Read what parties that represent carers think about the federal election result.


The lack of a clear-cut result in the August federal election, with voters not wanting to support either major party, has proven to be a ‘big stimulus package for democracy’ as Rob Oakeshott, the independent member for Lyne covering the Coffs Harbour area in NSW, said after the election.

Australia will now have a minority government at the federal level, with the balance of power being held by the Greens and the independents.

This year there was a huge increase in the informal vote, that is, people not completing the ballot paper validly, either by intent or by accident. The informal vote in NSW doubled to 6.8%, and increased significantly in Qld to 5.6%. In the electorate of Blaxland in NSW, it reached 14%. Many observers are attributing this increase to a rejection of all the available options.

Following the election, Marylou Carter, from the Carers Alliance party, said that a hung parliament might be an opportunity for people with disabilities and carer-families to impress upon the major parties and those who hold the balance of power that their issues can reap political rewards.

“Both major parties will need to listen to the people on issues that affect their daily lives. Those issues are now mainstream issues and affect families of people with chronic illness, mental illness, disability and the problems of frail age. Our vote counts and we cannot be taken for granted,” she said.

“The Productivity Commission’s report regarding the design, implementation, funding and administration of a proposed disability care and support scheme will be released in the last half of 2011. We need to engage our communities to explain the necessity for such a scheme and how and why such a scheme will fundamentally change the lives of people with disabilities and carer-families.

“Carers Alliance will embark on a series of community consultations in as many communities as possible. If you would like us to come to a community meeting in your electorate – anywhere in Australia – please contact us through the Contact Us link on our website http://www.carers.org.au/ and we will use our best endeavours to attend your meeting.”

Vern Hughes, convenor of the new Parents Families and Carers Party, said the election result was ‘a dramatic vindication of our plan to establish a new mainstream grassroots party that can place ordinary people at the centre of Australian politics’.

For the Parents Families and Carers Party, the results are full of positives, Mr Hughes said, and made the following media statement:

  1. The coming state elections in NSW and Qld (March 26, 2011 in NSW, and February 2012 at the latest in Qld) will see a further massive rejection of the ALP. We will participate in both elections to provide a mainstream alternative to both the majors (ALP and Liberal) and the small single issue parties; 2% in the NSW upper house would be enough to win a seat.
  2. The small single issue parties were ignored by the voters. We know that voters are not interested in these kinds of parties, and our approach towards creating a broad multi-issue movement with a focus on parents, families and carers places us in a different place from the single issue groups. The Carers Alliance suffers from this limitation and we have been careful from the outset in defining our identity as a broad multi-issue movement.
  3. Family First have lost their Senator. Despite having a Senator in Canberra for the last six years, they have been unable to establish themselves as a mainstream force. This is partly due to their religious origins and partly to the lack of any coherent policy identity. We have been careful to establish a secular identity, and a coherent policy identity based on changing public services to be 'person and family-centred' - that is, a 'personalisation' agenda.

We are the only party in Australia - major or minor - with an identity based on transforming the delivery of public services so that they are person and family-centred, not service provider-centred.

In the upcoming Victorian, NSW and Queensland state elections, our message is that the delivery of public services must be changed. It must be thoroughly transformed.

The Victorian state election will be on 27th November 2010, and the Parents Families and Carers Party has announced the first of its upper house candidates. They will stand a team of two candidates in each of the eight Upper House regions in Victoria in the state election. The Upper House election consists of eight Senate-style elections around the state.

The party will stand a team of 15 candidates in the NSW Upper House (15 is the minimum number required to register as a group). Twenty one people will be elected by proportional representation, which means that a quota of 4.22% is needed for each elected person. In past elections, parties have won a quota with as little as 1.5% of the primary vote.

So 15 candidates are being sought who will make a serious bid for election as part of a team. The deadline for expressions of interest is November 30, 2010.


To see the party’s website or for more information visit http://www.civilsociety.org.au/PFC/Index.htm or phone Vern Hughes on 03 9824 4713 or 0425 722 890 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.