The 2013 election exposed voters to a concept that was, for many, previously unheard-of: electing small party candidates to the Senate. While independent Senators such as Brian Harradine and Nick Xenophon found success in representing their states, it has always been harder for smaller parties to build a following at a federal level. The death of the Australian Democrats is a testament to the thin ice small federal parties are constantly standing on and yet, having learnt nothing from Clive Palmer’s vanity project, all of the independent Senators from the last Parliament have formed their own small parties and are running multiple candidates in this election.
Despite the government blaming an unruly Senate for its failure to pass any real legislation, the decision to go to a double dissolution means that the Senators the government was trying to get rid of will not only be returned, but in greater numbers. The crossbench is bound to expand, not only in the Senate but also in the House of Representatives, and the small parties filling it will likely be elected because of their stunts, gaffes and hardcore racism.
To help make your preferencing easier, here is a quick guide to the small parties and their demented ideologies.
The Mavericks – Nick Xenophon/Derryn Hinch/Bob Katter
Nick Xenophon, Derryn Hinch, and Bob Katter have all made their names through various political stunts. Populists hoping to capitalise on the protest vote, these three men and their associated political parties are hoping that voters don’t look too closely at their policies.
The Nick Xenophon Team stands for all of the things Xenophon stood for as an independent Senator. Somewhat centrist, though mostly left-wing, NXT is anti-gambling and pro-South Australia, working hard to bring business to the state, no matter how negative the impact on the Australian economy. Nick Xenophon ostensibly believes in climate change, taking a why-risk-it approach. He also firmly believes in the thoroughly debunked Wind Turbine Syndrome, helping the Abbott government to slash funding to alternative power sources.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is running on an anti-crime, anti-paedophile platform. Hinch has spent time in prison for repeatedly being in contempt of court, though not for his sexual relationship with a fifteen-year-old. The vast majority of changes Hinch wants can only be made at a state level, which is why he’s running in a federal election, to change the laws of the states, which can only be done in state parliaments, not federal parliament.
Katter’s Australia Party is presenting itself as a genuine rural alternative to the Nationals. The party’s policies reflect the values of farmers and outback Australians, especially the deeply homophobic, inbreeding, backwood-Deliverance types that inhabit parts of Northern Queensland. Katter himself made headlines in this election for an ad, in conjunction with satirical news site The Betoota Advocate that depicted the Mad Katter shooting dead his political rivals for trying to sell-off Australia; the ad was released within days of the Orlando mass shooting.
Fun fact: Maverick independents can make decent politicians as they tend to work harder for their communities, but when they form parties based on their vague ideologies, it gets weird.
The PUPs – Lambie/Brick/Wang
In 2013, the three Palmer United Senators proved that literally anybody can become a politician. Since then, Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus have split from Clive, with Zhenya “Dio” Wang the only remaining PUP Senator. Their policies range from the bizarre to the bigoted, with the poorly defined in-between.
The Jacqui Lambie Network represents Jacqui Lambie’s attempt to become the new Pauline Hanson. After the resurgence of the redheaded racist, Lambie sought to distinguish herself from Hanson, transitioning her platform to one of Islamophobia and xenophobia, an opposition to same-sex marriage, a disregard for the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, and is pushing to reintroduce the death penalty. The key point of difference here being that Hanson is from Queensland, while Lambie is Tasmanian.
Glenn Lazarus and his Team almost certainly stand for threatening to digitally rape the Prime Minister. A former NRL player, Glenn Lazarus is noteworthy for his three year political career, as opposed to the three-minute career of fellow NRL star Mal Meninga.
Palmer United Party are a party that almost don’t exist. Palmer is no longer the leader, Wang is the only remaining parliamentarian, and only a handful of candidates are running in this election, as opposed to a full field in the 2013 election.
Fun fact: Jacqui Lambie’s incoherent rambling can be amusing to witness first-hand, but that doesn’t mean she should be in the Senate. At most, she should have her own reality show.
The Tweens – Pirate Party/Sex Party/HEMP
These three parties trade largely on the immature douche-canoe and ignorant teenage votes. Their aim is to attract votes based on the notion that their names sound vaguely rebellious.
“Lolz, I voted for the *Sex* party.”
“Yarr, I’m a pirate.”
“Dude, I’m voting for the weed party.”
These three quotes represent the voter base of the Sex, Pirate and Marijuana Parties.
The Pirate Party stands for online rights. They have broadened their policy base over the years to include some left-wing ideologies, but their primary cause is to deregulate the internet and make it easier to torrent Game of Thrones and shitty copies of the latest Star Wars filmed on someone’s iPhone with hard-coded Korean subtitles.
The Sex Party stands for sex workers and hating the Greens. Opposed to drug detection “sniffer” dogs, Sex Party officials have threatened to report the Greens anti-drug dog affiliate Sniff Off to the police for informing people of their rights regarding the dogs. Allegedly left-wing libertarians whose natural ally should be the Greens, the Sex party have cut preference deals with the Liberal and Labor parties in efforts to shut out the Greens.
Help End Marijuana Prohibition a.k.a. HEMP a.k.a. The Marijuana Party are a single issue party, advocating the legalisation of marijuana. According to HEMP, marijuana is a super-plant capable of replacing all recognised medical treatments and all known building materials. It’s also handy for getting buzzed and eating Cheetos.
Fun fact: If you google any of these parties you will invariably find instructions for hosting children’s parties and/or drug-fuelled orgies.
The Hitler Youth – One Nation/Australia First/Liberty Alliance/Rise Up/Sustainable Australia
The various groups of racists, bigots and Nazis that gained prominence since the last election have formed a series of racist, bigoted micro-parties to match their racist, bigoted micro-penises. The fact that they couldn’t come together to form one group says everything about their inability to work with others toward a common goal. These groups have one thing in common, the single brain cell they share.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is a collective of garbage people rallying around the formerly racist, now Islamophobic stain on Australia’s recent political history. They stand for incest, necrophilia, coprophila, bestiality, and genocide. If you enjoy these things, then One Nation is the party for you.
Fun fact: The more overt the patriotism of party website, the more likely it is to be a Nazi organisation.
The Leyonhjelms – Liberal Democrats/Outdoor Recreation/Smokers Rights
David Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate in 2013 after voters mistook the Liberal Democrats for the Liberal Party. He was helped by a series of shell parties with catchy names and non-specific aims that he created to funnel preferences to the Liberal Democrats. Parties with names such as Stop The Greens (Outdoor Recreation), Smokers Rights and The Republican Party of Australia capitalised on the ignorance of voters and helped expose the nation to the most obnoxious political fuckwit in Australian history, on par with Donald Trump in the United States.
The Liberal Democrats are right-wing libertarians working to advance the causes of their biggest supporters: weapons manufacturers, the tobacco industry, fossil fuel producers, and the offensively stupid.
Fun fact: Leyonhjelm has defended the controversial Wicked Camper vans, claiming that those offended by the vans were “authoritarians disguised as hippies or feminists”. Yet Leyonhjelm took incredible offence at a Chaser stunt involving Leyonhjelm and Wicked Camper slogans, not finding them funny at all. He went on to throw a tantrum on Twitter, making Senator Leyonhjelm a “particularly wowserish kind of person” indeed.
The Hippies – Animal Justice/Australian Cyclists
Two single-issue parties advocating for the apparently under-represented animal and cycling communities. Unfortunately neither party has a policy for animals riding bicycles.
The Animal Justice Party only has animal related policies, pushing for the abolition of animals as property, including banning the sale of pets. The party would also like to protect the rights of feral and introduced species alongside native species, because that’s exactly how nature works.
The Australian Cyclists Party advocates for state-based cycling reforms, at a federal level. It’s entirely possible that they don’t understand how the Federation works. The cyclists oppose mandatory helmet laws. Their theory is: If there’s nothing between their ears, why bother protecting it?
Fun fact: The Cyclists Party oppose the automotive industry and to display their hostility, made bumper stickers that say, “I cycle and I vote”.
The Criminally Insane – Citizens Electoral Council/Health Australia
Few people have heard of the Citizens Electoral Council or Health Australia, as their cult-like policies turn most casual voters away. Political bastions of conspiracy theories, these two parties would be the fun kind of crazy if not for their dangerously offensive ideals.
The Citizens Electoral Council are racist, homophobic, antisemites obsessed with the notion that the British Royal Family are responsible for the global drug trade. The CEC absolutely opposes the notion of anthropogenic climate change, believing it to be a global conspiracy to impose “Hitler-Nazi race science” on Africa. The party believes that the Liberal Party was founded by pro-Hitler fascists, that most of the legislation passed by the Howard government was fascist, and that the Port Arthur Massacre was a false-flag operation instigated by the British Royal Fascists.
Health Australia would have voters believe that they are not dangerous anti-vaxxers peddling the outrageous lies that:
– vaccinations cause autism
– fluoride is a mind controlling chemical
– magic water can cure everything from the common cold to HIV
– the government is run by Big Pharma
Of course, the facts are that Health Australia does believe all of the above and are trying to manufacture a new image that would make them more electable. The group is far more dangerous for Australia than Pauline Hanson and her goose-stepping brethren, and that’s saying something.
Fun fact: The CEC stand for the reintroduction of the Glass-Steagall banking legislation, a measure introduced in the United States in 1933 to limit the trade of commercial banks and securities firms. It was repealed in 1999 by President Bill Clinton, and many believe this was a major factor in the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Glass-Steagall has never been Australian legislation and so it is not exactly clear how the CEC could bring it back, if elected.
The Theocrats – Family First/CDP/Madigan/Australian Christians
Hardcore Christians hell-bent on destroying women’s health services and eliminating the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people, the policies of these groups are fairly interchangeable. From gay conversion therapy to banning abortions for all women – including the victims of incest and rape, almost everything these parties stand for is reprehensible. On their list of pet-hates are:
– the right to die with dignity
– safe injecting rooms for drug addicts
– ethics lessons in schools
– internet freedom
– taking action to prevent climate change
The main aim of all of these parties is to enforce the role and rule of Christianity in Australia on a scale close to the role and rule of Wahhabi Islam in the Islamic State.
Fun fact: John Madigan of John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party appears in the video below.
The Bogans – Motoring Enthusiasts/Shooters
Ricky Muir was never supposed to be a Senator. Because of the micro-preferencing that occurred in the 2013 election, Muir found himself elected to the Senate with just 0.51% of the primary vote. At first, Muir was treated as a joke, unable to define his role in the Senate or describe how the Australian Parliament works. As time went on, however, Muir’s role on the crossbench became vital in preventing the passage of the Abbott/Turnbull government’s harsher measures. The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party stands for roads, cars and car users. And that’s about it.
The Shooters Party has changed its name over the years, adding different causes to their name in order to garner more votes. They oppose the Greens. Its present incarnation, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party stands for shooters, fishers and farmers. And that’s about it.
Fun fact: The Shooters party believe that the firearms legislation passed in 1996 after the Port Arthur massacre has done absolutely nothing to increase public safety, despite all evidence to the contrary. Apparently zero mass shootings and gun-related suicides and homicides falling by 65% and 59% respectively equates to a total failure of policy. Go figure.
The Bourgeoisie – Socialist Equality/Socialist Alliance
Populated by the worst elements of Sydney and Monash University student unionism, the Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Equality Party stand for the right to scream in the face of anyone who attempts to engage them in a civil discussion. They also enjoy rioting and abusing police.
Fun fact: The membership of both of these parties is largely made up of students from upper-middle class families many of whom panicked after reading one too many Ayn Rand novels and now believe that a new world order can only come from creating chaos.
The Portfolios – Secular/Science/Marriage Equality/Drug Reform/Euthanasia/Renewable Energy/Arts/Veterans/Seniors
These single issue micro parties exist because no one ever told them about the concept of lobbying politicians directly and approaching the respective Minister for their area of concern. What they stand for is in their name.
Fun fact: While the Secular Party of Australia want to get religion out of politics and education, they are also of the Dawkins-Harris School of Islamophobia, claiming that there is a direct link between halal certification in Australia and genital mutilation in Indonesia.
The Apps – Online Direct Democracy/Flux
Two parties that literally stand for nothing, both Online Direct Democracy and Flux offer citizens the ability to vote on legislation before the Parliament. Electing a candidate from ODD or Flux means electing a proxy Senator who will vote for or against a bill based on the will of the people. If a certain threshold isn’t reached, the Senator will abstain. At present, neither party plans to introduce legislation.
Fun fact: Flux allow voters to trade their votes like Pokémon on matters they don’t care about because democracy.
After this election, the Senate crossbench will likely expand to record levels, and as such it’s important that those filling it have the best interests of all Australians as their primary cause for being there.
To the Senators who win a seat in this election:
Good luck and don’t fuck it up.