You know what they say: opinions are like arseholes, everybody has one, and most of them stink. Well, guess what? I have one too (not sure about the smell though). So basically I was thinking a little while back about how I’d describe my political views. I’ll be perfectly honest here, not having studied politics at school or university, I find the typical definitions of left-wing, right-wing, progressive, conservative, socialist, capitalist etc. all a bit vague. Additionally, I find the mere thought of having all one’s political beliefs to be at the same point of the “political spectrum” so ridiculously improbable that I don’t quite get how people can sign up to adhere to all beliefs and ideals of a political party. But I guess some people work in different ways, and the others sell out their views for power.

So here I’ll put down a few of my core political views, and you can decide for me how best to categorise them.

Economics: I admittedly don’t have a great deal of knowledge on the specifics of economic issues, but from a broader point of view I do see the need to be fiscally responsible. Just as I would in my personal finances, I believe the government needs to maintain an expenditure that is offsetable by its income. I believe that going into debt at times needs to be done (as you would take out a loan to buy a house), providing it can then be paid off successfully. This means at times you go without things you might want, but if something needs doing then it should be achievable. That’s about as far as my thinking goes.

Climate Change: I’ve seen the science on it, it is a very real issue, and it needs to be tackled sooner rather than later. From my understanding, both an Emissions Trading Scheme or a Carbon Tax would be an effective way of controlling and lowering emissions by charging polluters more to pollute. It’ll have negative impacts, as any additional costs would, but would ultimately achieve the aim of lowering emissions and improving the environment, and address the problem of climate change.

Abortion: I find this a strange issue, because there seems to be a very even split between the pro-choice and pro-life supporters, yet we strive to achieve a societal consensus on the issue. It’ll never happen – the pro-lifers will always be angry unless we completely outlaw abortion, and the pro-choicers will be unhappy if we even think about doing it. Personally, I am a fundamental believer in the woman’s right to choice of what happens to her body. Does it mean I personally support the idea of having an abortion, or would I suggest it to my partner should the issue arise? Not necessarily. In fact, I’d find it a very tough decision to make to terminate a pregnancy, and I have great sympathy for those who do so, as it must be extremely tough. However, I find the notion that we as a society can forcefully tell a woman that she is not allowed to choose and she must keep the baby, regardless of her circumstances, absolutely ridiculous. It will always have to be a heavily regulated act, with the far more qualified doctors making the ultimate call on whether to proceed or not, rather than lawmakers or politicians who largely act on feelings and popular beliefs rather than science or individual circumstances, but I firmly believe that the option must always be available to any woman.

Asylum seekers: I’ve described my feelings on this topic in far greater detail in a previous post. I find the hype and hysteria about a few thousand people who arrive in this country absolutely ridiculous, and believe that the issue shows the racist undercurrent of many in this nation. I do not have any issue with the arrival of asylum seekers from a “protect our borders” type view. I believe that we should pursue all actions possible to discourage and stop people smuggling as it is a cruel and heartless way for a few greedy people to make quick money from the exploitation of the weak. I believe we should treat all arrivals in a humanitarian way and providing that they are found to be genuine refugees (which over 90% of boat people are), then they should be permitted to start new lives in this great country of ours.

Patriotism: in light of that previous outburst against racists in this country, it might surprise you to know that I am in fact a very proud Australian. I absolutely love this country, and respect and support (almost) all that it stands for. We are a multicultural country that provides opportunity for all (most of the time) and we should be proud of that. In my view, being patriotic doesn’t require hatred of foreigners while draping the Australian flag over your back, it just requires you to be proud to tell the world that you’re Australian. I am proud to do so, and while certain things may shake that at times, as a whole I believe I come from the best country on Earth, and am not afraid to admit it.

Guns/weapons: luckily not so much of an issue in this country, but it’s certainly a contentious in other areas. I see no reason why the majority of people need to bear arms. Of course, there are circumstances where the ownership of firearms is more than useful, if not even required, and in that case I have no opposition to it. Having said that, I struggle to think of any reason why Joe Bloggs who lives in the suburbs of a capital city needs to own a gun. I just can’t. So, as such, I believe in stringent regulation of the sale and ownership of firearms, and believe that the world is a safer place without the unnecessary ownership of deadly weapons.

Civil liberties/role of government: after having just paraded about saying how good control and regulation is in one aspect, I’m about to contradict myself. I am not a supporter of excessive government intervention in everyday issues. I believe in the individual’s right and ability to best make decisions about the issues that affect that individual. I oppose censorship in any form. I oppose excessive regulation or government control in issues where it is unrequired. I don’t support the notion of a nanny state that needs to look after everything for us – I believe that treats us as incapable of thinking for ourselves, and I find that notion insulting.

Transport: a strangely specific issue after analysing the broader issues of political belief and ideal, but it’s very close to my heart as I am working towards a career in the field. I think that, for the most part, we have handled transport planning rather poorly, and the evidence of that is more than present now in a world where traffic congestion is a fact of life. I think it’s daft to believe that building more and more roads will reduce traffic issues – building more roads just gives more space for more cars to clog up. I think we need to plan towards sustainable transport solutions that don’t revolve around a large number of single-occupant passenger vehicles. From that, there’s evidently a major role that public transport has to play in moving people around, particularly in the cities. Fundamentally, by providing a developed network of reliable, safe and affordable public transport that runs frequently, is direct, and gets people where they need to go, you reduce the dependency on the car for travel, and reduce the issue of traffic congestion that is largely rampant in many if not all of our cities.

That might do for now. I’ve forgotten a whole heap of issues, I might mention some more or go into greater detail of some of these at a later point. So tell me, how would you describe my political views?