As part of the Westender’s election coverage, we have sent each candidate a list of questions regarding their policies, philosophy and voting intentions. Here is the response of Karel Boele of People Decide.
What do you think makes you personally qualified to represent the residents of the South Brisbane electorate?
I believe I am the only candidate in Australia to have personally door-knocked most of their electorate. The effort that takes shows my commitment to voters and I don’t think you can get better insight into the electorate by doing anything else.
West End is very politically progressive. How do you think you’ll cope with some of the more out-there ideas floating around the suburb?
I may be the most out-there! But I am also very pragmatic. I run a business in alternative economic and political development. I believe in transforming the economy, not restricting it. I believe in building a strong safety net using community currencies for the 99%. I do not believe in fighting the 1%.
I studied mechatronic engineering, physics and arts, and had one of Einstein’s colleagues as a supervisor into a Grand Unified Theory of Physics. Managed the development of the laws for the Cambodian Stock Exchange. Taught meditation courses from the age of 19 and lived solo in the wilderness like the movie ‘Into the wild’.
I also wear five finger shoes and I am on the ball, literally, my desk chair is a swiss ball. It’s all very practical, you can grip what you are walking on and stretch while you are at your desk.
The issue dominating West End for the past ten years has been development (Some would say over-development). What policies would you implement to deal with the pressures on infrastructure -traffic, schools, open space, community resources, planning, etc.?
I am running on the People Decide model. You can vote right now on planning and development laws at peopledecide.org. I have signed a contract that irrespective of my own opinion, I must vote with the majority of voters in the South Brisbane electorate in Parliament. You just need to elect me now, I need a 1 for Karel Boele. The thing I love about the People Decide model is we also include impact assessable developments. We need to get someone elected in Council but it is already creating transparency.
The Labor Party has announced restrictions on political donations from Developers. Where do you stand on donations? Would you accept money from anyone and everyone?
If all politicians were contracted to vote with the people, there would naturally be less competition between candidates and need for political donations. I believe People Decide is the ultimate platform to solve the donation issue. Personally, I would have trouble receiving a donation from anything that only cares about making money.
Has your party decided on preferences in the South Brisbane electorate? Is there a State-wide policy, or will you make an electorate by electorate decision? Who would get your preference?
People Decide is about the people deciding, if we gave preferences it would be counter-intuitive to what we stand for. We tell people you must give a 1 to Karel Boele because we are trying to change the established system, so need you vote above the established parties and then you MUST number all the other boxes in order of you choice to make your vote valid.
With voters globally disillusioned with a political process which is dominated by established or traditional parties, there is talk of a hung Parliament after the election. Would you consider a power-sharing arrangement with other parties to form government? What are your non-negotiables? Or, in what areas would you be prepared to compromise?
We are very clear about this. In all our communication we clearly state we automatically support supply and confidence votes to ensure a stable government and that it runs it full term. We do not want a kangaroo parliament, people and business want certainty and do not want multiple elections. If participatory democracy is shown to work in Australia over a number of decades maybe then supply and confidence votes can also be voted on by the people.
This does not cover the situation after an election where both major parties can form a government and we are in the balance of power. In this situation we have flexibility in our Constitution to do two things. We can run a vote in our electorate or take the results of the election to see who the majority wanted to support in the electorate. Our Constitution also states we must give voters at least 6 weeks to make decisions, given people and business do not want continued uncertainty after an election we would likely go with the later.
The Carmichael Coal Project and the involvement of Adani has caused a great deal of controversy and generated loud opposition locally. Where do you and your party stand?
The size and environment impact of the Carmichael Coal Project and the reputation of Adani raise many issues we need to confront. The majority of Australians think climate change is an issue and want more incentives for renewables. With the People Decide platform in parliament people would vote for that and we might become the world leader in climate change solutions.
The demographics of West End have changed since the last State Election, with thousands of new voters enrolled and a redistribution of the Electoral boundaries. How will this affect the outcome?
The South Brisbane electorate has a strong cultural identify. I believe the People Decide platform will enhance this. People Decide is a new way of doing government where the people get to vote on the laws. It allows ideas to be shared and deliberated, and brings the community together. It creates education, awareness and engagement with new voters on the things that affect us.
Finally, any personal comments?
If we don’t do something we are going to end up like the U.S. Which is so stuck in divisive left/right personality politics. It has increased the change of war. People are sick of politics, disillusioned with the system, broken promises and public projects being thrown back and forth between different governments. As a result, voters are doing protest votes. That is why we have Trumps.
We need to change the system. NOW! We need to move to issue-driven politics. This is only going to work if the politicians are contracted to vote with the people, like me. Overseas in countries like Switzerland which has been doing a form of participatory democracy for centuries, people are proud of and are happier because they have more control over their legislation. Voting on issues makes us feel part of the process and engages us. We can’t blame the politicians when we get it wrong so we have to learn, understand and consider what we are voting on. It’s not a referendum or plebiscite where you are voting over a short period with no real-time transparency of the result. It is deliberative democracy where you are voting over a long period with real-time transparency of the result, giving busy and apathetic voters time to give their opinion. We won’t have time to vote on everything so we will be voting on what we have expertise, experience or interest in and that is exactly what we want. This is only going to work if you Vote 1 for Karel Boele and remember to number all the other boxes to make your