Leigh’s How To Vote Card

October 8, 2004 Off By leigh

Given my history of pontifications on this blog and that I am not currently a member of a political party, I may as well offer my analysis of the parties that are standing in my electorate of Curtin in Western Australia for the House of Representatives of federal parliament (which I am eligible to vote in as a registered overseas voter).

Given my history of pontifications on this blog and that I am not currently a member of a political party, I may as well offer my analysis of the parties that are standing in my electorate of Curtin in Western Australia for the House of Representatives of federal parliament (which I am eligible to vote in as a registered overseas voter).

For people without a background of Australian preferential voting (known in the U.S. as instant run-off voting), each voter numbers their ballot in order of preference, 1 = most preferred candidate, N = least preferred, where N is the number of candidates standing in an electorate. A good site for description of voting methods and their strengths and weaknesses is electionmethods.org.

Curtin is a safe Liberal seat, so my interpretation and vote may well be theoretical, but an analysis of some of the minor parties may be useful to other readers in deciding their final order of preferences. A good site to compare all political parties is Compare Policies. I’ve attempted to describe the parties on a dual axis description of social/cultural and economic management.

The Citizens Electoral Council

This party seems to identify with Lyndon LaRouche, a perenial candidate for U.S presidency. In a similar vein to One Nation, it is a weird hodge-podge of economic progressive pronouncements, together with socially conservative strategies.

They propose to follow “Mr. LaRouche’s “New Bretton Woods” proposal to return to a system of sovereign, protectionist nation-states (as in the early postwar period)” and warn of an “accelerating onset of a new Great Depression, one which was [sic] caused by the insane policies of globalisation, privatisation, deregulation, etc., policies which, if not soon reversed, will plunge the world not merely into a depression, but into a New Dark Age beyond the imagination of most people alive today”.

Most notably they propose to dump the U.S. Free Trade Agreement and support “The repeal of all Federal and State anti-union legislation passed over the past several years, beginning with the Federal 1996 Workplace Relations Act.”

“As does Mr. LaRouche, the CEC represents the Judeo-Christian-Islamic view that all human beings are created in the living image of God the Creator”.

“A major contributing factor to the present economic collapse, is the anti-human, bestial policies represented by the rock-drug-sex counterculture which took off in the 1960s…The CEC is committed, as is Mr. LaRouche, to urgently re-establishing a new Golden Renaissance, based upon the Classical tradition in art and philosophy, where the creative powers of each individual are fostered, to the benefit of both the individual, and of the entire society.”

So the best simple description of the CEC is a Christian proscribing, socially conservative party that have done their economic homework. It would seem that their economically driven policies of returning to “protectionist nation-states” portends a return to isolationism and Hansonesque immigration control yet they support “The establishment of generous immigration quotas”.

Most notably, there is little detail in their policy statements, raising questions as to the depth of their policy development.

Christian Democratic Party

Fred Nile’s group – promotes homophobia, hate speech and exclusionary hiring practices. He is directing preferences to the Liberal/National party, presumably due to their homophobia in opposing Gay marriage.

Their policy position is stated thus:

“Our Christian heritage is under attack from pagan and secularist forces, militant Islamic groups, a neo communism under a Green guise and a strident homosexual lobby that has successfully gained the support of the Labor Party, Australian Democrats and the Greens, and many from the left of the Liberal Party.”

“Proposals already accepted by the major parties involve the approval of homosexual and lesbian marriage and child adoption, the removals of the exemption for schools and churches from the anti-vilification Acts limiting Christians from speaking out against such issues as homosexual behaviour even in sermons in churches, the inclusion of churches and schools under the anti-discrimination Acts meaning that Christian churches may no longer limit the hiring of their staff to Christian people who uphold their values, and many other issues that concern parents and Christians alike.”

The simplistic “No Budget deficits. Reduce government debt.” and the ambiguous statement “Support for free trade agreements that deliver substantial gains.”, in their policy statements does not clarify if they support the current U.S. FTA or not, nor where budgets will be cut to stop deficits and reduce debts.

In Short Economically Centrist/Conservative, Socially Conservative/Fundamentalist.

Australian Democrats

Some of the policy positions of the Democrats include:

The Democrats have been campaigning for the responsibility for the decision to send Australian troops to war overseas to rest with both houses of federal parliament, instead of in the hands of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Democrats oppose nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and foreign controlled military bases on Australian soil.

Australian troops remaining in Iraq until the job is done according to the UN.

After public consultation and examining the US-Australia FTA the Democrats opposed the agreement as the costs far outweigh the modest potential gains.

Notably the Democrats do not have a policy position on grassroots based democracy, although several of their policy positions advocate greater direct consultation with the electorate.

Most recently, the Democrats have been continuously riven by splits as the fundamental schizm in their policy positions have lead to leadership fights between right and left wing factions, notably Meg Lees and Natasha Stott-Despoija. Lees has now formed her own misnamed Progressive Alliance party, which continues to push the fence sitting, corporate apologist line. It is unclear where her departure leads the remaining voting posture of the Democrats, indeed voting for the party is much of a guess as to how individual candidates will vote, although often they have voted enblock.

Socially progressive with some conservative stances taken by individual candidates, economically progressive/centrist.

Australian Labor Party

The oldest political party still operating in Australia. It is as it’s name (albeit an Americanised version) suggests historically tied to the union movement, although it has moved dramatically to the centre right since the Hawke/Keating era.

More recently the ALP has rediscovered some of it’s earlier progressive stances. It is clearly attempting to woo the environmental vote by installing an aging rock star Peter Garrett as a candidate in a safe Labour seat. It has also proposed to pull Australian troops from Iraq by Christmas, instead proposing to deploy them in “anti-terrorist” roles within the South-East Asian/Oceania regions.

Notably it has a history of racist immigration policies (Billy Hughes proposal of the White Australia policy) culminating in Beazley’s cowardly behaviour over refugees. As the opposition party in parliament, it has likewise done little to stop the racist incarceration of refugees in the desert at detention camps. It has also bowed pathetically to the Liberal/National coalition in approving the U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

Socially Progressive/Centrist, Economically Centrist.

Liberal Party

Knowingly lied reporting sensationalist stories of refugees throwing their children overboard in order to whip up racist sentiment in the public.

Knowingly lied of the surety of intelligence assessments to justify the colonialist re-invasion of Iraq.

Deliberately ignored peaceful resolution processes to secure the extradition of Osama Bin Laden from Afghanistan, instead prosecuting war against Afghanistan in collusion with U.S./British colonialist policies.

Knowingly covered up torture and human rights abuses of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison by U.S. servicemen.

Continuing to bully the devastated country of East Timor to surrender it’s rightful sea and oil possessions for the profit of multinational oil conglomerates.

Recklessly pursed colonialist swaggering with regional neighbours, doing nothing to comment on the racist hate speech of One Nation/National Parties resulting in the Bali and Jakarta Embassy attacks.

Constructed a Free Trade Agreement with America with nearly no enforceable standards on labour conditions, obtaining nearly no concessions from the U.S. government for Australian primary, secondary and tertiary industries and dangerously further tying the Australian economy to U.S. currency dependency.

Actively worked to block debate on the emergence of a republic by stacking the republican constitutional convention with monarchists.

In contravention to U.N conventions and practices throughout the first world, imprisons refugees seeking asylum in inhuman conditions of heat, militaristic prisons and isolation from immigrant communities.

Demonstrates fawning subservience to U.S. Christian fundamentalist homophobia in seeking to deny property sharing rights of gay and lesbians through marriage recognition.

In short radical economic neo-liberalist/global monopolist policies with conservative and increasingly fundamentalist/classist social policies.

Australian Greens

The Australian Greens party was formed from a convergence of anti-nuclear, peace and environment groups and independent parliamentarians under a policy platform modelled after the German Greens party. The four pillars are Social Justice, Peace and Disarmament, Environmental Sustainability and Participatory democracy.

A continuing criticism levelled by the Australian Democrats is that the Greens are dividing the progressive vote, since the Democrats have long had an anti-nuclear policy. However, the Democrats have traditionally formed from progressive elements of the right-wing Liberal party and have many times taken anti-labour and anti-people voting positions, typically to ensure their electoral survival.

In contrast, the Greens party have continued to strengthen their policy position by voting according to that platform, despite their small representation in the Australian parliament. Many pundits are tipping better primary votes for the Greens this year due to their preference swap with the ALP, disintegration of the Democrats and a maturing parliamentary voting record that has demonstrated consistency with their policy positions.

The conservative press and commentators have made much hot air of the Greens policy of decriminalisation of possession of narcotics. This is addressed by Dr. Bob Brown, one of the current Greens Senators in the thorough interview with Kerry O’Brien. The interview also addresses the issue of logging of old growth forests in Tasmania, which has proven an issue both Liberal and Labor parties have had to address since they have determined the Green primary vote is significant.

One Nation Party

The one time party of the classic xenophobe Pauline (“Please explain the term xenophobia?”) Hanson. Like the CEC and Christian Democrats, ONP has a confused mish-mash of progressive and reactionary policies. The most well known policy of ONP is racist – reverting to the racism of the 1950s-60s to limit immigration on the basis of race. This is aimed specifically to exclude Asian immigrants by whipping up the old yellow peril fears of the Japanese onslaught towards Australia during World War II and the patronizing pronouncements of the Menzies government during the 50’s and 60’s.

The ONP has had both Hanson and the “Karl Rove”-like figure of David Etteridge imprisoned for voting fraud in falsely declaring the party’s membership. The ONP and Hanson have now gone their separate ways but the racism is still present in the party’s policies.

It should be noted that when ONP did well, the National Party nearly collapsed, and as soon as the ONP was discredited, the Nationals magically reinvigorated their vote. It’s just the same hardcore body of rural (i.e isolated) bigots that will vote for whoever can mouth the greatest hate.


I’m giving the Greens my primary vote as a party that is making the two major parties address issues that they would much rather sweep under the carpet – the U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Guantanamo Bay detainees, prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, unsustainable forest logging, racist asylum seeker detention. The beauty of the Australian preferential voting system is that minor parties do not need to kowtow to larger parties for fear of dividing a progressive vote, unlike in the U.S. A vote for the Greens puts greater weight on the ALP to address progressive policies than the controlled factionalism within the ALP.