Wikinews interviews Victor Kline, leader of newly registered The New Liberals party in Australia

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Victor Kline, leader of the New Liberals.
Image: New Liberals.

On June 3, the New Liberals were officially registered as a political party by the Australian Electoral Commission, enabling them to run candidates for federal elections in the country.

While the party has been in existence for over a year, with member Karen Porter having run in the 2020 Eden-Monaro by-election as an independent candidate, the party applied for registration on December 16.

The party has already faced legal barriers for registration. It shares the "liberal" moniker with Australia's governing Liberal Party, who called the New Liberals a "cynical attempt to piggyback" on their own name, even presenting a survey from Crosby Textor of over 2000 voters that claimed over two-thirds of voters could percieve a connection between the parties, in an attempt to prevent the party's registration. Ultimately, the Australian Electoral Commission decided that, on balance, the name of the New Liberals was "sufficiently visually and aurally distinct" from the Liberal Party's name, and registered the party.

Wikinews spoke with the New Liberals' party leader Victor Kline via email about the plans of the New Liberals and their policies and values.

Interview

Wikinews

One of your party's key slogans, as seen on your website, is that you're economically responsible and socially progressive. Could you explain to me more of what this means?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) Economically responsible means that we look to what economics can achieve for society unlike many who see economics as some sort of God which must be served. So our economics will be used to get the three million people who live below the poverty line above that line and in the process of getting them into employment, stimulate small and large business alike. Socially progressive is really the other side of the same coin, in that we want to achieve a just, balanced society where everyone has equality of opportunity and a strong purpose. And you can see that that social progressiveness is underwritten by our economic responsibility[.]

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Why is it that your party decided to call yourselves the New Liberals, given there's already a Liberal Party?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) The current Liberal Party of Australia has abandoned all liberal principles and is actually an ultra-conservative party. Indeed we are suing them through the Australian Electoral Commission for misrepresentation and fraud by continuing to use the word 'liberal' in their name, and if we are successful, they will be deregistered as a political party. We are a real liberal party as that is understood around the world and has been for two hundred years, to mean a party which believes in equality of opportunity, compassion and justice, plus freedom of the individual but with a strong place for government to ensure that in exercising that freedom, the individual doesn't impinge on the freedom of others.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Lately, the issue of a Tamil family in immigration detention has been a topic of debate. The Murugappan family has been held in immigration detention for 2018 after their request for protection was rejected, after 5 years of living in the Queensland town of Biloela. They've now been reunited in Perth, where four year old Tharnicaa is being treated after a serious blood infection. What are your thoughts on this case, and on immigration law more broadly?

Until recently, the Murugappan family were held in offshore detention on Christmas Island.
Image: DIAC images.

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) We believe that the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers over the last 30 years has been nothing short of a national shame, which will be looked back on with the same sort of horror people have when they look back on slavery. We intend to totally reform the system including, first and foremost, the abolition of mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Why did you decide to join the New Liberals?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) I was actually one of the four founders of the New Liberals. The party was founded because we felt that the major parties had both moved so far to the right that there was no-one to represent the majority of the people, and that our civil liberties were under such threat that our democracy was at risk of imploding into an authoritarian regime.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) According to your website, your party has so far chosen 17 candidates for the next federal election. How did you come to select them?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) We actually have quite a few more candidates but who are yet to go on the website. We were looking for people who were smart, gutsy and with a strong moral compass, and who have real world experience unlike 80% of the current political class who have not worked outside of politics or the unions.

A public health announcement from the federal government in Melbourne.
Image: Phillip Mallis.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What do you think about how the federal government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) If it had been up to the federal government, we would have run an open borders, open business policy akin to what was done in the USA with consequent massive loss of life. We were saved from this by the fortitude of the State governments.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Could you give me a political issue that you think isn't getting enough attention? What would the New Liberals do about this issue?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) There is massive corruption at the federal level, and the media does not focus nearly enough on that. We will create an ICAC [Independent Commission Against Corruption] with teeth, meaning a body which will have the power to investigate and charge, politicians, judges and bureaucrats who have been corrupt, in dereliction of their duty or who have abused their power. And there will be a separate court which will have the power to try and convict such people and sentence them to terms of imprisonment[.]

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What's a key way in which the New Liberals differentiate themselves from other parties?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) We are unlike every other party in almost every way, but the key would be our economic policy which enables us to invest in the nation via putting people back to work. This will be done through our Job Guarantee Scheme which would enable anyone who wants a job to have one, and at a good living wage – a job which suits their skills and interests, and if there is no such job available they will be trained for appropriate work and paid a full wage whilst training.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) One of the 10 values in your charter of core values is "to promote Australia's environmental health by acknowledging that care for the environment and good business practice are complementary, not mutually exclusive". Could you elaborate on what this would involve?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) So for example a government can invest in renewable energies, which is both good business practice and helpful for the environment.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) How would you describe your style of leadership?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Victor KlineWikinews waves Right.png)) I have one main desire, to tell the truth at all times no matter what the consequences, and to answer the questions I am asked. I believe that inspires or should inspire confidence in a leader. I also want to always have the courage to call out the wrongs in the world, and to not be afraid to name those who are responsible and say why. The flip side of that is that I hope always to have the courage to admit when I have been mistaken.


Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
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