We have come to the end of our journey through the small parties and independents who aspire to the Legislative Council, and this means that there is only one thing left for us to do.
Tomorrow, we vote.
Tomorrow, you vote.
And this is important.
I know it doesn’t always feel particularly worthwhile to go to the trouble of casting your vote, especially if, like me, you live in a safe seat, but trust me, your vote matters. It does count. And, as we saw in Indi in 2013, or in Bennelong in 2007, even a safe seat can be lost if enough people decide that they’ve had enough, and change their voting habits.
In the Legislative Council, your vote matters even more, because there is no such thing as a safe seat there. Certainly, we know that most of the seats are going to be held by Liberal and Labor, but there’s a very good chance that those precious final seats in each region could go to… well, just about anyone, really. Over on the ABC website, they have a Legislative Council Calculator, where you can enter percentages of the vote for each party, press go, and it shows you what would happen if everyone voted above the line. Some of the possibilities are alarming.
So here is my plea to you. If you have been reading these posts, please, make your vote count. Vote intelligently. Vote compassionately. And above all, vote below the line. Don’t let someone else decide where your preferences go – decide for yourself. Yes, it takes longer, but it’s much more rewarding.
Remember, too, that as of this election, you only need to put numbers against five candidates below the line for your vote to be formal. I’ve written more about this here, but essentially what this means is that provided you get your first five preferences right, your vote will count. Your preferences will be counted beyond that point until your vote runs out of numbers (at which point your vote is ‘exhausted’, and so, in all probability, are the people counting it), but if you accidentally write in 20 two times, that won’t render your vote invalid. It will just be considered to end at 19.
Personally, I fully intend to number all the way to the bottom of the ticket. There is something very, very satisfying about being able to put one’s most loathed party dead last. And I already know just who is getting that honour this election.
I have to admit, I still haven’t quite decided who is going to get my top spot in the Senate. I know, of course, where I will be ranking the larger parties in relation to each other, but there are still a few cases where I’m going to need to do some re-reading, and some thinking, before I decide just where they go on the ticket.
The hard parties to place, I’m finding, are the ones where I really don’t like their policies, but can actually see where they are coming from – where their intentions are clearly wonderful, but they are, in my view, absolutely dead wrong about how these would translate into practice. Or the parties where candidates have turned up here or on Twitter and shown themselves to be lovely, kind people, who are still, in my humble opinion, tragically wrong! They get my vote as Excellent Human Beings, but not, alas, as politicians.
I am glad they exist, however. It’s always cheering to be reminded that good people exist on more than one side of politics. Even if that makes some of their policies even more incomprehensible to me!
Before I finish this series of posts, I want to draw your attention to three useful resources. One, I have mentioned already – it’s called Cluey Voter, and it helps you sort out your preferences below the line so that you don’t leave any gaps. Alas, it’s not quite as user-friendly as Below The Line, but they don’t seem to be running an app for this election.
The second is the Tumblr feed for Axvoter, who I have never met, but who seems to share my passion for teeny tiny parties, as well as a lot of my political opinions. What Axvoter does well that I do not, however, is sum up concisely the key pros and cons for each party. So if you’ve sort of lost track of some of the parties and can’t face reading my epic theses again (I just did a count, and I’ve written more than 61,000 words in the last fortnight, not counting this post, or conversations in the comments) I strongly recommend Axvoter’s Blatantly Partisan Party Reviews.
Finally, it falls to me to direct you to the most important resource of all, and that is, of course, this excellent guide to the sausage sizzles and cake stalls of tomorrow’s State Election. Because whatever the VEC may say, we all know, deep in our hearts, that our vote doesn’t become truly valid until we have bought a chocolate crackle or a sausage in bread from our local primary school.
Use your democratic powers wisely! I’ll see you on the other side.