Many would recall the slogan “2013 Year of the Car Enthusiast”… and it certainly was, it was the year we saw the AMEP form and contest the Federal Election where the AMEP ran ten candidates in all five mainland states. The Year motoring enthusiasts created history by winning a Senate Seat.
On 1 July 2014, Ricky Muir became Senator Ricky Muir; an everyday guy who rose from working in a saw-mill to having a share in the balance of power in this country.
As we move into a new year, Ricky commits to using his Senate seat to represent the AMEP, and we ask our members and supporters to appreciate the task that Ricky has taken on. Holding strong to our values of unity and respect should be the guiding force as we navigate the challenges.
It must be remembered in the world of politics and the 24/7 media cycle that the real story is rarely told. There are many out to discredit us and portray us as not belonging, of having no right. Stories have, and will continue to be written that are twisted versions of reality; stories that misrepresent who we are, misrepresent our community, and misrepresent what we stand for. We need to be diligent not to play into the agenda of “divide and conquer”; we must remain above this, we must stand united and celebrate who we are.
Change does not happen without ruffling a few feathers, and since the formation of the AMEP, we certainly are not invisible.
What have we achieved… and what is next?
Our focus has been to place motoring enthusiasts in a position of influence. We stand strong in the belief that if we want to create real change, we need to influence and create innovative, sensible, workable motoring policy.
But we cannot do this on our own… Proudly we are now working with peak motoring bodies, industry groups, road safety, driver education, vehicle standards and motoring experts to create opportunity for change. Through the establishment of the Motoring Advisory Council (MAC) earlier in the year, we are seeing for the first time the sharing of information, ideas and knowledge, leading to the development of policy concepts and initiatives.
Through the Senators Office we have achieved two major accomplishments for motoring within the first five months of office. First, the establishment of the “Parliamentary Friends of Motoring” brings Senators and Members of Parliament together to bring education and awareness about the social and economic value of the motoring culture, motorsport and the automotive industry. The charter is to provide a forum for stakeholders and motoring bodies to have access to Senators and Members to negotiate the issues within the culture and the industry.
The launch of this group took place on 2 December with a car show on the lawns of Parliament House, where AMEP Senator Ricky Muir, together with Labor Senator Kate Lundy and Liberal MP Fiona Scott, sent out a road safety message for the Christmas Holidays.
The second unprecedented achievement is an alliance of Senators coming together to pass a motion for a Senate Inquiry into the future of the automotive industry. This inquiry will, for the first time, see a whole-of-industry blueprint created focusing in part on the value of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry, ADR’s, and regulations which currently retard industry and create grief for modified vehicles owners when police officers and authorities are forced to interpret and enforce confusing, conflicting and complex laws.
The review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act is another area the Motoring Advisory Council (MAC) been working closely on with the Senators Office. Some interesting developments are happening, with a round-table of stakeholders in the import industry being planned early in the New Year to develop innovative ideas around the importation of special interest and enthusiast vehicles. If you believe you have something to contribute to this conversation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next year we will also be hosting a Road Safety Summit, where we will be calling on Government, Road Safety, and Driver/Rider Education Experts to put aside everything they think they know about road safety, and to ask different questions. One of our objectives is to be instrumental in starting “a new conversation in this country about road safety”, and this will be the launch of the campaign.
This summit will be hosted during the National Road Safety Awareness Week in May, which coincides with International Road Safety Awareness Week. Relationships are being developed with road safety experts from across the country, and the collective consensus is that it is time for new thinking in road safety. For too long the focus has been on “speed kills”, and the deterrent principle of increased fines has been the solution to improve road safety and change driver behaviour. As we all know, this doesn’t really work. It is time to look at what else is possible – and who better, in our opinion, than motoring enthusiasts to drive this conversation.
We are also working with the Road Transport Industry, the most dangerous occupation in Australia with transport drivers 16 times more likely to be killed on the job than the next most dangerous occupation.
We have joined the battle to have sustainable freight rates paid to the transport industry as a major part of the road-safety overhaul. The payment of rates which will allow thorough and critical maintenance of the heavy transport fleet, rates that will assure the survival of the transport industry, and pay-rates for those on the front-line who deliver our every product from food to construction materials throughout the nation.
Motorcyclists have not been forgotten. There is considerable concern in relation both to the safety of motorcyclists and in the treatment of the general motorcycle community due to the crack-down by some governments on the alleged illegal activities of a minority who may choose motorcycles as their preferred method of transport. Representation from all sectors of the motorcycle community will be welcome to participate in our initiatives.
Finally, there is the ongoing campaign by those who would have recreational use of 4WD vehicles and trail bikes decimated through the closure of public areas. Remembering that these are two of Senator Muir’s favourite recreational pastimes, they are also on our list of priorities for discussion with relevant groups, organisations and associations.
The AMEP may be the newest player on the block, politically, rest assured we are moving ahead with giant strides and will continue to do so until we achieve our original goal of a fair and just outcome for motoring enthusiasts of all persuasions, our rights as citizens of Australia, and the sustainability of the Australian Automotive Industry and service providers.
If 2013 was the “year of the car enthusiast”, 2014 was the year we “became visible”, and 2015 will become “the year we make a difference”.
As a member of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, we thank you for your ongoing support and your participation in making this happen. As we move ahead into 2015, remember – Unity – Respect, it’s OUR Lifestyle…
Address: PO Box 4542, Springfield, Queensland 4300