Published by mojo on 2 September, 2013.
With a week to go to the federal election, 54 political parties are officially vying for your vote, with at least a third so new they’ve only been registered since July. Some have been profiled already in mojo, and here is a brief look at what the rest of the minor parties stand for*.
By TONI BRIENT
Animal Justice Party
“Animal cruelty is an unfortunate and all-too-common feature of Australian society that must come to an end.” The Animal Justice Party seeks to raise awareness of animal protection through political campaigning. It is concerned with issues such as wildlife destruction, factory farming, animal transportation and the use of animals for sport and entertainment.
Australia First Party (NSW) Incorporated
“There is a growing resistance to the politics of New World Order liberal-globalist-capitalism throughout Australia and the rest of the world.” In what it calls a “new political generation”, the Australia First Party seeks to unite Australians and “reaffirm” the country’s identity, independence and freedom.
“We believe that a party appealing to Australian Christians has the potential to be the third voice on the Australian political landscape.” They seek to draw on biblical teachings as a guide for political leadership. The Australian Christians advocate a stronger Judeo-Christian presence in Canberra, with values like honesty, integrity and hope.
“Keep the bastards honest!” reads the quote from Australian Democrats founder Don Chipp on the party’s homepage. The party promotes the broad values of freedom, equality, and environmental and economic sustainability. Its comprehensive range of policies support racial and sexual equality, gives immigration priority to refugees, and backs climate action.
Australian First Nations Political Party
“Remember the old ‘dogtag’ pass days? The chains around the necks of our forebears?” This party calls itself the first Aboriginal political party. It was launched as a response to intervention into Aboriginal communities in the the Northern Territory.
Australian Fishing and Lifestyle Party
“Everywhere, lifestyle rights are at risk – Aussies are no longer allowed to enjoy unrestricted access to the ‘great Aussie outdoor lifestyle’.” This party supports minimal government, Australian sovereignty, and closed borders. However, it believes national transport systems are rendering internal state boundaries irrelevant. The party supports minimal environmental protection and increased marine farming, including on the Great Barrier Reef, which it says is not under any immediate danger.
“All political representatives and parliamentarians should at all times demonstrate the capacity to shelve their own beliefs, views and policy priorities.” The Australian Independents seek to “properly” represent their constituents in Parliament. The party says it refuses financial donations from unions and corporations and avoids engaging in political slander and dramatics.
Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
“We are not rebels tearing up the bitumen in a petrol-fueled frenzy. We are responsible individuals with a great deal of time and money invested in our passion.” As a spokesperson for the motoring community, this party was convened to ensure the freedom of Australian motorists’ lifestyles. It says it is primarily concerned with road safety, including the safety of its vehicles from damage by public roads.
Australian Protectionist Party
“(We will) build our protectionist ideology and develop the Australian Protectionist Party into a broader social-political movement.” This party aims to protect what it says are the Australian way of life. Its policies include the promotion of free speech, high tariffs to protect Australian jobs and industries, a zero-net immigration policy, and the destruction of multiculturalism.
Australian Sex Party
“How we treat the worst off in our country is how we should be judged. Representing marginalised groups is an important part of representing a country.” Read mojo’s profile of the Australian Sex Party here.
Australian Sovereignty Party
“The Government has limited powers to act as our agent and servant. When people subjugate their personal rights for the greater good, tyranny ensues.” Its platform contains protectionist and libertarian elements. It is primarily concerned with eradicating national debt, proposing a debit tax of 1 per cent (on all payments) to replace all other taxes – including income tax and the GST – which it claims would result in a $235 billion budget surplus (timeframe not given). Customs and excise duties would remain.
Australian Sports Party
“Are you more interested in sports than politics?” its website asks. The Australian Sports Party promotes healthy living through sport and recreation, which it believes will promote strong communities. It advocates government spending on community recreation facilties.
Australian Stable Population Party
“Australia’s population is currently growing by over 1000 people per day. It’s no wonder Australia’s quality of life is being degraded.” This party says Liberal and Labor governments would grow the country from 23 million people today to 40 million by 2050. The Australian Stable Population Party plans to “stabilise” the population at 26 million by the same date to enable a fairer sharing of resources.
Australian Voice Party
“It’s time for reform and the only way that can happen is with a grassroots movement.” The party seeks to “solve” the problems it says current politicians are incapable of solving: the “broken” health system, “spiraling” living costs, “out of control” crime, the “struggling” small business industry, “illegal” immigrants and food security.
Bank Reform Party
“A new non-aligned political party with one initial aim, reform the banks and the legal system to protect Australians from greedy and unfair banks.” According to the Bank Reform Party, the banks are incapable of self-regulation and the government should intervene. The party was convened by the lobby group Unhappy Banking, an assembly of former and disgruntled BankWest customers.
Building Australia Party
“Governments of all persuasions are not adhering to the principles of good business acumen when applying policies in all areas under government control.” United members of the building industry created the Building Australia Party to promote housing affordability and a stronger building sector. The party supports sustainable development, red tape reduction, and reduced land costs.
Bullet Train for Australia
“A new HSR (high-speed rail) system would cost less than a third of the billions of dollars spent maintaining degrading roads over the last 20 years.” The somewhat infamous party advocating a national rail network delivering 200+ kmphr speeds has no official position on any non-train issues. Elected politicians would be bound to abstain from voting on any other issue.
“It was just the most isolating and crushing experience and I would hate to think that families are going through that experience.” Read mojo’s profile of the Carers Alliance here.
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
“Although CDP candidates are in total agreement with CDP aims and principles, they are free to vote on legislation according to their conscience under God’s guidance.” The party aims to “advance the glory of God” through political activism by promoting a public adherence to Christian values. It is led by the Rev Fred Nile, a member of the NSW Legislative Council.
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
“The most pressing issue of our times, for both Australia and the world, is the accelerating onset of the new Great Depression.” In a tradition stretching back to the 1980s, the Citizens Electoral Council advocates broad economic reform to avoid a “New Dark Age” brought on by a “global financial oligarchy” of national governments, media corporations and international banks.
Coke in the Bubblers Party
“We’re a group of young Australians with a sugar-headache. We’re concerned for the future, frustrated by the unreasonableness in Canberra and we’ll move overseas if Clive Palmer gets control of the senate.” Ironically, the party was formed to protest against what it says are empty election promises, such as free cola drinking fountains. The party advocates transparency and accountability in government.
“We have been let down by ill-informed policy advice from city-based bureaucrats whose only exposure to country life is watching McLeod’s Daughters.” The Country Alliance promotes equality between regional and metropolitan cities. It says there is a disparity in access to things like transport and amenities, and increased costs of living.
Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
“Unlike the ALP, it is not dictated to by unions and unlike the Liberal Party, it does not seek to serve the interests of big business.” The DLP considers itself in the centre of the political spectrum. It advocates onshore processing of asylum seekers, opposes same-sex marriage, and proposes to increase exploration for and development of new and traditional forms of power generation.
Drug Law Reform Party
“Why is it that some drugs are regulated, controlled, taxed and freely available to those over 18 years if age, and some aren’t?” This party seeks to raise awareness about what it says is ongoing harm from “outdated” drug laws. The party wants an overhaul of drug laws in Australia. Elected politicians would take conscience votes on other matters.
Family First Party
“We are interested in policies which strengthen families, strengthen values and strengthen Australia.” It describes itself as a conservative party with a Christian heritage, and is also a registered company with the Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC). Family First advocates “safe” jobs, neighbourhoods, finances and retirement.
“Quality of life is improved primarily through technological developments, sources through a scientific approach to knowledge in the context of democracy and peace.” The Future Party aims to discover long-term solutions for Australian society by making use of modern technology. Its sees innovation, education and economic reform as the key to national success.
Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party
“People are hungry for information on how to resist the everyday oppression of the ‘drug laws’ in our country.The party aims to decriminalise the personal use, possession and cultivation of cannabis, and establish industries to create food, fuel and other environmentally friendly resources from cannabis products. The party would also release individuals imprisoned for cannabis alone and erase the criminal records of cannabis convictions.
Katter’s Australian Party
“The problem is made worse by the fact the Liberal and Labor parties are largely funded by offshore-owned corporations and organisations whose agendas differ from that of most Australian-owned businesses.” Run by the Right-wing, Akubra-wearing Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, this party seeks a return to what it calls traditional Australian values. It advocates deregulation, public ownership of assets, more support for the rural sector and economic protectionism.
Nick Xenophon Group
“I would rather go down fighting than still be standing because I stayed silent.” Independent SA senator Nick Xenophon, a key figure on pokies reform, is this one-man party. The party was established so Mr Xenophon could be listed above the line on the ballot paper.
No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics
“I’m not sceptical the climate is changing. There’s always been change. What I am sceptical about is that there is a cause for climate change: it’s not human-induced.” Read mojo’s profile of the No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics here.
Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
“Fifty-50 joint custody is to be the first option when considering where children of separated families are to reside.” The Non-Custodial Parents Party supports shared custody arrangements in separated families with a focus on “equal” parenting. It advocates custodial arrangements that would primarily benefit the child by granting access to both parents.
“Pauline Hanson dared to challenge the entrenched bureaucracy and the vested interests of the political ruling elite by stating the truth as she saw it.” The controversial far Right party was formed in the 1990s by Pauline Hanson, who was jailed for electoral corruption. It advocates closed borders, voluntary euthanasia, increased welfare payments for tertiary students and the abolition of taxes or policies relating to climate change in favour of a royal commission into climate science.
Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)
“Public land should be accessible for recreational purposes and actively managed, not locked up and neglected.” Explicitly hostile toward current green policies, the party advocates a reverse of restrictions on what is currently classified as environmentally sensitive land. It says these areas should be open to the public because people are “integral and not alien to the land”.
Palmer United Party
“Not only are they boring, but neither Abbott or Rudd will debate the critical issues.” Mining magnate and billionaire Clive Palmer is running Palmer United Party candidates in electorates throughout the country. Mr Palmer started this party to push economic reform, including the abolition of the Carbon Tax and Fringe Benefits Tax, and abolition of Disability Care’s age limit.
Pirate Party Australia
“The digital age has provided stunning progress. Old-style media and government centralism have been recast or overthrown, creating space for citizen engagement and new voices.” The Pirate Party Australia is a civil libertarian party advocating what it calls the inalienable rights of free speech, privacy and liberty. The party promotes institutional transparency, and calls for a review of copyright and freedom of information laws.
Republican Party of Australia
“If we desire an end to the outmoded arrangements which obtain then we must act for the Australian Republic before the monarch dies.” With no links to the American Republican Party, the Republican Party of Australia calls itself a “futuristic, secular-humanist, free enterprise libertarian party.” It advocates the immediate break from the British monarchy, so Australia can become a sovereign republic.
Rise Up Australia Party
With a party tagline to “Keep Australia Australian”, the Rise Up Australia party advocates closed borders, cultural assimilation, and lower unemployment.
Secular Party of Australia
“We want women, minorities and the LGBTI community to be free of discrimination and the dictates of archaic superstition.” As its name suggests, the Secular Party supports a removal of religious influence from political life. The party advocates freedom from discrimination, the abolition of tax exemptions for religious institutions, voluntary euthanasia, and the use of scientific methods such as stem cell research.
Senator Online (Internet Voting Bills/Issues)
“Part of the ideal in this model is to allow people to be involved in government more than they have been.” Read mojo’s profile of Senator Online here.
Shooters and Fishers Party
“The voice of hunters, shooters, fishers, rural and regional Australia advocating for the politically incorrect, a voice of reason, science and conservation.” This party aims to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and freedom for the “lifestyle” choices of shooting and fishing groups. The party views its family values as conservative and calls for stronger border security and a review of foreign aid contributions.
Smokers Rights Party
“Even the Greens used to be seen as the party against victimisation of smokers, but perhaps they were focused on people smoking things other than tobacco.” Read mojo’s profile of the Smokers Rights Partyhere.
“People before profits! Put the mines, banks and energy companies in the hands of the people!” The Socialist Alliance supports climate action, indigenous and refugee rights, marriage equality, and increased welfare funding for students, families, and people with disabilities.
Socialist Equality Party
The Socialist Equality Party, although registered with the Australian Electoral Commission, is not contesting the 2013 election.
Stop CSG Party
“The practice of fracturing the ground for coal seam gas can damage underground water reserves with toxic chemicals that are dangerous to humans, animals and plants.” The Stop CSG Party was formed in response to what it calls the “devastating affects (sic)” of “unconventional” gas mining such as coal seam gas (CSG) mining. The party seeks to pressure government to ban CSG mining.
The 23 Million
“Twenty-three million is the current population of Australia. Each of those 23 million has a voice that deserves to be heard by government.” ‘The 23’ views itself as a group of ordinary citizens who are not career politicians. The party says its sole purpose is to overhaul Australian politics. Its candidates can only run for a single term, will refuse financial donations, form no political alliances, and make all communications a matter of public record.
The Wikileaks Party
“Julian Assange is a world-famous dissident who has achieved more for the public record, and in the public interest, that all of the news media combined.” Whistleblower and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange formed the party to promote institutional transparency and accountability. It recently came under fire after Victorian senate candidate Leslie Cannold quit the party, claiming the party was failing to live up to its democratic aims.
Uniting Australia Party
“Our aim is to bring back some common sense into politics. It is about real people and the real issues facing everyday Australians.” The Uniting Australia Party aims to abolish foreign ownership of Australian land, stop the “lifelong perks” granted to retired politicians, reform the legal and welfare systems, and promote climate action.
Voluntary Euthanasia Party
“Over four in five Australians are in favour of new legislation and we wish to allow that sentiment to be clearly demonstrated at the ballot box.” The Voluntary Euthanasia Party supports the provision of medical procedures for the painless, assisted death of patients of a terminal or incurable illness who have expressed rational intentions to terminate their lives within appropriate legal safeguards.
*This list does not include the major parties or their branches and subdivisions.