Western Australian Senate Ungrouped Independent ~ Kim Mubarak

And so we come to our final candidate on the Western Australian ballot paper, and just in time, because from tonight, I’m going to be consumed with rehearsals until the big performance this weekend!  Actually, by the time you read this, it may well be nearly the weekend, because this post is going to be written in tiny bits as time permits – I apologise in advance for any lack of coherency that may result.

The first thing you should know about Kim Mubarak is that our friends from the Australian Protectionist Party want you to put him dead last on the ballot.  Since they want you to put either Teresa Lieshout or Rise Up Australia first on the ballot, I personally view this is a pretty big point in Mr Mubarak’s favour.

Of course, you can guess why they want you to put him last, can’t you?  They don’t say why, of course, but after listening to Ms Lieshout’s screed about asylum seekers, I’m pretty sure I can guess.  You see, our friend Mubarak is a Muslim man and a former refugee.  He is also black, which probably doesn’t help either.

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Western Australian Senate Ungrouped Independent ~ Teresa van Lieshout

We now turn to the ungrouped candidates, commencing with Teresa van Lieshout (note that this page connects to a YouTube Channel, as this seems to represent Ms van Lieshout’s most current work).  Ms Van Lieshout is running as an independent, but is affiliated with the Australian Protectionist Party (I’m not sure if she is a current member, but they are encouraging their members to vote for her) and the West Australian Party (which seems to be inactive at this point).  She was briefly pre-selected as a candidate for the Palmer United Party, but parted ways with them over their stance on refugees, which she viewed as too lax.

Here’s a bit of autobiographical information from one of Ms Van Lieshout’s recent YouTube clips:

I’m an Australian born Christian Teacher, with a Master of Education, 17 years teaching experience, written and published 4 books of non-fiction literature, political candidate, the WA govt. is extorting and stealing what little wealth I have, to make me homeless, or jail me for my political and economic views; since 2008, they’ve wasted millions $$ tax money trying to destroy my life, and my family’s rights, liberal/labor/greens politicians are evil monsters, society must fight to get them out of our parliaments.

The law I follow is the law of the New Testament. We are living in the last days, in the time of the Book of Revelation, political made laws mean nothing and are made by evil corrupt greedy politicians to destroy our rights, interests, and freedoms. Christians will judge the world, so all concerned are in offence against me, the politicians are going to hell for their evil against me, my family, and our society.

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Western Australian Senate Group AF ~ Socialist Alliance

Oh, I cannot tell you how pleased I am to find that the Socialist Alliance is running candidates at this election!  I missed them on the Victorian Senate ballot last year, I truly did.  As a connoisseur of slightly bonkers minor parties, it’s always good to see the Left side of politics truly participating in this game.  There are only so many sarcastic things one can say about right-wing parties before it all gets a little same-ish.

Of course, the Socialist Alliance disappointed me a trifle at the 2010 election by actually producing a raft of fairly sensible policies, so it’s always possible that the Left is still lacking that frisson of what-on-earth-am-I-reading-here and please-stop-making-my-side-look-stupid that makes the Senate ballot paper such a delight.  But I am not afraid.  If the Socialist Alliance becomes too sane, someone else is bound to step up to the bar.  And, all humour aside, I actually do like the idea of having several good parties to choose from at the top of my ballot paper.  If the Socialist Alliance becomes one of them, all the better.

Let’s start with their voting ticket to see what it tells us.  Something tells me we will be seeing Greens, Pirates and perhaps WikiLeaks prominently represented…

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Western Australian Senate Group Q ~ Australian Sports Party

I must admit, I’ve been quite looking forward to reading up on the Australian Sports Party, because ever since I heard that they had (possibly) won a Senate seat last year, I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of representation sport truly needed in Australia that it wasn’t already getting?  As a nation, we seem obsessed with sports  – though, admittedly, more with watching them than playing them.

Then, this morning, before I even had a chance to start looking at my blog for the day, my Facebook feed helpfully presented me with a petition about the Sports Party, which apparently likes to display topless women and make sexist jokes as part of their advertising.  Oh dear.  While I am, in fact, more disposed to be amused by this than offended by it, I have to admit, it’s pretty sad that a political party in this century could think that this would be a good way to get attention.  Do they honestly think this will lead to people taking them seriously?  And has it even occurred to them that this sort of advertising implicitly tells women ‘nope, you aren’t the people we are representing.  You are – if sufficiently attractive – the prize for the people we are representing’.

Aargh.  I’ve been trying not to do feminist rants on this blog, but seriously, Western Australia, some of your tiny political parties have issues.
(Oh, let’s be fair now.  Everyone’s tiny political parties have issues, regardless of where they originate.  That’s more or less what they are for…).

Anyway, let’s have a gander at who they are sending votes towards with their group voting ticket, shall we?

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Western Australian Senate Group M ~ Mutual Party

We now turn to the Mutual Party, which tells me that “Australians are fed up with adversarial politics.  It runs against the Australian way of life – informality, give-and take, trust, working together, finding practical solutions. Mutuality.”  Further statements talk about the number of Australians involved in mutual organisations, sporting clubs, self-help groups, etc, and exhort Australians to take back their government!

This could go in just about any direction – though as a former volunteer and employee of an umbrella network for self-help / support groups, I do find their premises promising.  Let’s start by looking at their voting ticket.

The Mutual Party seems to be part of the little confederation of small parties that are new to me and that are preferencing each other, which I find mildly amusing.  Their first few preferences go to the two ungrouped independents, the Sustainable Population Party, and the Freedom and Prosperity Party (oh dear), followed by Australian Voice, Building Australia, the Australian Democrats, and Katter.  Rise Up Australia is worryingly high on their list, too.  They seem to be leaning mildly to the Right and a bit more definitely towards the libertarian end of the spectrum – several of the lefty libertarian groups are relatively high on their ticket, though I find the juxtaposition of the DLP right before HEMP fairly amusing.  Palmer comes in around 40,  and Family First makes it into the ticket at 50.  On the whole, large parties are not approved by this lot, and they prefer religious parties to parties like the Secular or Sex parties, and shooting parties to Animal Justice or the Greens.  The Liberal Party finally makes it onto the ticket at 60, followed immediately by the Nationals, the Socialists, Labor, and the Greens at lucky last.  The message I’m getting here is that the major parties are pretty much all alike, but God help us, let’s keep the Reds out for as long as we can.

The Greens being the Reds in this instance, of course.

As they so often are.

Let’s see what luscious and enticing policies the Mutual Party has to offer us…

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Western Australia Senate Group I ~ Voluntary Euthanasia Party

Yeah, this is going to be a more serious one.

I’m not sure I know how to write about the Voluntary Euthanasia Party.  I feel pretty conflicted about the whole idea of euthanasia, to be honest, and I don’t quite know how I feel about a party that makes this their sole platform.  And honestly, it doesn’t really matter how I feel about it at this point, because I’m not the one voting, but it’s quite odd to write about something that I’m really not sure I have a coherent opinion about at all.

The VEP is quite a new party – they seem to have formed in around April 2013, and only contested in a handful of states – and their front page states:

The Voluntary Euthanasia Party was created to provide the choice and dignity that current legislation is denying terminally and incurably ill Australians. The party hopes to provide a clear political outlet for the overwhelming public support for voluntary euthanasia. Over four in five Australians are in favour of new legislation and we wish to allow that sentiment to be clearly demonstrated at the ballot box. The Voluntary Euthanasia Party aims to ensure dignity in the final years of life, by raising the profile of this issue in order to engender the necessary political will for change.

Four in five honestly seems really high to me on this one (they later quote 82% of Australians being in favour of allowing voluntary Euthanasia).  I’d love to see where they got their numbers from and what questions were actually asked, because I would think that the combination of conservative religious people and people who are just kind of repelled by the idea would add up to more than 20%, even if you don’t count the terminally confused, such as myself.  But perhaps I just haven’t been paying attention to this issue sufficiently.


OK, I’ve just went to their Facebook Page, followed a link, and spent twenty minutes reading horrifying stories of insufficient palliative care and I’m beginning to get an idea of where these numbers come from.  It’s fascinating, though, that an issue with so much community support gets so little time in the media and in politics – and of course, that is one of the things that the VEP is trying to change.

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Western Australian Senate Group H ~ Freedom and Prosperity Party

Freedom and Prosperity.  We all love those, don’t we?  How could any rational person ever vote against such magnificent things as freedom and prosperity?

OK, I’m sorry, but I just *cannot* read a party name like that without being possessed with a spirit of cynicism.  And when I click through to their page and discover that the Freedom and Prosperity Party are apparently the re-named Climate Sceptics Party, well, I’m not sure that there’s much more to say.  Except, hooray, I don’t have to write about these idiots after all.

Which, in some ways, is rather a pity, because their tag line now reads “The Australian Climate Sceptics – Exposing the flaws in the greatest hoax inflicted on the human race.”

This is an invitation to sarcasm if ever I heard one.

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Western Australian Senate Group C: Russell Woolf and Verity James

It’s their ABC.  And our ABC.  And so it should be.  Russell Woolf and Verity James are Australian radio and TV personalities who are concerned that the ABC is under attack from the current government and have therefore joined forces to see if they can get it some representation in Canberra.  So far, so good.

Their Group Voting ticket seems to be skewed towards all the tiny parties I’ve never heard of, making it difficult to analyse at a glance!  They give their first few spots to the Voluntary Euthanasia Party, the Sports Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, before funnelling their vote to Labor in the person of Louise Pratt.  (My Oma always did say that the ABC were a bunch of Reds…).  The Greens get next billing, for whatever good that is likely to do them, and then we get two carefully selected Liberals, David Johnston and Michaela Cash, but not the other two.  Their ticket then meanders through a number of smallish, vaguely libertarian parties, though it does avoid the more loopy ones as well as all the religious ones.  The bottom of their ticket is held, interestingly, by Family First, The Australian Voice and the Liberal Democrats, as well as the dodgily-named Freedom and Prosperity Party and Stop the Greens.  The Socialists, incidentally, are at 50 and 51 out of 77, so my Oma wasn’t 100% right about the ABC’s coloration.

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Western Australian Senate Election 2014

Normally, I wouldn’t cover an election I can’t vote in.  This is not because I don’t love my interstate friends as much as my local ones, it’s a simple matter of time.  With so many political parties to read about at every election, and so many policies for each party (I must confess to a sneaking appreciation for single-issue parties – so quick to read and write about!), there just isn’t time to cover everyone else’s elections, too.  Arguably, between full-time work, part-time study, and far more time-consuming hobbies than any sane person should have, there isn’t time to cover my own elections.

However, this election is a bit special.  For one thing, it’s essentially the sequel to the 2013 Election (Senate Election Part 2: Attack of the Drones).  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is, in fact, a continuation of the same event.  The extra, final chapter that the author directed to be read only three years after her death.  The Secret of Hanging Parliament, as it were.  And boy, am I betraying my age as a child of the 80s…

The other interesting thing about this election, of course, is that because it’s part of the Federal Election, its results are going to effect everyone in Australia in a way that your standard election interstate would never do.  Which is kind of fascinating and appalling.  You have the power, my Western friends.  Use it wisely!  And to make it more fun, the Western Australian electorate gets to vote after they’ve already seen what the new government is doing.  There is a sort of surreal aptness to this.  I’ve heard friends from WA complain about the fact that, due to timezone differences, they can still be casting their ballots at a point when votes from the Eastern States have already decided the election.

Well, Western Australia, here’s where you get your own back!  We Easterners may have thought that we had decided the election, but it turns out that you get the final say after all.  And maybe, just maybe, you will change the entire face of politics in Australia for the next three years.  Which is a pretty cool superpower to have, really.

Anyway, in honour of this unique situation, I am going to undertake a more modest version of my usual tiny party policy-reading madness.  Looking at the Western Australian ballot, I can see thirty-three groups, plus two un-grouped Independents.  Most of these parties, of course, contested the Federal Senate Election last year, and had representatives in Victoria.  Given that it’s only been about six months, I’m not going to analyse all these parties again.  I can’t – I’m in the final throes of rehearsal for a big concert next weekend and will be out rehearsing virtually every night next week.

Instead, I will list all the parties who contested the last election below, with links to my commentaries on them, and will write new posts about the six parties and two independents that were not on the Victorian Senate ticket last year (new parties bolded).  If I have time, I will try to go back and quickly analyse group voting tickets for this election, to see if anything has changed, but honestly, I think that’s pretty unlikely to happen.  Not enough hours in the day.

Good luck, Western Australians – read up on your exciting smorgasbord of political parties, and use your vote wisely!  Australia is watching you…

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