Thursday, 30 June 2016

WA Senate Candidate Rundown 2016

Western Australia

Senators to elect: 12
Current senators: 
LIB: 6
PUP: 1
ALP: 3
GRN: 2

Grouped Candidates

Group A: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)

The Party: Why is it that although I know many progressive and liberal Christians, you know the moment a party uses Christian in its name that it'll be a conservative right-wing group? Perhaps the Fred Nile Group is part of the reason. This is an old party and stands by all the usual right-wing policies you've come to expect of any group by this name. Their plans are only provided as a brief blurb at the provided link, so I've quoted them in their entirety. Further information on some specific views - such as government funding for chaplaincy in schools, opposition to euthanasia and the party's objection to same-sex marriage are discussed elsewhere in press releases that cna be found on their website.

Policy 1: Family. "We believe that the institution of the family is the most important pillar of society. We reject any attempt to redefine or the nature of what is a family, and remain firm supporters of the needs of mothers, fathers and children."
Policy 2: Church. "With the legal system beginning to reflect an increasingly secular world, churches have a voice to protect their religious freedoms and their ability to preach openly. Secular political parties cannot make this guarantee, however the Christian Democratic Party can."

Policy 3: Community. "Increasingly our local community is coming under pressure from Big Government and Big Business. The Christian Democratic Party is the values-based party that will defend the interests of locals concerning issues such as building over-development, coal seam gas mining and the building of mosques. We believe that political decisions should be made on most local level, so that the interests of the local community affected are properly represented."

Group B: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers

The Party: Once the Shooters Party, then the Shooters and Fishers Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP) has been around for a while. They also hold two seats in each of the NSW, Victorian and WA Legislative Councils, and were close runners for a federal senate seat or two last election prior to the voting system reform. Not quite a single-issue party but unable to shake the shackles of its single-issue origin, this Quasimodo of a political party has policies on a few different issues.

Policy 1: Firearms. The SFFP wishes to reduce the extent of Federal gun control in Australia, either devolving the matter to state regulation or removing it completely. This includes repealing the 1996 National Firearms Agreement, preventing the establishment of a Commonwealth Firearms Registry, and abolishing the registration of category A and B firearms. On the flip side the group also recognises the threats of gun violence, advocating investment in front line crime prevention and national education and safety programs, as well as mandatory sentencing for Commonwealth firearms offences.
Policy 2: Fishing. The party wants greater fishing opportunities in Commonwealth waters, and the right to fish recreationally in Commonwealth marine reserves. The SFFP also advocate for national education on recreational and commercial fishing activities, greater funding for fish farming programs, tougher penalties for poaching fish in Australian waters and an end to international fishing operations, including multinational super trawlers.
Policy 3: The shooters and fishers also demand greater access to public land and waters for recreational use, including greater opportunities for recreational hunting. Part of this is involved in expanding the size and number of private game reserves and promoting shooting, hunting and fishing as appropriate school activities.
The party also intends to "[e]ngage and work with all outdoor recreational groups and associations to deliver better outcomes for outdoor users", in particular striving to end the "vilification" of four-wheel drivers who wish to drive in national parks.


Group C: Nick Xenophon Team

The Party: A guaranteed shoo-in in South Australia, the appeal on the NXT in other states is largely unknown. Certainly one of the better known cross-benchers, Xenophon may get some name recognition outside of SA and has the advantage that he has no party name attached to him, unlike Muir or Lazarus. I'm not sure what the advertising has been like out there in the broader Australia, but the NXT centrist, populist policies seem to appeal to many Australians and the NXT has money for advertising on TV at least in SA. Only time will tell how Xenophon is received beyond my home state.

Policy 1: Predatory Gambling. Xenophon may as well have legally changed his name to Mr No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon for the way the epithet has been indelibly appended to his name, so this has to be mentioned in any summary. The NXT's policies include maximum bets of $1 on pokie machines and $120 limits on hourly losses, the elimination of ATMs from betting venues, an end to micro-betting on sports events, and an end to all betting advertising during sporting events - particularly those watched my large numbers of children.
Policy 2: Australian Made. Partly off the back of Xenophon's push for a larger portion of the Australian submarine and ship-building contracts to be conducted in SA, the NXT has been heavily pushing for support for Australian goods. This includes forcing government departments and projects to give greater preference to Australian goods and services, more effective anti-dumping laws and an overhaul of food labeling and advertising regulation.
Policy 3: Foreign Investment. Responding to the Kidman land deal in particular, NXT proposes all overseas transactions greater than $5 million should be subject to the approval of the foreign investment board, as well as a clear legislative definition of what constitutes the "national interest" and greater transparency in foreign ownership of Australian resources and industry.


Group D: Australian Labor Party

The Party: The oldest political party in Australia and one of the two governing parties since the second world war, the ALP needs little introduction. The left-wing party of Australia's two-party mindset, Labor is the opposition leading into this election and is likely to pick up a swing back from the anti-Rudd landslide of 2013, though not enough to govern in their own right. Labor has announced "100 positive policies" this election, so picking three would be hard, if it were not for the nature of modern politics that allows me to focus on the ones that became the key sound-bites that the ALP has tried to hammer home.

Policy 1: Protecting Medicare. Labor claims that the Turnbull government has created a medicare privitisation taskforce, and is hammering this hard in the final days of the election. The government has labelled this a lie, and voters are divided on whether they believe this (with a majority of Labor supporters believing Labor and most Liberal voters believing the Liberals). There certainly is a move to outsource claims and payment services for both Medicare and the PBS, but it's a matter of opinion whether this is "privatisation" and what effects -- positive or negative -- this will have on the system. This is complicated by Labor considering similar reforms in government, the Coalition making the freeze on Medicare rebates semi-permanent (which Labor promises to undo) and a long, long, long history of politicians promising not to do something they then do in office.
Policy 2: Protecting Penalty Rates. In opposition to Coalition and cross-bench attempts to remove penalty rates as a means of reducing the cost of business and boosting, Labor promises that weekend and public holiday penalty rates will remain to compensate (often low-paid) workers who sacrifice these hours for their employers.
Policy 3: "Budget Repair that's Fair". From the 'it rhymes, so vote for it' school of sloganeering. Labor has recently admitted that in the short term its deficits will be greater than the Coalitions, although it expects this to correct over time. Fair budget repair includes lowering the company tax rate for small business, pursuing multinational companies that avoid Australian taxation laws, and cutting government waste by repealing Government programs like the Direct Action climate policy, a new Baby Bonus, and legislating for marriage equality without a plebiscite.


Group E: Citizens Electoral Council

The Party: If you recognise the name Lyndon LaRouche, you'll recognise the CEC's policies. The party's "about us" page discusses a need to "replace the evil, collapsing world order of globalisation", a conspiracy against the party by "the City of London/Wall St. financial establishment, to enforce economic rationalism and globalisation upon Australia" and directs readers to "the CEC's March 2001 pamphlet, The real story behind Queen Elizabeth's fascist racial vilification legislation."

Policy 1: Energy. Here is a link to the CEC's page of links that form the basis of their view that - as the title reads "Global Warming is a Fraud". It includes references to the "British Monarchy's Agenda of Fascism and Genocide" and names Sir David Attenborough as "[o]ne of the British Empire's leading spokesmen for their policy of intentional genocide". Unwilling to accept the argument that carbon emissions are a relevant factor in any energy policy, the CEC sees solar and wind power as "backward leaps from oil and coal, being of a far inferior energy density" but actively supports nuclear power and the nationalisation of our oil and gas resources.Policy 2: Food. Citing world hunger as an international food crisis the CEC believes Australia must play a role in feeding the world. Steps involved in this, according to the CEC, include the government ensurign a minimum price for all food growers, purchasing all food reserves to provide as aid, cease all subsidies for biofuel production to send the involved grain to countries in need, regulate fertilizer prices, provide discounts on petroleum products for the agricultural sector and immediately divert all water currently allocated to sustaining the Murray-Darling Basin's environment and diversity into food production.Policy 3: Electoral Reform. Many parties are proposing electoral form on some level, but the CEC is certainly the most audacious in its plans; it demands an end to compulsory voting; that preferential voting be replaced with a first-past-the-post system; an end to government advertising; the establishment of “Media Directorates" to give equal media coverage to all candidates and parties in an election; and the end of political contributions from corporations, unions and any body that is not a natural human.Source:

Group F: The Nationals

The Party: The Nats have been around for ages, first as the Country Party, then the Country National Party and now as the Nationals. The Nationals have formed - to a varying degree across the country - a coalition with the Liberal party and will support the Liberal party to form government. The party's policies are therefore often phrased as "the Coalition will..." followed by a series of bullet points which makes it impossible (and unnecessary?) to separate National and Liberal policy. Therefore I haven't bothered, and simply copied directly from their website so as not to put words in the Nationals' mouths:

Policy 1: Agriculture. The Coalition will continue to support jobs and growth in the agriculture sector by:
  • delivering a $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility to support major water infrastructure projects over 10 years
  • building the Rookwood Weir, upgrading the Macalister Irrigation District and laying the south-west Loddon pipeline
  • investing $20 million to help eradicate invasive pests through Invasive Animals Solutions
  • encouraging investment by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in agriculture
  • committing $8.3 million to complete implementation of the Livestock Export Global Assurance programme
  • providing $1.2 million to boost research and development for thoroughbred breeders
  • delivering $4 million to establish a Northern Australian rice industry
  • establishing a Regional Investment Corporation
  • providing $4 million to support Casino Beef Week and ensure the Beef Australia 2018 event occurs in Rockhampton
  • investing $2 million to establish a commodity milk price index
  • developing leadership capacity in agricultural industries
  • providing $1.8 million in additional funding for the Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities programme
  • creating centres of excellence in agriculture
Policy 2: Mental Health. To strengthen prevention and community awareness, we will establish a Suicide Prevention Research Fund that will support targeted research, develop and evaluate regional suicide prevention models and provide a best practice hub of resources.
The Coalition will also strengthen the National Mental Health Commission, who will be charged with overseeing mental health reforms and providing direct advice to the Minister.
We will also:
  • guarantee funding for youth mental health services, through headspace,and fund 10 new centres
  • trial innovative mental health care across Australia, for those with severe mental health issues
  • drive a national approach to suicide prevention through 12 regional trials
  • trial new digital technologies to provide 24/7 support and data
  • promote and support a more sustainable and flexible mental health nursing workforce

Policy 3: Firearms. The Coalition will continue to make our communities safer by:
  • investing $39 million to extend the work of our National Anti-Gang Squad for a further two years, continuing work to track and detect illegal firearms on our streets and lock up people who would seek to profit from their misery
  • re-introducing legislation within our first 100 days to increase maximum penalties and introduce mandatory minimum sentences of five years imprisonment for firearms trafficking
  • investing $25 million to increase forensics and intelligence assets for the Australian Federal Police
  • investing $230 million to improve Australia’s cyber security
  • providing $154 million to enhance the protection of the personnel and buildings of the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission
  • committing $28.2 million to expand the crime prevention and investigation capabilities of Australian police forces
  • delivering $107 million to enhance the data and communication capabilities of the Australian Federal Police and CrimTrac
  • investing in a $40 million Safer Communities Fund
  • incorporating criminal intelligence into background checks

Group G: Socialist Alliance

The Party: Pretty much what you'd expect from a socialist party. There is a lot of rhetoric against capitalism, and particularly corruption of politicians and companies, in their policy statements. That said, there is a large number of policies to wade through, often with considerable detail and on a wide range of topics. This is the only party I've found, for example, with a policy on the wearing of the hijab/burka/niqab that does not support a ban. Below is just a small sample of the party's positions:Policy 1: Climate. After the predictable "capitalism causes climate change" line, the SA's policy on climate is actually very detailed. Whoever writes the headings for this policy, however, deserves a raise (or whatever the socialist equivalent is) because they very neatly sum up the lengthy policy platform:
  • Phase out coal, build renewables
  • Set strong targets to cut emissions fast
  • Rich countries must take the lead
  • No to nuclear
  • Increase energy efficiency — aim for zero waste
  • Boost organic farming and reforestation
  • Make public transport free, frequent and accessible
  • Guarantee green jobs
  • Change the system, not the climate
Policy 2: Electoral Reform. There's quite a lot going on here. The SA wants the voting age reduced to 16, with appropriate education initiatives. It wants publicly-funded citizen-initiated referenda to be availible. It wants more transparency in party donations, elected representatives to have their salaries limited to that of an anverage worker, and the end of the current Commonwealth Electoral Act funding model that pays for party campaigns based on their previous voter support. It wants electors to have the ability to recall elected candidates and demand a new vote. It wants all candidates to be given equal funding for campaigns to level the playing field. It wants all voting systems to be replaced by a proportional system, and it wants an end to laws and fees required for the registration and nomination of candidates.
Policy 3: LGBTI issues. The Socialist Alliance stands for same-sex marriage, adoption and fertility options for same-sex couples, free access to hormones and gender reassignment surgery for trans individuals, full legal recognition of gender identity regardless of whether surgery has been performed, right to gender-neutral/agender/unanswered status on official forms, discrimination laws, repeal of any discriminatory legislation and greater education in schools on LGBT issues.


Group H: Derryn Hinch's Justice Party

The Party: Derryn Hinch is famous for this controversial shock-jock radio programs and occasional jail stints for contempt of court. His party is largely relying on his public recognition, with Hinch writing on the party's website that "[m]illions of people across this country know who I am and what I stand for". The party has a diversity of policies, but no central policy page - all policies can be accessed from a menu on the party's website's main page.
Policy 1: Legal System Reform. Hinch has always been an advocate of tougher sentencing and penalties for violent crimes. His party supports a variety of linked policies including longer sentences for violent crimes, reducing the role of precedent in appeals to reduce sentencing, a blanket ban on bail for acts of violence and tougher parole rules, and a publicly available sex-offenders register with photographs and addresses.
Policy 2: Social Justice. On social issues the Justice Party is generally left-leaning and progressive. The party supports euthanasia and right-to-die ideas and same-sex marriage. The party also stands firmly behind the idea that people deserve equal rights regardless of race, sex, or religion, although lacks publicly availible detail on what this directly involves.
Policy 3: Animal justice. This policy is more or less condensed to one line: "Derryn Hinch's Justice Party stands to see harsher penalties imposed for acts of animal cruelty."


Group I: Palmer United Party

The Party: If you thought the PUP was gone just because Palmer is retiring to deal with his collapsing mining empire, you'd be wrong. Although the current member for Fairfax will not be re-contesting his seat, and faces severe opposition from the voters there anyhow, the PUP is fielding a senatorial team in every state. Once a thriving protest vote party, I feel that the PUP has become both too mainstream and too embroiled in scandal to do well this election, but then I felt they didn't stand a chance last election or the election before that, so I'm obviously out of touch with the PUP voting demographic anyhow.

Policy 1: Political Reform.
The PUP's main promises in this area are the establishment of a federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the re-establishment of the National Integrity Commission. They also advocate the introduction of two-term limits on serving in the Federal Parliament, and that politicians' superannuation entitlements be withheld until they reach the age required for the pension.
Policy 2: Superannuation. Restricting politicians' superannuation entitlements until they reach retirement age is not the only plan the PUP has for super. According to their policy website, under "Your Money For You", "around 15% of Australians die before they ever get access to their own money". The PUP advocate allowing people to use their super before retirement for certain purchases, like buying a house.
Policy 3: Environment. The PUP congratulates itself on saving the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Climate Change Authority & the Renewable Energy Target from the Coalitions cost-cutting, and on securing an additional $1 billion for these agencies. The implied promise that support for these agencies and others will continue, but no mention is made of any positive action the party proposes.


Group J: The Greens (WA)

The Party: Quickly becoming the boogieman of Australian politics, the greens have taken a battering from both major parties. Many of their policies are well known, so I had the choice of choosing some of the party's lesser known platforms like some desperate political hack seeking to "expose the real Greens agenda" or stick with the main issues they'll most likely prioritise in government.

Policy 1: Environmental Protections. Instituting a price on carbon emissions and heavily regulating genetically modified organisms are large issues in this area, along with bringing an end to logging of native forests and extending the area of the Tarkine under international heritage protection.
Policy 2: Same Sex Marriage. The Greens outspoken support for the LGBTQIA+ community used to be an important point of difference, particularly on the matter of marriage equality. With the ALP promising marriage equality within (from memory) 100 days of being elected and the Coalition pushing for a plebiscite that should provide overwhelming support and give a mandate for the same, this is less stark. Nevertheless, a vote for the Greens will be a vote for marriage equality, equal adoption and parenting rights, equivalent national age of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex acts and so forth.
Policy 3:Refugees. The Greens support an end to practices leading to mandatory detention of refugees, advocate for "humane, transparent, predictable and consistent" processes, with a separate processing system for children, and object to considerations of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background in determining an individuals suitability for settlement in Australia.


Group K: Animal Justice Party

The Party: Exactly what it says on the tin, a single-issue party on the treatment of animals, but with a lot of specific spin-off policies based around a vegetarian diet. The usual single-issue party caveat applies -- voters must be aware that voting for any single issue party, while a perfectly valid choice, means prioritising one issue above all others. The successful election of an AJP senator gives the voters no guarantees on any non-animal justice related issues.

Policy 1: Animals. The AJP's proposed reforms for legislation relating to animals is quite lengthy, but includes:

  • Establishing an Independent Office of Animal Welfare with prosecution powers and "a definition of personhood to replace the current property status of animals".
  • Ensuring a "fairer" (presumably lower) burden of proof for prosecuting animal cruelty cases.
  • Phasing out all animal farming and industries, but starting with factory farming techniques.
  • Banning live export.
  • Banning the use of stray animals in research.
  • Phasingout funding the use of animals in experimentation, "except where there are net benefits to the animals concerned".
  • Banning horse jump racing, greyhound racing, recreational hunting, game fishing, rodeos and horse-drawn carriage rides.
  • Banning the use of animals in circuses and marine theme parks.
  • Banning zoos or transitioning them to sanctuaries and conservation parks "which exist solely in the service of animals".
  • Limiting breeding of animals to licensed breeders.
  • Phasing out sale of pets except from shelters and rescues.
  • Subsidisingpet desexing.
  • Making desexing a requirement for the sale of pets.
  • Making it illegal to prevent pet ownership of tenants.
  • Ensuring domestic violence shelters have facilities for animals.
  • Supporting non-lethal population control methods for introduced species and threats to native wildlife.
Policy 2: Environment. The AJP supports transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle to minimise human impact on animals and free up land for reforestation. They also support the use of recyclable and upcycled materials, protect forests and marine habitats from destruction, and the use of clean energy. The AJP argues that coal seam gas and other sources of natural gas be reduced and phased out within 20 years, that fossil fuel usage not increase, that a carbon tax be placed on coal use and agricultural industries, and that Australia "rapidly transform to a carbon free energy infrastructure".
Policy 3: Health. Many of the party's health policies derive from perceived health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. They would promote this dietary shift through education, cutting subsidies to the red and processed meat industries and a "phase out [of] subsidies to intensive animal industries because they are both cruel and provide a breeding ground for new diseases which pose large public health risks". The AJP also advocates for an end to drug research for "diseases best managed by simple lifestyle choices" and the overuse of antibiotics which increase the rise of drug-resistant diseases.


Group L: Mature Australia

The Party: The Mature Australia Party (MAP) was initially founded in Queensland to give a greater voice to voters living in retirement homes, but has quickly grown into a nation-wide party and respects its duty to represent all voters, from 18 to 118 years of age and (theoretically) beyond. A detailed copy of their policies, ranging from immigration to mental health to electoral reform, can be found at the link below. In selecting the three below I was guided by those policies that were referred to in their mission statement here.

Policy 1: Pensions. Unsurprisingly, MAP supports a raise in the weekly value of the pension. This raise is intended to raise the pension above the poverty line and up to 75% of the national minimum wage.
Policy 2: Water. Citing the impact of water shortages on both farming and manufacture, MAP argues there is a need for a national infrastructure scheme to control and conserve Australia's water resources.
Policy 3: Superannuation. MAP advocates for a national superannuation fund run by the government, offering a secure and guaranteed fund run for the benefit of future generations and backed by the same security as government bonds, while the invested savings provide money for various government projects.


Group M: The Arts Party

The Party: The Arts Party is a classic example of a party waiting to be hung out to dry as a direct result of voter apathy. As a minor party the candidates can expect minimal media coverage and a lack of interest from most voters who can't be bothered to google their options (or read a blog that does it for them) before election day. Many such parties name themselves after an issue to try and get the most out of the one guaranteed piece of exposure they've got - their name on the ballot. For the Voluntary Euthanasia Party or HEMP this works well enough. People can work out what the party stands for and factor this single issue into their order of preferences.
The Arts party has a more complex policy mix, as shown below, which also includes views on climate change, marriage equality and legalisation of cannabis. This cannot be simply summed up in a single party name, but I suspect the Arts Party is doing itself a disservice with its current choice.

Policy 1: Funding for the Arts. Obviously this is a big deal for the Arts Party, and covers funding for local and regional projects, reversal of cuts and extra money for the ABC and SBS, free entry into the public displays of all government funded museums and galleries and a National Arts Week to match National Science Week and other programs. But for me one of the more interesting planks of this policy is their "demand not supply" approach to arts funding. The Arts Party believes that too much money is being spent by the government on selected projects -- cherry picking the artists who will succeed -- rather than letting the public decide which works are relevant to the nation. They explain their policy to fund the demand for, rather than the supply of, art by way of the following example:
"a subsidy of $5 per ticket for a live performance would allow the producer of an event to offer their tickets for $5, while guaranteeing an income of $10 per ticket. Should such an offering garner no ticket sales then the subsidy would cost nothing to the government. Should the event prove popular then the subsidy would represent a cost to the government, but only as a result of the event's inherent value to the Australian people."
Policy 2: Vaccination. The Arts Party believes that vaccinations are an important part of modern healthcare with benefits that far outweigh any harms that may be caused. They support universal vaccination as a goal, but also understand that people may have very personal reasons for their objections, and argues that the current "no jab no pay" system focuses too heavily on penalties and not enough on incentives and education.
Policy 3: Disability. Support for people living with disabilities is proposed through support for the NDIS, grants to improve employment opportunities and compulsory audio description and captioning options for public TV (either on their free to air channel or online platforms), among others.


Group N: Australian Cyclists Party

The Party: A textbook example of a single-issue party, the ACP "decided to form a political party in order to effect change and create a cycling friendly Australia" and "to address our nation’s cycling and mobility issues". I should stress that just because a party is a single issue party does not mean they should be discounted from your vote, but voters must consider whether supporting this issue is more important to them than the other issues being discussed. There is no telling how a single-issue party focused on cycling will vote on budget measures, social justice issues or any other bill. They may even trade their support to a position their voters oppose in return for support on issue-relevant legislation. That aside, ACP argues that cycling is "a single issue with multiple impacts" and the following policies can be extracted.

Policy 1: Road Safety. The ACP desires a review of compulsory third-party insurance to ensure there is adequate money for injured cyclists and pedestrians (it is unclear but unlikely that this review would look at the hotly debated idea of cyclist registration and insurance for using the road). Other policies include reviews of speed limits, signage and bike lane availability, considering making helmet wear optional for adults and legislating that vehicles overtaking bikes must do so with a 1.5 m clearance when travelling over 60 kph.
Policy 2: Education. Compulsory bike education in schools seems to be the main plank of this policy. There are several aspirations regarding improving attitudes of drivers towards cyclists and ending verbal abuse as well, a requirement that 20% of a driver's learners test should be dedicated to road-sharing questions.
Policy 3: Infrastructure. The ACP health policy advocates diverting 0.5% of the health budget to cycling infrastructure for the health benefits it offers, on top of the 2% of the infrastructure budget requested here. This infrastructure, predictably, includes the creation and maintenance of bike paths and bike storage facilities along with more creative policies to encourage large companies to promote cycling to work and eliminating "permission" buttons to give cyclists right-of-way at all signalled intersections.


Group O: Renewable Energy Party

The Party: Yes, it's a single-issue green-energy party. Are you surprised? Do you want me to write out the usual caveat again? Of course you do! Now, it's not my place to who to vote for or against. By all means, support a single-issue party. But, in doing so, be aware that the party may vote against you r interests on all other matters and even trade away votes in return for favourable legislation. Now, I know for a fact there are people out there who will happily take that gamble to secure action on climate change, and I do not object to voting that way. I only object to ill-informed or ill-thought-out voting.

Policy 1: Targets. The REP supports retaining the current 2020 Renewable Energy Target and the addition of a 2030 target of 100% renewable energy. The party also expects an investment of $28 trillion globally in renewable energy technologies between 2013 and 2035, and intends for Australia to receive much of this investment by supporting the CSIRO, ARENA and other organisations to help develop technology here.
Policy 2: Energy. The REP's energy policy includes an end to fossil fuel subsidies, doubling Australia's "energy productivity" by 2030 and supporting research into renewable energy through research organisations and grass-roots initiatives by local communities.
Policy 3: Transition. Recognising that many industries are heavily entwined with current energy sources, the REP proposes strategies to help transition including investment in developing the skills required for the renewable energy industry; organising gradual closure of coal power stations, managing site rehabilitation and providing employees with new skills; and providing assistance to the agricultural sector to help adapt to difficulties caused by climate change.


Group P: Australian Liberty Alliance

The Party: Dubbed the anti-Islam, Trump-style party by the Sydney Morning Herald, the ALA was launched with the aid of controversial Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders. The ALA is not, however, a single issue party, and their policies cannot be replicated in full here. Nevertheless, I shall try to capture the flavour of the party.

Policy 1: Citizenship and Integration. The ALA dedicates most of this platform to it's aims to "Stop the Islamisation of Australia", which is focused on preventing Sharia law being "imposed" upon Australians, banning immigration of Muslims from the countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, prohibiting face coverings in public spaces, and mandatory labeling of products and services from companies that have taken out halal certification. They also oppose dual citizenship, and consider Australian citizenship a privilege rather than a right - which may include revoking the citizenship of current Australians.
Policy 2: Health.
In the party's health policy are aims to end universal healthcare for "those who can afford to contribute more and foreign nationals", support the NDIS, but after a gradual introduction and on a sound financial basis, and requirements for childrens' health checks and immunisation before parents receive child benefits. This policy also includes tentative opposition for abortions after the first trimester (excluding exceptional circumstances) a somewhat firmer stance against assisted suicide and euthanasia. Oddly, the "health" policy also includes opposing stereotyping and disadvantages for homosexual couples, but reject also a rejection of same sex marriage and same-sex adoption.
Policy 3: Foreign Affairs. The ALA considers the UN Charter on Refugees to be outdated, and remove Australia from the charter. They promote resettlement only in countries from a similar region and culture to the one they have fled, insist aid be restricted to nations "subscribed to the UN Charter on Human Rights and who guarantee gender equality and protection of religious minorities" and would limit foreign invesment in Australian real estate to nations with a reciprocal agreement with Australia. They also fully support the rights of Israel in the Middle East, in particular to have undivided control of Jerusalem.


Group Q: Rise Up Australia Party

The Party: RUA was lambasted by the media when it first appeared on the scene, with most of the criticism aimed at the party's leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah. In particular, his views as a young-earth creationist, his claims that he raised three people from the dead and his belief that Victorian laws allowing abortion were the cause of the tragic Black Saturday bushfires have been used to publicly discredit the party. The involvement of Christopher Monkton in the party's origins, a vow "to be politically incorrect" and personal attacks on political rivals have not helped to dispel these criticisms. On the other hand, it is the only party I have found with an explicit anti-Nazism policy, so... good for them?

Policy 1: Foreign Affairs. RUA opposes the combination of "[l]egislative loopholes, inconsistent government oversight and our prohibitive taxation system" which they blame for increased foreign investment in Australia. The party wants all sales to foreign investors to be put through a national interest test and to impose tariffs on imported manufactured goods.
RUA opposes multiculturalism but supports becoming a 'multi-ethnic nation with one culture'. In particular RUA is concerned of the possibility of Sharia law being forced upon people, and supports "freedom of religion, provided the religion is tolerant of other religions. Islam, for example, is one religion which opposes the right to assemble and worship other gods and it vigorously fights to destroy or kill such people whom they describe as “infidels”." "To clarify," one policy write up states "we love the Muslim people but oppose their texts (Quran/Koran) and Islamic doctrine and ideology because it is oppressive and incompatible with the Australian way of life." RUA also supports a ban on wearing a burka in public and tough border protection.
Policy 2: Health. RUA's health policies include concerns on drug and alcohol abuse, which they address by opposing the legalisation of marijuana, supporting raising the drinking age to 21 and "[b]anning of television programs, such as Geordie Shore and Jersey Shore, which frequently glorify binge drinking". The party also supports more efforts towards mental health and suicide prevention, including volunteers, particularly senior citizens, to be "Community Connectors" who support people with depression and similar illnesses. RUA prevaricates in its position on abortion, and opposes any incentives for immunisation.
Policy 3: Energy. Drawing almost entirely from WND as a news source, the RUA party rejects the existence of climate change and strongly believes coal power is the most efficient and only reliable source of energy that can be used in Australia.


Group R: Pauline Hanson's One Nation

The Party: Never Give Up. That is the current slogan of the party that just won't die. One Nation is back again, with more of the

Policy 1: Islam. I could not, in good faith, try to represent One Nation's policies without discussing Islam. I also cannot rephrase any of their ideologies on Islam, halal certification or related issues because their extreme positions make it sound like I'm misrepresenting the party. Instead, I will simply quote several of the relevant policies:

  • Call for an inquiry or Royal Commission to determine if Islam is a religion or political ideology
  • Stop further Muslim Immigration and the intake of Muslim refugees
  • Ban the Burqa and Niquab in public places
  • Surveillance cameras to be installed in all Mosques and schools. Mosques to be open to the public during all opening hours
  • No more mosques to be built until the inquiry is held
  • Muslims will not be allowed to be sworn in to Parliament under the Qur’an
Policy 2: Immigration. One Nation believes that, regardless of the refugee status of an individual, they must be turned back if people smugglers have stolen or destroyed their passports. The party also wants to institute policies that would see people smugglers and their crews serve prison sentences in Indonesia, though there's no word on how Indonesia is to be coerced into funding these prison places.Other policies include support for temporary visas, the end of family reunions and termination of the UNHCR Refugee Convention.
Policy 3: Citizens Initiated Referenda. Citing the success of CIR programs in Europe and the US since the late 1800s, One Nation argues that any citizen should be able to call a referendum on any issue if 2% of registered voters can be convinced to sign a petition to that effect.


Group S: Marijuana (HEMP) Party

The Party: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. HEMP obviously has the second option covered, and if you're voting in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia or the Northern Territory you're looking at a combined HEMP-Sex Party ticket. So two out of three ain't bad? I don't know. Meatloaf counts as Rock and Roll, right? We're straying from my area of expertise now - lets look at the joint party's policies instead.

Policy 1 (HEMP): Legalisation of Cannabis. HEMP is a single-issue party, unsurprisingly, and its the ASP that has fleshed out the other policies here. The HEMP party supports the industrial production of hemp and hemp-seed oil which is used in paints and other products, as well as cosmetics; it supports the use of medical marijuana for treatment; and it supports the recreational use of marijuana.
Policy 2 (ASP): LGBT Issues. One of the Sex Party's core ideals has always been sexual equality. The ASP supports same sex marriage; assisted reproduction, surrogacy and adoption for same-sex couples and accepting refugees fleeing foreign lands on the grounds of persecution for their sexual preferences or identities. The party also supports the controversial "safe schools" program and compulsory, comprehensive sex education up to Year 10, argues for federal legislation protecting sexual minorities from vilification, and wishes to end harmful and ineffective "conversion therapy".
Policy 3 (ASP): Religion. After the Sex Party's controversial video criticising the Catholic Church, religion has become a major issue for the ASP. The party argues for an end to religious tax exemptions, specifically removing ‘advancing religion’ as a charitable purpose in the Charities Act, and requiring churches to meet the normal accounting and reporting obligations to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. The party also wants to abolish the Abbott government school chaplaincy program, special religious instruction in schools and private-school exemptions to discrimination legislation.

Source: and

Group T: Democratic Labour Party (DLP)

The Party: Growing up I always viewed the DLP as an extreme far-right party. Reading their policies this year made me view them as a more moderate right party. Perhaps it's because of the rise of certain more extreme parties, but this gave me pause to go back to last election and check my description. I find, for once, that I wrote something suitably apt and will repeat it here: "The DLP is a right-wing party with all the normal social-justice trappings; opposition to same sex marriage, euthanasia and abortion are among their most well-known policies. However, there are a few surprises in the DLP policy chest, and again I encourage you to follow the link below and look at some of the platforms that matter to you."

Policy 1: Constitution and Democratic Rights.
The DLP opposes compulsory ID cards for Australians, and the idea of a Bill of Rights. Neither of these ideas have surfaced prominently for a while, but they do crop up from time to time, which is presumably why the DLP has addressed them. The party also desires mechanisms for citizen-initiated referenda, and calls for any international covenant to be revoked where it "overrides the will of the Australian people, undermines established law or compromises the sovereignty of the Commonwealth or any State."
Policy 2: Foreign Affairs.
The DLP desires that the government of Indonesia withdraw all military forces from West Papua and allow an independence vote. To complement this, the DLP wants a greater portion of Australian aid provided to Indonesia to be granted to West Papua. Foreign aid in general, in the views of the DLP, would be increased to place Australia in the top 10 nations in terms of GDP committed to aid, though not necessarily provided as financial aid; the DLP supports more of our foreign aid being provided through Australian-made goods and services. The DLP wants a 17.5% tax on foreign companies investing in Australian residential property and a 50% tax on any profit made by selling these properties to give Australian buyers an advantage in the housing market. The DLP also desires a bi-partisan (or do they mean multi-partisan?) approach to asylum seekers and refugees. The DLP supports on-shore processing as a means of creating jobs and dealing compassionately with refugees. Other specific refugee plans include closer cooperation with neighbouring nations and in particular Indonesia, increasing the annual asylum seeker and refugee intake from Indonesia to reduce the need and desire to arrive by boat, and transportation of "irregular maritime arrivals" to one of five UN accredited refugee camps of their choice.
Policy 3: Energy.
The DLP objects to the perceived situation where "[m]ulti-national companies have repeated the call to resist any pressure to have any domestic supply reserve protection [because] [t]hey want to send all national gas and other resources overseas to make record profits" and instead advocates for all states, as WA has, to allocate a reserve of the nations natural gas resources for citizens and businesses to use in the event of a supply failure. The DLP also supports oil refineries to be reopened in Australia to reduce our dependence on foreign nations. The DLP also supports the development of Polywell Plasma Fusion -- a form of nuclear fusion -- to provide power in Australia, although according to Wikipedia this technology is not as advanced as the DLP appears to be claiming.


Group U: Health Australia Party

The Party: In its own words "[t]the Health Australia Party (HAP) is a true centre party committed to promoting open and transparent Government decision making, balance and honesty of information, and stimulating individual freedom of choice and thought – to ensure we have a genuinely Healthy Australia." Despite the name, this is not a single-issue party.

Policy 1: Healthy People. Probably what you were expecting from this party -- I know I was -- the HAP supports improved access to quality medicine, including pharmaceuticals and proven natural medicine. It also talks without great detail about limiting the influence of multinational pharmaceutical companies and relying on studies that are unbiased and scientifically sound, and advocates for Australia to "[b]uild a health-creation system, not a disease-management system".
Policy 2: Healthy Economy. The HAP supports small business, and is concerned about the influence of big businesses, unions and red tape on harming enterprise. The party argues, somewhat ambiguously, for a "[g]enuine tax reform based on fairness and truth", clarifying that this involves measures to prevent the use of tax havens and to ensure "[f]air taxes on the wealthy, encourage the middle to progress, and support the poor and disadvantaged".
Policy 3: Healthy Environment. This policy covers general support for renewable energy projects, stronger environmental protection from industry and development, encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, promoting eco-tourism in Australia and providing protections for endangered species.


Group V: [untitled 2]

The Party: Stuart Paull and Friends. There honestly wasn't much information on this group, but I did find a website that, admittedly, mostly lists policy areas rather than the groups stand on these issues. Nevertheless I have managed to scrape together three brief policy positions from their site. Given their brevity and my laziness I will quote them directly:

Policy 1: Political Perks & Accountability. “There's a monumental amount of secrecy and back room dealing that I wouldn't allow to continue. Government waste which incorporates all wrongdoings of the existing system from, political perks and alliance entitlements, all the way through to complete transparency in all government funding.”
Policy 2: A Sustainable Australia. “I do feel empowered by the under-utilised potential this bountiful country has for not only sustainable energy production but also to provide the highest quality commodities to the global market place in a more beneficial way for all Australians now and into the future.”
Policy 3: Commitment to WA.My own personal stance is nowhere near as important as that of the West Australian public. It is my desire that the people of WA will be involved in every decision. All issues the WA public bring to me will never be dismissed or brushed aside in any way and, one way or another; I'll find an answer to every genuine problem.
I'll also ensure that all information I obtain is shared with the public as quickly as I'm able and that I'd like to become known as the most accessible senator in the country.”

Group W: Australian Christians

The Party: One of several officially or unofficially religious parties running in this election, the ACP supports a range of policies informed by their interpretation of Christianity and Christian values, including a predictable pro-life platform.

Policy 1: Marriage.
The ACP is, predictably, opposed to same-sex marriage, same sex fertility treatments like IVF and adoption by same-sex couples. The party also believes that parenthood is best performed by a man and a woman together, and therefore wants to reduce the number of single-parent families, develop mentoring programs for men and boys, promote positive images of fathers in the media, support pre-marriage education for all couples and seeks to "improve" mediation outcomes between separated or divorced parents.
Policy 2: Pro-Life. The party, as might be expected, opposes abortion and euthanasia. On abortion the part's website diplomatically claims that the party will "support laws to preserve and protect the life of the unborn child and are committed to be a voice for them", but in the event of delays in prohibiting abortion the party strongly supports the freedom of medical practitioners to refuse to participate in abortion on the grounds of personal conscience. The party also believes that children born with severe disabilities or after an abortion attempt must be given every possible assistance to live, that fertility treatments must be conducted with a pro-life approach (e.g. preventing the destruction of unused embryos), and stem cell research should be permitted using adult stem cells. On euthanasia the party believes that physician assisted suicide will encourage youth suicide and a world view that "it is okay to want to die and acceptable to kill yourself if things seem too tough", as well as the belief that voluntary euthanasia will create a slippery slope to involuntary euthanasia.
Policy 3: Climate. The ACP acknowledges the existence fo climate change, but remains unconvinced that this is necessarily the result of human action. As such the party opposes a tax on carbon emissions and "supports sensible pollution controls that do not unnecessarily and excessively burden businesses and increase the cost of living".


Group X: Liberal

The Party: The dominant partner of the current ruling Coalition, the Liberals are billing themselves as the party of stability and responsible government. Founded by Menzies after the Second World War from the remnants of older parties that have evolved and adapted since federation, the Liberals are largely seen as one of the two major parties of Australian politics, the other being Labor. The reality is more complex, with the party often ruling with a technical minority and de facto majority thanks to a permanent coalition with the Nationals.

Policy 1: Jobs and Growth. You may have heard that the Coalition is supporting jobs and growth. What this means is rarely explained, because that's not interesting or catchy enough for news media. This policy is a combination of additional funding for STEM fields as the basis for our "innovation nation", cuts to business tax rates to encourage employment and entrepreneurship and export trade deals.
Policy 2: Construction Commission. Reintroducing the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is a major policy for the Coalition, not least of all because it was the legislation that triggered the double dissolution. In order to crack down on what the Liberals describe as "bullying, intimidation and lawlessness" in the construction industry, the ABCC is intended to be supplemented by a Registered Organisations Commission which will have oversight over the unions -- particularly the CFMEU -- with bowers of both monitoring and regulation.
Policy 3: Making the Boats not Unstop. Given the Coalitions successful stop the boats campaign last election, and their repeated announcements of success during their term, it is not surprising that the Liberals would rely on an argument that the nations borders were more secure under a Liberal government. The party is, however, keen to emphasise it's humanitarian works in this area, too, pointing out that "[t]he Coalition removed all children who arrived by boat from detention in Australia", that "[a]ccording to UNHCR data, Australia is one of the three most generous nations when it comes to permanently resettling refugees ... [and] these places are going to those most in need around the world, not people arriving by boat" and that "[s]topping the boats also enabled Australia to take an additional 12,000 refugees from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq".
Interestingly, the controversial Border Force agency is proudly celebrated, despite being described as a "paramilitary" organisation in the Sydney Morning Herald following a large protest at perceived racist and even totalitarian approaches to border control. Border Force is again under scrutiny, with allegations of corruption and association with criminal organisations for the purpose of rorting and dodging Australia's visa system.


Group Y: Australia First Party

The Party: I always have trouble writing summaries for the ultra-right wing parties, and Australia First is no exception. In part this is because any attempt to paraphrase their position will feel like I'm attacking them, simply because their arguments sound bizarre and strawman-like to me. Partly its because I can't really get inside the far-right mindset. And partly its because I feel the need to break up these posts with a little humour and I find these sites hilariously terrible. So give me this one brief break from neutrality as I describe some of the matter in the left-hand side-bar of this website: multiple pictures of Tanya Plibersek with a lizard's tail (?) protruding from her mouth, a scare campaign (?) linking the Greens to seafood (?) on a cracker, and a mowhawked cat to represent a prominent Australian academic.

At least, it would be humorous, if it wasn't peppered with descriptions of the LGBTIQA+ community as "deviants" and "pedophiles", an image claiming Bill Shorten is a rapist, and the following headlines:
  • Meryl Streep in hiding: Meryl Streep's backing of pedophiles has made her a target of many
  • Home Invasions by Negros, Muzzies, Coconuts: Time for 'White Privilege' to defend ourselves
  • Manus Island: Deport Illegals back to where they came from: Thirds Worlders with no ID. They do islam, riot, bash, rape, do arson, terror, demand mosques and our welfare... EASY DECISION!
But you know you're dealing with intelligent political operators when they put out this kind of slick, coherent campaign image:

Policy 1: Strive To Rebuild A United Australia. (I just love the irony of this one) Policy quoted in full: "Promote policies that recognise the interdependence of city and country across all of Australia. (for discussion)"
Policy 1: Immigration. The party wants to reintroduce the White Australia policy (their words, not mine), ban all immigration and cancel all visas except holiday visas, eliminate all forms of residency except citizenship, introduce a values test for that citizenship, deport all current refugees to their home countries, establish more off-shore processing, ban on-shore processing and withdraw from the UN's Convention on Refugees. The party would end the nation's policy of multiculturalism and take steps to "[r]ecognise that Multiculturalism is genocidal white population replacement."
Policy 3: Citizen Initiated Referenda. Policy quoted in full: "Amend the Australian Constitution so that Australian Citizens may initiate constitutional referendums which, if approved by Australian Citizens, shall amend the Australian Constitution. This simple step will confirm the political authority of voters and make politicians aware that they are the servants of the Australian people, not their masters. (for discussion)"

Group Z: Liberal Democrats

The Party: The LDP has been around for a while now, but have really made a big push this election. You might not have realised it, but they have -- they're the ones behind all the "end political correctness" posters. The LDP are a libertarian party, offering economic liberalism (as per the Coalition) and social liberalism (as per Labor and the Greens) and are best summed up by the idea that government should interfere as little as possible in any area of life.

Policy 1: Victimless Crime. The LDP strongly advocates that victimless crimes be decriminalised. Examples of "low-level victimless crimes" that the LDP would support the legalisation of include:

  • Riding a motorcycle or bicycle without a helmet
  • BASE jumping from city buildings
  • Individual purchase and consumption of recreational drugs
  • Driving a motor vehicle without a seatbelt
  • Prostitution and/or soliciting for prostitution
  • Public nudity and fornication
  • The consumption of pornography (not involving children or coercion)
Victimless crimes, in the LDP definition, also include assisted suicide, abortion and prize fighting.
Policy 2: Abolish Labour Regulation. Sometimes the LDP policy book reads like an ALP scare campaign. This policy is one of those, and includes abolishing the minimum wage and the award system, abolishing the national employment standards except OH&S and removing ‘unfair dismissal’ restrictions except for the sexual harassment rules, to allow employees to be fired for any reason.
Policy 3: Health. In what one would normally expect to be political kryptonite, the LDP would abolish Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and funding for public hospitals, government involvement in delivery of health services and government funding of health research. They would also support the privatisation of blood, organ and tissue donation services.


Group AA: VOTEFLUX.ORG | Upgrade Democracy!

The Party: Policies are too "Federalism 1.0" for this party, so I'm tackling it a little differently to its competitors. VOTEFLUX proposes a system whereby ordinary Australians enroll online and vote directly on the bills before parliament. The result will then be proportionally represented by any VOTEFLUX candidates in the senate in votes on the floor. As such the "policies" of VOTEFLUX are... umm... in flux. The system has a little more complexity involving vote trading to amass greater support on the issues you care about in return for your vote on those you don't and the like; follow the link below for details.
This will be a hard sell, but if handled correctly getting a single candidate into the Senate could generate enough media interest to get the idea out there and popular enough to hang around a while. It's a hard sell because voters for VOTEFLUX aren't necessarily voting for a larger voice in the senate. You'd better believe that any VOTEFLUX candidate is going to have Labor and Liberal voters chiming in on issues in addition to their voice already represented by their elected senators. Voters for VOTEFLUX are voting for an idea and a system, not for any policy they think they'll get more say over.


Group AB: Family First Party

The Party: Family First (FFP) has gone to great lengths to declare itself a secular party, although it has close links to conservative religious groups and its candidates have largely been drawn from the ranks of conservative Christians that support the party. Wikipedia defines the party's ideology as "Christian democracy" and "Christian right" among other terms, and the policies below certainly seem to align with the traditional Christian right ideology.

Policy 1: Home Ownership. Family First holds to the notion of house ownership as a central part of the "Australian Dream", and of moral, social and economic importance. To increase housing affordability, the FFP proposes the removal of limitations and zoning restrictions on land to open up the opportunities for house building. The FFP also objects to compulsory Master Planning which removes small developers from the market.
Policy 2: Family. It is no surprise that a party like the FFP opposes same-sex marriage and family planning measures like abortion. The party also opposes adoption by same-sex couples, believes de facto partnerships should not be afforded the same legal status as marriage and opposes both private and commercial surrogacy.
Policy 3: Pro-Life Healthcare. The FFP, as a pro-life party, objects to euthanasia, and also insists (assuming their anti-abortion policies do not pass) that protections for doctors who conscientiously object to abortion remain in place. FFP does support "treatments and cures ... developed from stem cells ethically derived from live patients" but objects to the use of embryonic stem cells, even those harvested from unused IVF-prepared eggs. the FFP is also committed "to the expansion of medical and therapeutic early identification and intervention services focused on disability in unborn children, infants and young children in order to provide disabled children with the very best opportunity to lead full lives".


Ungrouped candidates

Kai Jones
Tammara Moody
Julie Matheson
Peter Castieau
Susan Hoddinott
Norm Ramsay

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