The Australian Cyclists Party will contest the next Federal Election by supporting the Reason Movement and its forthcoming application as a federal party. http://www.reason.org.au/
Chaotic conditions in Canberra, changes to electoral laws and the need for a rational and unencumbered voice in politics means it is time for like-minded parties to band together to maximise our chances for electoral success through a new, forward-looking party focused on a better future for all Australians. Reason will provide us with this opportunity.
Founded in 2013 and reaching over 2,000 members, the Australian Cyclists Party contested 2 state elections – in NSW and Victoria – and also contested in the last Federal election by standing candidates in 5 states. In all we have stood over 50 candidates – quite an achievement for a new party run by volunteers and with very limited financial resources.
Changes to electoral laws at state and federal level as well as the rise of fringe populist parties means it is time for those that are serious about the future of government in Australia – for all Australians – to have a better choice than those haunted by their past or needing to bow to extreme, fringe elements. This is not about backing a new movement and party that is “left” or “right” but one that is forward-looking and will be guided by evidence not ideology. Reason will focus on what is best for Australians not for internal politics.
The Australian Cyclists Party was formed not only to look to enhance cycling policy but to demonstrate how Australia’s low cycling participation is a symptom of a host of transport, health and planning problems. Increasing cycling participation also provides well established environmental and economic benefits to the community. Reason will now embrace our policies and values as part of its own foundation.
Cycling policies are a government responsibility and that is why we chose to begin the party and put cycling in the political context. Our party was the first of its kind in the world and achieved success in bringing additional focus to issues that were stalled or not on the agenda at all. Advocacy bodies have largely embraced our presence and the new dimension we brought to the table. Reason will bring new leverage to achieve more.
We always recognised that at some point we would have to broaden our base of support in order to more seriously contest at election. That is why over the last year we have been in discussions with other minor parties about creating one party that would push forward our agenda but also be capable of appealing to a broader base and be better resourced. We believe that time is now and why backing Reason makes sense.
Q & A
Is this a sudden change of direction for the Australian Cyclists Party?
No, we have been discussing this option for some time and it was flagged and supported at last year’s party AGM that the party would be considering merging or joining with other likeminded parties to help further our mission and expand our support base.
Is this the end of the Australian Cyclists Party?
No, today we are announcing that we will be supporting the Reason Movement and that we will not be contesting a separate Australian Cyclists Party federally. Discussions as to what this means for the party to contest at the state level are ongoing but we feel we should maintain an active, independent voice for cycling and will be canvasing our members about how to best do this.
Do members of the Australian Cyclists Party need to change their affiliation?
Our members need do nothing right now. Over the next weeks we will be contacting all of our members and encouraging them to join the Reason Party as a member at the federal level – this will not affect their current membership status of the ACP at state level.
What are the challenges the Australian Cyclists Party faced that prompted this decision?
Electoral laws have changed to limit the ability of minor parties to compete and the larger parties have gamed the system to their advantage to lock out the voices of other reasonable parties. This means we are left with high-profile fringe parties based on personality or those with deep pockets. By banding together we believe our voice will be more effective and come to represent more Australians.