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MTB political party?

Hop fiend's picture

By Hop fiend - Posted on 03 June 2012

Following the very divisive deal done between the Liberal state government & Shooters n Fishers Party which has allowed permitted shooters feral hunting in National Parks,whilst us MTBr's are at early tentative steps in securing singletrack in NP's(apart from Glenrock & the Royal) do we take a next step?.Yes we have organisations who are working with NPWS on such programs(GTA & Trailcare) hoping to achieve this,but is it enough?.Do we try & form a political party to represent us?

pharmaboy's picture

you need to have a large following of obsessive loonies to get a party going- a fair bit of hate is required, not to mention a certainty that you represent the only truth. mtbers are too loose/relaxed it would seem - -if we were banned entirely, the majority of us would simply see it as a boost to more exclusive use of trails ;D

If you're really pissed, but there are too few of you to make a difference, you firebomb somewhere, have violent demonstrations, see "occupy" for instructions for marginal views to get media time.

Hop fiend's picture

& yes such a valid point on being too loose/relaxed,thats why I think we are such a largely unrecognised/unknown group in the "mainstream' of society-could be another reason to take the next step?

hawkeye's picture

I was asked to stand at local but right now i can't afford the pay cut or the time away from family or work.

It would also require a fair bit of intermal work and external supportk for me to be able to maintain my internal moral compass in the face of the pressures and game playing you are put under and I don't yet have the structures in place to help me manage that.

But as they say, never say never... Eye-wink's picture

Heaps of single issue parties are formed on the back of preference deals. All you need is to find the appropriate rich supporter (but not member of) a political party, agree to preference the party when voters put "1" above the line, and wallah the party gets a bunch of very valuable senate preferences from voters who are not too engaged in the political process, but feel strongly about the single issue.

Don't know if mountain bikers fit the profile - they would ask too many questions about where their preference goes.

Interesting idea though. Given the disillusionment with politics maybe a party would pick up a significant number of votes. This would certainly put riders on the map.

Senator Hawkeye?

Simon's picture

So far I have enjoyed the support of Labor, Liberal and Green Parties.

We are one of the few things there seems to be agreement on and the change in NSW State Government did nothing to slow progress.

And by being politically neutral we won't be thrown out in the bath water due to previous deals.

Our biggest barrier is also no longer State Government. It is typically local level and what often comes down to populist voting and Councillors. This is where we need to increase our influence.

State is listening and trying to resolve things with multiple Councils is our current focus.

TrailCare's push with NPWS was only the first part of our strategy. We went there first as they are seen as role models for bushland management.

Crown Lands etc already have mtb actions under the NSW bike plan. Other state land owners also should be working with us. If anyone is having problems with state land owners please let us know so I can forward the issues to the appropriate people.

Hoa's picture

Even if a mtb'er party was not successful in gaining a seat, the point of having a representative on the ballot displays intent to the major local government parties there is a force out there who is willing to take political action if needed, to preserve their interests.

This intent would be forefront in the minds of any local govt pollie wanting to take a negative stance against mtb'ers and cyclists in their local govt area.

hawkeye's picture

... you might just get in.

Better I think to take Simon's party-neutral approach.

Hoa's picture

.. good point. I would have thought the state's receptiveness would filter down to the local level. I suppose this goes back to the question as to whether we have 1 tier of govt too many (another discussion).

Worth noting Simon's last sentence: "If anyone is having problems with state land owners please let us know so I can forward the issues to the appropriate people." - leverage the appropriate avenues of communication where they've already been established.

Hop fiend's picture

I just feel that everything is going too slow & if we just had some more political clout things might quicken a little,either local or state level.

mudgee's picture

Remember that the shooters party has been around 1992 and has only just got the ok for limited conservation hunting in specified areas of national parks....Sydney Mountain Bikers could ride informally in National Parks until the 2008 brew ha ha when NPWS closed down Oxford Falls and started handing out fines in other parks.

In the following four years (three of which were under a completely dysfunctional State Government) Mountain Bikers have managed to

- Get a NSW government strategy published supporting Mtb trails in National Parks despite strong opposition
- Have that strategy carried by the incoming government (despite a few opportunities to ditch it when it got tied up with other controversial issues - Recreational Access to National Parks (incl Hunting) & the National Parks Tourism Bills)
- Have the issue raised by the now State Treasurer in Parliament, in support mountain biking trails
- Have Two Liberal Members (Jonathan O'Dea and Mike Baird) openly support Mountain Biking access to bushland
- Turn around a lot of the very strong Greens & Green Group opposition to a much more positive and supportive position to the point that some of these groups are now 'partners' in some of the proposals going forward.
- Change the local and state government view of mountain bikers from delinquent youths one step from a stay in a detention centre to intelligent and engaged members of the community

All of this has been achieved by doing things properly rather than taking the easy route. Compromise solutions, which are the heart of politics, are usually pretty crap (e.g. golden jubilee) but we've been careful to avoid this to ensure that we get a good result. This means pushing harder to get the right result rather than simply pushing for a result.

Sure, it would nice if things moved faster and it is pathetic that councils are unable to competently assess and approve the construction of some dirt tracks - without spending more time and dollars on the consultation, studies and approvals than the construction (and subsequent demolition/rehabilitation if they were to prove unacceptable).

But this is Simon's point. The strategy has always been to get state govt guidance so that local councils can simply fall in line. We've done this. We are now working through the local govt issues that will get frustrating because councils will want to do everything themselves but don't have the resources or political will to do it properly. Blue Mountains, Waringah and Hornsby are getting it (only because they've had 100's of mtb riders show up to meetings and been subjected to email campaigns that have shut down servers when they've made a stupid decision), Willoughby 'got it' all on it's own (but doesn't really have large swathes of Bushland. Ku-ringai and Pittwater are trying with varying degrees of success and Manly seems to be coming around since they were made to look ill-informed over the Freedom Jumps.

We've now got the credibility, support and history to have political clout without having separate political representation. We are using the political system well (we have the NSW Treasurer's attention and support on the matter) and are helping councils, LPMA, NPWS etc. work through the issues. The risk of having a separate political party would be that (as we have accused the green groups) we are already represented through that avenue so the mainstream parties needn't listen much to the grassroots campaigners.

That said, it is council elections this year and a plethora of pro-mountain bike councillors would be a great outcome. Unfortunately most of your time over the next few years will be spent debating the colour of bin lids and other issues of similar significance.

Alternatively, get behind the TrailCare campaigns, write letters, see how you can get involved, be assured that good things are happening....and that many hands make light work.

Simon's picture

Time for us to go hard while the Shooters party are running decoy for us.

And haven't you heard how dangerous 4G cell phone towers are?

Oh and wind turbines.

In all honesty though we need to make the most of Council elections and either stand or make sure candidates know that there are more votes for pro mountain biking positions than the anti-mountain bike lobby.

It's amazing how pro current Hornsby Councillors are now the chambers were swamped by mountain bike supporters.

Lach's picture

maybe we need to work up a set of questions to inundate candidates with once they put their hands up?

And at the same time, make sure they get some details of where they can plug into organisations like Trailcare to get some help on the answers???

Hop fiend's picture

Just wanted to get a general consensus from fellow MTB'rs on this subject & at least start some ideas flowing.

thshs's picture

Ok ladies and gentlemen. Due to overwhelming demand I have agreed to put my name forward as the people’s candidate for Australia’s first mountain biking political party. Henceforth to be known as the “People’s United Mountainbiking Party.
As your new leader I have seen fit to appoint a campaign strategist and am pleased to announce that SpokeyDokey has agreed to come on board.
At our first meeting we decided to approach some of Australia’s finest political minds and have since made approaches to several current and former members of both state and federal politics. Now I don’t want to drop names but did someone say “Thompson” “Obeid” “Slipper”.
Now I’m sure you are all aware that setting up and running a political party won’t come cheap but the end results will more than justify the expense. As members, obviously you all will be happy to sign up for a “small” ongoing membership fee.
As Leader of this new political force obviously I will need to be seen on a set of wheels befitting my new status. Sadly my banged up Reign with the cracked drop out will need to be replaced with something more carbonesque (Yes that is a word, because I have decreed it to be). I’m thinking perhaps a new Trek Remedy, some type of bling 29er, obviously a hardtail, something in titanium, a downhill bike and to appeal to the roadbiking fraternity perhaps a nice Pinarello.
Also a study tour will need to be undertaken ASAP and will take in places such as NZ, Canada, the US and Europe.
We will soon be calling for candidates to sit for local govt positions and expect to be swamped with passionate mountain biking people. Therefore SpokeyDokey and I will need to cull those we deem to be inappropriate. Those interested need only to submit an application and provide bank details.
More to come soon.

SpokeyDokey's picture

Ok. I agree. Time to put the differences between oldandslow and myself aside for the higher cause. As campaign strategist, my first role will be to organise some fitting bunga bunga parties - Silvio Berlusconi - style - so we can discuss the direction we should take. I've organised Iguana Joes on the Central Coast as a venue. Hawkey is signed on to show us how to down a pint, Pete Garrett will be providing entertainment and giving a presentation on effective house insulation, and Belinda Neal will be running security.

Once done, it's down to serious issues. I've roped in Godwin Grech as our media advisor and spokesman, and Jeb Bush will be running the polling, just to ensure we get the numbers. We obviously can't be a single-issue party, so Nick Leeson (ex-Barings Bank) will be Treasurer and run our fiscal and monetary policies. We have a few vacancies in the foreign affairs, attornies-general, education, health and environmental portfolios.

Who's in? We're a shoo-in.

Andy Bloot's picture

I'm up for foreign affairs
I love girls with accents

SpokeyDokey's picture

Welcome to the party!

thshs's picture

Spokey, if word of the bunga party gets out may I suggest we take the Dominique Strauss-Kahn defence.

"DSK's lawyer says that all the young attractive females at the parties DSK liked to attend were nude, so how could DSK possibly know that they were prostitutes?"

SpokeyDokey's picture

Wow. How organised are we? We're pre-empting, and managing, our scandals before they break!

Hoa's picture

Bags being the "Recruitment Officer" in charge of P.U.M.P's bunga bunga parties.

Hop fiend's picture

from those avatar photos no druggies allowed only respectable short haired clean shaven ungeriatric fit riders

Andy Bloot's picture

That's no problem, Robbie
I'll be all those things in my next life

thshs's picture

Have you not seen the pics of DSK.
And anyway, it's my party.

Hop fiend's picture

I am the one who picks the candidates!-our candidates will only mirror the Tony Abbott/Bronwyn Bishop cougerish type trysts thank you!!!

skibum72's picture

To help lobby the Shooters n Fishers you will need a great VP who understand guns and can tell the different between quail’s and his friends (most of the time).
Dick Cheney is your man !!!

SpokeyDokey's picture

Sorry, RobbieO, there's been a spill. oldandslow is in charge.

Please rest assure that our candidates will in no way resemble either Tony or Bronwyn, with respect to their current positions.

thshs's picture

We've decided to move in a different direction and feel that .............

Gordon will write a statement you can release to the press.

Skibum. Great idea. You're definitely the type of person PUMP is looking for.

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