For too long democracy has been captive to the elected official. Vote Smart aims to return power to where it all began, in the hearts and minds of the merchant classes.
Dr. Erstwhile Truthwright (Thinker)
One of Australia’s best known and most admired political entrepreneurs, Dr. Erstwhile Truthwright, founded Vote Smart and the Vote Smart group of companies in 2003 as part of his vision of a fairer and more open-minded society predicated upon the fusion of voting, free enterprise and science.
Truthwright’s goal was a holistic research institute – an independent, scientifically rigorous all knowing all-seeing think tank capable of addressing the changing social and heavy engineering needs of twenty first century citizens.
Assisted by generous grants from a reclusive Japanese medical entrepreneur and philanthropist, Shiro Ishii, and the former President of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, the Institute was initially registered as a sub-branch of the Church of Scientology and granted tax-free status by the Howard government in 2004.
Since then it has produced a stream of high profile cutting edge research that has placed it at the apex of the international family of research bodies.
In 2005 its work in the area of democracy and human freedom generated more media coverage than Get Up!, Freedom House, Amnesty International and the ABC combined.
In 2007 work by its team of scientists on an atomic powered family barbecue attracted the attention of the United Nations Security Council but earned accolades from luminaries such as Ziggy Switkowski, Martin Ferguson, and Miyuki Ishikawa, designer of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
In 2009 Vote Smart launched its International Young Scholars program – an initiative offering underprivileged children in the developing world subsidised access to a series of democracy lectures and texts authored by Dr. Truthwright as well as work experience in a network of brick kilns and diamond mines operating across the Indian sub-continent and West Africa.
In early 2011 Vote Smart’s efforts in promoting ‘democracy with an Arab face’ were recognised the father of modern Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, when he awarded the Institute the Abdel Nasser Humanitarian Award. Attempts by a subsequent government to rescind the award are being resisted by the Institute.
2011 also saw an expansion of the Institute’s Board of Directors with distinguished Australian democrat and tennis legend Margaret Court and the federal parliament’s longest serving maverick, Bob Katter, conferred with (non-voting) executive status. The late member for MacKellar, Bronwyn Bishop, was afforded posthumous membership on the Board while former Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi was recognised with a lifetime achievement award and conferred as a life member.
And in early 2012 the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and Sydney recommended Dr. Truthwright for the prestigious Mary MacKillop Miracle Prize for contributions to public education and the promotion of a better-informed citizenry. Meanwhile, more recently the Institute’s commercial arm was strengthened with the appointment of former ALP Senator Mark Arbib to head its rapidly growing debt collection agency and crack security team - Detachment Three.