Who exactly are all these jokers? And how am I supposed to figure out who they are among all the acronyms? The Weasel provides a quick run-down of the players in multiple electorates…
There are 76 senators; 12 from each state and two each from the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
While the House of Representatives is where policy is tabled, The Senate is where is gets checked off and approved. Senators have a longer term at six years, and can have a large effect on what policy gets passed. This is why so many smaller parties aim for Senate seats. Be careful of what parties call themselves; almost all the parties with ‘liberal’ or ‘democratic’ in their name are generally neither.
Voting properly is simple
Changes to senate voting have done away with group voting preferences, so now your vote is all that matters. The numbers you enter, the more control you have over your vote.
If you vote above the line – a vote for parties
you must fill in AT LEAST six (6) boxes.
If you vote below the line – for individual candidates – you must fill in AT LEAST twelve (12) boxes
See the AEC guide, or Antony Greens breakdown here for more information.
To see a list of all parties and candidates for your state, go here
HVC = How to Vote card: the ABC has all published HVC listed here
Who’s coming to the party?
100 positive policies, though probably not positive enough for most far-left voters; while everyone else still can’t decide if they like Bill Shorten. The policy list is the standard ALP fare of progressive economic reform, nation-building and social balancing. A vote on marriage equality, and changes to secrecy laws surrounding Manus and Nauru are big risk, low political return items. Once again, the ALP is stuck between being too progressive, not progressive enough, or just plain boring.
The Medicare campaign is working to get people worried about healthcare, though the Liberals have countered with their own dog-whistling. In more than a few seats, the question of which to fear more: higher healthcare costs or brown people on boats will be a deciding factor. www.alp.org.au
The hard-line social conservatives with close ties big business have lost none of their tin-ear lustre with Turnbull at the helm. Strong on austerity measures, privatisation, cutting penalty rates, social welfare and, corporate taxes. If re-elected expect further push for privatisation to “improve performance”.
Liberal Party is banking on Australians voting above the line and for a low-turnout in the youth vote for a return to government. In addition to the usual border security disco, The Liberals are pushing hard again to ‘aspirationals’; that annoying non-word used to describe individuals willing to go deep into debt in acts of pecuniary emulation. It’s the classic leaners-vs-doers argument which plays well with the annoying person who describes themselves as ‘aspirational’. www.liberal.org.au
Seen as pretenders for the throne, the Greens party is usually strong on progressive socialism, sometimes light on policy. Have made massive leaps in coherent national policy in recent years, and have reaped large vote gain with the leadership shift from ‘loonie greenies’ to ‘inner-city professionals’.
Not to be confused The Democrats of old, The Greens are savvy political animals. In the House, The Greens are mostly attacking ALP seats, though they do have a couple of inner-city Liberal seats in their sights. Despite ongoing wedge politics, The Greens appear to be trying to mend fences with the ALP – possibly out of fear of a returning coalition government. If that will continue after the election is anyone’s guess. greens.org.au
Almost as annoying as the ridiculous pop-up song on their website, The Nationals are supposed to be about protecting farmers; in reality, they are about whatever the Liberal party tells them and getting jobs in the mining industry after politics. Their ineffectiveness and unpopularity has led to a proliferation of conservative micro parties in the last three elections. However, due to a disengaged and uninformed voter base they have previously returned to power. However, with the ACP, ALA and One Nation on the rise, that may not be the case this time. nationals.org.au
Pretty self explanatory, partly a response to George Brandis; but also a general movement to make up for the lack of representation by any of the mainstream parties. The Greens have already picked up some policy ideas from the group; which revolve around universal access to arts in school and society, backing the ABC and SBS, and promoting arts industries as more than just cultural vehicles but instead as important contributors to the economy. www.artsparty.org www.artsparty.org/policy
Seeks to ban live export and make farming more humane. Also on their ban list are recreational hunting & fishing, harvesting Kangaroo for food, and horse racing. Not a vegan party, and apparently want to replace the RSPCA with a government body, their voter base is a curious mix of pro-animal social conservatives. Think of that cranky uncle who posts cute animal pics and anti-halal meme’s on your Facebook feed. The Liberal party is once again beneficiary of their preference this election, which does cast legitimacy of the groups’ claim to being progressive. www.animaljusticeparty.org Wikipedia Page
A direct response to the National party and the selling-off and selling-out of Australian farming land; the ACP is surprisingly rational. Marriage equality and refugees are considered wedge issues designed to divide the electorate and stop them focussing on more important things like trade and food security. Generally socially conservative and nationalist/protectionist; they support the Constitutional recognition of first nations, and are pro-recreational hunting.
Part of the general anti-LibLab movement in the regions, in the senate traditional base would favour Liberals. countryparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
Katter is a loose cannon, and only really concerned with Queensland. Many Green voters may find synergies in his strong positive position on Indigenous recognition, food & mineral security, and supporting sustainable farming. Though it’s unlikely they will like his support of boat turnbacks.
He is easy to demonise thanks to his voter base and brash attitude; but Katter appears to try to be a good Christian, and has proved to be an honest political operator who can get things done. Historically votes with the Liberal party, though he is able to prioritise common good over his personal beliefs. www.ausparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
From flourishing Nimbin come the Marijuana (HEMP) Party. Though a single issue party that seeks to legalise not only personal, but industrial (i.e. clothing, plastics) hemp, they can be taken seriously as latter would be good for Australian manufacturing. Can probably be trusted to be progressive on most social issues, and hopefully trusted to turn up to work only half-baked. In coalition with ASXP for the election; if elected will align with Greens, possibly the ALP. australianhempparty.com Wikipedia Page
The anti-muslim party, ironically abbreviates to ALA, is yet another example of naming a party to gain votes from lazy, and uninformed voters. Launched by white-power poster boy Geert Wilders has probably got a boost from Australian voters wishing they could vote for Donald instead of the Liberal or National party. Unlikely to get anywhere, but are a symptom of the continued growth and strength of hard-right politics in Australia and will likely assist One Nation or one of the other lunatic fringe.
Ricky Muir is back, this time as a bobble-head! Generally, socially and economically conservative, Muir has demonstrated surprising maturity, a solid sense of fairness, and the good sense to listen to the advice of the Public Service. Stood up to pressure from the Liberals, ALP and Greens. While uncomfortably close in demographic to One Nation and others, Muir is a great example (all jokes aside) of how well a common person can represent not just their core supporters, but also their nation.
www.australianmotoringenthusiastparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
The ASXP sounds like fun, but is in fact a serious customer. They support ideas of responsibility of the individual and reducing ‘nanny-state’ laws; though their drive for individual liberty is tempered by social responsibility, as illustrated for their support of vaccination laws. They also advocate ending prohibition on marijuana and stopping tax-exemptions for religious organisations. Generally seen as a socially progressive group, they have no clear economic agenda; likely will support The Greens and the ALP.
www.sexparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
Another great example supporting the need of truth in the naming of political parties; the CEC is a bunch of climate change denying fruitcakes that wallow in conspiracy theories and are active promoters of the LaRouche movement. Unsurprisingly they have a stronger following the further north you travel. Kinda like that friend who craps on about chem-trails, but has occasional moments of lucidity and says something you could almost agree with. cecaust.com.au Wikipedia Page
AKA The Fred Nile party, generally very conservative. Strong on social and community values as viewed through lens of an anti-abortion, anti-climate-change old guy. Liberal party supporters. www.cdp.org.au Wikipedia Page
Also AKA The Fred Nile party, though with a Hillsong approach to attract younger Christian voters. australianchristians.com.au/about
Actually has nothing to do with the ALP, apart from the Shortenesque slogan on their website that states that they are “Putting the You back into Labour”… Zinger!
Established in-part by Tony Abbot’s mentor B.A. Santamaria, the Democratic Labour Party is in fact a religious right-wing party that is anti-abortion, anti-marriage equality, and anti-climate change. They will support the Liberal Party. hwww.dlp.org.au Wikipedia Page
Derryn Hinch has decided to take his campaign to reform the court system from the studio to the street. Tough on crime is his main platform, with a dash of euthanasia, equality and animal justice to appeal to The Left. Essentially a right-wing, single issue candidate, he ranks highly on How-to-Vote cards; and informal/ignorant voters who voted for Palmer last election will likely give Hinch the same boost this time around.
Leans to the Liberals, though will swing either way in supporting either Liberal or ALP, but will demand a high price for cooperation in the senate. www.justiceparty.com.au
Another single-issue group; as their name suggests their focus is on drug law reform. Less a political party than an advocacy group that wants to stop unnecessary incarceration, and end criminalisation of drug use. Has links to the Democrats through Greg Chipp; most likely to align with The Greens and the ALP.
www.druglawreform.com.au/election_2016 Wikipedia Page
Don’t believe the billboards, this is another religious right-wing party that is anti-abortion, anti-marriage equality & anti-climate change. Were instrumental in demonising the safe schools programme, and would prefer students left school earlier rather than waste time on higher education. Want to scrap industrial relations law and any move to renewable energy. They are strong supporters of the Liberal Party and pick up where Cory Bernardi ends. familyfirst.org.au Wikipedia Page
More a direct democracy app than political party; Flux is all about parliamentary reform and using technology to improve the function of parliament to better represent the people. Established by two Bitcoin consultants, the group presents a slick and convincing argument that will resonate with most who hear it. Their idea of trying to get delagative democracy going in Australia relies heavily on people being informed, engaged, and technology savvy; as such it is a generational project which may never bear fruit. They are non-aligned, though will likely attract voters who side with The Greens, and then ALP.
voteflux.org Wikipedia Page
Previously the Natural Medicine Party, this group supports alternative health and ‘pro-choice’ for vaccinations. Policies generally reflect a middle-class alternative mindset, with odd notes like support for optional national service.
The HAP party shows one of the fractures with the Green voting bloc, with many supporters unhappy with parliamentary support of vaccination programmes. Depending on how homeopathic you are about diluting your Kool aid; this group are either courageous guardians of real medicine and alternative health, or just another loony party. HVC sends preference to Flux.org, the DLP, and Animal Justice.
www.healthaustraliaparty.com.au Wikipedia Page
On her own two feet, and in her own colour scarf; The Lambie Network is another right-leaning and wild card group. Broad appeal to the slightly-less-racist One Nation voter, JLN is the de-facto military party… and, realistically an accurate reflection of the people they are trying to represent.
Policies are working-class focussed; Education policy consists of boosting TAFE for trades and includes the introduction of voluntary national service. Advocates the nuclear option in response to climate change; and wants to establish special economic zones. On the question of anti-Halal / Kosher, the party wants transparency on what and who is paid for certification. No guidance on who to vote for, apart from putting the Liberals last; will likely support ALP over The Greens. lambienetwork.com.au Wikipedia Page
Modelled after the American Tea Party, this group are hard-line Libertarians who claim they fight for individual liberty… as long as that means privatising government services, cutting all market regulation, cutting taxes, and cutting firearms regulation. Free speech is used as cover to perpetuate racism, sexism, and whatever else they feel like complaining about.
The figurehead of this ship of fools is David Lleyonhjelm; previously a member of both the Labor and Liberal parties, a fan of the NRA, not so much of women or their sport. Will likely poll well due to placement on ballot papers and misleading name. Supports the Liberal party. ldp.org.au Wikipedia Page
Appears to be mostly folks who’ve hit retirement and decided that bothering the local call-back radio just isn’t filling up the day like it used to. Generally conservative, though not right wing. Policy mix reflects the old-person mindset: They do want high levels of infrastructure spending, especially dams to save water; but want to cut State / Federal duplication of services and spending… because somehow both of these things will save money. Probably not a bad option for when you have run out of parties you know you want to put at the top or bottom and are OCD enough that you need to fill out the rest of the ballot paper. themap.org.au Wikipedia Page
The presumptive replacement for The Democrats of old; Xenephon is generally Centre-Left and progressive in social policy, or nationalist and Centre-right on economy, jobs, and trade. Likes using props in campaigning, but a serious player in the parliament. Sometimes unpredictable in how he votes, as is willing to make deals that benefit South Australia. nxt.org.au Wikipedia Page
A hard-line nationalist party that once again has the mostly famous Pauline Hanson as their headline act. They are climate-change deniers and anti-immigration / anti-refugee. Staunchly Christian and generally anti-Islam. Despite the rhetoric, they will continue to be Liberal party supporters. www.onenation.com.au Wikipedia Page
What to do about the boy Palmer? What to say? The man himself is not running, but he has a motley crew of candidates and a brand new campaign website: thetruthhub.com.
palmerunited.com Wikipedia Page
Not so much high-seas raiders as self-proclaimed champions of individual liberty on the net, and fighters against the scourge of copyright overreach. They are also strong supporters of the NBN and creating a high-tech economy for Australia. A single issue party, but not a bad one for those wanting thinking senators. Has ideological alignment with Wikileaks; who aren’t contesting this election, which will likely result in the Pirates gaining some votes. In the senate will probably support anyone who is against the Liberals. pirateparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
Single-issue party, coming mostly in response to the current government. Older generation profile generally aligned with Greens and ALP. www.renewableenergy.org.au
AKA the Danny Nalliah party; established with help from climate denier Lord Christopher Monckton, this is an Ultra-Christian Conservative party. In the wake of the Black Saturday bushfires, in which 173 died, Nalliah claimed he had received “prophetic dreams” that these bushfires were a “consequence” of Victoria’s decriminalisation of abortion. Yet another bunch of nutters who decry Sharia law, but think we should legislate according to the bible. Part of the alliance that includes Family First, Christian Democrats, DLP, and Shooters, Fishers & Farmers. riseupaustraliaparty.com Wikipedia Page
In coalition with the Australian Cyclists Party.
This NSW-based group advocates investment in STEM education, research, renewable energy, and parliamentary reform. They are also big on repealing anti-protest and secrecy laws. Generally they are politically in line with The Greens and ALP; support high density living with public transport & FTTP NBN. Voter cards preference Animal Justice Party and ASXP. www.scienceparty.org.au Wikipedia Page
The Church has no place messing with the State, or our food, or children. That’s the general gist if the Secular Party. They advocate free education and balanced economic management; generally Left leaning, but are pretty rigid when it comes to anything religious. They are Pro-Marriage equality, Pro-Clean energy. They can be expected to align themselves with The Greens and possibly the ALP. www.secular.org.au Wikipedia Page
..and farmers.. ..don’t forget the farmers this time
The go-to place if you’re living in the country and want to complain about inner-city, latte-sipping, hipster-lobbyists ruining your way of life… despite the fact that it was actually the Liberals and Nationals who sold you up the river, which is ironic given you voted for them to ‘stop the boats’.
Essentially a single-issue party with slightly libertarian leanings, this is a group that is big on self-defence (with guns), prefers small government, conservative social values, wants enhanced freedoms to access public lands and national/marine parks for hunting & fishing. Would probably wave a ‘don’t tread on me’ flag, but realise it would make them look like tossers. Default Liberal party supporters.
www.shootersfishersandfarmers.org.au Wikipedia Page
Traditional communists who want to nationalise banks, mining and energy companies. Generally seen as an antagonist group, they are one of few long-serving truly radical Left-wing political parties in Australia, and are often relegated (and attract) the lunatic fringe. They are quite big on sustainable farming, environmental care, marriage equality and refugee rights. Their alignment is traditionally with The Greens.
socialist-alliance.org Wikipedia Page
Self proclaimed party of the working class; pushing for a socialist, anti-capitalist and anti-war program. Unapologetic Trotskyites, the party are mainstream, intellectual socialists who support placing financial institutions into public ownership and placing social need over individual profit. Like most minor Left-leaning groups, they are at war with most everyone else on the Left and mostly represent another fracture in the Green/ALP vote. www.sep.org.au
Formerly the Sustainable Population Party, Sustainable Australia are generally slightly Left of centre. Despite being wanting to cut immigration, they are pro-refugee. Most of their other policies align with ALP, except for immigration and trade. They are another party who have given a boost to the Animal Justice Party, though alone they are probably too much of a fringe vote to count. www.votesustainable.org.au Wikipedia Page
There are several other groups that may garner votes based on local or individual interest, but are marginal groups and have little depth beyond their single-issue stance. All opinions belong to The Weasel, if you think there’s something missing or incorrect; put it in the comments section..