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Sustainable Australia Party: Steven Armstrong

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Sustainable Australia Party: Steven Armstrong

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Steven Armstrong wants to get population growth under control.  He is Sustainable Australia’s first announced candidate for Victoria’s Lower House since the party registered in Victoria and advocates a more economically and environmentally manageable population. In the party’s words, “a better, not bigger, Australia”.

Population control is central to Sustainable Australia’s platform, highlighted by the party’s previous name, the Sustainable Population Party. It advocates a 26-30 million person population for Australia by 2050, though according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the population is already above 25 million.

The party believes this can be achieved through various means, including cutting immigration, making contraception free, abolishing the open border with New Zealand, and abandoning government incentives for procreation.

Armstrong, in a video interview from November 2014, said that he “would advocate for zero population growth” if elected.

“Then, any infrastructure would represent an improvement, not a desperate attempt to catch up with growing population,” he said. “Our quality of life would improve.”

In a previous speech Armstrong said that “if you spend money on infrastructure (roads, education, health, etc) when the population is stable things improve for everyone. But if that spending is absorbed by rapid population growth then things fall behind”.

These statements advocate a zero-sum approach to population and infrastructure planning, a stance that assumes there’s only so much benefit to go around that must be divided among the population.

Despite this, Sustainable Australia’s refugee policy states that the party aims to “maintain an annual permanent refugee intake of around 14,000-20,000, according to circumstances”.

The party believes Australia’s rapid population growth is not caused by refugees or asylum seekers and that Australia should protect genuine refugees from persecution.

A seasoned campaigner, Armstrong ran in Albert Park at the 2014 state election and in Melbourne Ports at the 2013 federal election.  His high water mark federally was 324 first preference votes compared with 289 at the smaller, state election.

A local business owner Martin Tye praised Armstrong in 2014, for his simple clear explanation of “why everything is getting worse for the average Australian and why we need the Sustainable Population Party to keep growing”.

Locally, Armstrong is concerned about availability of state schools, crowding on public transport and congestion on the roads. The party hopes to remedy this by favouring investment in trains and buses over roads.  Their transport platform also opposes new airports in major cities.

Armstrong stands against overdevelopment and centralised planning at the state level. The party believes that the power of ministers to overturn planning decisions should be removed. It also wants the transfer of some planning powers and responsibilities to the Federal Government so population management can be factored into local planning. By trying to return planning power to local communities the party defers to local concerns and as a result supports the ‘not in my backyard’ faction in the planning debate.

In keeping with this theme of community control the party also advocates for a retention of public assets and a rollback of much of the privatisation of the Kennett era, wanting utilities, ports and airports under public control.

Armstrong believes that smaller parties need to focus their resources on single candidates and electorates to thrive in the future.  By focusing all a party’s finite resources on a single candidate he believes it increases the chances of smaller parties being represented in Parliament.

A late entrant to the race, Armstrong has in previous elections avoided preference deals and advocated using his preferences to undermine the sitting member rather than support other candidates in the district.

 

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Sustainable Australia Party: Steven Armstrong