Meet the Small Parties: Vote 1 Local Jobs

Since the election is now only a few days away, and since I am being a bit hampered by a cyst on my wrist, I am skipping ahead for the next couple of posts to look at two brand new parties that I’ve never written about before. That way, the early voters among you are covered, and if my wrist really does go on strike between now and Saturday, there will at least be posts from previous years for you to look at.

Vote 1 Local Jobs is new both to me and to politics generally, and since I haven’t so much as glanced at their website yet, I can approach them with a refreshing lack of prejudice.

I think we all know how long that is likely to last…

Vote 1 Local Jobs is indeed quite local, and they are in fact on the ticket in only two electorates – Western Victoria and my home electorate of Northern Metropolitan. (Did I mention that we northerners get more candidates and parties than any other region? We are so lucky! It almost makes up for living in such a safe Labor seat that the Liberals barely bother to letterbox us.)

The slogan on their website is ‘Working for Western Victoria’.  This is something of a relief to me, because I was half expecting it to be ‘Local jobs for local people‘.

On the front page of their website, they enquire whether I will vote for local employment on 29 November.  Then they explain their cunning plan:

Vote 1 Local Jobs is an exciting new political party created expressly for the benefit of Victoria’s Western District region.

Vote 1 Local Jobs does not plan to change the government or defeat your sitting member; but Vote 1 Local Jobs does intend to be elected in the Upper House at the 2014 State Election.

Vote 1 Local Jobs has been created by Moyne Shire Mayor Cr James Purcell, who stood at the last state election as an independent and attracted more than 11% of the vote – the most successful outcome by an independent in Western Victoria’s history.

Due to our voting system, quota allocations and preferences, the fifth Upper House is up for grabs in the Western District region.

This is the spot Vote 1 Local Jobs is targeting.

With your support, Vote 1 Local Jobs will be elected, will vote on all legislation relevant to Victoria and the region where you choose to live and work, will fight for better outcomes for Western Victoria and will be a direct line of communication between you and Parliament.

Their plan is sheer elegance in its simplicity.  And no, I don’t know what’s with all the pop culture references, either.  Maybe I’m channelling my husband?

Quite seriously, this is not at all a foolish ambition for a small party, and I think it’s one that a lot of the other tiny parties I’ve looked at so far tend to share, though they are less up-front about it.  This isn’t about forming government – this is about having the balance of power, and using it for one’s electorate, just like the Independents did in the Gillard Government.  Of course, this means that you also get one particular electorate’s priorities potentially choosing the direction of the entire Government, which is dodgy for democracy, but probably quite refreshing if you live in the West, where everyone knows it’s safe Labor and doesn’t bother courting you with infrastructure…

(Of course, this strategy, taken to its logical conclusion, could lead to some pretty weird governments.  I mean, if people start noticing that electorates represented by Independents or microparties get more goodies, they might vote for more Independents and microparties, which would, of course, dilute the individual power of said microparties and Independents, but would also dilute the power of the major parties.  This could get us some very interesting combinations and coalitions while it lasted.  I wonder if this could eventually be the downfall of the two-party system?  Or would the big parties get wise?  Or would we just get two new big parties?)

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