I’d like to begin by disclosing that I am a member of the Australian Democrats.
We are another step closer to the Federal Election with Senate preference flows being submitted last Saturday (3 Nov ’07).
Firstly, a brief description of the parties in the Senate contest (some of these parties are only running in certain states):
- Labor: New Leadership, Education Revolution, Sorry, end WorkChoices, high-speed broadband, do something on Climate Change.
- Liberal/National: More of the same, economic prosperity, lower interest rates, security, spending on roads.
- The Greens: the environment and global warming, public education and health, indigenous health, ‘No to Nuclear’.
- The Australian Democrats: human rights, equality for women and respect for aboriginal people, political accountability, international leadership.
- Family First: health and well-being of the family.
- One Nation: protectionist trade strategies, reduce immigration (especially from Asia), reduce benefits given to indigenous Australians
- Pauline: reduce immigration, fixed parliamentary terms, inquiry into energy sources viability and environmental impact, give product aid rather than cash,
- Climate Change Coalition: ratify Kyoto, reduce carbon emissions, oppose nuclear power, introduce emissions trading scheme.
- Carers: funding for disability, aged care and mental health, increased recognition and support for carers.
- What Women Want: female representation in Parliament, fairer workplace, paid maternity leave, affordable childcare, support as carers, choices in child birth, better post-natal care.
- Non-Custodial Parents Party: prevent family breakdown, equal parenting in marriage and after divorce, protection of children after divorce, decreased government intervention, don’t support War in Iraq, free trade, globalisation, reduced emphasis on coal for energy.
- Hear our Voice: ?
- Conservative for Climate and Environment: responsible and economically responsible action on climate change.
- Senator Online: no policy platform. Suggests that the Australian people who have access to the internet will vote on legislation and the majority opinion will be expressed by the candidate.
- Socialist Alliance: end WorkChoices, environment, free health and education, public housing, end discrimination, defend the rights of Aboriginal Australians.
- LDP (Liberty and Democracy Party): decreased government intervention, free trade, reduce tax, minimal public spending, individual freedoms.
- Democratic Labor Party: social and economic justice, firmly against recognition of gay relationships, per capita education voucher, increased military spending, no tax on income saved or invested,
- Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party/The Fishing Party: They like fishing people! oppose bans or restrictions on recreational fishing in National Parks.
- Australian Shooters Party: oppose The Greens policies to protect the environment – defend the right to own a firearm and 4WD in National Parks.
- Citizens Electoral Council: protectionist trade policies, public assets over privatisation, range of assistance for family farmers, remove the GST, increased infrastructure spending and immigration.
- Christian Democratic Party: ‘Christian values and ethics’, security for country and property, improved family life and protection of children (cough, cough), support for Christian education, (wait for it!) ‘legislation to guard life from all destructive forces’.
- Independents: obviously each independent candidate has their own ideas and opinions. Therefore it is difficult for me to write about every independent candidate in the election.
If you vote above the line, the party you vote for will decide who they will give your vote to if they are knocked out of the contest. If you vote below the line, you are able to choose the order of parties that will get your vote if they are knocked out of the contest. Make sure to number ever box though if you are voting below the line, and make sure you display your ability to count.
I was having a discussion with my family about voting for minor parties in the Senate recently. I was suggesting that they vote for a minor party or independent in the Senate so that no matter which major party has control of the Lower House, the Senate would always be a second opportunity for policies to be discussed, and altered. My grandma however revealed a number of things about her political experience when she suggested matter-of-factly that “a vote for the Democrats, is a vote for Labor”. The two things being – her dislike of Labor, and her limited political knowledge (I’d like to point out that I don’t consider myself politically knowledgeable, I just have good googling skills). So is a vote for The Democrats a vote for Labor?
Order of preferences for Democrats in Queensland: Major premise – A vote for the Democrats is not a vote for Pauline!
We Like: Climate Change Coalition, Carers, What Women Want, independents, The Greens.
At least they are better than the Major Parties: Socialist Alliance, LDP, Senator Online, Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party, independents, Labor, Liberal/Nationals.
Not in Hell: The Fishing Party, Democratic Labor Party, independents, Family First, Non-Custodial Parents Party, independents, Australian Shooters Party, Citizens Electoral Council, Christian Democratic Party, One Nation WA, Pauline.
Senator Andrew Bartlett explains:
In deciding our Senate preference ticket in Queensland, the Democrats used the following general principles as a guide to group the various parties:
- smaller parties and independents who are sufficiently like-minded to justifiably put ahead of the Greens.
- smaller parties and independent too philosophically different to be able to justify putting ahead of the Greens, but still okay enough to put ahead of the major parties.
- smaller parties and independents who are basically too antithetical to Democrat philosophy to preference ahead of the major parties.
[..] Given the importance of ending the current situation where one major party controlled the Senate – and the appalling display of debauching due process which the Coalition had engaged since it gained that Senate control – we decided to put our preferences to Labor ahead of the Coalition.
In Queensland, an ‘above the line’ vote for the Democrats will be counted as a vote for Labor before it is can be counted as a vote for the Coalition (I have a limited understanding of how the counting process occurs and trying to explain it is even more difficult). However if I vote below the line, I am able to put Labor and the Coalition in any position I like. Therefore, a vote for the Democrats is not necessarily a vote for Labor. Moral of the story – just take the extra 10 seconds and vote below the line!
Check where your preferences will be going (if you vote above the line) : New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Australian Capital Territory.