However, it didn't stop me from eagerly researching all the parties so that I could work out my vote. It wasn't hard to determine my vote for my electorate's House of Representatives seat, as thanks to the preferential system of voting, a vote for the Greens followed by the Socialist Alliance with Labour as my third preference is not a wasted vote and won't harm an outcome favourable towards removing Howard. For Victoria's six Senate seats, the preferential system is also used, and you can either vote just for one party "above the line" and accept their official preference flows ticket (which too few people bother to read, as the Liberals disturbingly favour Family First), or you can vote "below the line" and preference every single one of the 68 candidates (though some parties stand multiple candidates). Now, some of these represent the mainstream parties; the Greens are fielding six candidates in Victoria, for instance, and the Coalition and Labour naturally have a similar amount. But then there are some really ... interesting parties out there. And that's why I'm writing this entry.
Here's my guide to the no-hoper parties who'll almost certainly receive very few votes, and certainly not a Senate seat. I'm not going to cover all of them, just those that catch my eye for whatever reason.
Yeah, that wasn't quite as funny as I'd like it to be. But they're facing electoral oblivion this time around. Don Chipp must be turning in his grave. The Democrats may claim that they exist to "keep the bastards honest", but after the GST fiasco, I don't think anybody will be trusting them in a hurry.
Anyway, to the marginals:
Citizens Electoral Council
It seems just about all of the official preference tickets of the other parties put the CEC last, and for good reason! They're a bunch of delusional, possibly mentally impaired lunatics aligned with Lyndon LaRouche. Their economic policies are an incohesive mess sprawled across the political spectrum; they believe Britain was behind the 11 September 2001 attacks; they think globalisation's aim is to reduce the world's population from 6 billion to 1 billion; they are not only climate change skeptics (despite, you know, the scientific consensus) but make some completely untenable comparison between it and Nazi eugenics. They are the kind of deranged imbeciles who see conspiracy theories in absolutely everything and don't deserve a minute of any thinking person's time.
Liberty & Democracy Party (LDP)
I was originally not going to include these guys, as on the surface, there's not much to see here beyond a standard classical liberal party in the vein of Adam Smith. They support laissez-faire economics and broad individual liberties. Aaaaand one of their candidates is Lisa Milat, as in the sister-in-law of serial killer Ivan Milat, who happened to use a .22 calibre rifle as a murder tool of choice. Now, if your brother-in-law were one of Australia's most infamous serial killers and you had political ambitions, what would you do? I doubt you'd appear on TV and say something that would be considered reckless even at the best of times; that you should not require a licence to own a rifle! Then you certainly wouldn't go on to dither when asked about euthenasia, finally blurting out that "we [i.e. the LDP] think it's a good thing". Well, I'll give her one thing: she practices what she preaches, as she's most certainly euthenased her political career! Though due to how its barely even been conceived, maybe this is an abortion?
Christian Democratic Party (aka Fred Nile Group)
OK, so they're not as rabidly moronic as Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist pack of religious uber-extremists, but they're the closest Australia's got. Amongst other discriminatory fundamentalist bullshit, these paragons of Christian virtue want to implement a ten year moratorium on Muslim immigration to allow increased Christian immigration (specifically Christian refugees from Muslim countries) and ostensibly so that the Australian Muslim community can rethink its attitudes towards assimilation, or in other words, to hurry up and convert to Christianity already. In other areas, these guys - and they are mainly males, plus whatever females have been successfully brainwashed and dragged into their orbit - support retaining prayer to open parliament, but of course only if it's Christian prayer that agrees with their conception of Christianity, and all other denominations and religions can kindly go to hell. They toe the traditional far right Christian line of opposition to abortion, homosexual marriage, and euthenasia, and want a mandatory national Internet filter to ban all pornographic material. Incidentally, they go on plenty about how pornography seems to be bad, but don't say much about violence. Yes, it's so much worse to look at the natural (and according to their beliefs, God-given) human body than to watch it being blown up. Sex is evil! The body is evil! I could go on for days about these guys. It's safe to say that the Christian community desperately needs a left or even merely centre political party to come forward and reverse at least some of the damage done by far right Christian parties such as the Christian Democratic Party and Family First.
You know, if you're going to be a one dimensional party focused on a single issue, at least make it something worthwhile, like climate change. And if you must worry about supposed gun rights, don't have a moronic slogan like "reclaim freedom". Yes, yes, you want to be free to own as many guns as you like with little to no regulation, run around in the forest shooting things with no regard for the environment, carry concealed guns in public, and other reckless behaviour. If being allowed to do that is freedom, then I will gladly take repression. I prefer living in a society where guns are hard to get, tightly regulated, and I am free to live my life with little concern about an implement designed solely to cause harm.
Non-Custodial Parents Party (aka Equal Parenting)
I would not be surprised if they originally wanted to register their name as "I'm a lone angry father who was found unfit to have custody of my children and I found enough other angry fathers similarly seen to be unfit parents that I have the numbers to register a political party", but the Australian Electoral Commission said it was too long. Their family proposals are expectedly one-sided and reflect a deep-seated anger that probably, in other ways, had something significant to do with why they're now a bunch of non-custodial single fathers. Their attempts to have other policies are even more pitiful. To call them one dimensional is to overstate the facts.
Now here's an interesting concept, even if it doesn't actually work. Basically, if elected, on every bill, they will conduct an online poll in which every registered Australian voter can vote once, and the Senator will vote in accordance with the result. It's an interesting thought, a marriage of technology and at least a sense of direct democracy. But besides the technical problems of ensuring voter legitimacy while keeping votes secret, you also have the suspect issue of how the party's leadership will determine the vote if a clear majority (70+%) is not achieved or less than 100,000 registered voters vote on the poll. So for minor issues and for very divisive ones, the unelected party leadership will tell the Senator(s) how to vote, and it's not at all revealed what these people stand for. So despite having a good idea, they really need to work on the execution a bit.
This isn't actually a registered political party, but an independent grouping standing in Victoria, randomly allocated a letter on the ballot. It consists of Tony Klein and Amanda Klein, evidently husband and wife. Their official website is dedicated to Tony and one wonders if his wife is registered just so he can have a separate grouping rather than being lost as an ungrouped independent. So what does Tony Klein stand for? Nothing. That's right, nothing. You are voting for a man who has no specific policy positions but is nonetheless running for parliament. He's overweight, he doesn't smoke, he has a mortgage, and he owns a Ford and a Holden. His 'policies' page is a laugh.
Like I said, I'm just covering those "interesting" no-hoper parties that caught my eye and are worthy of a bit of mockery. There is actually a good range of minor parties, ranging from Conservatives for Climate and the Environment (who somewhat seem to get it), the Climate Change Coalition (who bizarrely are directing preferences away from the Greens), What Women Want (according to Kate, salami and cheese sandwiches for lunch and a lot of purple), a couple of socialist groups, some Victorian anarchists, the One Nation racist fuckwits, and bizarrely, the seemingly independent One Nation WA branch has a candidate standing in Victoria despite two candidates from the federal One Nation also standing. Also, Victoria has an independent by the name of Tejay Sener who I found myself agreeing with quite strongly, so I preferenced him right behind the Greens. I was, however, amused by one of his platforms, which is to encourage the development of robots and robotic vehicles!
So now it's only an hour until the polls close. I'd hate to see what the queues are like at the polling stations right now! I'm looking forward to the start of the evening electoral coverage and the end of Howard. He's even looking like he might become only the second sitting Aussie Prime Minister after Stanley Bruce in 1929 to lose his seat. This should be good.