Posts Tagged ‘Local’

Darren’s statement about Carers


As the Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, I call on Mr Howard and Mr Rudd to outline what they will do do to provide ongoing support for people who care for friends and relatives with disabilities.

I attended the launch of National Carers’ Week in Canberra at the start of the election campaign. It deeply concerns me that carers have been virtually ignored during this campaign.

Carers have been the forgotten people of this election campaign. There still isn’t adequate respite for Carer’s in the ACT. There are not enough group houses, despite the involvement of both the government and private welfare sectors.

Financial difficulties, depression and the need for greater support structures are just a few of the problems faced by carers. But they highlight the need for greater government assistance for carers both financially and with the provision of services and programs. The assistance of emotional support for carers is also in need being addressed, with depression being an area which needs greater awareness overall.

I call for an increase in Carer payments and allowances, greater tax relief for carers, provision of more respite houses, and extension of the eligibility for carer payments and allowances.

The Australian Democrats Carers policy can be found at:

The Australian Democrats statement about Carers can be found below.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

0412 196 473

The Australian Democrats statement about Carers

The Democrats have long acknowledged that the work of carers receives little in recognition or financial reward and we have a long history of addressing and raising in the Senate the difficulties, both financial and social, that carers face. For example, we have had a specific campaign on increasing carer payments for over a year now.

The Australian Democrats believe that additional support and help should also be provided to young carers, ageing carers, parents of children with disabilities and carers of the profoundly disabled.

The Australian Democrats will continue to advocate for carers at the federal level and provide as much support and advocacy for Australia’s carers as we possibly can in the future.

Our key policy commitments for each of the 5 issues that they have highlighted follows. We also have a commitment to introduce a Family Responsibilities and Carers’ Rights Act as recommended by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in its report ‘It’s About Time: women, men, work and family’.

1. Integrated support for carers
Establish a National Office for Carers with responsibility to develop a national carer framework and advise on the impact of new policies on carers.

2. Carer financial security
Increase the rate of carer payment from $215.65/week to $383.25 (75% of the standard minimum wage) and double the rate of the carer allowance to $98.50 per week. Convert the $1,000 Carer Bonus into an annual, indexed payment.

3. Carer workforce participation
Establish a national one-stop carer workforce participation gateway, an Employers for Carers program, provide financial and other incentives to encourage employers to participate. Support the right to flexible work hours and part-time work for carers.

4. Carer health and wellbeing
Fund a carer health program

5. Carer education and training
Increase access to employment, education and training, and without fear of losing financial assistance

Media Release: 23 November 2007: Put balanced education back into schools say Democrats


Bring Back Balance

ACT Democrats 2007

Media Release 23 November 2007

Put balanced education back into schools say Democrats

“Our schools need to be places of learning, not places of indoctrination.” Says Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill

Education Minister, Julie Bishop recently announced plans to write curriculum guides for English, Maths and Science. And the Prime Minister has stated that education funding should be linked to the teaching of of subjects, especially history.

“This sound like a government trying to stamp it’s own interpretation of subjects into our schools. A National Curriculum would make movement between the states and territories easier. But it needs to be developed by expert educationalists, co-operating between the states’ and territories’ education systems, not by a panel appointed by politicians.” Mr Churchill said.

“Curriculum development is a complex area and needs to incorporate a range a range of perspectives (gender, multicultural, indigenous, etc) as well as enabling the development of language, reading and writing, and technology skills.”

“Funding for education also needs to be based on fairness and equality (with special funding for disadvantaged schools). Not linked to some narrow, politicised teaching of history.”

“We need greater support for teachers, who should be allowed to teach without the burden of administrative tasks. Smaller class sizes would allow a better learning environment through lower teacher/pupil ratios. It is obscene to link teacher pay to how many kids they push through the system, or to a checklist of outcomes criteria.” said Mr Churchill (a qualified teacher himself).

“I’d like to see some kind of Civics education in schools as part of any consideration of a National Curriculum. Young people need to know how our political system operates, including the House of Representatives and Senate; the names of their local members (state/territory and federal); and how to actively participate in politics. The more we understand the system, the less politicians are able to pull the wool over our eyes, and the greater the accountability.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

0412 196 473

Media Release: 22 November 2007: Democrats defend Public Service jobs


Bring Back Balance

ACT Democrats 2007

Media Release 22 November 2007

Democrats defend Public Service jobs

“Canberrans should expect Public Service cutbacks whether Liberal or Labor wins on Saturday” warned Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill.

Major newspapers today reported Rudd Labor’s commitment to take an axe to the Public Service. The Prime Minister, questioned at the National Press Club, avoided stating if the Liberals would do the same.

Mr Churchill warned on both ABC Breakfast Radio and Radio 2xx on Monday morning that he expects both Labor and Liberal to attack the Public Service.

“The big pork barrelling promises and huge tax cuts of both Liberal and Labor will have to be funded from somewhere or broken altogether. Howard’s track record is that he was Treasurer during the Lynch Razor gang of the early 1980s. And everyone remembers his assault on the Public Service in the late 1990s. Rudd has threatened the public service with his promised Razor Gang.”

“The Liberals hate the ACT because of the tendency to elect Labor members here. Labor take us for granted because their seats have such big margins. Public servants are workers too. They have families and mortgages just like any other worker”, said Mr Churchill

“The people of Fraser (and all Canberrans) need someone who will speak up for them. The answer is to look to the only party of the political centre, the Australian Democrats.”

“With such a well educated and socially progressive population, I’m surprised we haven’t elected a Democrat to one or both Houses long before now”

“We need social spending programmes: money for hospitals, schools, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and a national Paid Maternity Leave scheme. To do this we need to fund them by slowing the implementation of tax cuts and broaden the tax base by tightening up Capital Gains Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax”, Mr Churchill insisted.

“Attacking the public service might win them a few votes from those who don’t really understand Canberra, but an attack on the public service here means an attack on Canberrans jobs and Australians services. People should register their distrust of the other parties by voting Australian Democrats in both Fraser and the Senate.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

0412 196 473

Media Release: 21 November 2007: Let’s get serious about Urban Water say Democrats


Bring Back Balance

ACT Democrats 2007

Media Release 21 November 2007

Let’s get serious about Urban Water say Democrats

“The rainfall in recent weeks would have topped up rainwater tanks. But high temperatures have meant our dam water supply has actually decreased. Urgent action is needed to address our water supply”, says Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill.

A recent edition of The Chronicle warned that average water consumption in the ACT is increasing and that stage four water restrictions may have to be brought forward if it continued.

Canberra’s water supply just over three weeks ago was said to be 41.79% of capacity, according to the Weather Channel. Now it is 41.47%

“I’d like to see a Federally funded scheme to allow people to purchase rainwater tanks and an in-line water filtration system for households. Ideally, this should be combined with a programme for domestic greywater recycling for non-potable uses.”

“Rainwater is great for many household uses. I personally like drinking it but I recognise that is a concern for some people” said Mr Churchill, who grew up in country NSW. “It doesn’t contain the additives of town water, which is an attraction for many people and adding a filtration system would make it even cleaner. Being able to choose rainwater for some household uses and current tap water for others would provide real choice for water management”

“I think we should investigate the recycling of water in more detail too. We can’t afford to exclude any proposal, which will help us to conserve and ration this most valuable resource. We’re down to almost 40% of capacity now. How much lower does the water supply have to drop before we get serious about urban water solutions?”

“Overall, we need a National Urban Water Policy with all levels of government co-operating on water saving and water efficiency measures, combined with a water education campaign” Mr Churchill emphasised.

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

0412 196 473

Media Release: 18-11-2007: Nuclear Madness


Bring Back Balance

ACT Democrats 2007

Media Release 18 November 2007

Only the Democrats can stop the nuclear madness

“Only the Australian Democrats can stop a nuclear reactor being built in the Jervis Bay Territory”, says Democrats candidate for Fraser, Darren Churchill.

The Jervis Bay Territory has long been considered as a site for Australia’s first Nuclear Power Station. And with the government committed to a nuclear future, the Territory is likely to be pushed as one of their 25 proposed sites.

“The Liberals want to commit Australia to a nuclear future. Labor tries to have it both ways, saying they oppose reactors but intending to expand uranium mining. And the Greens can’t be trusted because they have done a preference deal with the Labor party who they know are pro-uranium, and because some so-called environmentalists are pro-nuclear’ Mr Churchill said.

“The Australian Democrats position has always been that we want a clean Australia, with no uranium mines, no nuclear reactors and no radioactive waste. We don’t do deals with pro-nuclear parties. And we support the Non Proliferation Treaty on nuclear weapons. Nuclear power and proliferation of weapons are two sides of the same coin. It is a dangerous path to go down.”

Mr Churchill, who visited the Jervis bay Territory (which includes Booderee National Park) two weeks ago said, “It is an absolutely beautiful area. I will not allow Jervis Bay (or any other part of my electorate) to be destroyed by a horrible, dangerous nuclear reactor.”

“The only way the people of Fraser (and Australians generally) can guarantee that we will not proceed down the path of nuclear stupidity is to elect the Australian Democrats to the Senate and the House of Representatives. We will ensure that the money they intend to spend on this lunacy will be put to better investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.” concluded Mr Churchill.


Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats candidate for Fraser

0412 196 473