say that the videos cost the Democratic Labor Party nothing to make, and nothing to publish. That is, in itself, an interesting thing to think about."
"Major political parties in
“This DLP initiative is the first small step in a process with the potential to revolutionise election campaigns throughout
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Federal and state governments should provide increased tax incentives and remove obstacles to businesses sharing profits and ownership with their workers. Rewards for workers in the form of shares and dividends should also be taxed more favourably than they are at present.
Benefits would include easier capital accumulation and improved productivity and profitability for businesses and higher real wages, increased savings and long term prosperity for workers. Workers would have improved morale and concern for the profitability of the business. Profit sharing arrangements in 1990 at SPC, for example, were a major factor in saving that company. Instituted on a large scale, sharing ownership with workers will align the interests of employees and employers and greatly benefit both.
Australian manufacturing is in rapid decline due to imports. Even the agricultural sector is under strain. Measures such as selected protection and denying access to our markets to competitors who do not trade fairly are important measures that should be implemented, so should sharing the ownership of businesses with workers. Will
Successive governments in
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The following is the text of a letter, part of which was published in the Herald Sun.
The Herald Sun recently published two press releases by Family First, one on the taxes on first home buyers, the other promoting the construction of dams.
Opposition to the huge tax burdens that the present state government places on first home buyers has featured on my website since late last year. Helping first home buyers has always been a primary policy of the DLP. Indeed the assistance for first home buyers that exists today evolved from initiatives of the DLP around forty years ago.
I have also strongly and clearly advocated the construction of environmentally responsible dams to avert a water crisis. This has also been prominent on my website since last December.
One of the articles concluded with a comment that has been made quite often in the Herald Sun to the effect that the introduction of proportional representation this year gives smaller parties "such as Family First" a chance of winning seats. The DLP has never been mentioned. It might therefore surprise your Herald Sun readers to know that the DLP outvoted both Family First as well as the Democrats at the last Senate election.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Peter Kavanagh, the DLP Candidate for Western Victoria has called for a comprehensive, long term decentralisation policy based on the empowerment of local communities.
"Devolving power to the lowest level of government that can efficiently decide an issue is essential if people are to decide issues that affect them most directly. This is a long held, fundamental principle of the Democratic Labor Party," Mr Kavanagh said.
"Victoria currently lacks a comprehensive strategy for decentralisation. The ALP government's idea of encouraging industry and services around the state is merely hauled out whenever it wants to shore up support in marginal seats outside Melbourne," Mr Kavanagh said.
"At the same time, decisions are being taken at a State level that should be made by the people who are actually affected by the decision - locals."
"In Victoria at present the opposite is happening. The State government is vetoing developments against the wishes of local communities and allowing developments which are opposed by a majority of local people. Two examples happened in Geelong recently. Less than a year ago, sexually explicit entertainment at the 'Alley Cat Gentlemen's Club', a strip club, was approved by VCAT against the objections of the Geelong Council and large numbers of Geelong residents who were concerned, among other things, about the effects of this venue on local school children. Similar developments have been allowed in other parts of Victoria despite the objections of local people."
"In the middle of this year the State government vetoed the development of a Direct Factory Outlet in Greater Geelong, 'surprising the Town Hall'. This disappointed many Geelong people. Whether or not the development should have gone ahead is not the point. The point is that this is properly a matter for the people of Geelong, not the State government," Mr Kavanagh said.
"Moving the TAC to Geelong shows that the present State government's idea of decentralisation is to spend huge amounts of taxpayer's money in marginal seats with no improvement to services. This is not real decentralisation. The DLP was a prime mover behind the effective decentralisation plans of previous decades. A return of the DLP to Parliament, which is possible with the introduction of proportional representation this year, would see genuine decentralisation policy back on state and national agendas."
"Australia needs long term, coherent decentralisation strategies based on efficiently directing the future growth of government departments outside capital cities, providing government services to regional areas together with tax incentives and the recreation of a government sponsored development bank to encourage population and economic growth outside our large cities. Just as important, we also need to empower local communities to decide local issues for themselves," Mr Kavanagh said.
FOR FUTHER COMMENT CONTACT PETER KAVANAGH ON TELEPHONE m. 0413 847 413
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Gaining some coverage in the press is beginning to result in attacks from a variety of quarters, mostly from extremist elements. Two blogs, one “socialist” the other “exposing the Christian right” have recently attacked me over policies and comments that have received exposure in a variety of media. These attacks include falsely representing what I have said and criticising those fabricated comments.
It is claimed that I have said that “Mr Bracks is a baby killer”. In fact of course I have never said that. I have described the process leading to the ALP’s decision to remove all remaining protections for the unborn in this state and allow both late term and partial birth abortions. I have also described how Mr Bracks has been reported in the press to have made a secret pact with backbenchers guaranteeing the implementation of this policy after the election, providing that they do not make a face before he election and how he later announced to the public that he does not know if the matter will even be put before Parliament and if it is, he does not know how he will vote! I have said that the ALP’s policy will result in the killing of even healthy babies, some even as they are being born. Unfortunately, what I have claimed is true.
Both the DLP and I have been attacked as “racist and homophobic”. This is what opponents of the DLP consider to be intelligent debate! Actually it is a refrain often heard from primary school children these days. It is now common for young children when told, for example, that it might rain tomorrow to reply, “That’s racist!” In reality, the DLP has always stood firmly against racial discrimination, indeed the DLP was the first of the existing political parties to call for an end to the White Australia policy. It is actually the Left of Australian politics which demands racial inequality, i.e. discrimination on the basis of race, i.e. institutionalised racism. For the record, I certainly do not either fear or hate gays.
Another line of attack is to claim that the DLP will not win seats. Presumably, if the DLP's opponents were really as confident as they claim, they would not be bothered making the assertion. The fact is that prefernces could possibly deliver seats to the DLP in this election. There is no need to debate this however. Like a quarrel over who will win a footbal match before it is played, it is a futile debate. The Democratic Labor Party deserves to win seats, whether it does so or not however is up to the voters to decide.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Compulsory detoxification and rehabilitation, along the lines of the model adopted in Sweden, is the answer to Victoria's burgeoning youth drug problem, says Peter Kavanagh, DLP candidate in the 2006 State Elections.
"We need strategies that are both compassionate and effective. Drug usage should remain illegal. Users, who are not trafficking, however, should be sentenced, not to jail, but to treatment. Can we do better for addicts than helping or even forcing them to get effective treatment?"
"One of the biggest problems for families and for young people with addictions to methamphetamines ("Ice"), heroin or other drugs, is that they don't have the resources and the knowledge to manage the detoxification and rehabilitation process. The existing law also leaves families legally powerless", Peter Kavanagh said.
"Some institutions, most notably those run by the Salvation Army, are doing good work but there are presently bureaucratic obstacles to treatment and insufficient resources. It will be expensive to establish the infrastructure needed to adequately support detox and rehab services but this is what we need to do," Mr Kavanagh said.
"In Sweden, police are empowered to take urine or blood samples from those suspected of drug problems. Police and parents are able to request Court orders mandating detoxification and rehabilitation. With other measures, the result is that now around 3 percent of teenagers use illicit drugs per year. The equivalent Australian figure is 28 percent. Compulsory detoxification and rehabilitation in Sweden appears to have been very successful. We should learn from what they've achieved and at least try to develop our own version of this response."
See also Dramatic changes to drugs strategy needed, below, for more detailed proposals.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Our ineffective drug policies must be changed. Australia desperately needs a strategy that works. Sweden has shown that there are measures which can be taken, even in a liberal democracy, which are effective in dramatically reducing drug consumption and associated problems including violence and other crime. One element of this strategy is to empower Courts to require teenagers with developing drug problems to undergo detoxification and then rehabilitation. In Australia, decades of an inconsistent, half-hearted 'harm minimisation' approach to drugs has resulted in disaster for many young Australians and their families and a huge economic and social burden on our community.
Consumption of many drugs is increasing. We are witnessing the beginning of a scourge of crystal methylamphetamine hydrochloride, aka "ice".(1) The potential harm of this drug alone is truly frightening. Cannabis is misunderstood and is being consumed by ever younger people and, although the public perception is still in the context of the 1960s, the drug itself, through genetic engineering, is now around thirty times stronger than it was forty years ago. Its increasing use is extremely harmful to both mental and physical health.
Australian governments and law enforcement authorities take a relatively soft approach - Australians do not have to go far to see drugs being sold openly in the streets. At the same time Australian youth are officially discouraged from using drugs but given 'harm minimisation' strategies if they decide to ignore this advice.
Sweden has taken a very different approach and its strategy is working. Sweden has now cut drug usage by teenagers to three percent a year. (3) The figure in Australia is 27.7 %. (3) The Swedish strategy is comprehensive but at its centre is the introduction of compulsory detoxification and rehabilitation programmes for drug users.
An effective strategy will not be cheap, it demands funding the establishment of detoxification and rehabilitation centres on a large scale. The alternative however, clinging to failed strategies, will result in much greater social, as well as economic, cost in the long run.
If elected to the seat of Western Victoria, I will propose and work towards implementing the following initiatives:
1. Set the international best practice target of no more than 3% of teenagers having used an illicit drug in the previous 12 months.
2. Make teenagers the key focus to reduce the number of new users (studies show that those who do not use illegal drugs by the time they are twenty are unlikely to ever do so).
3. Ensure that information to teenagers is truthful, setting out the real dangers of illicit drug use.
4. Establish specialist detoxification and rehabilitation programs .
5. Empower Courts to direct teenage illicit drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation programs. This would be discretionary, on the recommendation of police, medical personnel, such as ambulance officers or parents.
6. Surveys and studies of teenage drug use to be carried out annually and reported to every Parliament in Australia.
7. Teenage drug use trends and strategies for reduction to the 3% target must be included in the annual report to our Parliaments.
8. Make the seizure of drug dealers' assets easier and simpler. The onus should not be on the Crown to prove that assets came from drug dealing, in order to confiscate them. The onus should be on drug dealers to show that their assets were not the result of drug dealing to avoid confiscation.
9. Vastly increase funding for and number of drug treatment places for voluntary patients.
10. Study the effectiveness of various rehabilitation methods and facilities and continue to fund only those that are effective.
by Peter Kavanagh
DLP Candidate for Western Victoria
(1) Australian Crime Commission, Illicit Drug Report, 2004 - 05, p.9.
(2) See, David Perrin, Executive Chief Officer of Drug Council of Australia in News Weekly, 22 October 2005.
(3) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey: Detailed Findings, p. 36.
Friday, August 25, 2006
The Victorian ALP is preparing to reverse the four decades old restrictions on abortion by permitting abortion of a pregnancy at any time and for any reason provided it is performed by a medical practitioner. The changes, proposed in 2005 by the Victorian ALP, will permit abortions up to very late stages of pregnancy.
Fearing a voter backlash, the Premier Mr Steve Bracks has made a pact with members of his own party, giving "iron clad assurances" that the ALP's policy will be implemented, while he tells the media and public that he "has not made up his mind" or that he has no intention of introducing these laws "in 2006".
Mr Peter Kavanagh, Upper House candidate for Western Victoria in the coming State elections, said “The letter of Victoria's current abortion law allows abortion only in cases of threat to the life or health of the mother (the Menhennitt ruling of 1969). The community retains strong reservations about late term abortions. If re-elected, the Victorian government will abolish the Menhennitt restrictions and allow abortion at any stage for any reason.”
In 2005 the Victorian ALP voted to remove all remaining, if nominal, protections for the unborn in Victoria. The existing ALP platform states: "Labor will amend section 65 of the Crimes Act to provide that no abortion be criminal when performed by a legally qualified medical practitioner at the request of the woman concerned". In May this year the ALP state conference voted overwhelmingly and explicitly against proposed amendments to retain any restrictions on late term abortions and even on 'partial birth abortions'.
“Partial birth abortion, actually a form of infanticide, is usually performed late in the second trimester or later. It involves turning a baby around inside the womb and, when it is born, except for the head, killing it, most often by inserting scissors into the brain. If the head were to be born first, the rest of the baby would emerge quickly, not giving enough time to kill it before birth is complete. There is evidence that this procedure is excruciatingly painful to the baby,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“In spite of constitutional restrictions on anti-abortion laws in the US, partial birth abortion was made illegal throughout the US in 2003 at any stage. The ALP's policy will allow partial birth abortions, even up to the time of natural birth,” Mr Kavanagh said.
“I know that there are lots of different views about this, but I think Victorians would want to see candidates questioned about this issue before they were elected. I don’t believe we’ve reached a stage in the debate where people no longer care that healthy, late term pregnancies could be aborted in what I think most people would call infanticide,” Mr Kavanagh said.
FOR COMMENT CONTACT PETER KAVANAGH ON TELEPHONE m. 0413 847 413
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Did a tour of the western parts of the electorate. Western Victoria is certainly a beautiful part of the world with very attractive rural cities and towns. The Grampians and coast, including the Great Ocean Road are justifiably famous but it seems that virtually every area has attractions and demonstrate the prosperity that comes from hard work. Unfortunately the effects of a long drought are evident everywhere.
The people of Victoria's country towns were very warm and friendly to me. The people of Melbourne have a great reputation for freindliness towards visitors; but really this the experience most people have travelling throughout Victoria.
Dropped into twelve or so local newspaper offices on the way. I was surprised at the level of interest of the journalists. I was greeted very warmly, photographed and interviewed in Colac, Camperdown, Portland and Horsham. In other towns including Warrnambool, Hamilton, Ararat and Stawell, journalists expressed interest. Some said that they had already run stories but showed an interest in doing more as the campaign develops.
Not being a local was a common theme in interviews and discussions. Most people do not realise yet that the new Upper House electorates are vast. The seat of Western Victoria for example stretches from the South Australian border to include parts of outer Melbourne!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Got onto 3AW as a caller to talk back radio. Began slowly but did much better as the panellists began to attack me and the DLP on extremely spurious grounds. As usual, their arguments were mostly in the form of ridicule and manifestations of prejudices rather than anything reasoned. One of the panellists disagreed with me that the DLP had not had a very fair go from the Australian media. When I asked if he had ever interviewed anyone in his career as a journalist he acknowledged that he had not and became noticeably less hostile. Was on for a total of perhaps ten minutes. Managed to get the name of the website out over the air. The panellists suggested that the DLP had never achieved anything! When I countered that the DLP as one example, was responsible for introducing equity into educational funding they tried to disagree. I retorted very firmly that it was a matter of historical fact that it was the DLP which had achieved ‘State Aid’ and the commentators acquiesced. At the conclusion thee panellists asked me to spell my name and commented, "Peter Kavanagh …well remember that name folks, you might be hearing it again in the future".