Ask someone what donkey voting is, and they might say it’s when you spoil your ballot by adding an additional candidate; or maybe it’s when you draw a cock and balls across the senate paper; wait, isn’t it when you write your name on the paper? None of these are correct.
A donkey vote is when you number the boxes sequentially from top to bottom on the green House of Representatives form, and/or the white Senate paper starting with a 1 above the line in the box furthest to the left (column A) and numbering the next six boxes to the right (columns B – F).
It is a valid, formal vote and will be counted. It’s also how David Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate in 2013. This is the danger of donkey voting – it can encourage the fuckwittery of deluded wingnuts.
In this election, in every state and territory, the coveted first column on the Senate ballot is held by either a lobby group or a party with offensive and/or dangerous views.
ACT – Liberal Democrats The party of the aforementioned Leyonhjelm, they stand for gun manufacturers, big tobacco, offensive ignorance, and are deeply offended by the prospect of clean energy. The only reason to vote for the LDP is if you enjoy the idea of living in a post-apocalyptic future, where literally everyone is dead including you.
As party leader, David Leyonhjelm has claimed that if the victims of the Sydney Siege had access to guns it would have been prevented (despite all evidence to the contrary); and earlier this year he stated that because smokers die earlier, they cost the health system far less and so should be taxed less. As you could guess, logic isn’t his strong suit.
NSW – Health Australia Anti-vaccination, anti-science, anti-health. The name is deliberately deceptive, like the Nazi Party renaming itself Friends of the Jewish Community. Health Australia represents the views of a dangerous minority, obsessed with the idea that magic water can fix anything and vaccinations cause literally every possible health issue. They can generally be held responsible for the rise in incidences of measles, whooping cough and any number of preventable, potentially fatal childhood diseases.
NT – Rise Up Australia Far right-wing neo-nazis, they are opposed to Islam and multiculturalism, homosexuality and heterosexual cohabitation, climate science and evolution. The party founder and leader, Danny Nalliah claimed the Black Saturday bushfires were a result of God punishing Victoria for abortions. Nalliah also believes he has personally resurrected at least three people and communicated directly with God on a number of occasions. If elected, RUAP intends to overhaul Australia’s media laws to restrict “immoral” content.
In simpler terms, they support a Judeo-Christian version of the Wahabbism they desperately fear.
QLD – Australian Cyclists The little lobby group that could, the cyclists stand for… cyclists. And cycling-related issues. That’s about it. I don’t know what else to tell you. If you believe cycling is a federal issue, then yeah, vote for them I guess. I mean, education and health are important too, but bikes are cool I guess. Anyway…
SA – Mature Australia The political version of those over-50s insurance ads, Mature Australia is another lobby group aiming to make an impact in Canberra. Unlike the cyclists, aged care is historically under-funded and older Australians are poorly represented by their elected officials. I’m not saying they should be elected, but they do have some cause for running for office. That said, most of their policies are covered on daytime talkback radio.
TAS – Family First Vile, hateful bigots, the first placed Senate candidate, Peter Madden, responded to the worst mass shooting in US history by tweeting:
Though Orlando is abhorrent, it doesn’t change the real & present dangers of the gay marriage agenda to Aus children.
In Tasmania, the state that suffered the worst mass shooting in Australian history and only decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, it is absolutely unacceptable for anyone, let alone a Senate candidate, to draw a parallel between a horrific hate crime and marriage equality.
VIC – Derryn Hinch Senator Hinch is a terrifying thought for anyone who grew up watching Hinch. Running on an anti-paedophile platform, it’s difficult to fault Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, unless you mention the sexual relationship Hinch had with a 15-year-old in his early thirties.
Derryn Hinch is looking to toughen state crime laws and wants state-based bail reform, which is why he is running for the Federal Senate, to change the laws of the states, which can only be done in state parliaments, not federal parliament.
WA – Christian Democrats Many negative things have been said about the Fred Nile group, and here are a few more:
– The party is anti-pornography, but NSW State Parliament records showed that the computers in Fred Nile’s office were used to access porn sites around 200,000 times.
– In the wake of the Sydney Siege, Fred Nile proudly stated that the gunman was the “only man” inside the Lindt cafe, because, one assumes, Nile wanted more innocent people to be shot.
– Fred Nile has continually proposed “Zoe’s Law”, to impose personhood to unborn foetuses in an attempt to outlaw abortions. Brodie Donegan, the mother of Zoe, the unborn baby killed after Brodie was hit by a drug-affected driver, opposes Nile’s machinations and has worked to introduce her own version of the law with other NSW politicians. Nile continues to impose his beliefs on Brodie’s child, claiming to speak for them when he is in no way associated with Ms Donegan.
The CDP have always been the enemy of intelligence and reason, bastions of ignorance and regressive politics. They stand in the way of safe injecting rooms and same-sex parents, they demand the re-criminalisation of abortions, and claim that Australia is becoming an Islamic nation, all the while trying to legislate scripture classes in all schools.
They’re the Westboro Baptist Church of Australian politics.
So the question is, why do people donkey vote? The most common excuses are protest, apathy, and ignorance. But this isn’t good enough.
If you object to compulsory voting, stay home and cop the fine. Fill in your ballot randomly if you must. Or, better yet, work out why you don’t like being forced to vote. Is it the fact that you have to leave the house? Because postal votes exist. Is it that you don’t like being told what to do? You’d like it even less if your freedoms were stripped by some far-right fascist party. Get your head out of your ass and educate yourself. Learn why your vote matters.
If you don’t like the candidates, consider running for office. That’s the beauty of our system, if you don’t like it, you can join in and change it. Or, look around the plethora of candidates and parties that exist, see if you can find one that’s close to what you believe in, odds are there’s a party that fits you.
If you don’t care who gets your vote, you’re an idiot. The first people to complain after an election are those who didn’t care about their vote in the polling booth. Look no further than the buyer’s remorse coming from the Brexit referendum to see what happens when people don’t care enough about their vote.
If you don’t understand how the voting system works in Australia, Google it. Ask someone who does understand it. Christ, ask me if you have to. You’re reading this, so contact me on Twitter if you want to know more.
Donkey votes are a terrible waste, because when a donkey vote is successful, no one is happy with the result.