Preferences, Policy and Preposterous Parties - 2013 Election Guide
When you vote in the Australian election, you may think that any vote you choose is decisive. However, although this is largely true in the House of Reps-where you number your votes 1,2,3 and so on-in the senate you have two choices. You can either vote below the line, and like the house of reps number all your preferences personally (A fairly arduous task, all said) or you can vote above the line, and choose only one party. However, when you vote above the line, you are actually giving whomsoever gets your one vote absolute power over where you vote is directed. You may think that this is a minor problem, but once your choice has used up all the votes they can, if your vote doesn’t go towards winning one of those seats, it will change hands through a raft of lesser known, and ideologically concerning parties.
For instance a vote for the Liberals will swing through parties like the Rise Up Australia party. The afore mentioned party has policies such as banning the Burqa and they believe that legalising same sex marriage will lead to a restriction on peoples personal freedoms (such as being an unbridled homophobe) and so can’t be supported. Whilst the Liberal party has taken the stance of preferencing One Nation last, you’ll find there scruples are not quite so evident in relation to the lesser known racialist Australian parties.
Labor is not exactly the benchmark of ideal preferencing either. A concerningly short way down the preferencing chain they have preferenced the Socialist Equality party, an extreme left Trotskyite group that aims to end capitalism and believes in a stadial movement of history. This is a party so furiously left wing that even the Greens preference them far later than Labor.
So what are the immediate preferences of the big three?
Liberals- Preference the Nationals, Australian Christians, Shooters and Fishers, Family First and so on. Unless a party like the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts claim an upset senate seat, we’re rather likely to see the preferences trickle down to Labor who have been preferenced before the Greens by the Liberals in WA.
Labor Party- Preference the Greens, Democrats, Australian Independents, Stable Population party and so on before eventually going to the Nationals and Liberals.
Greens –Wikileaks party, Secular Party of Australia and the animal Justice Party of Australia. Labor is preferenced in the 20’s and that’s roughly where you’ll find a lot of the greens preference votes will end up going.
Some party insights:
The Stable Population party wish to have a net zero immigration policy, where for every one person who leaves Australia, one will be let in. They justify this by saying that this is ideal, because “it’s the world average”. Considering this party thinks that the fact when a person leaves a country and enters another has a net result of zero is so exciting, I’d love to see how they would react to the exciting results of double entry bookkeeping!
Already mentioned, but the idea of the Rise Up Australia party is truly impressive. They believe that by enhancing social freedoms through enabling same sex marriage, will actually lead to less social freedoms. The article they cite this idea from has such gems as “Think about that: Because same-sex marriage is “legal,” federal judges have ruled that the schools now have a duty to portray homosexual relationships as normal to children, despite what parents think or believe!” They also note that due to the legalising of same sex marriage in Massachusetts “Resultingly, many more children in Massachusetts appear to be self-identifying as “gay.”
The Socialist Equality party has recently posted on its facebook: “The conspiracy of silence being conducted by the entire Australian political and media establishment over US war preparations against China was demonstrated once again on Wednesday night, in a debate between the Labor government’s foreign minister Bob Carr and his Liberal opposition counterpart, Julie Bishop.” They also believe in the reclaiming private companies for the working class. They write “Political equality is impossible without economic equality”. Of course! Putting all the power, both economic and legislative, in the hands of the government is exactly the way to secure democracy and freedom…...
The Australian Secular party promotes freedom of thought and expression, as long as that doesn’t include anything religious. Believing a ban in targeted religious education, the Burqa and refusing to fund any school that conducts themselves in line with any religious beliefs. Goodbye practically all the private schools in the country!
The Australian Sports party is focused on helping Australians live a healthy well balanced lifestyle through sport and recreation, which provides enjoyment and creates strong communities. What else? Who knows, they don’t seem to have any other beliefs. AWOL cobber!
The Australian Hemp party on the one hand says “Australians don’t like other people dictating what they can do with our own bodies” but then above this libertarian statement they champion legalising cannabis so the government can “control the unregulated marketplace”. Freedom of choice without a free market, the best kind of freedom (for power hungry politicians perhaps)!
The Wikileaks party has taken the bold step... I mean, accidently preferenced a bunch of extreme right wing parties ahead of Julian Assange's only major political supporters in the Greens party. Administrative error, or deep seeded desire to see Pauline Hanson win a seat? Perhaps they are just looking to inspire Pauline Pantsdown to do another hit.
What to do?
Vote wisely. Make sure that if you do vote above the line the party who will receive your vote is going to place the preferences towards parties that you agree with. Preferably you would vote below the line and ensure that your voice is truly being heard, and not rather the voice of the party power brokers who organise preference deals. However, it is a daunting task. If you are overwhelmed, or completely underwhelmed by those who are running, simply take some artistic license with your ballot sheet. As much as politicians hate to admit it, a donkey vote says a lot about the way people feel about our democracy.
PS, we've got some proponents of particular parties in the dungeons writing us up some previews of what a Labor, Greens, Liberal government would look like. We've also got some non party political writers to give us a contrarian view of Australian Politics. Stay tuned!