Monday, February 22, 2010

Family First in Newland

The first candidate to provide me with all of the answers to the questions asked is the Family First candidate Dale Clegg. Here is a very slightly edited version of his responses. (Which has been approved by him). I greatly appreciate his honesty.

I am going to take the opportunity of responding to your questionnaire. Generally I am reluctant to do so as it is sometimes difficult to determine context in a cyber environment, trusting that doesn't get you off side straight away. (lol - I think that means Laugh Out Loud - I am in my 50s after all) .

The reason I am answering is because I find the concept of proposing questions in this way interesting and I would not like you to think I was being rude by not responding. In that sense, I trust you take my responses in the well meaning manner they are offered.

1. What web browser do you use?
Well, I'm a pretty regular person. Using Internet Explorer, I generally use Google although I have also used Bing to do some searching.

2. What is your day to day computer (PC, Apple, Laptop) etc?
PC and Laptops (x2 in the house as my 13 year old son has one for home work etc.)

3. What social networking sites do you or your staff use (Facebook, Twitter, Others) and where can we find you on those sites?
Me: Facebook although I don't use it for campaigning as much as keeping in touch with people. Really for me it is just an interest and I don't spend too much time on it. Full time work as a Fingerprint Investigator with SAPOL on rolling shifts, plus Council duties, plus engaging with my two kids generally consumes my time. There appears to be a number of people I know however who spend quite a bit of time on Facebook. Of course, they, like yourself, started having kids earlier in life and now have much more free time to explore this technology. My Staff: That would be nice. It would certainly make campaigning much easier!

4. Do you have a blog and if so what is the address
No Blog unfortunately, except Joe who lives around the corner although I think he spells it with a double G. (lol - there I go again)

5. In your opinion, what is the role of the internet in the South Australian political process?
I don't believe there is currently a significant role being played by the Internet in the South Australian political process due to many mainstream voters not routinely looking to the internet for political guidance. I think at the moment, those that actually have an interest in who governs us, still rely significantly on traditional media such as the papers and TV. These are very much in our faces, all day, every day. I don't believe this will always be the way of things as people who have grown up with the technology such as yourself, clearly form a greater reliance on the Internet for exchange of information and ideas. I imagine it would certainly sit well with the younger voters. It will be interesting to see the outcome of positive, or negative, twittering etc that results from my responses.

6. What role should government play in regulating the internet?
I would encourage you to go to the Family First (National) Website where all party policies are listed. You will see their greatest concern is that of Pornography and ease of access through the Internet for kids. While kids have always been at risk of coming into contact with pornography, clearly the Internet makes this easier. While end user products like Net Nanny are available, I have found this difficult to set up and it will knock out some site that aren't specifically related to porn. As far as routine regulation of the Internet, as was attempted by Michael Atkinson, I believe this to be wrong. It may be frustrating to some politicians as it has been suggested to me that many who communicate anonymously may be from a production line of letter writers from within a Party's Membership. Should there be other forms of regulation? To answer this it would be necessary to assess the nature of the content or business and make decisions based on community concerns accordingly.

7. What are your thoughts on how to address objectionable content on the internet? What role should government play in this process?
I have probably addressed this in the above however there may be some issues around some of the messengering sites such as MSN. My son uses this as a means of keeping in touch with his friends and I have no issues with it as few of his friends live nearby. I'm sure if they did, they would be around our house, or he at theirs. Also, many of his friends that he attended Primary School with don't go to his High School so I think this is a good way to keep in touch as these friendships may be the ones he retains through life. We do restrict his time however as we believe it needs to be balanced. He accepts this and understands that if we don't keep tabs on it, he becomes absorbed by it at the expense of everything else. I do know some fathers who have greater problems with their daughters. The fathers I know who have 13-14 year olds girls believe they see significant changes in their girls moods if they are on messenger for lengthy periods of times. It would be interesting to see the extent of this but beyond parental guidance, I am not convinced Government should become involved at this stage.

8. Do you support an R18+ classification for computer games?
We have such classifications on movies and magazines already so it would be consistent. At the end of the day the classifications provide a guide. I know my son and daughter see this as a guide and accept it as they do not to drink alcohol etc. Really though, it is up to parents to parent. If they can't do that then kids will look at and play what ever they want regardless of the rating as it comes down to access rather than ratings.

9. Tell us about the policies that your party has that would influence the use of technology if elected.
Again I can only direct you to the National Web Site. As can be seen the issues I have mentioned above are about it. The extent to which such Family First would try and influence the use of Technology would, I think, be minimal. As a group, most within the Party embrace technology and what it provides as a communication tool.

10. What are your thoughts on the funding of computers for schools?
This is an interesting question. For me, computers are simply another resource found in the education system. Like all educational resources, if used wisely, can contribute to the education of our kids. The funding issue should be considered in that context. There has been considerable talk about government funding of computers in school and while this has merit, most schools that my kids have attended have had pretty good access to this technology already. If my own experience is anything to go by, one of the biggest issues in funding large numbers of computers into the school system is who will continue funding to enable upgrading as required. Technology moves at a fairly quick pace and the question is, on a large scale, could the system keep up with that rapid changing environment. Whilst it may be a cost impost for some families, I would like to see a system where parents provide small notebooks for their kids and this in turn be supported by government through special tax incentives, not unlike those that businesses enjoy. That way, families take on the responsibility of providing and upgrading. Just an idea, but that I think could work well, although this is something that needs to be initiated at Federal level as it involves the ATO.

Well David, I trust that give you some idea of where I am as a person, and the Policies provide an outline of what the Family First Party is about. I would like to say though that I fully support your comments about downloading and other pirate activities. This goes on far too much and will ultimately affect our entertainment industries to the point where there may be nothing produced to pirate.

Well, its late and I must away, but first, just how influential do you think this Internet technology is in SA Politics? Perhaps, if you think I'm worth while, you could put it to the test and see just who steps up to the plate. I'd certainly be curious to see.

Have a good week.


Dale Clegg

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