How to vote (below the line…)

Having written up 39 political parties or groups, plus two ungrouped independents in the space of about two weeks, I’m finding that while I have all the information in theory, it’s really hard to remember, in practice, what half of those parties are.  It’s certainly beyond my powers to hold all 97 candidates in my head well enough to order them as conscientiously as I would like.

On the principle that I may not be the only person having this difficulty, here’s my plan for ordering my ballot:

1. Figure out what my core policies are.

2. Read through my party summaries again, because I honestly have no memory of writing some of them.  It’s been an interesting fortnight.

3. Give every party a ranking from 1 – 5:

  1. This is the sort of party I’d put first on my ballot, if only my ballot were not the size of my bedroom.  I’m actually both surprised and pleased to have so many 1 rankings this time around.  Really tiny parties and independents have a higher chance of ending up here, just because they are unlikely to go far, so they might as well get my $2.488 for a first preference, knowing that their votes will flow on nicely to another party and maybe stop there.
  2. This is the sort of party that may not fulfil my wildest fantasies of what a political party should entail, but is a good, solid party that deserves my vote.
  3. Don’t care either way. Or, alternatively, the sort of party that I’m not going to vote for myself, but wouldn’t mind seeing getting up in Queensland… (sorry Queenslanders – I’m not really picking on you, but you do seem to be the birthplace of all our very best crazy parties)
  4. Somewhat awful but probably will not reduce the country to a burning pile of rubble within the next three years.
  5. Oh God, no.

This should divide my ticket up into far more manageable chunks.  I can then move on to the next step, which is:

4.  Ordering the parties within each category.  And, if I’m feeling evil, ordering the candidates within each party.  I like putting female candidates ahead of male candidates, just because.  After all, the AEC vote counters are going to find my ticket wildly annoying anyway, so I might as well.

5. Pop across to to make myself a how to vote card.

That’s the best I can do.  Does anyone have a better idea about how to manage this ballot?

(other than voting above the line, of course)

19 thoughts on “How to vote (below the line…)

  1. Hi Cate! Read your blog over the last couple of days, good stuff. I’ve put them all in a spreadsheet because I’m a bit strange like that. Four main categories: Votes, Middles, 1 Policy Parties and Nutjobs, and then subcategories within each. Spreadsheets are rad because you can filter and sort stuff and move them back and forth between the categories easy ( ._.)b

    Yay democracy!

  2. Dear Catherine,

    Thanks for putting all this together; you rock!

    Do you suppose Melbourne Weather [which, like Foul Ol’ Ron’s odour, has its own varied & active social life] inspired so much cross-continental crazy? It’s rather reassuring that all countries are wackadoo, each in their own weird way.


    • Hi Filkferengi,

      I don’t think you can blame Melbourne weather from this – a startling number of our whackiest political parties actually emanate from Queensland. Our religious nut-jobs are sadly a bit more local, though, despite Melbourne’s current policy of exporting hyper-conservative archbishops to Sydney…

  3. I commend the work, and the necessary sense of humour, that went into your party summaries. I stumbled across your blog whilst looking for info on some of the independents, and ended up going through all of your posts as I agreed with so much of it. You’ve definitely helped me place the independent unknowns in my preferences. Thank you.

  4. You’re a legend. Like Anne, I, too, stumbled across your blog looking up an indie (Kylie Nicholls – since I also like to put female candidates higher up where possible just to make a statement). I still have some notes on the parties from 2010, but OMG, this year’s ballot is just nuts! It took me two hours just to wrangle them into some sort of order, and now I’m reading your notes to see if I missed something.

    Thank you for your hard work.

    • Thank you so much Elle – I’m extremely glad to hear that these posts have helped people. Incidentally, I understand that Kylie Nicholls is Bob’s daughter, for what it’s worth – I don’t have any other information on her, and at this stage, I don’t think I have time to go looking.

      Happy voting!


  5. Wow, you’re way more conscientious than I was in analysing the Victorian Senate. I quickly decided I didn’t like any of the registered Group Voting Tickets. I decided to put all of the three major parties likely to win seats in their own right ahead of most of the single-issue, unknown quantity parties, aside from the few that I throughly checked out or had a political leaning towards; as a result, my 97 preferences are allocated as Groups S, Leslie Cannold, AL, AA, AC, I, AD, T, E, and then ‘boustrophedon’ starting with Lyn Gunter and finishing with Danny Nalliah – my vote should already be thoroughly exhausted by the time it gets to my 28th preference, given the Greens, Labor, and the LNP will almost reach 6 quotas by themselves.

    There are other groups who I tend to think have good policies or a likely good candidates, but I really fail to see them making any headway when we have a ridiculous number of parties trying to rort the Senate voting process, which makes the sixth state seat a lottery. As Antony Green put it, it’s fundamentally broken in terms of giving equitable representation to minor parties and desperately needs fixing before we get a double dissolution and then the twelfth seat will need a far smaller quota.

    BTW, I would not have preferenced Groups N and O any differently – I would guess they’re both a front for the exact same organisation, given the near identical nature of their GVTs.

    • Hi Xanthe-Catherine (yay for people called Catherine!),

      Love your post! Why is everyone else so much better at being concise than me?

      I suspect you are right about the two fishing parties, but since I suspect my votes will be exhausted before reaching any of them, I’m not going to worry too much.

      I have to admit, I like me a good single issue party, and why should the big parties have all the fun. But then, you probably guessed that from my ticket.

      Best wishes,

      The other Catherine

      • Hi again, you’re definitely the original Catherine on here 😉

        I like me a good single-issue party as well. When I was a student at the University of Tasmania umpteen-mumble years ago, the state parliament gave itself a rather obscene pay raise, so a scalliwag of my acquaintance started the ‘Extremely Greedy 40% Extra Party’, to ensure that those exact words would be printed on every ballot paper at the next election (which Google is telling me was 1996). It was an absurdly easy party to join, so I did.

        I’m in Gellibrand, which makes my lower house vote about as useful as a chocolate teapot, so as I said in the post, I’m registering a protest vote against Labor (putting Tim Watts last) for allowing such a scurrilous misogynist preselection campaign in the seat. I don’t recommend anyone does that in any other electorate though, as we need an Abbott government like we need a sledge hammer blow to the cranium!


  6. Hi, a NSW friend of Xanthe here. I apologise for my pedantry but you can’t put two decimal points in one number. It’s either $2.488 or 248.8 cents. Thanks for the post.

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