I always vote below the line in elections. There’s something very satisfying about figuring out which political party is the most vile of all, and putting them dead last. Also, of course, if you vote above the line, your preferences are distributed according to the preferences of the party you select… which can mean they sometimes go places that you really wish they wouldn’t.
With this in mind – and particularly after the shenanigans at the Federal Election which resulted in Family First getting up much against the wishes of most constituents – I encourage everyone to vote below the line if possible. If you can’t do so, for whatever reason, I suggest you have a look at the 2006 Group Voting Tickets for the Victorian State Election before election day, and figure out which party is distributing preferences most according to your wishes.
I don’t claim to be unbiased (I think you all know that I am, once again, handing out how to vote cards and scrutineering for the Greens) – but my primary agenda in this and any election is that people vote knowledgeably. Vote for whoever you choose – but please make sure you DO choose, and that you know who and what you are voting for. I could, I hope, be satisfied even with the scary religious parties in power, provided I thought that was what the Australian Public actually wanted (though, admittedly, I would probably choose to be satisfied with this from New Zealand, as clearly a country which truly thought this way would not be my country any more). But I have more faith in the Australian Public than that.
In order to further my ambitious political agenda of Knowledgeable Voting, I have created what I believe is a complete list of parties participating in the current election (yes, even the ones I utterly loathe), with links to their policy pages. Have a look behind the cut if you want to know more. We may only have one vote each, but it is our responsibility to use it as well as we can.
Australian Democrats: http://vic.democrats.org.au/cs/commitments.html
Australian Labor Party: http://www.vic.alp.org.au/dl/2006_vic_platform.pdf (this link is to a PDF)
Christian Democratic Party: http://www.christiandemocratic.org.au/vic/index.htm
Citizens’ Electoral Council: http://www.cecaust.com.au/main.asp?sub=info&id=cec.htm
Country Alliance: http://www.countryalliance.org.au/policies.htm
Democratic Labor Party: http://www.dlp.org.au/policies.htm
National Party: http://www.vicnats.com/policies/default.asp
People Power: http://www.peoplepower.org.au/VIC06/Policies%203.htm
Socialist Alliance: http://www.socialist-alliance.org/page.php?page=190
The Australian Greens: http://www.vic.greens.org.au/about-the-greens/policy/policy-documents/
I haven’t found all the Independents yet – I’ll see how I go for time.