Jason Briskey is standing as the Socialist Alliance candidate for the northern Queensland seat of Dalrymple in the March 24 Queensland state elections. A resident of Charters Towers, Jason is a single father of nine-year-old daughter Shakira. He was the ALP candidate for Dalrymple in the last state elections.
He became interested in politics from the age of seven, and has been active in community affairs and the ALP for many years. Jason spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy about his political experiences and his decision to leave the Labor Party and campaign for the Socialist Alliance.
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2010 brought about the knifing of Kevin Rudd, by the party I stood for. He was a man I respected in politics, a man that brought about the end of the Howard years, a man that had the guts to say sorry to the stolen generations. That was the leader of my party and a man I thought was owed much respect.
I believed he could have finally returned Labor to what Labor stood for. Days before it happened, I had spoken to my mother about it, and that I would no longer be a part of the party that I so long fought for if such a terrible thing happened.
The night Kevin was removed was the night that I penned my letter of resignation to the ALP. Loyalty is such a big thing to me. I had seen Hawke, Latham and now Rudd removed in ways that showed zero loyalty. I spent many years in the ALP. I do not know, to this day, if I ever truly fitted in. I was never involved in any factions. Although I had many offers, I refused to join.
This year brings me actively involved in the Socialist Alliance and I am proud to say I am one of the three candidates in this upcoming state election.
The Socialist Alliance brings a much-needed change to the Australian political debate. If elected, our candidates will take only an average worker’s wage, donating the balance to the electorate for a better society.
Some of our policies for this Queensland state election include: gender equality, repealing the current anti-abortion laws and full marriage equality for all. We stand for putting a stop to coal seam gas to save our farmland and our Great Artesian Basin and a total ban on fracking.
We want a state-owned insurance company to take on the greedy private insurance companies, to offer low cost, comprehensive insurance with automatic coverage for floods, fire and cyclones.
And we call for a full independent restructure of Queensland Health, placing it under public control, and funding for public schools, not private education.
So I find myself running in another state election, this time for a party that is more involved and caring than the last.
This campaign, like the last one, is very short and to the point — the difference being that I have not received the negative comments or personal attacks that I received when I was representing the ALP.
Instead, I have had more people approach me and ask what the Socialist Alliance stands for in a positive manner.
The media have been more kind this time. I have been featured in the Northern Miner, CQ News and the Mareeba Express. I have also done interviews with ABC radio and a local website, The Charters Towers E Village, has provided me free and unedited press, which is wonderful as the major newspapers tend to leave a lot of things out of their stories.
I have not taken any time off work during this election campaign, which I feel has worked to my advantage as the locals know where I am and call in for a quick chat about the election and also arrange times for more detailed meetings after work.
I have also continued my weekly local soccer and cricket matches, with the locals keen to bowl the local candidate or get past me with the ball. So the competitive side just gets so much better, but at the end of the match allows me to catch up for a chat with other players.
The election flyers are being distributed right now and I am lucky enough that I have the local support to have this done for me at zero cost.
I have received positive support in person, over the phone and via email from all over the electorate. While it will be hard to win this seat, what we will have achieved is to spread the word about the Socialist Alliance.