MARK M ALDRIDGE - "voice of the Community" Community Advocate
I, Mark Aldridge, hereby issue a public challenge to all contenders for the up-coming March State elections. My challenge is that each of you pledges genuine allegiance to your relevant South Australian electorate and staunchly refuse to pander to the all-mighty 2 party preferred political machine.
I plan to stand as an Independent Member of the Legislative Council for the State of South Australia. The primary task of members elected to the Legislative Council is to scrutinise all government legislation before allowing or denying its passage through State Parliament.
Independent MLC's are the much-needed watchdogs FOR the people. In this role MLC's continually remind the elected government that Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and any legislation brought before Parliament always need to reflect those enshrined core values.
Using the recent Mintabie experience, published Hansard excerpts reflected the contempt some elected representatives have for those who elect them. That episode resulted in the removal of standard Australian freedoms from a whole community, without evidence, in some what similar fashion to the jailing of the innocent for association at the same time removing their fundamental rights of the presumption of innocence and any idea of equality before the law.
Further advantages in having Independent MLCs is that they have more flexibility to safeguard the fundamental civil rights of the public by denying implementation of legislations that have the potential to abuse.  The fundamental rights and interests of disadvantaged sectors of communities including the frail aged, the mentally ill, ethnic groups, social groups, etc, are zealously guarded and maintained.
The implementation of SOCCA, (Serious and Organized Crime Control Act.) the Mental Health Act. and many other pieces of recent legislative change would not have had my support while they included sections that deny South Australians basic rights, freedoms and liberties.
I am the man to buck the unhealthy trend of self-serving politicians. You know the type, once voted into office they blindly follow the party line, put their hand out for perks, but somehow forget to represent the very constituents who elected them.
While not a university trained ‘expert’, I am a compassionate man with valuable, first hand experience of the dreaded family court. I have known the struggles faced by those caring for disabled children. Tangled with the family law labyrinth. I have actively lobbied our current ‘representatives’ for road safety issues, taxation reform and the like, all long-term goals that exceed any short-term political gains.
My primary experience has been in the retail, wholesale sale and manufacturing sectors. Yes, those practical areas of business where one needs to be not only organised just to survive, but is required to listen to the customer to thrive. I have also studied politics and basic legal studies for over 12 years and, as the owner of a native animal sanctuary, I have a strong, ongoing interest in animal rights, along with the preservation of their habitat.
I am open to informed and educated debate that encourages a change in mindset on a number of issues including:
    • A major overhaul of our education system. This, together with priority for the protection of our children, is paramount for dealing with generational change.
    • Future governmental position will be filled via open and honest public invitation. If we are to provide generous financial reward, it needs be to the most experienced rather then those with the best government connections. No more ‘jobs for the boys’.
    • Overhaul of the electoral system via a truly independent authority. For too long our electoral system has been manipulated by allowing those that write the law to benefit from changed structural biases. The present Joint Standing Committee on Electoral matters, comprises of current sitting members, and even their findings are ignored by our current ‘2 party preferred’ system of parliament. The preferences of a truly informed electorate should be the paramount priority. The option of lobbying federally for a Citizen Initiated Referendum will be explored as will any issues of democracy to ensure the people remain the shareholders of their future.
    • Government spending must be prioritised with essential services and infrastructure as the primary goal. Sufficient moneys could be raised through ensuring any business operating in our state pays its share. Hand-outs, at any government level, must be done in a transparent and open manner.
    • It needs to be acknowledged that rural communities are suffering due to lack of meaningful, political representation due to their representation having little sway in big party politics. These ‘unrepresented’ voters are enduring on-going and compounding infrastructure problems compared to their city counter parts. I feel we are all getting fed up with the endless supply of highly paid ‘experts’ that either lack understanding of the truth as we all know it, or are in-fact are paid to come up with the answer that suits the agenda of the government of the day. Water is a prime example; millions spent, nothing achieved. Similar equity issues also surround our indigenous Australian’s health and sovereignty.
    • Populate or perish? This policy benefits the immediate recipients of Governmental spending, any system of administration that looks forward to a future of 5 million people or more, yet only provide’s the vital infrastructure for 1 million are either incompetent or deluded. Priority must go to ensuring adequate and stable essential services and infrastructure before any future population growth is even considered. Currently short-sighted State and Federal governments are playing useless attempts at catch up after the fact, at the tax payers and community’s expense.
Federal issues will always have a place on my agenda given the fact that I have spent nearly a decade in the federal arena. The Fight for a Fair Go can no longer be explained in simple terms. We appear to have headed so far down the wrong path that turning back seems impossible. Particularly in respects to what appears a huge ‘for sale’ sign on our land and resources. And the direction of Australia’s financial future seems to be at the expense of our quality of life.
We can make a new path.  I, for one, would prefer to live in a safe, compassionate and fair society, rather than one where material issues reign supreme. Access to basic needs such as potable water, quality local produce, a safe community for our children, reliable and plentiful infrastructure and equity for all, are my priorities.
After having spent many years lobbying in the federal arena, mine is a voice that has the potential to travel into the ears of key federal representatives.
South Australia is populated by some of the best thinkers and workers. Before we lose them by stunting their growth and stifling their innovation let South Australia lead the way creatively to prosperity.   Our rich mineral assets need to be spent wisely to ensure our long term future, their sell off as slurry to profit others has become acceptable as our current representatives see our long term future as the time between elections, I see it as further than 200 years, lets make the most of all we have.
Refuse to re-elect those who dare to strangle and repress the hard fought Australian rights and freedoms we have come to expect, that of all Australians and those of minorities. Remember you may also one day be considered part of an expendable minority in the future.
Mark M Aldridge
MLC Independent Candidate
P O Box 1073 Virginia S.A. 5120
08 82847482 / 0403379500
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