So, we have reached the end of my explorations into the psyches of our various tiny political parties, and it is time to answer the all-important question: who should I vote for?
I must admit, I’m having a harder time with this than usual. In most previous elections, there has been at least one party or independent who I have been truly excited about. And this makes all the other parties more palatable – essentially, I still know, deep down, that I’m compromising, but I don’t actually have to admit it out loud because the person who is number one on my ticket is genuinely awesome.
This time… well, I’m excited by Chawla and Lee, but they aren’t actually on the ballot in my region, so I’m out of luck.
Beyond that… I like the Socialists, but they are a bit flaky (which is not unexpected, but there were a couple of elections where they were looking unexpectedly sane and I enjoyed that); I want to like Reason, but I’m not entirely sold on it; both the Greens and Labor are fine, but let’s face it, having just spent two weeks analysing all the minor parties it feels like a bit of cop-out if I then vote for one of the majors. I mean, I will if that’s how it pans out, but it’s a bit depressing!
So I’m going to start at the bottom of the ticket, where things may be ugly, but at least they are clear, and work my way up from there. Who knows where this journey will end? (Truly – not me. I’m hoping that inspiration will strike in the course of writing this.) I’ve divided parties into categories. Much like Cyclones, you really want to avoid a Category 4 or 5, but a Category 2 or 3 is basically survivable. (My metaphor breaks down at Category 1, unless you really, really like storms or are really not fully delighted by any of these political parties. Hmm… maybe it’s not such a bad metaphor after all…)
Incidentally, I’m using the numbers and names appropriate to Northern Metropolitan Region. Since we do, in fact, have representatives from every party except the Nationals, this is pretty easily adapted to your are.
Having said that… while this is approximately how I intend to vote (I invariably change my mind about *someone* between here and the ballot box), and I’m including it because I know some people find it useful, my true How to Vote card is simply this: Vote below the line, numbering at least five squares, but ideally all of them (there is much satisfaction to be had in putting terrible people at the bottom of your ticket).
Who you vote for is important, don’t get me wrong, and I ABSOLUTELY have opinions on that (you may have noticed this…). But I truly believe that the best thing you can do as a citizen is inform yourself about who is on the ballot and vote for the things you care about. Vote with your brain, vote with your heart, and don’t let anyone else decide where your vote should go – not your party, not Glenn Druery, and not me.
Category 5: Guns, Islamophobia, and more Guns
There is a lot of competition for the bottom of the ballot this year, but I think the winners are going to be the Liberal Democrats, beating the Australian Liberty Alliance by a hair.
I have several reasons for this. It has, in the past, been my policy to put hateful people low on my ticket and hateful people who love guns even lower, saving the hateful crazy people who love guns for dead last.
By this metric, the Australian Liberty Alliance ought to be a shoo-in for last place on my ballot.
The trouble is, I’m beginning to think that hateful people who love guns and are able to sound sane and rational about it are actually more dangerous than the ones who are clearly and obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic (especially when their party name has the potential to garner votes by accident, and they know this full well). People who would never vote for the obvious evil of the Australian Liberty Alliance might yet be seduced by the apparent rationalism of the Liberal Democrats, and their emphasis on personal freedom, which leads them to support things like marriage equality and voluntary assisted dying.
And meanwhile, they want to dismantle our healthcare and educational systems, take away protections for workers and the environment, and gives everybody guns, with the explicit expectation that this will allow them to overthrow the government if needed.
No thank you. I do not want to live in a world that takes no care for anyone who is unlucky enough not to be rich, white, and probably straight and male. The Liberal Democrats are the official winners of the award for last place on my ballot.
52 – Louise Hitchcock, Liberal Democrats
51 – Richard Wright, Liberal Democrats
That means that the the Australian Liberty Alliance will have to make do with second last place on my ballot. Because, let’s face it – they are hateful, they like guns, and they have quite a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. (Not Halal kangaroos, however. The ALA won’t be having with such things!)
50 – Russell Gomez, Australian Liberty Alliance
49 – John Reisner, Australian Liberty Alliance
The Aussie Battlers come next, on the principle that at this point we have no idea what they stand for, but they are either wildly incompetent and disorganised or hateful and manipulative. Actually, if they are the latter, they would deserve to go below the ALA, who are at least honest in their hatred, but since they are playing the Walter Mikac card and do, at least, seem to be in favour of gun control, I shall give them a very small benefit of the doubt and put them third last.
48 – David Graham, Aussie Battlers
47 – Walter Mikac, Aussie Battlers
I hesitated a lot over whether to put the Australian Country Party lower or higher than the Liberals, but ultimately made the same decision here as I made for the very bottom of my ticket, which is to say, I’m favouring the people who are out and proud with their terrible ideas over the people who have terrible ideas which they try – not, it must be said, entirely successfully – to hide. So the Liberals and the Nationals are up next, because they are more likely to have people vote for them, and I really am furious at their choice to support all the pro-gun parties when they ought to know better. I’m also not happy with their racist and homophobic dog-whistling. At least when the ACP whistles, everyone can hear it.
Also, as with many of the parties at this end of my ticket, I’m putting their candidates in reverse order, to ensure that my vote, if it gets this far, helps them as little as possible.
46 – Craig Ondarchie, Liberal
45 – Evan Mulholland, Liberal
44 – Neelam Rai, Liberal
43 – Kate Drake, Liberal
42 – Mark Polistena, Liberal
The Australian Country Party has a handful good policies for people in regional areas, but these are outweighed for me by their unpleasant rhetoric about Safe Schools, and in particular by their gun-loving ways. It bothers me that they have clearly spent a lot more time on their policies around weakening gun control than they have on any of their other policies. This strikes me as a bit dishonest, frankly. And it worries me that they seem to view the environment as the enemy!
41 – Cameron Stoddart, Australian Country Party
40 – Domenic Greco, Australian Country Party
Category 4: Good People with Terrible Ideas
This is where I put all the parties where I’m inclined to believe they are acting in good faith, but who have at least some ideas that I think are really harmful. They may genuinely be trying to improve the world, but if they get their way, they are likely to make things worse for a lot of people. (I’m not giving them a pass for this, I’m just not ranking them as poorly as I rank the parties who strike me as knowingly and deliberately hateful.)
This is the bracket that is most likely to change in the ballot box, I think, and there is a fair chance that I’ll be alternating votes between several of these parties. But right at this moment, here’s where they sit.
Health Australia are, as far as I can see, a bunch of crunchy granola-eating, Mother-Earth-loving happy hippies. This is a demographic that I am, in general, rather fond of. Their environmental policies are good, and they are good on social justice, too.
However. I’m a fan of evidence-based medicine, of vaccination, and of science in general, and that is where Health Australia and I part ways. Mother Nature is not our friend. Because I am a student of history, and kind of morbid, I sometimes play a game in my head called ‘who would still be alive if we were in 1800?’. I mean, I’m dead for sure – I was one of those babies that wouldn’t breastfeed, and even if I’d managed to survive that, I wouldn’t have survived the accident that nearly killed me when I was seven. I know lots of people who have had appendicitis, and they are all out of luck. Hospitalised for asthma? Too bad. Cold turned into pneumonia? Goodbye! And then my friends all started having children, and my God, the complications of pregnancy and childbirth are appalling. I reckon that takes out a few more people, and with them, several of their children.
I haven’t even gotten as far as infectious diseases yet, because everyone in my circle was vaccinated, thank goodness. But basically, nature kills people, and that’s why we have medicine. And vaccinations!
Also, it makes me cross that they bill themselves as Health Australia when their policies are all about natural health and they are highly suspicious of evidence-based medicine.
39 – Pippa Campbell, Health Australia
38 – Emily Oldmeadow, Health Australia
The Democratic Labour Party are old-school Catholics, with some beautiful ideas about fair trade and workers’ rights, and some ugly ideas about LGBTIQA people and how religious freedom means the right to inflict your religious convictions on everyone else. Also, they think that Safe Schools is a Marxist Conspiracy, which is hilarious but also terrible. They are, however, one of the few parties with a reasonable set of policies around disability, and I give them credit for being actually morally and logically consistent with their pro-life stuff (if you are going to be pro-life, you have to actually support that life and the lives around it properly once it arrives, and the DLP does try to do that). I don’t agree with them, but they do have some integrity.
They do lose points with me for trying to pinch Labor votes by being on the ballot paper as ‘Labour DLP’, however.
37 – Jackie Gwynne, Labour DLP
36 – John McBride, Labour DLP
Sustainable Australia really, really care about the environment, and their policies in this area are pretty good. They are also a bit protectionist about Australia’s agricultural sector and resource, and I’m OK with that, too. However, their apparent conviction that immigration is the source of all Australia’s problems really concerns me. Overpopulation is an environmental issue, certainly, but preventing movement between countries doesn’t actually fix the problem, it just displaces it. And in the meantime, it encourages the sort of rhetoric that gives rise to racist behaviours locally. And that isn’t something that needs encouraging.
35 – Mark McDonald, Sustainable Australia
34 – William Clow, Sustainable Australia
I have a soft spot for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, which is why they are scoring highest in this bracket. They are so very wrong on so many things, but they are, at least, completely honest about what they stand for, which puts them ahead of quite a lot of other parties. And they do actually seem to care about the environment, they just have really idiotic notions about how to do this.
33 – Chris Tzelepis, Shooters, Fishers & Farmers VIC
32 – Ethan Constantinou, Shooters, Fishers & Farmers VIC
Look, I think Hinch is a pretty decent person. He has said useful things in the past about feminism, domestic violence, and cruelty to animals, and I think he genuinely believes these things. He is obviously something of a crusader for the oppressed, which is a lovely instinct, though we’ve seen less of this in Parliament than one might have hoped. But his obsession with making the names and addresses of sex offenders publicly available is just a mess. So while I think Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party are basicaly harmless, I can’t really endorse them.
31 – Prudence Mercieca, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
30 – Carmela Dagiandis, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
The Animal Justice Party really, really care about animals, and this is a good thing. I am slightly amused at the way absolutely every issue in our society today is linked back to our treatment of animals, but that’s what you get when you have a very, very focused set of priorities. My main reason for putting them low is that their policies around the use of animals in research are completely impractical – and because I am still extremely angry with their blithe dismissal of people with allegedly ‘preventable’ diseases. Not cool, AJP.
29 – Chris Delforce, Animal Justice Party
28 – Miranda Smith, Animal Justice Party
27 – Bruce Poon, Animal Justice Party
Category 3: Parties who appear to have wandered onto the ballot by accident
This is the bracket for people whose presence on the ballot is a total mystery to me. And possibly also to them.
I have no idea what Vote 1 Local Jobs stands for, but the fact that everything I can find out about them suggests that they want more jobs in Western Victoria makes their presence on the Northern Metropolitan ticket something of a mystery.
26 – Aaron Purcell, Vote 1 Local Jobs
25 – Nathan Purcell, Vote 1 Local Jobs
And the same applies to Hudson for Northern Victoria. I’m not in Northern Victoria, and telling me that your policies are non-controversial is adorable, but not illuminating.
24 – Marylynn Meneghini, Hudson 4 NV
23 – Madison Wright, Hudson 4 NV
Category 2: Single Issue, but I’m not sure about the Issue
I may be swapping this bracket with the previous one, because I honestly don’t know whether a dubious single issue party is more or less useful than a bunch of people who don’t seem remotely relevant and haven’t really campaigned. Depending on how irritated I am with the Animal Justice Party, they may scrape their way up into this bracket, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Transport Matters is the taxi lobby party. They annoy me, because to the uninformed bystander, they look like a public transport party. To do them justice, they have actually come up with some reasonable public transport policies, mostly, I suspect, cribbed from other parties (the wording looks suspiciously familiar in some cases). Whether they would pursue them is anyone’s guess. They mostly want to do down Über, and I can’t believe they are nearly in my top 20. I’m reversing the order of their candidates, because I’m annoyed with them and feeling perverse.
22 – Moti Ram Visa, Transport Matters
21 – Afshan Mian, Transport Matters
The Voluntary Euthanasia Party do, at least, have a policy, but it’s kind of a done deal at this point. And they seem to have forgotten to campaign, which is… not encouraging. But they don’t seem to have any really terrible ideas, mostly because they have very few ideas of any kind beyond their central idea about making sure voluntary assisted dying remains legal in Victoria.
20 – Stefan Nott, Voluntary Euthanasia Party (Victoria)
19 – Sandra McCarthy, Voluntary Euthanasia Party (Victoria)
Category 1: Parties that I would quite like to see in the Legislative Council
Because that is sort of the point of this exercise, isn’t it?
These last four parties are all parties who I have a fair bit of time for, and at this stage I’m largely ranking them in order of how likely they are to get up without my help. Maybe. Anyway, I’m definitely putting the ALP lowest in this category, because this is where the remainder of my vote is likely to come to rest, after it’s main quota has been eaten up by the Greens and/or Fiona Patten’s Reason Party, and I’m actually pretty OK with this. I’m disappointed that there aren’t more tiny parties deserving of my love, but the Australian Labor Party has done a pretty good job over the last few years, and I’m fine with returning them.
18 – Karen Douglas, Australian Labor Party
17 – Ash Verma, Australian Labor Party
16 – Burhan Yigit, Australian Labor Party
15 – Elasmar Nazih, Australian Labor Party
14 – Jenny Mikakos, Australian Labor Party
I can’t quite bring myself to put Fiona Patten’s Reason Party second on my ballot, even though I like what I know of Patten herself. In the end, I think her policies weren’t detailed enough to overcome my distrust of the former Sex Party. But having said that, she has done a good job, and I’ll be quite happy if she gets up. I may change my mind and swap her into second place on the day.
13 – Dominique Musico, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
12- Rachel Payne, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
11 – Ange Hopkins, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
10 – Helena Melton, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
9 – Fiona Patten, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party
Another hard choice coming up next, but I think I’m going to put the Greens in second place on my ballot, mostly because I think there is no way in hell my first choice is actually going to get up (and, if I’m really honest… they possibly shouldn’t…). The Australian Greens are doing a good job of being a solid third party in Australian politics, and while I don’t love all of their policies, I’m really hoping they can find a way to negotiate the tricky territory of compromise versus purity that has historically been the stumbling block for third parties in Australia. (And if they and the ALP could stop sniping at each other, to their mutual destruction, that would be grand…)
8 – Gome Campbell, Australian Greens
7 – Josef Rafalowicz, Australian Greens
6 – Edward Crossland, Australian Greens
5 – Christina Zigouras, Australian Greens
4 – Samantha Ratnam, Australian Greens
Which leaves, in first place… the Victorian Socialists! Look, I did say at the outset I was a greenie-commie-feminist, so this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. I’l admit, I think the Victorian Socialists are a little bit on the nutty side, and I wouldn’t trust them to balance a budget, but nobody is actually going to ask them to do that, and I’m in favour of progressive social policies and protections for workers. (I’m feeling very pro-union just at present…) Also, Sue Bolton is second on their ticket, and she has been an effective local council member – enough so that she got a second term after being elected mostly by accident in her first round. Also if the many, MANY socialist factions in Victoria have finally gotten together, discovered intersectionality, and managed to stop sniping at each other, this should be encouraged.
Stephen Jolly is their first candidate, and I don’t want to scuttle their already slim chances, but I really like Sue Bolton. So, just for now, I’ll take the path of idealism. I might decide to be more pragmatic on the day…
3 – Colleen Bolger, Victorian Socialists
2 – Stephen Jolly, Victorian Socialists
1 – Sue Bolton, Victorian Socialists
And that, at least for now, is how I plan to vote. As I said, it’s not quite a final listing. There are a lot of parties I feel ambivalent about, and they might get swapped around. But the underlying logic isn’t likely to change much, I don’t think.
(Heh, and I’ve just checked the Group Voting Ticket for the Socialists in my region, and I am pleased to say that while my first few picks are the same, there are a few fairly significant differences. Which is a relief – imagine if, after three weeks of living and breathing tiny political parties and about 70,000 words of writing, I’d actually wound up with a ticket that matched what would have happened if I’d voted above the line…?)