Election Candidate: Andrea Patricia Clausen

Andrea Clausen

Background

Firstly a little background about myself. My family emigrated to the Falkland Islands in 1974 when I was 3 years old. I grew up in camp at Goose Green and on Sea Lion Island. I was educated entirely though the Falklands system: at Darwin School until its closure in 1981 and then at Stanley Junior & Senior Schools. I then left the islands to attended Peter Symond’s College and then moved on to the University of Wales, Bangor. Following my overseas education I returned to the Islands and worked firstly in the fishing industry and then in conservation and research. I was elected to one of Stanley’s 5 seats during the General Election in 2005. I am married with 3 children.

 

Why am I standing for a seat in the Legislative Assembly for a further term?

Having being elected during the previous General Election and despite having made reasonable progress on many of the areas I campaigned on 4 years ago, I still feel that there is lot more for me contribute to the development of the Falkland Islands as one of your elected representatives.  A number of important pieces of work have been embarked upon during the life of the last Assembly, pieces of work that look to the future, at ways of ensuring Falkland Islanders are promoted to the highest possible levels in the workplace, at ways of ensuring our economy is vibrant and dynamic, and not just treading water trying to stay afloat. It is essential that these pieces of work are completed. Like the rest of the world we are faced with a choice, make changes or stagnate. I want to live in a country that is able to change when it needs to, so that it we can ensure it is still a good place to live and raise our families for generations to come. As a result of previous good fortunes, our economy grew, our bank balance grew, our services and infrastructure grew and there was less of a need to make difficult choices, however, as circumstances have changed, we need to change and I am ready to stand up and be one of those individuals who is not afraid to carry out those changes that are necessary.

 

Whilst I realise that I would again be one voice in eight if elected, I still believe that I can continue to make a valuable contribution to moving our country in the right direction if you give me that opportunity.

 

Some issues that I am particularly interested in:

 

Families in the Falkland Islands

Starting with an issue that is very close to my heart, and that is support to and protection of the family unit. Despite some limited progress, it is clear that a number of employers in the Falklands still do not offer a flexible enough approach to the employment of parents of young children, including maternity and paternity leave entitlement. There continues to be a need for school-hours only, job-share and flexible working hours within the workplace. Most employees in the Falklands work full-time, and where this happens in the family home I believe it subjects many homes to added pressures. Our economy relies heavily on the ability of parents to work, therefore we must facilitate the provision of a flexible employment environment, where appropriate, so that our families have the ability to balance work and home life in a way that encourages happy homes with happy parents and happy children. 

 

Work on the role and level of financial support (Family Allowance) offered to families has been slow. The legislation that provides for this support is out-dated and is not fit for purpose. Whilst I fundamentally support a system of universal benefit for all families, in times of reducing Government revenues I do agree that the funds available should be targeted to those that are most vulnerable. If elected I will continue to push for a full review of the Family Allowance law. 

 

Health & Education

I believe we should continue to have access to first world health-care and education. Of course we live in a relatively remote country, from a physical point of view at least, but we have over recent years enjoyed increasingly greater access to modern medical services both at home and overseas. The cost of these services is becoming unaffordable for the Government to pay for alone. I do not support draconian restrictions on access to services, although there does need to be a process of justification for each new service being considered, but I do support the further development of the user-pays principle in this area. I would agree to the re-introduction of a Medical Services Levy or National Insurance Scheme as a contribution to the cost of delivery of these important services.

 

If elected I will continue to support the introduction of a statutory ban on smoking in public and work places.

 

In order that we can see a professionally developed and well-trained workforce of Falkland Islanders we must continue to provide access to all levels of education and training. However, we must ensure that access is targeted towards skills that are most needed. There are a number of options that could be used to fund access to such courses, personally I favour a combination of schemes, such as a set number of scholarships per annum, and the ability for all those attaining college entrance requirements, to be able secure student loans.

 

Regulation

There are serious deficiencies in our ability to regulate some sectors of service provision. Despite considerable effort to progress the introduction of robust legislative oversight in the telecommunications sector, this remains an outstanding issue, and is not acceptable. If elected I will make this piece of work a priority.

 

Finance and the Economy

Compared to the rest of the world the Falkland Islands has both a relatively healthy economy and reasonable levels of Government reserves. However, from an internal point of view we have seen Government finances come under increasing pressure with flattening or declining revenues and a complete slow-down in economic growth. Many of the causes of these changes are out of our hands, such as the failure of the Illex fishery and the global financial crisis. The Consolidated Fund is there to cushion such drastic changes in the state of our finances, but only for short periods. It is not there, in my opinion, to be called upon for sustained periods to prop up operational expenditure. We must, therefore, continue to look for efficiencies within the civil service and look at the effectiveness of contributions made through the Transfer Fund (Farm Improvement Scheme, FIMCo, etc…).  We must remove our reliance on the volatile Illex fishing revenue, one of the most vulnerable areas of our budget. Looking to 2009/10 we are likely to see an increase in Government revenues and a positive impact on our economy on the whole, as a result of the activities taking place during the impending drilling campaign as well as from the work carried out by the de-mining team. However we cannot become complacent, whilst these activities are to be welcomed from a fiscal and economic standpoint, there is no guarantee that such revenue streams will be maintained in the long term. We must look to finding better ways to strengthen our economy and ensure a healthy fiscal balance.

 

The private sector is the key building block of the nation’s economy. It is therefore essential that the Government provides a setting that will assist the growth and further development of the private sector, carefully considering key policies such as immigration, tax and land ownership. I will continue to support the work already started on devolving service provision to the private sector either through privatisation or by contracting arrangements, but only where is a clear benefit to the customer, as well as to the economy.

 

Constitutional Development

We have a new Constitution in place and provision has been made for the subject of constituencies to be dealt with under Electoral Ordinance. A referendum on the subject of constituencies can now be held at any time without the need to further review the Constitution itself. I believe that the issue of constituencies and/or proportional representation must be addressed. I believe that the best option for the Falkland Islands is a single constituency. During the past four years in my work as an Elected Representative I have always believed it was my duty to represent the whole of the Falkland Islands and not just part of. Whilst I accept that there may need to be some polices in place that can deal with the specific needs of the rural community and economy there is no reason why these cannot be done under the umbrella of a single constituency where all 8 Members are equally accountable to the entire electorate.

 

Foreign Affairs

Six years ago we saw the arrival of the Kirchner dynasty in Argentina, along with them a hardening of their policy towards us. The first significant act for this new administration was the ban on commercial charter flights in 2003, a direct attack on our relatively young cruise ship industry. Despite this act and despite experiencing the pleasantries of our neighbours first-hand in 1982 in both Stanley and Goose Green, I’ve always considered myself broad-minded on the subject of Argentina, and I would have liked to see our relationship develop so that we could have progressed some of the key areas in which we have a mutual interest, such as the management of the fishery resources in the South-west Atlantic. However, over the last 4 years we have been subjected to a series of aggressive bully boy acts, deliberately trying to destabilise our economic development in a manner that can only be described as economic terrorism. It’s amazing how a country that likes to think of itself as a progressive democratic state doesn’t understand that bullying tactics only serve to strengthen the resolve of it’s victims. Our country and our economy will continue to grow because we will make it and we won’t be pushed around by an administration that is barely a step away from the dictatorship it tries so hard to remove itself from.

 

In the light of these ever more aggressive actions from our neighbour, it is essential that the Falkland Islands maintains its excellent network of friends overseas, across the Commonwealth, in the United Nations and the European Union and most especially in Westminster. We must continue to ensure that the world outside is as aware as we can make it of our plight with respect to our neighbours denying us the right to self-determination, a privilege that they have no problem defending for others but not for the people of the Falkland Islands, no matter that our right is unquestionable.

 

Elections

Finally I would like to end by reminding everyone that whatever they do on November 5th, please make every effort to vote, because there are 255 names on a Liberation Monument on Ross Road, of the men who gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom to live in a land where we can vote for representatives of our choice in a truly democratic society.

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3 Responses to “Election Candidate: Andrea Patricia Clausen”

  1. Tim Miller Says:

    As an employer I have no problem with maternity/paternity leave -off pay. Nor with flexihours when the mother starts to return to work.But I would strongly object to any Govt that tried to make the employer pay-effectively have to pay two wages for only one persons work(the person replacing the one on maternity leave). Govt may be able to afford it but most small business could not. MSL – yes I support the “user pays” principle – but the levy should be on direct wages only – not an additional sum as well from the employer – that was a straight additional business tax – regardless of your profitability.
    Foreign Affairs – I want to see some candidates who think outside the box – and take the argument to the enemy and not just rely on UK all the time. Lets see councillors lobbying politicians in S America and the OAS – and inviting the UN and OAS here to see for themselves.

  2. Mike Summers Says:

    Tim, see my manifesto, I have suggested that we need to get out into the principle capitals and do more of our own work on foreign affairs. Much of it will need to be low key to acvoid the equal and opposie reaction from the enemy. Visits are a good idea, but cause visiting countries more diofficulty….time, visibility, etc.

  3. Mal Prior Says:

    Regarding the final paragraph of this manifesto, will the freedom and democracy be extended to our parade days or do we still have to many?

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