Once again, my final set of voting preferences still requires a bit of tweaking, but I have grouped the parties into eleven categories, to help figure out where to put people on the ballot. Why eleven categories? Because that way I can give my favourite parties ‘Douze points’ and award the gun-totin’ racists ‘Nul points’ in best Eurovision style. Also, it turns out that I do have eleven distinct categories, so there you go.
I’m not really ranking parties within categories – I mean, yes, based on how I feel about them right at this moment, I’ve put my preferred options at the top of each category, but I often make slight changes to my final rankings at the ballot box. And some of those parties are ones I don’t have the option to vote for anyway. Besides, I feel it’s good to preserve some minor level of mystique about my actual vote…
Finally, before you start reading this, allow me to draw to your attention the Senate Voting Card Creator website. This excellent website allows you to list your parties and then your candidates in your order of preference, and then generates a printer-friendly list, so that you can easily see which numbers will go into which box when you vote below the line, and don’t risk missing a number somewhere. I was very sad when Below the Line closed down, and am delighted to see that this website has now replaced it.
NB: I’ve noted the Group next to parties running in Victoria. For parties running only outside Victoria, I’ve noted where they are running.
These are the parties that are in competition for that very last spot on my how to vote card. It’s honestly difficult to decide who goes last this time around. I mean, usually, ‘racists and bigots who like guns’ is a category with only one, or at worst, two entrants. But not this time. What a time to be alive!
- Liberal Democratic Party. Dog-eat-dog libertarians who love guns and freedom and want to privatise everything from health and education to roads, and think that the best way to conserve endangered species is to let people have licenses to hunt them. Selfish, terrible people. [Group N]
- The Great Australian Party. Led by ‘Senator in exile’ Rod Culleton, these are sovereign citizens, xenophobes, and conspiracy nuts. Terrible people who think that Port Arthur was faked by the government so that it could take away our guns. [Group AC]
- Rise Up Australia. Led by Danny Nalliah, these are right-wing, anti-muslim, allp-round unpleasant folk who are useless on climate change and big on personal responsibility (which conveniently means that they never have to use their alleged Christian values to help anybody). Terrible people who are racist, homophobic, love guns and pretend to be Christian. But at least they don’t like Nazis. [Group W]
- Yellow Vest Australia. The artists formerly known as the Australian Liberty Alliance, these are all about stopping the alleged Islamisation of Australia and using freedom of speech to say the nastiest things they can think of. Terrible people who are racist, homophobic, like guns, and pretend to be in solidarity with the gilets jaunes in order to get votes. No official policy on Nazis. [Group AE]
- Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party. Racists with a tendency to be violent at rallies. Terrible people who are racist, homophobic, like guns, and pretend to be human beings. Quite partial to Nazis. [Group AA]
- Australia First. Extreme right-wing xenophobes who want to bring back the White Australia policy and are also horrible about gay people. Actual Nazis. [Lower House only]
- Love Australia or Leave. Think that immigrants come here to steal our jobs while bludging on the dole, and want to profile potential terrorists (i.e. Muslims) starting from the age of ten. Terrible people who are racist, homophobic, like guns, and apparently don’t learn from experience. No idea of their views on Nazis, but they *do* blame mothers and the family court for fathers choosing to murder their own children, so that’s special. [Running in NSW, QLD, TAS]
Racists and bigots who are into guns but have one redeeming feature.
- Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Terrible people who tried to sell Australia to the NRA. They are white nationalists, they are xenophobes, and they think ‘it’s OK to be white’ is a statement that applies to the Great Barrier Reef. However … they did kick out Rod Culleton and Fraser Anning. So they have that going for them. Oh, who am I kidding? Nul points to One Nation. They don’t deserve any credit. [Group Q]
Parties which are still terrible, but at least they aren’t armed.
- Citizens Electoral Council. Completely nuts. I am especially partial to their theory that Prince Phillip wants to be reincarnated as biological warfare. Anti-banking, full of ideas for gigantic infrastructure projects that are deliciously unrealistic. On the upside, they don’t seem to be into guns and they *might* not be anti-semitic these days. [Group K]
- Socialist Equality Party. Communists who hate all the other socialist parties, and think that #metoo is about class warfare. Pro-revolution. The kind of lefty extremists that make you think that Andrew Bolt might actually have a point (he doesn’t, though). [Group C]
- Australian Conservatives. The love child of Cory Bernardi and Lyle Shelton, and I’m just going to keep saying things like that purely to annoy them if they read it. Economically right wing, very conservative values (e.g. anti-LGBTQIA+ folk), and terrible on the climate, but not particularly into guns, which moves them up the ballot quite a bit in this particular election. [Group AB]
- Health Australia Party. Hippies and natural health experts who are into homeopathic vaccination. Germs, not guns, are their weapon of choice. [Group AD]
- Involuntary Medication Objectors (Vaccination/Fluoride) Party. More natural health folk who are pro-epidemic and pro-tooth decay. The party of Judy Wileyman. [Running in NSW, QLD, WA]
- Australian Christians. Christian far right group who claim to speak for all Christians, thus arousing my ire. The usual right wing Christian policies – pro-life, pro-family, for a very 1950s value of family. A bit useless on the environment, but not actively opposed to us having one. [Running in WA]
- Australian Better Families. Men’s Rights Activists, but with some nice thoughts about mental health, and not too bad on the environment. [Running in NSW, QLD, TAS]
- Christian Democratic Party. Right wing Christians, pro-life, weirdly economically conservative, but apparently anti-slavery, so, um, yay? [Group E]
- Non-Custodial Parents’ Party (Equal Parenting). More Men’s Rights Activists, but a bit more pro-stalking than the other lot, and with no redeeming good ideas to make up for it. [Lower House NSW only]
- Small Business Party. Single issue party which wants to protect small businesses. Tends to preference conservative Christian parties on its tickets. Fine if you’re a small business, I guess. [Group D]
- Seniors United Party Australia. Single issue party that wants nicer stuff for seniors – superannuation, healthcare, housing, etc. No policy on environment. No policies on anything that affects people below 60. The policies they have aren’t bad, but I’m putting them in the naughty corner because they don’t want any of the good stuff to apply to anyone other than themselves. [Running in NSW]
- Republican Party of Australia. Disorganised, a bit racist, anti-union. Very into marijuana, which may explain the disorganisation. Oh, and they want an Australian republic. Pretty bad, but not competent enough to do much damage if elected. [Group B]
- The Liberal Party. Yeah, nah. And what’s with all those stories about Liberal Party volunteers campaigning for Palmer and vice versa? [Group A]
- Democratic Labour Party. Catholic and anti-communist. Terrible on the things that right-wing Christian parties tend to be terrible on, but actually pretty good on disability, refugees and rights for workers. The best of this category. [Group P]
- Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. Guns. Outdoor activities without green tape. Water mismanagement. Trying to take over from the Nationals, and frankly deserve to give it a try, because while they like guns too much and are awful on the environment, they don’t appear to be actively racist and they do appear to care for people other than themselves. Also, Ricky Muir is one of their candidates, so I might move him up the ballot significantly, since I liked his contribution last time around. But they need to stop preferencing racists and MRAs. [Group G]
- The Nationals. Don’t even know what they stand for any more. Criminally negligent on water. Apparently happy to hang out with racists. [Group A]
- United Australia Party. Pay your workers, you blighter. Trying to be Trump Lite, and essentially a silent member of the coalition. Anti-environment, attempting to buy the election. Don’t let him. [Group F]
- Katter’s Australian Party. Crocodiles! Also north Queensland, farmers, mining, socially conservative principles, and being anti-immigration. Makes it into this bracket because he actually does have some positive policies. Just, mostly they are nuts. [Running in QLD]
- Western Australian Party. Lots of goodies for Western Australia, only then they go all Mens’ Rights and I’m outie. [Running in WA]
Parties and independents which have literally no policies at all. What is the point?
- Karl Morris. His policy is that he will support the government, no matter which government, so long as they don’t mess with pensions. [Ungrouped Independent]
- Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians! The artists formerly known as Online Direct Democracy and Senator Online. Get mild kudos from me because they want to educate the public on every single bill so that they can vote in an informed fashion. I am here to tell them that this is a lot more work than they may realise. [Group H]
- VoteFlux. Another direct democracy party, but this time, you can sell your vote to others or hoard votes for use on your favourite issue. [Group S]
Parties with some good policies, but also a few red flags. Mostly around Muslims and Immigration, but there is some variation to be had here.
- Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party. Cares about domestic violence, cruelty to animals and child abuse. Tough on crime to the point of policies that kind of encourage vigilante behaviour. Actual behaviour as a Senator not too bad, by all accounts. [Group I]
- Sustainable Australia. Anti-immigration but not intentionally racist, even though the racists seem to be unaware of this nuance. OK on refugees, good on climate change. [Group Y]
- Secular Party. Separation of church and state. Think religion wrecks everything. Poor grasp of history, but generally mean well. Good on climate change. A bit funny about Muslims and refugees. [Group O]
- Jacqui Lambie Network. Economically left, socially conservative. Great on veterans and jobs, not bad on education, focus on Tasmania. Always wind up being more impressed with her than I expect to be. Still a bit icky on immigration and Muslims, however. [Running in TAS]
- Australian People’s Party. Reasonably socially progressive, especially on poverty, but very anti-immigration. They might even belong in the 3 point category. [Running in NSW]
Parties which are mostly harmless, but have a few bees in their strange little bonnets.
- Animal Justice Party. Single issue party on animal rights. If you are into veganism, the environment, and somewhat leftist social policies, these are the party for you. Alas, their policy on the use of animals in medical research is ludicrous, so I can’t put them higher than this on my ticket. [Group U]
- Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP). Single issue party that wants to legalise HEMP because it will end hunger, cure all diseases, and promote world peace. Hilariously disorganised, and I wouldn’t trust these people to legislate anything in a remotely competent fashion, but well-intentioned. [Group J]
- Centre Alliance. The party that cares about South Australia! Socially progressive, economically a bit more conservative, pro-small-business, but in favour of penalty rates and OK with unions. I’d probably put them quite high on my ticket if I were in south Australia. [Running in SA]
- Pirate Party. Socially progressive, good on climate change, and want a universal job guarantee. Maybe a bit too pro-freedom of speech, and their reforms to copyright / IP law would be terrible for artists, and not great for medical researchers, in my opinion. [Group R]
- Ken Betts. Conservative, but nice on refugees, and hopefully wants to do something about climate change. I’m a bit ambivalent about him, because while he does seem to be involved in quite a bit of very admirable volunteer work, he also seems weirdly defensive and suspicious of people asking him questions about his policies on Facebook, which doesn’t inspire confidence. And he does talk about family values in a way that gives me pause. [Ungrouped Independent]
I’d be quite happy with this outcome.
- Australian Labor Party. Centre leftish. Actually running on policy for a change, and moderately progressive policy at that, which I think ought to be rewarded. Also, Penny Wong is wonderful. Maybe not inspirational, but perfectly competent, not full of ragingly right-wing bigots, and better on the economy than The Australian would like you to believe. [Group X]
I’d be delighted to see any of this mob in the Senate.
- Victorian Socialists / Socialist Alliance. Not to be confused with the Trotskyites at the SEP. Socially progressive, good on the environment, into equity and great on indigenous matters. People before profit, tax the rich and corporations to fund health education and services. [Running in the Lower House in VIC; Upper House in NSW, WA]
- Australian Greens. You know who they are. Great on climate policy, very good on social issues, and I’m not quite sure their economics stacks up – but I’d like to see a good swathe of them in Parliament to keep pushing Labor further to the left. [Group V]
- Murray McInnis. Climate change, accountable government, support the disabled and carers, and respect retirees. I’d like a bit more from him in terms of detail, but I’m putting him high because the priorities he has are good, and I’d like someone with a long standing interest in legal ethics and human rights in Parliament. [Ungrouped Independent]
- Australian Progressives. Big on looking after people so that they can achieve their potential, action on climate change, equality and ending systemic discrimination. Less well organised than the socialists, but deserving of your attention. [Lower House ACT, QLD, SA]
- Reason Australia. Socially progressive, mildly libertarian, unexpectedly passionate about aged care this time around. [Lower House VIC]
- Together Party. Socially progressive and a bit arty. Lefty economics, want a universal basic income, action on climate, and to bring refugees to Australia. Would have my vote if they were running in Victoria. [Running in NSW]
Single issue parties or independents – but they are really good issues, and may be worth highlighting by putting them at the top of my ballot.
- Independents for Climate Action Now. I am not, in general, a one issue voter (I have about three issues, thank you), but to me, climate change is such an existential threat that it comes close to making a one issue voter of me. Even in the absence of other positives, I’d be inclined to put this lot as the first party on my ballot in the forlorn hope that if enough of us do so, maybe the major parties will start to realise that action on climate change is a vote-winning issue. But in fact, their policies do strike me as well-thought-out (and I especially appreciate the attention they give to the human/social impact of climate change), and the fact that they have attracted the likes of Fr Rod Bower as a candidate is a big plus for me. [Group M]
- Australian Mental Health Party. A really lovely party who are all about mental health and health generally. Very person-centred, particularly good policies about making sure people have access to care after leaving hospital. Would be high on my list if they were running in Victoria. [Running in QLD, WA]
- Affordable Housing Party. Want an end to negative gearing, taxation of vacant rental properties, investment in affordable housing. Likely to be generally socially progressive, judging by their candidates. [Running in NSW]
- Child Protection Party. A party that is actually about protecting children. Founded by social workers and support workers who have some pretty strong opinions about the way the current system works. Good people. [Lower House, SA]
- The Women’s Party. Feminism, equal representation in Parliament, women’s issues in general. Trans inclusive. Very disorganised, and their policies are very vague, which is why they are low in this category, but worth considering. [Running in NSW]
- Sunny Chandra. Running as a Grouped Independent in Victoria, on a platform that is pro-immigration, pro-renewable energy, and pro-regional Victoria. Not convinced by all of his policies, but would bring a different, and I think useful, perspective to Parliament. [Group Z]
The parties and independents whom I love and adore, and whom I suspect have absolutely no chance of getting up, but still deserve to be ranked first.
- Robert Whitehill (Grouped Independent). His three key policies are action on climate change, autism acceptance (and bullying prevention generally), and better public transport (which comes with an incredibly comprehensive, 176-page document on how he would overhaul our train network in Victoria). I admit, I don’t love trains *quite* as much as Whitehill does, but I do like all his policies, and he seems absolutely lovely. He’s probably going to get my top vote. [Group Y, but second, so you’d have to vote below the line]
- Science Party. Socially progressive, futuristic, great policies on climate change, research, and education. Definitely a party that dreams big, but we could use a bit of that in Parliament, so if I were in NSW, I’d be giving them a shot. It would be nice if they remembered that the Humanities existed, though. [Running in NSW]
- Australian Workers Party. I have to say, I’m very drawn to this party. I’m not quite sure that their job creation plan is workable, but I like their inclusiveness and their wide portfolio of socially-progressive policies. And their plan to pay stay-at-home parents and carers the minimum wage! Basically, I like me a good socialist party, and since the Socialist Alliance are sadly not contesting the Senate in Victoria, I’m pretty tempted by this crew. [Group T]
- Australian Democrats. Back from the dead to keep the bastards honest, after a merger with Country Matters. Lovely, sane, progressive policies. Big on inclusion and community, also some pretty good rural policies. I like them a lot, and they are not going to get in. But I’ll still vote for them. [Group L]
- Max Dicks. If you draw the traditional cock-‘n’-balls on your ballot, this is where your vote will go. Just kidding, and please don’t do that. Running with the slogan ‘don’t be a Dick, vote for one’, he is big on climate change, infrastructure for rural areas, and teaching emotional intelligence. I like him rather a lot and feel that he would be an asset to our Parliament. [Ungrouped Independent]
And that’s that!
You already knew I had a Eurovision song for this one, right?
Of course I do. Actually, there are a surprisingly large number of Eurovision songs that would work here – choice seems to be a bit of a theme – but I thought I’d go with the classic.