In our first blog post for Australian Vegans, we present responses from Animal Justice Party NSW candidates running in the 2016 Federal Election.
We asked them all the same two questions:
1. What inspired you to run in the upcoming election as an Animal Justice Party candidate?
2. Why should we vote for you?
Here are their responses:
Lynda Stoner: Lead Candidate For the Senate
I am inspired by the AJP Party as a whole and the wonderful election of Mark Pearson to the Upper House last year of-course and the Dutch Party for the Animal’s Marianne Thieme and the fact there are now 14 countries in the world with political parties fighting for animals. Now is the time for us to all step forward and ensure there are as many spokespeople in all Parliaments speaking on behalf of animals
Because there is no other political party speaking for all species. Some do occasional things of-course but no party outside of AJP is 100% fighting for all animals.
Because the great unspoken is the damage that meat and dairy are doing to our environment – they contribute livestock system is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined – yet not even environmental groups want to talk about this so the AJP must.
Ellie Robertson: House of Representatives candidate for Hughes
I truly believe that the only way to eradicate animal cruelty in all its forms is through the political system. The Animal Justice Party is totally committed in seeing this happen and is the only party in Australia who’s election platform is animal welfare. The animal Justice party has the passion, the drive and the expertise to make this happen through our Parliamentary system if elected.
Voting for the Animal Justice Party will ensure that animals that don’t have a voice to protect themselves, will have a very strong voice in Parliament to hold the government accountable on so many issues such as: Live Trade Export, Greyhound and Horse Racing, Kangaroo Culling, Animal Experiments, Shark Finning, and most importantly, establishing an Office for Animal Welfare.
Voting for me: I live for animals. I have been fighting for them all my life. My passion is strong and I stand strong on my beliefs and will not be swayed by anybody. I am not afraid of anyone when it comes to standing up for animal welfare issues. I have been a public speaker for the last 3 years on disability issues, so public speaking is not an issue for me is. I have a keen interest in politics so that side does not faze me either! I am keen to be an effective and compassionate representative of my community on behalf of the animals. My seat is a safe Liberal seat and unfortunately the Liberal party has a very poor track record in regards to animal welfare and the environment. I want to change that!
Roy Barnes: House of Representatives candidate for Banks
Thirty-something years ago when I became a vegetarian, I was active in campaigning against the practice of vivisection and the use, in New Zealand, of the leg-hold trap on possums. I was horrified back then in regard to how humans treated animals. I also found, in that fairly remote area of New Zealand where I was living, that there was a great deal of apathy in regard to the treatment of animals, apathy no doubt largely due to the region’s heavy reliance on cattle and sheep farming for both employment and income.
I battled on for a few years, putting the case for compassion and a change in the way we relate to animals. I destroyed traps and routinely communicated with the Minister for Agriculture in regard to outlawing the cruel device. My efforts culminated in the submission of a petition to parliament but it was annulled by the calling of an election.
My energies spent, I put animal rights on hold yet maintained the vegetarian lifestyle.
Last year, I happened upon an article on Facebook concerning animal cruelty. Following the links, researching things more, and I learned that, far from improving, the general lot of animals has only seriously deteriorated since my first involvement with animal rights all those years ago.
In the course of perusing this theme on Facebook I happened upon a post by the Animal Justice Party and it was then that I realised that – at last – the opportunity to engender real change in the arena of animal rights is within our grasp. To have people in parliament – at the very seat of power – able to guide and create legislation for the benefit of animals – is the proverbial dream come true.
Long frustrated at having to witness injustice in society – yet able to do nothing about it – I immediately put my name forward as a candidate for the party, feeling that this presents as the greatest opportunity for me to make a difference.
Once confirmed as an endorsed candidate, I committed immediately to a vegan diet. A simple transition for me and I love it. Thank-you Animal Justice Party!
Anyone that knows me understands that I am a very principled and passionate person, and that my principles are never shelved for convenience sake. I am, and have always been, vocal about what matters to me. I tend to wear my principles of my sleeve.
Central to those principles is the notion that all living things have a right to life, to be treated equally, and suffering should not be accepted or tolerated.
I am a simple person, I am not about promoting my self-image and I am not enamoured by material things. If elected, I have no intention of furthering myself in any material sense: my goal is only to enhance the treatment and welfare of animals and, as a result, better the lot of humanity and the environment.
Deploring money and the way it maintains such a strong hold on our lives, and for the way in which it drives the industry that has so enslaved other species, I have pledged to donate 20% of my income to animal welfare causes if elected.
I am ready to give 110% commitment to the task of serving the electorate by bringing a totally fresh approach to the position of Member of Parliament in being a voice for animals first. I see no reason why an intelligent human society cannot maintain its integrity and, at the same time, adapt itself to accommodate the needs of all the other animals that share our environment. I believe that working with and for animals, and with the community, we can create win-win outcomes that benefit all.
Anna Ludvik: House of Representatives candidate for Page
I believe its time that animal interests and voices are represented in Australian government. For too long, the needs and concerns of animals have been excluded from decision making debates and process. The majority of Australians care about animals, be they companion animals, in agriculture, being tested on for cosmetics or ‘science’, wildlife/biodiversity and Australians have seen enough of animal cruelty. It’s time that a party representing animals, free from industry and profit making bodies influence came to prominence in this country. I am ready to be part of that shift.
You should vote for me if you care about animals and want to see a change for the better. As a deeply empathetic and compassionate person, you will see me lead with integrity, honesty and kindness. I like to say that in contrast to our current PM, I am a leader who WILL allow empathy to cloud my judgment. It is time that we had these qualities represented in government. I care for all animals- including humans -and I am passionate about seeing a better, fairer Australia. I have proven throughout my life that I am not daunted by a challenge, that I have the courage to speak up for justice and that I stand for peace, even in the face of adversity. I am the founder of Lucy’s Project, raising awareness of the animal victims of domestic violence, have worked in animal law advocacy for 6 years, animal protection advocacy for over 20 years. Serving the community is in my blood and if elected, you will see a refreshing change in politics that I believe we are ready for. Someone who actually represents the community and whose moral compass is set at kindness and compassion for all living beings.
Deborah Blundell: House of Representatives candidate for Lindsay
After talking with the Vice President of the AJP, Anna Hall and learning of the many votes in the Penrith area for the AJP in last election, I felt it was time to inspire even more people to vote for the AJP.
And felt that animal welfare/rights issues needed to be brought to the forefront of politics.
Plus, the more votes for the AJP will mean it would be getting inspirational Lynda Stoner into the Senate.
Gordon Bradley Elkington: Candidate (2nd on ticket) for the Senate
I do not think that the word “inspiration” quite captures the reason why I decided to run. I am running because I strongly believe that the aims and policies of the AJP reflect principles which are fundamental to a civilised society. I also believe that the adoption of the policies promoted by the AJP will result in benefits for the community and for the environment, as well as benefits for the animals themselves.
I hope that persons will vote for me because of what I believe, and also because I have a legal background and a lot of experience in making everything very clear and simple.
Angela Pollard: House of Representatives candidate for Richmond
The ongoing reality of animal suffering motivated me to run for the AJP in this election. I feel compelled to do my very best to stop animal cruelty and I consider parliament to be an important vehicle for instigating change. I believe it is imperative for animals to have a voice in all our parliaments and for elected representatives to speak up about the terrible cruelties inflicted on animals in intensive farming, agriculture, live export, hunting and medical research.
I have more than 25 years’ experience in advocacy and activism, having worked in community legal centres on a range of social justice issues, with a focus on animal protection law in the last eight years. I have just finished working as senior advisor to Mark Pearson, AJP MLC in NSW Parliament. I am confident that I have the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to be a strong advocate for animals in parliament. I am a vegan and I promote a plant-based diet as the way forward to eliminate animal suffering as well as addressing the adverse impacts that animal agriculture has on water usage, global warming and the environment.
Emma Hurst: House of Representatives candidate for Grayndler
I am a registered psychologist and the Campaign Director at Animal Liberation, a charity that works to end the suffering of exploited and confined animals. I have dedicated all of my time to animal rights for the last 16 years. l have been working to rehome animals used in medical research and coordinate multiple campaigns on issues including the intensive farming of ducks and chickens. I was also heavily involved in the exposure of animal cruelty at slaughterhouses including Inghams turkey slaughterhouse in Tahmoor, and Hawkesbury Valley Abattoir.
I am running with the AJP as they are the only political party that are committed to the welfare of animals. We give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Australians react very strongly to animal cruelty – we are a country of animal lovers. Yet some politicians have been pushing for Ag-Gag laws in Australia that seek to punish whistle-blowers of animal cruelty (the punishment for exposing cruelty is far worse than any charges against the cruelty itself) and ensure that acts of animal cruelty are never exposed. These draconian laws are designed to protect businesses who exploit animals for profit. Having the Animal Justice Party in Federal Parliament will even up the playing field and ensure that animals also get a voice.
Mark Berriman: House of Representatives candidate for Sydney
I’ve been the president of the Australian Vegetarian Society (NSW) since 1989, a former co-editor of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life magazine and co-ordinator for Animal Liberation (NSW) from 1987 to 1989. After travelling and working abroad, I’ve devoted myself to improving the lives of animals through promoting vegetarianism and supporting animal rights groups.
I’m standing as an AJP candidate because I believe that the treatment of animals is the most pressing issue of our time and, through the AJP, laws that are long overdue for change can at last be improved.
For more information about the Animal Justice Party see www.animaljusticeparty.org
Voiceless have put together a summary of where political parties stand on three animal issues. Click here for their summary.