Are you tired of the status quo? Do you wish there was another option outside of the two-party system? Have you forgotten that Australia has preferential voting?
Good news everyone!
Australia has preferential voting!
If you’re old enough to remember the last decade of self-interested politicians with no true vision for Australia then perhaps this is the how-to-vote blog for you.
Let’s face it, Australia hasn’t had a leader with a vision for Australia since Howard, except his vision was the Australia of the 1950s because whitey Australia is a mighty Australia.
The last government to make sweeping changes to how the country operates was the Hawke/Keating government, but that was because they introduced neo-liberalism, as was the style at the time, which helped collapse the global financial markets in 2008, except for Australia, which was saved from recession by Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan.
The last government to define Australia for the next generation was the Whitlam government, installed after the Coalition churned through five Prime Ministers in six years, a time in which the country had stagnated under 23 years of Coalition governance.
And so, as Australia goes to the polls after once more seeing off five Prime Ministers in six years, it’s worth looking at the options that could help make Australia great again, or even just for the first time.
How to vote Green
Generally speaking, the best major party option for a forward facing and progressive Australia is to put the Greens ahead of Labor and the Liberal/National Parties; as well as putting Clive Palmer’s One Nation and Pauline Hanson’s United Australia Party and Fraser Anning’s Nazi Party last.
It’s easy to hate on the Greens for opposing coal mining in the face of a climate catastrophe; or for wanting to increase the rate of Newstart – based on all leading economists saying that it would boost the economy in a manner not seen in a generation; or for wanting to legalise cannabis – based on all leading economists saying that it would boost the economy in a manner not seen in a generation; but the Australian media hates evidence-based policy and as a result the ALP and L/NP refuse to implement it, because they rely on positive press coverage to get their corporate-sponsored message out to voters.
The Greens aren’t perfect, but as far as major parties running in all seats with a full complement of Senate candidates go, they’re the best option Australia has for forming government. Australia needs radical change, the like of which we haven’t seen since Whitlam, and only the Greens are capable of providing this.
All of Labor’s progressive policies have been co-opted from the Greens over the years: the Greens were the first party to push for marriage equality; they were the first major party to push for a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption; the Greens have been calling for changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax rebates for years; and they’re the only major party to oppose opening up the Galilee Basin in Queensland to coal mining – for multiple reasons, including climate change (duh), and the fact that Adani have boasted that their mine would be almost entirely autonomous – meaning the government’s claim of 10,000 jobs being created is entirely bullshit.
You can read their full suite of policies here: greens.org.au
How to vote for a minor party
Voting for a minor party can help to send a message about what you believe in, and what you would like to see addressed, and, as the last 6 years have highlighted, it can introduce a swathe of new opinions to the Senate – preferably with fewer Nazis this time.
The Senate paper is over a metre long in many states, so you’ll actually have to read the party names to know who you’re voting for. Also, the Yellow Vest Movement in Australia is full of neo-Nazis. Don’t vote for them.
The best options (in no particular order) are:
- Australian Progressives – the name says it all. They’re a progressive party running on a progressive platform for a progressive future. They’re running Lower House candidates in Canberra, Bean, Fenner (all ACT), Longman (QLD), and Sturt (SA). They tend to be fairly receptive on social media, so if you’re in one of these seats hit them up if you have questions.
- HEMP – Help End Marijuana Prohibition. Vote 1 HEMP. No joke. It’s past time Australia legalised the substance over 40% of Australians have tried, and most Australians support such a measure. The Coalition claims to have made medical cannabis accessible, but that’s as true as their claim to have funded the NDIS. Canada and the US have seen massive success in the legalisation of marijuana, and it would be very easy to establish in Australia, given the relatively low population and excellent growing conditions. Honestly, HEMP is the sensible choice for primary vote preference.
- Socialists – Victorian Socialists/Socialist Alliance/Socialist Equality Party. Look, no one would ever lump all neo-Marxists into the same basket, but… well… I mean, they basically stand for the same stuff. This is the fringe left News Corp warned you about. They struggle to work together even if they want the same thing. Definitely worth preferencing ahead of Labor. They’re running in various Upper and Lower House seats.
- Australian Workers Party – if Labor actually represented workers. Mostly concerned with protecting the rights of workers, founded by a former Labor candidate from the Blue Mountains, all policies available on their website. They’re worth checking out because, for a micro-party, they have a fairly fleshed out platform that would be good to see in the Senate. Consider preferencing them in your top six above the line, ahead of Labor and the Greens.
- Animal Justice Party – who doesn’t love dogs? But also, Australia, and the world, is in the midst of a mass extinction event. There have been numerous exposés around live exports and animal welfare on various farms around the country. Vegan or not, it’s not hard to treat animals and livestock with more dignity and humanity. Also, greyhound racing should have ended after that Four Corners investigation.
- Affordable Housing Party – Australia is staring down the barrel of a housing crisis. The Labor housing policy doesn’t come close to what is needed to offset the pending crisis. So much property has already been removed from the market, and the ALP only intends to end negative gearing for future investment. They don’t yet have a plan for the massive tax breaks offered to anyone preventing first home buyers from entering the market. What’s more, they aren’t doing anything to help those stuck renting with almost no rights. That’s why there is a need to offer second preference to the Affordable Housing Party, or first preference if you believe housing matters more than legalising cannabis. Y’know, whatever works for you.
- Science Party – evidence-based policy. Techno-futurist vision for Australia. Pretty simple stuff. If you want to live in a Star Trek-like utopia, vote for the Science Party. Their policies are sound. That’s it. Check out their policy page and vote for them. End of discussion.
- Sustainable Australia – unfairly tarred as anti-immigration. Sustainable Australia draws on a number of progressive policies, but all anyone wants to talk about is their immigration stance. They’re pro-sustainable migration, with a strong focus on investing in infrastructure that would support future migration. They support refugees and want Manus and Nauru closed. Not exactly the Nazis some have claimed them to be.
- Pirate Party – concerned with ethics in video game journalism. While the Pirate Party have a number of decent policy positions, they’ve also had issues with women and respect. Somewhat on a par with Better Families in that they have progressive positions, but also have some low-key MRA tendencies. They’re not the worst, but there are better options, in both instances.
- Independents for Climate Action Now – the Father Rod Bower “Party”. You know Rod Bower? The priest behind the Gosford Anglican Church billboards? Yeah, that guy. He’s running for the Senate with a few others. He probably won’t get elected, but deserves a preference for how outspoken he has been on countless political issues, especially under the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government.
- The Women’s Party – mouthy broads. Just kidding. Average progressive politics with a particular focus on women’s issues.
- Secular Party – separation of church and state. Tax religion. End the special treatment for organisations continuing to protect paedophiles. Remove SRE and chaplains from schools to be replaced by morality/philosophy classes and non-religious trained counsellors.
- Together Party/Australian People’s Party – vaguely leftist ideals. Just read their policies, see if you agree with them. At this point, there is a bit of barrel scraping going on, but they’re still a far better option than anything to the right of the ALP.
- Seniors United Party of Australia – Matlock Expressway. Not necessarily progressive, HOWEVER, there is a serious lack of policy that addresses the needs of older Australians. Aged care is a total mess, half the stuff that has come up in the Royal Commission barely scratches the surface of the aged care sector.
It is a horrendous clusterfuck.
My Aged Care, the government funded portal for aged care services, is barely functional and entirely privatised, from call centre to service provider. Elder abuse often goes ignored, understaffing is rife in hospitals and aged care facilities, and the government has ended the National Dementia Strategy despite the fact that dementia will be the number one killer of Australians within thirty years. Services for older Australians need a total overhaul, because honestly, for all of the major parties the seniors policy platform is a fucking disgrace.
The best thing about the changes made to the Senate electoral process ahead of the 2016 election means preferential voting has never been easier. You can number all the boxes you want above the line on the Upper House form (white paper) without having to look below the line, unless you want to stick it to the man.
The AEC recommends numbering at least six boxes above the line, but given how many options there are in most states, it’s worth preferencing all the parties you would like to see elected, which means you DON’T have to vote for Hanson/Palmer/Anning/Morrison/various-other-Nazis-and-lunatics at all.
Polling shows growing disaffection with politics across the country and progressive voters have the most to fight for. I mean, shit, look at how many Nazis – actual fucking Nazis – have been either elected or preselected in the last decade. Even the “moderates” in the Liberal/National Parties are either bigots or spineless douche-canoes. Or both.
In the Lower House (green paper) you have to number every box, so put any of the minor parties listed above ahead of the Greens, then any decent Independents ahead of Labor (mostly only in Warringah because there’s a need to get Abbott out).
Put One Nation/United Australia/Fraser Anning’s Conservative Nationals/Christian Democrats/Liberals/Nationals last, or after the Greens and Labor at the least.
Also, there are plenty of minor parties not listed because there are SO MANY proto-fascists, anti-vaxxers, fringe lunatics, and hollow morons running for Parliament in this election.
This list of progressives worth voting for is not exhaustive, but it’s pretty close and can be handy if you just want the names of the parties you should be preferencing in the Senate.
This election has been a total shitfight, and the only option is to ensure the far right maniacs are kept out of Parliament.